IT HAS been ten years since BMW last offered an M-based variant of a Z4, and that seems unlikely to change if reports from Car and Driver are accurate.
With the advent of the next-generation model – which is set to be unveiled at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in two weeks’ time – fast approaching, BMW’s head of M-division, Frank van Meel, has suggested that the already-confirmed M40i variant is likely to be the Z4’s most muscular engine option for the foreseeable.
“I think the M40i is the perfect positioning regarding performance of that car. It’s quite close to the M2, so we’re really happy with the overall concept of that car being an M40i” van Meel said at the recent M2 Competition launch in Spain.
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Although BMW aren’t keen on offering a fully-fledged M car, the planned Z4 M40i will bridge the gap between what was previously offered, the Z4 sDrive35is (which had no backing from the M division other than sharing an engine with the 1 Series M Coupe of 2011) and a genuine Z4 M successor.
The powerplant that will feature in both the new Z4 and the closely-related Toyota Supra will be the 3.0-litre single-turbo straight-six, codenamed B58, which is found in other current M Performance products like the M140i and M240i. In its most powerful form in the M240i, the B58 generates 250kW and a grunty 500Nm.
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But while the automotive world is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the reborn Toyota Supra, the hype around the new Z4 is burning at a much steadier rate. Should BMW have poured cold water on the idea of a Z4 M so soon, or is the halo effect from its existing stable of M cars already strong enough?