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