A pure-bred roadster, more sporting and visually appealing than ever: this is the BMW Z4 for model year 2023. The latest version of the open-top two-seater incorporates a raft of detail updates, brings fresh design accents to the exterior, expands the range of standard equipment and adds new items to the options list. The new features underscore more than ever the sporting character of the BMW Z4. In so doing, they provide the ideal ingredients with which to build on its success story as both a symbol of pure driving pleasure in the Bavarian premium carmaker’s line-up and the global leader in its market segment.
The BMW Z4 brings the traditional roadster experience to the modern era, with its powerful engines and rear-wheel drive, a vehicle concept centred around agility and dynamic excellence, a classical fabric soft-top roof and a progressive, premium ambience inside the cabin. Its external appearance exudes sporting potency elevated to new heights, the exterior features of the M Sport package – which are now also included as standard for the four-cylinder models – making this immediately apparent. With standard specification having been expanded and the structure of the offering streamlined, the Advantage, Sport Line and M Sport equipment lines are no longer featured. A wide selection of exterior paint finishes (three new variants are available), additional M light-alloy wheels in 19-inch format and M lights Shadow Line provide extra scope for customers to put their own individual stamp on the BMW Z4.
With its hallmark BMW sporting prowess, the BMW Z4 draws inspiration from the historic roots of the brand. The history of BMW roadsters as the epitome of driving pleasure and success on the race track extends back to the company’s formative years as a carmaker. And the brand’s open-top two-seaters have also represented important staging posts in the development of BMW in the more recent past. The BMW Z1 unveiled in 1987 was developed by BMW Technik GmbH as a showcase for innovation and captured the imagination with its front-mid-engined design, slide-down doors, steel monocoque and plastic body panels. Some 8,000 examples were delivered to customers between 1988 and 1991, and today each is a much-coveted collector’s item. The BMW Z3 presented in 1995 was the brand’s first model to be produced exclusively at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA. The BMW Z3 was introduced to the public on the silver screen – as James Bond’s service vehicle in the film GoldenEye.
Four years later, a Hollywood premiere as a cast member of a Bond blockbuster also brought the BMW Z8 to worldwide attention. In the 1999 movie The World Is Not Enough, the roadster bewitched audiences with its classical lines recalling the legendary BMW 507. Under the sweeping bonnet of the hand-built BMW Z8, the 5.0-litre V8 engine with 294 kW/400 hp originally developed for the BMW M5 put in a spectacular performance in cinemas and on the road alike.
The BMW Z4 has embodied open-top driving pleasure for a driver and passenger for 20 years now. The first generation of the roadster was revealed at the 2002 Mondial de l’Automobile show in Paris. It was followed four years later by the likewise two-seater BMW Z4 Coupé, out of which a GT3 racing car was developed that enjoyed considerable success in the Nürburgring endurance racing series. On the road, too, the BMW Z4 was busy setting new dynamic benchmarks. And the roadster and coupé were also offered as high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH, powered by a six-cylinder in-line engine producing 250 kW/340 hp.
A retractable hardtop was the show-stopping feature of the second-generation BMW Z4, allowing it to replace both the roadster and coupé versions of the previous model. Flowing lines, a long bonnet and a set-back passenger compartment were the defining elements of the two-seater’s appearance, the new model wasting little time after its premiere in 2009 in earning itself the Eyes On Design Award, the International Design Excellence Award and the red dot Design Award. On the race track, the BMW Z4 picked up on the success recorded by its predecessor with a variant developed according to GT3 regulations. Customer sport teams powered to victory with this racing machine in events including the 24-hour races in Dubai and at Spa-Francorchamps.
The current BMW Z4 has been on the market since 2020 and is built by BMW Group production partner Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. The worldwide market launch of the new edition will get underway in November 2022. The engine line-up comprises a pair of four-cylinder engines and a six-cylinder in-line unit that gives the BMW Z4 M40i (fuel consumption combined: 8.1 – 7.9 litres/100 km [34.9 – 35.8 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 184 – 179 g/km in the WLTP cycle; figures for the NEDC cycle: – ) a genuinely unique selling point in its segment. The BMW M model has accounted for more than 30 per cent of worldwide sales of the roadster in recent times; in Germany the BMW Z4 M40i has posted a figure as high as 48 per cent.
Over 55,000 units of the third-generation BMW Z4 have been sold worldwide to date. The most important individual market for the roadster is Germany, where around 26 per cent of all cars from the current model generation have been sold. Next up are the USA (with 17 per cent), China, the United Kingdom and Japan. In a generally diminishing vehicle segment, the BMW Z4 has maintained extraordinarily consistent sales volumes since it went on sale. From day one, it has been by far the highest-selling model in a hotly contested class populated exclusively by German premium brands. And it has consistently increased its market share ever since.
A vehicle character geared squarely to delivering thoroughbred driving pleasure and built around an athletic design, vivacious powertrain and smile-inducing agility is a major factor in the strong popularity of the BMW Z4. These qualities have also earned the BMW Z4 regular victories in comparison tests conducted by the motoring press. Indeed, the BMW Z4 has enjoyed a positive response from the media since the moment it was presented. German car magazine auto, motor und sport proclaimed it “the sports car comeback of the year”, while Auto Bild described it as the “hottest convertible of the year”. And the BMW Z4 has also performed outstandingly well in public surveys. Readers of Motor Klassik magazine crowned it a “future classic” back in 2019. Plus, the roadster performed well on many fronts in the sport auto readers’ poll, with each of the three variants winning a “sport auto Award”.
With muscular proportions, a pristine aesthetic guided by BMW’s current design language and a host of individual details, the exterior design of the BMW Z4 encapsulates the modern interpretation of the classical open-top sports car. Hallmark features of the front end include the large air intakes, the LED headlights with vertically arranged light sources positioned to the outer edges, and the long bonnet, which stretches over the wheel arches. The latest design modifications shine an even brighter spotlight on the roadster’s width and powerful stance.
Playing a particularly prominent role here are the exterior features of the M Sport package, which are now also included as standard on the four-cylinder models. They include the three-section air intakes in the front apron familiar from other M models, distinctive side-sill contouring and a rear apron with bold edging at either side. The side air intakes – which guide the onrushing air to the air curtains, reducing turbulence in the wheel arches – have been remodelled. And detail updates have been made to the design of the BMW kidney grille, which has gained significantly in visual impact. The kidneys now have a horizontal inner structure, reinforcing the impression of a wide front end. The performance-centric character of the BMW Z4 M40i is underscored by features including exterior mirror caps in Cerium Grey and trapezoidal tailpipe trims for the exhaust system.
Also contributing to the sporting authenticity of the BMW Z4’s exterior appearance are the clear surfaces of the car’s flanks (with two dynamically flowing character lines bringing structure), the large air breathers rearwards of the front wheel arches, the spoiler integrated into the boot lid, the slim, L-shaped rear lights and the eye-catching diffuser element in the rear apron. The roadster’s classical fabric soft-top is electrically operated and can also be opened or closed – within the space of 10 seconds – at the touch of a button while the car is moving at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph).
New additions to standard equipment include 18-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design. These bi-colour wheels are fitted with mixed-size tyres: 225/45 R18 at the front axle and 255/40 R18 at the rear. Options now available to customers include M light-alloy wheels in 19-inch format designed exclusively for the BMW Z4. The V-spoke design, Jet Black matt finish and diamond polished rim edges bring an extremely striking and sophisticated aura to the roadster’s side view. The 19-inch M light-alloy wheels are shod with tyres in 255/35 ZR19 format at the front axle and 275/35 ZR19 at the rear.
The range of exterior paint finishes for the BMW Z4 has been carefully revised, with new and boldly expressive variants added. As well as the body colours Thundernight metallic, Portimao Blue metallic and Skyscraper Grey metallic available for the roadster for the first time, the selection also includes four other variants spanning a broad spectrum between white, black, red and grey – including the shimmering matt BMW Individual paint finish Frozen Grey metallic. The fabric soft-top of the BMW Z4 will continue to be offered in Anthracite Silver effect as an alternative to the standard black.
Also new to the options list are the M lights Shadow Line, which can be ordered in conjunction with the likewise optional Adaptive LED Headlights. The headlights’ dark inserts help imbue the front end of the car with a discreetly sporting aura. And they form a neatly judged composition with the M high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim with extended elements.
The design of the BMW Z4 interior is led by a driver-focused cockpit layout, sport seats with integral head restraints, clear, forward-facing lines and the limiting of decorative surfaces to a small number of areas. The BMW Z4 sDrive20i (fuel consumption combined: 7.4 – 6.9 litres/ 100 km [38.2 – 40.9 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 166 – 157 g/km in the WLTP cycle; figures for the NEDC cycle: – ) comes as standard with Vernasca leather, which can be specified in Black, Ivory White, Cognac or Magma Red. The BMW Z4 M40i and BMW Z4 sDrive30i (fuel consumption combined: 7.4 – 7.0 litres/100 km [38.2 – 40.4 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 167 – 159 g/km in the WLTP cycle; figures for the NEDC cycle: – ) have leather/Alcantara trim with blue contrast stitching and blue piping as standard. The interior of the BMW Z4 sDrive30i adds an M leather steering wheel, M Sport seats, M pedals and an M driver’s footrest to raise the levels of sporty driving pleasure another notch.
Added to which, the classical sports car cockpit is now combined with an instrument panel in Sensatec in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i. Seat heating, the wind deflector, extended storage, the through-loading system, Park Distance Control with sensors at the front and rear, the automatically dimming rear-view mirror and two-zone automatic climate control are included as standard in all model variants. The BMW Z4 M40i and BMW Z4 sDrive30i are also fitted as standard with ambient lighting and M door sill finishers.
Instantaneous power delivery, an enthusiastic appetite for revs, exemplary efficiency and the smoothness for which BMW is renowned are the signature characteristics of the three petrol engines also available for the new edition of the BMW Z4. The four-cylinder engine powering the BMW Z4 sDrive20i teams up as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The entry-level model can be ordered as an option with the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that is standard specification for the other engine variants in the line-up. The Steptronic Sport transmission comes with shift paddles on the steering wheel and a Launch Control function for traction-optimised acceleration off the line.
The exceptional status of the BMW Z4 when it comes to powertrain technology is embodied most prominently by the top-of-the-range model, whose six-cylinder in-line engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology is unmatched by any rival and displays outstanding performance attributes. The 3.0-litre, 250 kW/340 hp unit develops peak torque of 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) and powers the BMW Z4 M40i from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds. The two four-cylinder engines, both with a displacement of 2.0 litres and BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, also stand out with their vivacious performance characteristics. The engine in the BMW Z4 sDrive30i generates maximum output of 190 kW/258 hp and peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), enabling acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds. With maximum output of 145 kW/197 hp and peak torque of 320 Nm (236 lb-ft), the BMW Z4 sDrive20i sprints from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds (automatic transmission: 6.6 seconds).
Together with its compact proportions, minimised weight, low centre of gravity and almost perfect 50 : 50 weight distribution, the immense rigidity of the body and chassis structure and highly effective aerodynamics of the BMW Z4 provides the ideal platform for sporty handling that will enthuse and delight. Unlocking a compelling blend of agility and ride comfort is chassis technology which brings together a two-joint spring strut front axle and a five-link rear axle. Standard specification for all model variants also includes variable sport steering.
The M Sport suspension, now part of standard equipment for the BMW Z4 sDrive30i, optimises driving dynamics with its firm damper and spring tuning. The BMW Z4 M40i has adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers and – like the BMW Z4 sDrive30i – M Sport brakes with a choice of blue- or red-painted callipers. The range-topping model is also fitted with an M Sport differential at the rear axle, and this is available as an option for the BMW Z4 sDrive30i.
The BMW Z4 offers customers a host of state-of-the-art driver assistance systems to enhance levels of both comfort and safety. Standard specification includes Front Collision Warning with brake intervention, Lane Departure Warning including lane return, and the Speed Limit Info function with no-overtaking indicator. Among the items on the options list are the Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, Lane Change Warning, rear collision warning, crossing traffic warning, the Parking Assistant and the Reversing Assist Camera. Also available is the BMW Head-Up Display, which projects driving information onto the windscreen.
The BMW Live Cockpit Professional ensures intuitive operation and intelligent connectivity. It brings customisable screens for the fully digital instrument cluster and control display, both of which have a diagonal of 10.25 inches. Its functionality also includes the BMW Maps navigation system, a hard-drive-based multimedia system, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot and an alarm system.