BMW has released full details of the third-generation Z4 sportscar, confirming the previously-revealed M40i flagship will be accompanied by a pair of four-cylinder turbo options at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
Below the mighty M40i, which was revealed at the Pebble Beach concours in August, the Z4 will also be available with an sDrive30i and sDrive20i badge. Following the nomenclature applied to many other BMW models, the pair will be rear-wheel drive and powered by 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines in two different states of tune.
BMW Australia has confirmed the full trio of Z4 sports stars will be arriving in local showrooms no later than the second quarter of next year, although pricing is yet to be finalised.
At the top of the pack, the Z4 M40i has an M Performance straight six-cylinder engine sending 250kW/500Nm to the rear wheels, and remains the high-performance hero until an unconfirmed full-fat M version joins the range.
While the range-topper uses its extra cylinders to get to 100km/h from standstill in 4.6 seconds, the 30i produces 190kW/400Nm and completes the same benchmark in a respectable 5.4s. The 20i uses the same engine in a lower state of tune to pump out 145kW/320Nm, which is good for a 6.6-second dash to 100km/h.
Compared with the previous generation, the new Z4 has grown in all main dimensions. Length is up 85mm to 4.3 metres, width has grown by 74mm to 1.9m, while height now measures 1.3m – an increase of 13mm. That said, the model’s wheelbase has been shortened by 26mm.
That makes the third-gen Z4 almost identical in dimensions to the Toyota Supra with which it shares a platform, except its length. The BMW is more than 50mm shorter.
The full Z4 line-up will make its debut at the Paris motor show in October where it will show off optional full LED adaptive beam headlights, clamshell-opening bonnet, and electrically folding fabric roof, which can be opened or closed at speeds of up to 50km/h. The rag top is a return to the first-generation Z4 roof after the previous version adopted a folding metal roof.
Inside, the Z4 cabin provides room for just two but offers storage behind the occupants, and features seats that are unique for each the model: heavily bolstered and covered in leather and Alcantara for the M40i, or Vernasca leather for the mid-range 30i.
The stowed roof has its own storage compartment and does not rob the boot of any of its 281 litres – that’s more than double the capacity of the previous-gen Z4 boot.
For its fun-focused two-door, BMW says it designed the new chassis for “extreme agility and handling dynamics” across the board. Suspension highlights include double-joint spring struts at the front axle and a five-link rear set up – the first for a BMW convertible, while variable sport steering allows several different rack speed and power assistance settings.
A plethora of performance-enhancing technology is added to the 40i including an M Sport differential, M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes, an extra Sport Plus mode in the switchable Driver Experience settings and stickier tyres fitted to 18-inch wheels. Standard wheels measure 17 inches for the 20i, 18-inch for the 30i, while the 40i can be upgraded to optional 19-inch rims.
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Safety systems rank highly with all variants as well. Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, lane departure warning, active cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, automatic parking assistance are all standard, while a head-up display features in the Z4 for the first time.
Local pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the new Z4’s Australian launch in the first half of next year.