Driving report: BMW Z4 M40i 2023
The Z4 rolls into what is probably its last lap. Many of the international competitors have already said goodbye, but BMW lets its fun roadster do one last long lap in the sun – slightly refreshed and therefore better than ever.
Will roadsters, which are as cool as they are fun, become extinct in the coming years? It would be a pity for someone like the BMW, which is ideal for its top-of-the-line engine. The most recent facelift before this winter hasn’t changed anything fundamental and the engines have also remained untouched. A slightly modified radiator grille ensures the new look for the 2023 topless season, and the sports package is now also standard on smaller four-cylinder models. Looks great on the BMW Z4, and even in Miami Beach the open beau in the purple outfit called Thundernight Metallic is still a hot two-seater, after which the sunbathers on the street turn around before heading to the image-laden Ocean Drive for a late-morning iced latte .
If it’s the Z4, then the M40i with its magnificent in-line six-cylinder, which delivers an unchanged 250 kW / 340 hp. Nobody needs more, although an M version with well over 400 trampling horses would have been good for the mobile sun terrace, not only in the sunny state of Florida, not only in terms of initial positioning. Anyone who has ever driven the perfectly balanced Z4 will notice that the half M at the rear underscores the dynamics of the two-seater and leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to driving fun. Depending on the selected drive program, purists would probably wish for a little more fanfare from the double exhaust when 19-inchers in 255/35 format at the front and 275/35 at the drive rear interlock with the warm asphalt. But the slightly enigmatic sonorous rumble has something characteristic when the gears of the eight-speed automatic are turned off, which has potential for addiction. Customers in the home market in Germany in particular appreciate this, because nowhere else is the current Z4 presented in 2020 enjoying greater demand – with a sales share of a quarter. In second place, however, is the USA with 17 percent, and the 4.32 meter long BMW Z4 fits in well after Florida. Swimwear and small pieces of luggage go behind the two seats and the rest in the at least 281 liter cargo space. That’s enough for more than a weekend in Key West.
In normal everyday use and especially on the streets between Miami Beach, downtown and the pensioners’ paradise of Key Biscayne, the Austrian-made Bavarian shows that it can also be casual – and how! If you want to have some pure driving pleasure on a highway driveway, switch briefly to sport mode, change gears manually and enjoy the neutral handling of the 1.6-ton roadster. Braking, turning in and accelerating out again – the Z4 and the drive package of three-liter inline six-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission shine in competition. In bad weather also gorgeous with an electrically closed cap; but at 27 degrees in the shade there’s no thought of leaving the tight headgear where it belongs – behind the two excellently shaped sports chairs. They offer lateral support and can be electrically adjusted to your liking. No more thinking about the previous generations, where the lateral support was sometimes just as thin as the upholstery or only the seat could be adjusted electrically.
Wind in your hair, sun on your face and the 340 hp in-line six with its 500 Nm maximum torque ambitiously presses you against the backrest as you head out into the city. If you want, you can push the BMW Z4 M40i, which costs at least 69,300 euros, from a standing start over the 100 mark in 4.5 seconds and accelerate through to the 250 km/h mark. No one around Miami does this and probably no one in the entire USA either. Of course, the Z4 with the six-cylinder is an athlete; but it will only be used once on winding slopes in the mountains, and here there is hardly anything higher than dunes or warm mangroves. And if you are cruising like here in Florida, you are driving with a real consumption that is at the level specified by the factory – less than nine liters of Super per 100 kilometers.