BMW has replaced the Z4’s venerable naturally-aspirated six cylinder engines with turbocharged four-cylinder units, accompanied by massive price cuts across the range.
Replacing the 150kW/250Nm 2.5-litre sDrive23i is a new sDrive20i variant, which runs BMW’s fresh N20 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four and produces a little less power (135kW) but more torque (270Nm). Priced at $76,900, buyers will save $10K over the outgoing base six, thanks partly to the new four’s eligibility for a reduced Luxury Car Tax rate, as the new turbo four slurps less than 7L/100km (6.7L/100km, a 1.8L improvement on 23i).
A high-boost version of the same engine is available in the sDrive28i, with outputs of 180kW and 350Nm, or 10kW less and 40Nm more than the outgoing 3.0-litre sDrive30i. 0-100km/h is a claimed 5.7 seconds. Despite the extra grunt, the combined consumption for the 28i is identical to the 20i variant. A full $9K is saved over the 30i, with the new 28i priced at $89,400.
Both new variants are standard with a six-speed manual transmission; a new eight-speed auto is optional.
Although the flagship turbo-six sDrive35i and sDrive35is carry on unchanged, both variants also receive price cuts in line with the new turbo four variants – tags are now $107,500 and $120,500, respectively.
BMW says the reason the flagship Z4 variants get a slashed sticker is to “harmonise prices across the range”. But surely it wouldn’t have anything to do with a new Mercedes SLK that’s just arrived on the scene, would it?