Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 BMW Z4.
The BMW Z4 sDrive28i is a great looking car and probably the best roadster BMW have produced so far; rear wheel drive, electrically operated roof and equipped with BMW’s magnificent 2.0 litre Twin Turbo 4 cylinder.
It’s a great power plant producing 180kw & 350Nm of torque. Performance is spirited with 100km/h coming up in 5.7 seconds, and in our test vehicle, the turbo four was hooked up to BMW’s beautiful 8 Speed auto box, a $3500 option.
The essence of this car is about sporty roof down performance, and a manual version would be my choice if I was handing over the large sums of cash BMW is asking for the Z4, but with the flappy paddles, you can have a hell of a lot fun with the auto, particularly on the down shift as the gearbox blips the throttle on the way back through the gears.
The soundtrack is inspiring with the roof up, with it down, the noise is fantastic as the turbo four howls all the way to the 7000 red line, and all the pops & crackles on overrun are rather exciting.
The Z4 is undoubtedly the best looking roadster BMW have produced, with an angry face, enormously long bonnet, reminiscent of E Type Jags, and muscular haunches over the back wheels ensure it’s aggressive looking from any angle
Inside is pure BMW – very little storage for bits & pieces, although the door pockets do help, but that’s about the only negative.
The fit & finish is first class, the thin rimmed steering wheel is beautiful, as is the circular surrounds for the climate systems, and the Kansas Leather trim on the electrically operated seats, which are endowed with best seat heaters in the business.
The electrically operated roof is easy & quick to use & can be operated at speeds of up to 30km/h, and in conjunction with those seat heaters, can be used pretty much any time of the year, obviously except in the rain.
The ride is reasonable on 17inch rims with 45 series tyres, and while you notice a little bit of creaking & groaning, the body is quite stiff.
Of course, as a roadster, it’s at home on a winding road, and on a couple of responsible blasts through the Yarra Valley it proved to be a competent performer…the front end can be a bit skittish on dodgy road surfaces, and the very minor hint of turbo lag can see the electronic nannies interfere when you’ve tramped on the right pedal coming out of a slow corner.
It’s not the most cohesive package on the road, but it is satisfying.
BMW are asking for $90,000 for the mid range Z4 Sdrive 28i, and with the eight speed auto & metallic paint as was on our test car, the price blows out to $95,340 before on road costs.
At that price point, obviously the Mercedes Benz SLK is an alternative, but we are almost in Porsche Boxster territory, and that changes the game.
I will withhold our final verdict until I’ve had some more time in the Mercedes & Porsche, but the 2013 BMW Z4 is certainly worthy of consideration with great looks, a great engine & gearbox, and decent handling.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo petrol producing 180kW and 350Nm
Transmission: 6-Speed manual or 8-Speed automatic
Warranty: 3 years
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $79,900
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: BMW E89 Z4 Roadster.