Much has already been said about the BMW Z4 M40i. With its stellar B58 turbocharged inline-six engine, it makes a whopping 382 hp (North America) and 369 lb-ft of torque. BMW even claims it’s actually faster than the M2 on the Nurburing. So it’s a proper little weapon. But what about its cheaper, four-cylinder sibling? Is it still a sports car, just with less power, or is a stylish cruiser to yuppies?
The answer is a bit interesting, according to Motor Trend. The BMW Z4 sDrive30i, which is the entry-level car in North America, is powered by BMW’s B48 turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It only makes 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s actually quite potent in such a small car, allowing to hit 60 mph in about five and a half seconds.
However, at least in the case of MT’s test car, it’s a bit over-equipped. With an option M Sport package, the four-pot BMW Z4 gets 19-inch wheels with ultra sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tires. So it has a ton of grip, making it very capable. But in a small, four-cylinder roadster, capability isn’t what’s fun. Instead, in that sort of car, fun is dancing right at the limit of grip.
In the M40i, we get it. You want the grip because that engine has enough torque to get the back end of the car in a lot of trouble. But in the four-cylinder car, you want less tire grip, so you can play with the car a bit more easily. So maybe it needs its smaller 18-inch wheel option with a less aggressive tire to be properly fun. Until then, it just because another stylish cruiser with a punchy engine and raucous exhaust note. Is there anything wrong with that? Not really but if you’re looking for a small, ultra-fun roadster, look to Mazda.