From £28,880
New turbocharged four-cylinder engine has low emissions, seamless power and true character

Our Verdict

BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 has more comfort and added practicality, but has it gone soft?

The BMW Z4 is a fine-looking two-seat roadster with indifferent driving dynamics

15 October 2011

What is it?

Here we have possibly the most misleading badgery of all time. It’s the new BMW Z4 sDrive28i and it’s powered by the company’s new 2.0-litre TwinPower four-cylinder petrol engine that is about to be spread liberally throughout the BMW range including, naturally, the new 3-Series. The Z4 gets two TwinPower motors: this version in the 28i which produces 245bhp, and a lower powered 184bhp version in the sDrive20i.

What’s it like?

First off, you’d struggle to tell that the 28i engine was turbocharged. It’s not just the lack of turbo lag (regardless of where the rpm needle is on the clock when you accelerate), it’s also the engine’s behaviour when you come off the throttle. There’s no wooliness or hanging up of revs.

It’s not surprising that the new engine matches the Z4’s 3.0i six-cylinder (which it replaces) for power or that it has an impressively low 159g/km outpouring of C02, what is more surprising is that BMW’s engineers have managed to instill in the four-pot engine a remarkably six-like feel. It’s not that it sounds like a six, more that it doesn’t sound like a four-cylinder engine.

For the first time both engines can be had with an optional 8-speed automatic gearbox. We only drove a 28i with the standard 6-speed manual which would be our choice.

Should I buy one?

For the first few miles I drove the 28i like a diesel, changing gear ridiculously early, my subconscious perhaps thinking it was a diesel thanks to the motor’s willingness to pull from under 2000rpm in virtually any gear.

The Z4 and this new engine go together to make a great package. One that’ll be appreciated by company accountants as well as owners.

BMW Z4 sDrive28i

Price: £33,645; Top speed: 155mph (limited); 0-62mph: 5.7sec; Economy: 41.5mpg; Co2: 159g/km; Kerbweight: 1490kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyls, 1997cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power: 245bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1500-4800rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
29

25 October 2011

Half an article? Or not got much to say in 'What's it like'?

So in summary 'it's like a diesel'. Great. Thanks.

25 October 2011

I think that a hot four cylinder turbo petrol suits the Z4 well by the looks of things (a lot better than it does the 5-Series), and the figures are staggering, but it really annoys me how they call this the '28i'. The '20ti' would've sufficed, and set this car apart from its six pot sisters.

25 October 2011

Not much to go on Autocar. Would be nice to know more about the technology, that has clearly made this a contender, for engine of the year. Andy.

Italian cars, a love/hate relationship

25 October 2011

With such inaccurate badging regarding the engine size you wonder why BMW bother.

25 October 2011

Maybe BMW should drop the numbers on the boot as being ,now very loosely, based upon engine size but perhaps replaced with horse power.

Myk

25 October 2011

The photos appear to be of an M Sport, which is another £3k more expensive.

I really wanted a more thorough review, as this model's currently at the top of my shopping list. Come on Autocar, tell us more about it other than it's like driving a diesel.

25 October 2011

[quote Maxycat]Maybe BMW should drop the numbers on the boot as being ,now very loosely, based upon engine size but perhaps replaced with horse power.[/quote]

Not a bad idea. Obviously, the engine capacity would be better; it's something BMW have done for years, but if they're going to just make up numbers, then they may as well just do something else. I bet that the majority of the non-petrolhead drivers of this car will assume that their car has a 2.8, and I would love to be the one to break it to them that it's actually just a 2.0. I expect that some of them would refuse to believe me though.

25 October 2011

After the 528i review and now this, I think the new gen 328i will be very, very good. I am now dreaming of a 328i Touring - space for the family, up to 40mpg, and a fine drive.

25 October 2011

[quote Fidji]Not a bad idea. Obviously, the engine capacity would be better[/quote] the problem with just using engine capacity, is how do you differentiate between say a 116d, 118d, 120d, 123d? all of them are 2.0 litres...I reckon they are keeping with the higher numbers (like this 2.0 being only slightly less power than a 3.0) so that it doesn't put people off them. surely it looks better to have a 28i badge rather than a 20i badge doesn't it??

25 October 2011

[quote il sole]how do you differentiate between say a 116d, 118d, 120d, 123d[/quote]

I know, they are all 2.0s. The thing is, in the good old days, there was only one power output from each diesel engine. I don't have a problem with the same engine being produced with varying power outputs, far from it. Most manufacturers state the power output after the engine size, but with its car naming system, it is always going to be difficult for BMW. Perhaps they could name each diesel engine '120d', followed by the pwoer output. So the 123d would be the '120d 204', and the 5-Series with the turbocharged four pot could be called the '520i 245' or maybe the '520ti 245'.

[quote il sole]surely it looks better to have a 28i badge rather than a 20i badge doesn't it?[/quote]

You could say that, but it wouldn't look good to see a '28i' pull away to the sound of a dreary four pot. I like the idea of this car, but the badging completely puts me off. I wouldn't put RS4 badges on an A4 1.6, so I wouldn't expect Audi to do it. That statement made me sound like an Audi fan, but I'd have a BMW over one any day.

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