By Veeno Dewan
The last BMW Z4 convertible production ended in 2016, and it has been sorely missed by BMW fans. Happy to say the Z4 is back for 2019. In an entirely new form, with serious performance credentials. Looks- wise, the Z4 has some exterior cues from the design language introduced on the 8-series coupe. There is the trademark, long sweeping hood, an aggressive, sculpted front end with large air intakes, a lower wider BMW kidney grille and LED headlights, with adaptive LED headlights available as an option, round off the look. The rear features an integrated spoiler and the traditional BMW sleek, L-shaped taillights. From any angle, the new BMW looks aggressive, sporty, and expensive!
There will be desirable First Edition models offering such features as Frozen Orange Metallic paint, a cloth top with silver accents, more metal trim, and 19-inch 10-spoke wheels with a two-tone finish. The interior choices include both SensaTec and Vernasca leather with a unique Vernasca/Alcantara upholstery available for M Sport vehicles. The power soft-top roof comes in Black as standard and Anthracite with silver effect as an option, and it can be opened or closed in the space of ten seconds, at speeds up to 50 km/h.
Two available engines will be offered. The Z4 sDrive 30i gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with respectable 255 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft of torque, The Z4 M40i, will have a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a formidable 382 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque. It’s the most powerful engine ever in a BMW Z4. Sad to say, for now, only an eight-speed automatic transmission will be available – no manual, but there is a manual mode feature via steering-wheel paddles. Purist will also be glad to know the Z4 is still rear-wheel-drive — and the M40i benefits from an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission features Launch Control for accelerating hard from a standing start with maximum traction. The transmission fitted in the BMW Z4 M40i has been configured with M-specific shift characteristics to complement the straight-six engine’s power delivery.
The suspension and chassis undercarriage have redesigned for performance with perfect 50/50 weight balance front and rear stiffer. The wheel track has been widened by 98 and 57 millimeters front and rear, respectively, while the wheelbase is actually shortened by 26 millimeters to 2,470. The extra length does allow a 50 percent increase in trunk capacity, now at 281 liters.
The M40i comes standard with performance equipment including adaptive dampers, M Sport brakes, and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. The 30i will offer these extras as well in a Track Handling package. Both models come standard with 255-width front tires and 275-width rears; 18-inch wheels are standard, and 19-inch wheels are optional. Projected acceleration times are zero to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds. The 30i can do the same in 5.4 seconds. The Z4 has all of the conceivable safety assists BMW has to offer, either as standard or part of an optional package. These include collision and pedestrian warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, rear collision prevention, and rear cross-traffic alert, among others.
The cockpit is tidy, rich in finish, feel, and is well-appointed. An improved iDrive infotainment system now displays a series of buttons in a sidebar to the left of the central 10.25-inch touchscreen, freeing the rest of the screen to show navigation and entertainment information, and car settings. The screen is customizable, and you can swipe between different windows like on a tablet. A 10.25-inch TFT screen is placed ahead of the steering wheel, displaying engine and road speed and other drive-related info. The M40i arrives with a head-up display. Combined with the main central infotainment screen, BMW calls the new setup Live Cockpit Professional. BMWs iDrive controller is back, improved and allows for full control of infotainment functions.
The 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i is set to debut at Canadian dealerships in March 2019, while the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i Roadster will follow later in 2019. Canadian pricing is to be announced.