BMW Z4 M40i Review: A Roadster that Delivers Style and Performance
The BMW Z4 M40i has been making waves since its launch in 2018. While it may not have achieved the same level of sales or reputation as some of its competitors, this roadster offers a surprising blend of practicality, comfort, and performance. For 2023, BMW has given the Z4 a subtle facelift, but has it also improved the driving experience? In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the changes, performance, features, and competition to determine if the Z4 M40i deserves a spot in the sports car segment.
Subtle Design Updates for a Modern Look
The 2023 BMW Z4 M40i features subtle design updates that enhance its modern appeal. The hexagonal pattern within the grille is now peppered with horizontal floating inserts, giving it a more striking appearance. The front bumper has also been redesigned, with new air intakes and fog lights adding to the overall aesthetic. At the rear, there is a touch of gloss-black trim that adds a touch of sophistication.
Performance: A Powerful Straight-Six Engine
Under the hood, the Z4 M40i is powered by a 3.0-liter straight-six turbo engine that delivers an impressive 335 horsepower. This engine provides a strong turn of pace, making the Z4 M40i a thrilling car to drive. The torque-rich nature of the engine ensures that power is readily available, even at lower RPMs. It may not be the loudest engine, but it emits a pleasant and mellow bellow that adds to the overall driving experience.
Refinement and Comfort: A Convertible for All Occasions
One of the Z4 M40i’s standout features is its impressive refinement, whether the roof is up or down. The convertible is surprisingly quiet even at high speeds, thanks to the minimal buffeting provided by the standard wind deflector. The roof itself opens and closes rapidly, allowing for quick adjustments during unexpected weather changes. With the roof up, the cabin remains serene, with minimal road noise. The interior of the Z4 M40i is reminiscent of a comfortable saloon car with its spaciousness, abundance of features, and high-quality finish.
Practicality: More Than Just a Sports Car
Contrary to popular belief, the Z4 M40i offers more than just a thrilling driving experience. It also provides a decent amount of practicality. The boot is spacious enough to accommodate everyday essentials, making it suitable for longer journeys. Additionally, the interior features ample storage space, including phone compartments and cup holders. The Z4 M40i strikes a balance between performance and usability, making it a versatile choice for those seeking both excitement and practicality.
An Enjoyable Driving Experience
While the Z4 M40i may not match the driving dynamics of its Porsche Boxster counterpart, it still offers an enjoyable experience behind the wheel. The electronically controlled M differential ensures optimal traction and stability, allowing for confident cornering. The combination of the torque-rich engine and well-calibrated electronics results in a car that can deliver an enjoyable and controlled driving experience. However, it’s worth noting that the Z4 M40i does exhibit some torsional rigidity issues when pushed to its limits.
Ride and Handling: A Balance of Comfort and Sportiness
The Z4 M40i comes equipped with electronically controlled dampers, which have been recalibrated for improved performance. In Comfort mode, the ride feels smoother, offering a more comfortable and refined driving experience. Switching to Sport mode delivers a more dynamic ride, with stiffer suspension and more responsive steering. However, personal preferences may vary, and the ability to customize driving modes allows drivers to find the perfect balance of comfort and sportiness.
Design Evolution: Striking and Timeless
At first glance, the Z4 M40i’s design may appear bold and slightly awkward, but it has aged well and showcases its unique personality. The roadster proportions and subtle nods to the classic BMW 507 are evident, giving the Z4 M40i a timeless appeal. The matte Frozen Grey paint option adds an extra touch of exclusivity to the overall design.
Price and Competition: A Class of Its Own
In terms of pricing, the Z4 M40i starts at £56,475, positioning it between its competitors such as the Porsche 718 Boxster and the Toyota GR Supra. While the Boxster may offer a more thrilling driving experience, the Z4 M40i brings its own set of strengths to the table. The M40i engine provides a more enjoyable company compared to the base-level Boxster’s flat-four engine. Additionally, the Z4 M40i offers a more affordable alternative to the higher-priced Boxster models with six-cylinder engines.
Conclusion: A Unique and Versatile Roadster
The BMW Z4 M40i may not be a Porsche beater, but it has its own unique charm and appeal. Its blend of practicality, comfort, and performance make it a versatile choice for those seeking a convertible sports car. The subtle design updates, powerful straight-six engine, and refined driving experience make the Z4 M40i a compelling option in its class. While it may not excel in every aspect, it strikes a balance between luxury and sportiness, making it a roadster that can be enjoyed on a daily basis.