2013 BMW Z4 Review

Z4

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Trims

sDrive28i
Avg. Price: $37,773
sDrive35i
Avg. Price: $45,875
sDrive35is
6 national listings

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2013 BMW Z4 Overview

2013 BMW Z4

It can be hard to believe anyone with the wherewithal to snag a sports car in the Z4's price range would feel the economic pinch, but BMW is still holding out on adding a rally-ready M back into this roadster's lineup for a lack of "business reasons" to produce it. Instead BMW dropped the price by $1,300 and added features to the existing Z4 triplets to further improve the line's appeal.

I say "further" because 2012 saw the addition of a significantly lower rung to BMW's Z4 ladder with the reintroduction of an inline 4-cylinder powerplant instead of the previous straight-6 for the baseline. Turbocharged with enough power to propel this rear-wheel-drive thrills machine to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, the only corners cut here would be on the Autobahn, despite the price chasm between it and the next level up—not to mention its 3 to 10 mpg fuel savings over its bigger brothers. Nobody has stopped long enough to leave a review, so BMW probably did well with the new sDrive28i (28i) baseline for 2012.

Moving into 2013 BMW added powered front seats with memory for driver's settings, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a universal garage door opener and ambient lighting all standard across the board despite the price drop. Combined with all of the changes to date, the more efficient but amply capable baseline engine and these new features at an attractive new price, this 2-seat retractable hardtop is at last poised to appease even practical drivers—and their inner James Bond. This inline-4 even offers more power than Bond's could've mustered way back when, pumping out 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of turbocharged torque through either a 6-speed manual for 22 mpg city/34 highway or an 8-speed automatic for 24/33.

Moving up to the sDrive35i (35i) nets a 3-liter inline-6 good for a balanced 300 hp and lb-ft of torque. The standard 6-speed manual sprints this Z4 to 60 mph in a mere 5.2 seconds, but does so at the cost of 19/26 mileage numbers, and the optional 7-speed automated dual-clutch manual (DCT) does worse at 17/24. Last and certainly most, the sDrive35is (35is) receives that 3-liter inline-6 tweaked up to 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, with 369 lb-ft of torque available at full throttle with overboost. The DCT is the only available transmission, but it thrusts this Z4 to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat with the very same fuel economy as the DCT in a 35i.

Aside from the drivetrain, each trim is minimally different, notably featuring things like automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, heated mirrors, adjustable drive settings that modify steering, throttle and automatic transmission response, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a stereo system with CD player, HD radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB connectivity across the board. The 35i swaps out the premium vinyl leatherette for real leather upholstery, and the 35is is stylistically distinct, also adding a lowered suspension with adaptive dampers, sport steering wheel and 10-way sport seats with adjustable bolsters. The sport steering wheel and seats are available otherwise with the Sport package, and as always, manufacturer and dealer options alike will make sure you get everything you want, from high convenience tech to cold-weather practicality.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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