If, like me, you are struggling to tell the difference between this refreshed Z4 and the one we already have in India, allow me point out the differences on this most restrained of updates. Among the changes are edgier bumpers, new chrome gills within the front flanks and new wheel designs. Then there’s the barely altered grille and headlamps (which together serve to provide it with a slightly more expressive face) and some extremely subtle updates to the interiors.
The biggest change is under the hood. BMW will no longer offer the standard Z4 sDrive35i in India, and in its place will give us the even more tongue twisting Z4 sDrive35is. The extra ‘s’ in the name stands for an extra 33bhp over the sDrive35i’s 302bhp and a healthy up in torque as well, especially on overboost. So performance is as strong as you would expect from a sportscar and, in fact, this new engine’s claimed 0-100kph time is 0.3sec quicker than Porsche’s official time for the Boxster S. And, it’s not all about flat-out performance either – the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo direct-injection engine has loads of low-end torque that made powering out of low-speed corners interesting on the twisty Austrian roads we were driving.
This torque, the engine’s appetite for revs and the hair-raising mechanical snarl from the exhaust under load makes for plenty of excitement. The crackling on the overrun sounds pretty sweet too. Continued..
The new Z4 sDrive35is is pretty much the same as its predecessor; it is a fun car in the right conditions with a rear-wheel-drive chassis that allows you to kick the tail out when the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) is switched off.
There is some scuttle shake on badly pockmarked roads, but the weak point remains the steering – a speed-sensitive electromechanical system. It lacks consistency, proving extra direct off centre and becoming less direct as lock is applied, making you second guess through longer, decreasing radius corners.
The updated Z4 is expected to hit Indian showrooms later this year and we expect it to cost a smidgen more than the current Z4. The new Z4 is quick, has the practicality of a hardtop, has that classic long bonnet, short boot roadster stance and is fun to drive. However, it isn’t the ultimate at providing pure driving thrills – that realm still belongs to the Boxster S – 0.3sec be damned.