- The BMW Z4 gets a slightly more aggressive look in this third-generation refresh.
- Among the minor changes, one addition is that the Sport body trim, already standard on the M40i, is now added to the sDrive 30i.
- The 2023 Z4 will be released in November, priced at $53,795 for the sDrive 30i and $66,295 for the M40i.
Kudos to BMW for sticking with its roadster: the segment has been shrinking all the time, but a few convertibles are still around. One of them is the BMW Z4, which entered its third model generation (the fourth, if you count the Z3) just two years ago. Surprisingly, it’s ready for an update already, although it’s less of a mid-cycle refresh (at least we hope we’re not there yet) and more of a streamlining .
The Z4 is one of our favorites because it’s a serious sports car, and we suspect that’s not the least because of Toyota’s input into this joint project, which led to both to the Z4 and Supra. We understand that BMW was content with a roadster that would improve the qualities of its predecessor, while Toyota had its eyes riveted on the Porsche Cayman. Tellingly, the joint project only took off after Herbert Diess left BMW for the pastures of Wolfsburg; it had been interested in jointly developing a hybrid with Toyota, but the Japanese insisted on a purist approach. What emerged were two cars – the Z4 and the Supra – that are extremely competent on their own, with stark differences.
Two engine choices
In many other markets, the Z4 is available as the sDrive 20i, with an entry-level 2.0-litre four-cylinder producing 194bhp and a six-speed manual, but the US portfolio starts with a version more powerful of the same four-cylinder, the 255 hp sDrive 30i. The range is completed by a second model, the 382 horsepower M40i straight-six. Both engines are mated to the ubiquitous ZF-sourced 8 HP torque-converter-type automatic transmission.
To achieve a “new maximum of sportiness”, as the press release clarifies, the former optional M Sport body trim, which has always been standard on the M40i, now also becomes standard equipment on the sDrive 30i. . The more chiseled and aggressive look will no doubt appeal to the attention-seeking crowd, although we never had a problem with the cleaner look of the now-discontinued Sport Line look that the brand had identified as “Classic BMW Design “. Experts will still be able to tell the two models apart: the M40i comes with Cerium Gray Bronze mirror caps and larger angular exhaust tips.
There’s also a minor nose job: both variants have a restyled front grille that loses the vertically positioned dots in favor of horizontally oriented decor that’s designed to “add to the impression of width at the front”. Three new “rich” metallic colors, an optional new 19-inch wheel design and an optional black trim for the headlights round out the rather modest list of changes, which thankfully doesn’t include the curved dash that’s currently dripping from the iX electric SUV to most other BMW models.
The new model year will launch in November, with prices starting at $53,795 for the sDrive 30i and $66,295 for the M40i, just a few hundred dollars above 2022 prices. We’re glad the Z4 continues , and we hope it will for many more years. The slight upgrades should give it a boost in the market until we see more substantial changes in a few years – which, if we were granted a wish, would include a manual transmission on the glorious straight-six like the Supra offer now.
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