BMW Z4 roadster (2009-2016) - Engines, drive & performance
Plenty of powerful engines, but the BMW Z4 still doesn’t feel very sporty
As long as you don’t choose one of the more expensive M Sport models, which have stiff suspension unsuited to the UK’s poor road surfaces, the Z4 is also a comfortable car.
Most of the range comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with the option of a six-speed automatic with steering-column shift paddles costing about £1,900. The range-topping sDrive35is gets a seven-speed automatic as standard, though.
BMW Z4 petrol engines
Despite its name, the basic Z4 sDrive18i is actually powered by a 2.0-litre engine – the same one fitted to the sDrive20i and sDrive 28i. Its 154bhp can take the car from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 131mph, but it needs to be worked hard to do it. It can struggle a bit on hills, too.
Despite a modest increase in power (181bhp), the sDrive20i feels a lot quicker and gets from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds on the way to 146mph. Moving up to the sDrive28i swells power to 242bhp, so 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds and the top speed increases to 155mph. This blend of performance without a financial penalty in everyday running costs makes it our top choice.
The sDrive35i delivers an even greater leap in performance thanks to its big 3.0-litre engine, which produces 302bhp and gets the car from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, while its top speed is also limited to 155mph. The sDrive35is is fastest Z4 of all. It gets from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and could easily sail past its top speed of 155mph if it wasn't also limited.