- BMW Z4 it gets a slightly more aggressive look in this mid-third-generation update.
- Among the smaller changes, one addition is that the Sport body trim, already standard on the M40i, is now added to the sDrive 30i.
- The 2023 Z4 goes on sale in November, starting at $53,795 for the sDrive 30i and $66,295 for the M40i.
Props to BMW for sticking with its roadster: the segment is steadily shrinking, but a few convertibles still exist. One of them is the BMW Z4, which entered its third model generation (fourth if you count the Z3) just two years ago. Surprisingly, it’s already up for an update, though it’s a mid-cycle update (at least we hope we’re not there yet) and more of a simplification.
The Z4 is one of our favorites because it’s a serious sports car, and we suspect it’s because of Toyota’s involvement in this joint project that led to both the Z4 and the Supra. We understand that BMW settled on a roadster that would improve the qualities of its predecessor, while Toyota focused on the Porsche Cayman. The joint project began only after Herbert Diess left BMW for Wolfsburg pastures; he was interested in developing a hybrid with Toyota, but the Japanese insisted on a purist approach. Two cars appeared – Z4 and Supra— are highly competent in their own right, with notable differences.
Two Engine Choices
In many other markets, the Z4 sDrive is available as the 20i, with an entry-level 194-hp 2.0-liter four and a six-speed manual, but the U.S. lineup starts with a more powerful version of the same four-banger. 255 hp sDrive 30i. Next comes the second model, the straight-six 382-horsepower M40i. Both engines are mated to a ZF-sourced 8HP torque converter-type automatic engine everywhere.
The M Sport body trim, previously always standard on the M40i, now becomes standard equipment on the sDrive 30i as well, to achieve “new maximum sportiness,” according to the press release. The sharper and more aggressive look is sure to please the discerning crowd, though we’ve never had a problem with the cleaner look of the now-defunct Sport Line look, which the brand describes as “Classic BMW Design.” Connoisseurs will still be able to tell the two models apart: the M40i comes with bronze Cerium Gray mirror caps and larger, angled exhaust tips.
There’s a little nose work, too: Both variants get a redesigned front kidney grille that loses the vertically positioned points in favor of horizontally-oriented decor designed to “increase the impression of spaciousness at the front.” Three “rich” new metallic colors, a new optional 19-inch wheel design and an additional black trim for the headlights are among the fairly modest list of changes that thankfully don’t include the curved dashboard that now descends from the iX electric SUV. For most other BMW models.
The new model year starts in November, with prices starting at $53,795 for the sDrive 30i and $66,295 for the M40i, which is just a few hundred dollars more than the 2022 prices. We’re glad the Z4 is going, and we hope it does for many more years. Mild improvements should tide the market over until we see more significant changes in a few years – which, if we’d like, would include a manual transmission on the glorious straight-six that the Supra now offers.
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