BMW Z4 M40i

Sharing the gene pool with Toyota’s soon to be released Supra.

It would be remiss to introduce BMW’s new G29 Z4 roadster without mentioning its kindred cousin, Toyota’s born-again Supra.

Due for Australian release in September, the Supra shares the Z4’s platform, engine, suspension and electronics. Points of difference are suspension and tuning as well as obvious body and badge – Supra being a coupe, Z4 a roadster. Both are being built at a BMW-managed production line of the Magna plant in Austria. 

But, back to our test car, the flagship N40i. It appears much bigger in every way to what I remember previous Z4 generations to be – especially the slim and trim, original 2002 E85 gen. Put that down to the restyled body and its proportions, particularly the tail and front that have added some visual bulk in pursuit of aero efficiency. 

Substance is what matters and the M40i is not short on it. The 3.0-litre turbo-six, working in unison with a ZF eight-speed auto, pumps out the same power (250kW) and torque (500Nm) as its E89 predecessor and delivers a slightly quicker 0-100km/h time of 4.5seconds - yet returns a significant fuel gain (7.4 litres/100km). Driving delight, of course, comes not just from the rapid response, but the engaging, can-do way only a brilliant, inline Bee-Em six delivers.

Agility, traction and grip levels have also gone up a notch, thanks to a shorter (-20cm) wheelbase and wider track, M4-derived rubber, M-developed brakes and rear e-diff. 
Adaptive damping brings not just sharper turn-in for when you want to heighten the M40i’s sensitivities, but the ability to calm the car down when the road surface turns from hot mix to coarse chip.

So, what’s not to like? Well, a change from metal to fabric folding top and optional-only blind-spot warning and cross-traffic alert won’t suit everyone, nor will the difficult to read (at times) instrumentation. 

Key stats

Price:

$124,900 (plus on-road costs)

Engine:

3.0-litre, turbo-petrol 6-cyl

ANCAP Safety Rating:

N/A

Emissions rating (CO2 g/km):

169