Facelifted BMW roadster gets an M Performance version with a tuned chassis
16 August 2012

BMW is putting the finishing touches to a facelifted BMW Z4 ahead of its expected Detroit motor show launch in January. The revised model is due on sale in the UK next April. 

Only light exterior styling tweaks and small changes to the roadster’s interior will distinguish it from today’s three-year-old model. 

However, plans for a new range-topping M Performance model look set to give the Z4 a timely image boost in the absence of a full-blown Z4 M to go up against the likes of the Audi TT RS roadster, Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG and Porsche Boxster S.

The Z4 sDrive35iS expected to be replaced by a new Z4 M35i Performance model running essentially the same 335bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six engine as the M135i hatchback, but with changes to its exhaust system for more a alluring sound.

The new range-topping Z4 model is set to adopt a unique styling package as well as a retuned chassis, with firmer springs and dampers and a reworked steering system for sharper dynamics. The tweaks are all in keeping with BMW’s recent M Performance models.

Among the visual changes that BMW design boss Karim Habib will bring to the Z4 are subtly reprofiled bumpers, altered light graphics and reinterpreted detailing, including new LED repeater lights along the flanks, as well as a new range of standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch wheels.

Inside, the two-seater is set to benefit from the latest version of BMW’s iDrive system, with new internet-based services. Sources also suggest that there are new instrument graphics and a revised range of trims in store for the Z4, although major changes to the dashboard architecture have been ruled out.

With new turbocharged 2.0-litre Z4 sDrive20i (181bhp) and sDrive28i (242bhp) models having recently being added to the range, the main changes to the engine line-up look set to centre on the existing Z4 sDrive35i. It is set to receive the latest version of BMW’s 3.0-litre turbo six, boasting an added 14bhp to take it to 316bhp.

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

Join the debate

Comments
2

16 August 2012

Still a girly car for me - wouldnt be seen dead in one - unless I was the passenger and the driver was really worth the downgrade

what's life without imagination

17 August 2012

Seems this car got very average reviews despite using very similar platform and engine to the old M coupe or the new M135i.

I drove one before I bought my 370Z, it seemed very everyday usable - plenty of torque, and had a more refined engine and interior than the Z, but was missing both the sharpness and the fun factor.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0 i4 on the road
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Having been previously impressed by the agile four-cylinder F-Type, now is our chance to try it in the UK and in open-top form. But can this entry-level Jaguar sports car hold off the impressive Porsche Boxster?
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR
    The Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR is a swansong for the Vantage - but the first model to sport the AMR title
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Aston Martin's swansong for its venerable Vantage sports car allows it to bow out with its head held high, yet the performance AMR sub-brand's first outing leaves you feeling short-changed
  • Range Rover Velar 2.0D
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Can the newest Range Rover deliver the goods when it's being powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0L diesel engine? We tried it on UK roads to find out
  • Audi RS3 Sportback
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Audi Sport's firebrand hatchback gets an even more brilliant engine, but still falls short of the dynamic finesse and driver involvement necessary to make it a true performance great
  • Sin R1 550
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Bulgaria’s first supercar is aggressive and unapologetic. It can be tricky at the limit, but it’s as engaging as they come