New BMW Z4 2019: price, specs and release date
BMW announces full launch line-up for all-new Z4 sports car
More details of the all-new BMW Z4 have been announced, including engine specifications, performance figures and model names, ahead of the sports car's UK debut early next year. Prices are yet to be confirmed but we would expect it to be between £30,000 - £50,000 depending on whether you go for the entry-level sDrive20i or range-topping M40i.
After a long gestation, the BMW Z4 was officially unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours event in the US and we can now finally see what production version will look like. The new car has been developed in partnership with Toyota, whose all-new Supra shares its chassis with the Z4.
You'd be hard-pressed to spot many similarities in the metal, though, and the differences between the two models continue under the surface, where the BMW and Toyota will have their own interior identities. With lots of power from each of the three launch engines, the Z4 should have the measure of its Audi TT, Mercedes SLC and Porsche Boxster rivals when it comes to performance.
2019 BMW Z4 design and interior
A wide, angular interpretation of the traditional 'double kidney' grille makes the Z4 recognisably a BMW, but sports-car fans will see a strong resemblance to muscular American models like the Dodge Viper. This similarity runs to the big, rearward-facing vents placed after the front wheels.
Flanking that grille are new headlights that include a slimmed-down version of BMW’s hexagonal LED signature, this time stacked on top of each other. Prominent creases run back from the side vents, the topmost running the entire length of the car, where it rises to form a broad shoulder line above the rear lights.
Viewed from the rear, the Z4 has wider LED lights and a prominent ‘ducktail’ boot spoiler with its own central brake light. The bumper features sharp edges and a black lower insert housing a tailpipe at either side, below vents that echo those on the car's flanks, but are yet to be confirmed as functional. Unlike the previous folding hardtop model, the new Z4 has a soft roof, which BMW says can be opened or closed in 10 seconds at up to 31mph.
BMW hasn’t forgotten practical considerations, either – the boot is 70 litres bigger than the last Z4's and the resultant 281 litres isn't eaten away by the roof when it's folded away.
Engines & performance
The BMW Z4 will debut with a fairly diverse choice of petrol engines, but no official mention has been made of diesel or plug-in hybrid power. The entry-level model, named sDrive20i, is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol that develops 194bhp. BMW claims a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds for this model, with a top speed of 149mph. A more powerful version of the same engine is used in the sDrive30i, this time with 254bhp – 0-62mph drops to 5.4 seconds and the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
The range-topper at launch is the BMW Z4 M40i, which uses a six-cylinder, 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 335bhp, which is enough to drop the 0-62mph time to 4.6 seconds. All three engines are linked to a standard eight-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox with column-mounted paddles for manual gearshifts, but no manual gearbox will be offered.
Despite the impressive performance on offer, BMW claims that four-cylinder Z4s will return between 46.3 and 47.1mpg, with 38.1 to 39.7mpg forecast for the M40i. The sDrive20i and sDrive30i will both emit between 137 and 139g/km of CO2, which places them in the 28% Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax bracket. The M40i, meanwhile, occupies the 33 and 34% bracket, depending on the choice of 18 or 19-inch wheels.
Until the rumoured Z4 M arrives, the Z4 M40i is top of the tree and can be fitted with an impressive array of systems to help drivers make the most of its 335bhp. Features and options will include electronically controlled sports suspension, lightweight alloy wheels and a limited-slip differential.
Features & technology
Although BMW has yet to publish standard equipment for each model, there seems no danger in the Z4 lagging behind rivals for on-board technology. Active cruise control is available, and has the facility to bring the car to a standstill in queueing traffic and restart when the car in front moves away. There's also lane-changing assistance and lane-departure warning, as well as parking assistance. Adaptive LED headlights, are available, incorporating clever matrix technology that can shape the beam to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic when travelling faster than 44mph.
Inside, the option of controllable LED ambient lighting helps to set the mood, casting its glow around the centre console edges and instrument panel accent strips with fibre-optic light. Buyers can also opt for an upgraded Harman Kardon stereo with a digital amplifier that delivers 464 watts of power via 12 speakers.
BMW Z4 M40i prototype: driving impressions
Carbuyer was given the chance to drive the prototype Z4 M40i and despite the car’s pre-production state, first impressions were good. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine produces 340bhp, with a 0-62mph of 4.6 seconds, while its chassis feels sufficiently poised to take on the Porsche 718 Boxster.
The car’s lighter weight (down 50kg from the last Z4), adaptive suspension, specially made Michelin tyres and electronic limited-slip differential combine to make it a joy to drive.
2019 BMW Z4 price and on-sale date
BMW has yet to confirm exactly when the Z4 will hit UK showrooms, nor how much the new car will cost. However, we expect it to be competitively priced to steal sales from Porsche, with the sDrive20i starting a little over £30,000 and the M40i priced at around £50,000.
The Mercedes SLC convertible presents tough competition for the BMW Z4. Check out our review to compare.