BMW USA defines the Z4 sDrive 30i as a timeless roadster reinterpreted for the tastes of a modern day thrill seeker. Being somewhat of a thrill seeker myself and also a huge fan of the last generation Z4 I was very keen to get behind the wheels of a Z4 and recently I had the pleasure of taking the 30i for a few spins. So, how would I describe the BMW Z4 sDrive30i? Amazingly versatile.
The first and the main thing that I really want to focus on about this car is what it’s like to drive. I drove this car twice and in two very different settings. In the first setting the Z4 was very comfortable and civilised since I was driving the car with mother and she’s not fond of pushing the car to its limits. So we drove the car around mostly in Comfort mode and I was allowed to put the car in Sport Plus for 45 seconds accompanied by many eye-rolls and a comment at the end “can you drive like a civilised human being?” and so back to Comfort mode we went. So my first impression of the Z4 was that it felt more like a grand tourer and not a sharp little roadster.
The second setting was very different because mother wasn’t there. And I could push the Z4 to its limits. Shifts were fast and accurate. The exhaust sang an angry tone and rewarded maniac driving style with pops and bangs. Tried out its launch control and I couldn’t stop grinning like a kid on Christmas morning. And when you’re driving along like that, people turn to look – some not so happy, some in amazement and some with questions. And the car pushed me to my limits as well, driving back home I was starting to feel a little bit nauseous after driving the Z4 like that – accelerate, car pulls out front, continue acceleration, get within 15 meters, put your foot down hard on the brake – but it was totally worth it!
This contrast of the Z4 really astounds me. When I drove it with mother I found it so relaxing and comfortable, with only a smudge of excitement that I genuinely didn’t think that it could have the capability to be this fun and I love how wrong I was. And it’s this kind of versatility that makes the Z4 one of the greatest cars out there in the market right now, it means you can take it on a road trip and you would be cocooned in luxury and comfort on the highway and then turn in for the scenic route and enjoy the windy road and experience all the excitement that the Z4 has to offer.
Now that I’ve got my feelings and love for the Z4 out of the way let’s look at rest of the car.
The Z4 is stunning and it’s not its conventional looks that makes you fall in love with it. Its design challenges BMW’s strong and typical styling components. It’s bold, more unique because it made its own way, with its slightly horizontal grille, stacked headlamps and curved rear that flicks up into an integrated spoiler. The complex combination of angles and shapes mixing with vents and creases makes it look more sophisticated. And when you own a Z4 other people will enjoy its beauty as well because it’s a head turner especially if it’s a bright colour as well.
While the exterior looks bold as it dares to wear some ‘un-BMW’ features, the interior is the opposite. Like all other BMW models, the Z4 presents a vast amount of information and technology in an intuitive way through the 12.3 inch LCD instrument cluster and 10.25 inch iDrive infotainment. Everything is very well thought out and they’re where they should be, so it’s ergonomic, driver focused and benefits from exceptionally comfortable seats. The Z4’s only issue is its steering wheel. It’s a bit too chunky for a car like the Z4.
Although there is only room for you and your one and only best mate – the rest of them would have to walk because there’re only two seats– you’d be surprised at how spacious inside the Z4 is. The amount of room for all of your limbs is pretty impressive; it has the same width as the 5 series and so this carries into the cabin and the two occupants will have plenty of space for their arms, and it also has plenty of legroom and headspace.
Not only does the Z4 have plenty of space for you, but it also has plenty of storage for a convertible. For example, the boot space is 281L, regardless of the roof position, which is a bigger boot space than in a Focus RS (260L). Inside the cabin there is a netted storage space behind the seats for small bags, there are shallow trenches on the doors and a few compartments in the middle console for your keys and phone along with a glovebox. The main issue is the cupholders. To be able to access them you would need the armrest lid to be open which is a bit annoying.
Obviously, a car this great wouldn’t be cheap. The sDrive30i is officially priced from $104,900 (exactly $20K between the entry level Z4 20i and the high performance Z4 M40i) before any options and on-road costs, but even in standard trim it is still very well equipped. The car that I got the pleasure of driving, had the optional steering-wheel heating ($400), lumbar support for occupants ($600) and had a Precision package fitted ($2,400) so it’s only $118,084 drive away. Also, if you want your Z4 to be a little bit more unique you can get yours in Frozen Grey metallic paint which cost $6,100 but it is spectacular!
I’m finding it very difficult trying to fault this car. It’s sensible enough to drive it to work on weekdays in a suit and exhilarating and maniac enough to put the top down and drive along a windy, coastal route on the weekend just for the pure driving pleasure. So wouldn’t this make the Z4 the perfect car?