Despite not being a fully fledged M model, the top-of-the range Z4 M40i has beaten the M2’s time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife during testing with a lap time below 8min, he said. “The benchmark target during development was the driving dynamics of the M240i. But the car got so good that the benchmark is now M2.”
The entry-level sDrive20i, which will make up half of overall sales volume, uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 197bhp and achieves 0-62mph in 6.6sec. The mid-range sDrive30i uses the same engine in a higher state of tune (258bhp) and hits the benchmark sprint in 5.4sec.
The range-topping M40i employs a 340bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, has 369lb ft of torque and does 0-62mph in 4.6sec – the same time as its key rival, the Porsche 718 Boxster S. Top speed is 155mph.
The new Z4 is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, with its width “most notable,” said Ederer. “The wider track goes out by 9cm at the front and 5cm at back. It gives it more stability in corner and makes car look more grown-up.”
The decision to go for a soft-top rather than hard-top was “made in the first six months of development”. Ederer said the decision creates an extra 100 litres of boot space (now 281 litres) over its predecessor, a lower centre of gravity and a better NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) suppression.
The move also gives it a key differentiator with the upcoming, hard-top Toyota Supra, with which the Z4 has been jointly developed.