Find a car review

Make
Model
Reviews

BMW Z4 sDrive35iS review - price, specs and 0-60 time

Extra power, noise and responsiveness add more edge to BMW’s Z4 sports car

Evo rating
Price
from £43,885
  • Cracking drivetrain
  • Steering still lacks sophistication

What is it?

An uprated Z4 - with more power and more torque, BMW claims to have made it sharper. At £43,885, it should be.

Engine and performance

The engine’s not the TwinPower single-turbo six that BMW’s been crowing about in the 5-Series, but the final rework of the glorious twin-turbo straight six. BMW has fiddled the electronics to boost it to 335bhp and 369lb ft of torque. But that’s not all. It can also overboost, and it’s mated to the seven-speed double-clutch gearbox from the M3, even though its shift buttons are ridiculously counter-intuitive.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

What’s it like to drive?

Now we’re talking. The current Z4 is a great cruiser that could attack the twisty stuff, but doesn’t really want to. The 35iS has turned a solid performer into a very, very good one.

BMW claims that it will punch to 62mph in 4.5 seconds – faster than a Boxster S – and it doesn’t feel far off the money. There are two keys, actually. One is the added throttle response from anywhere in the rev range and the other is the noise and aggression the engine upgrades have given it.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The noise starts quite low in the rev range, but it really hits its stride at around 3500rpm, smoothly building up to a wonderful howl at the redline that you never get tired of listening to.

Crank the gearbox up to its angriest setting and it cracks through each upshift and blips, crackles and burbles its way through each downshift as well. But you have to use the gear lever if you want to do it manually because BMW’s button system is daft (and, thankfully, on its way out after this car).

But while the straight-line punch puts the Boxster in the shade, the electro-hydraulic steering doesn’t - it's still short on natural feel and confidence. The handling is crisper than the stock model, the iS sitting 10mm lower and running stiffer springs and dampers, but the real beauty of this car is its drivetrain. This alone transforms it from a baby GT car into a storming pass-blaster.

Rivals

The one obvious rival is Porsche’s Boxster S. It’s everybody’s obvious rival because it’s the best of them. While the Z4 has got a touch more pace than the Porsche, and it's drivetrain is every bit as sophisticated, its chassis still isn't there. If you’re looking for a direct match on the driveline, Audi’s TT RS roadster is right about there.

Anything else I need to know?

The upcoming 335iS saloons and coupes will also have the dual-clutch gearbox, but it will use proper left-down, right-up shift paddles. Shame BMW didn’t stick 'em on this car first.

Price and release date

The BMW Z4 sDrive35iS is available now from £43,855.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 6cyl, 2979cc, turbo
Max power335bhp @ 5900rpm
Max torque369lb ft @ 2500-5000rpm
0-604.8secs (claimed)
Top speed155mph (limited)
On saleSummer
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/bmw/z4/22808/bmw-z3-review-history-prices-and-specs
BMW Z4 coupe

BMW Z3 – review, history, prices and specs

22 Jun 2019
Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mclaren/201759/new-mclaren-gt-review-woking-muscles-in-on-aston-martins-home-ground
McLaren

New McLaren GT review – Woking muscles-in on Aston Martin’s home ground

Is McLaren’s first grand tourer just a toned-down supercar, or something more nuanced and special?
17 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/golf/21122/volkswagen-golf-mk8-spied-near-free-of-camouflage-before-october-debut
Volkswagen Golf hatchback

Volkswagen Golf Mk8 spied near-free of camouflage before October debut

All-new eighth-generation Golf is only weeks away from its reveal – this is all you need to know.
18 Sep 2019
Visit/opinion/201760/its-time-car-makers-gave-us-the-wheely-good-alloys-for-free
Opinion

'It’s time car makers gave us the wheely good alloys for free'

The problem with the proliferation of alloy wheel choices is that it's exposing us to deliberately cack wheel design
17 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019