BMW Z4 sDrive20i review - price, specs and 0-60 time

We drive the new sub-£30K, entry-level BMW Z4 roadster, the turbocharged sDrive20i

Evo rating
Price
from £29,480
  • A cleaner, cheaper Z4
  • That's a little less fun

What is it?

The BMW Z4 sDrive20i, the new entry point into BM roadster ownership. It also brings Z4 prices below the £30,000 mark, setting you back £29,480 before you start piling on the options.

Engine and performance

It’s all about downsizing. The previously all six-cylinder Z4 range gains a new turbocharged four-pot 2.0-litre engine.

In this 181bhp sDrive20i tune it replaces the 201bhp, naturally aspirated 2.5-litre 23i while a 245bhp sDrive28i version replaces the 251bhp, 3.0-litre 30i.

While 20bhp down on the 23i, this new entry-level car is 15lb ft healthier (199lb ft) and a whopping 42g/km of CO2 cleaner (159g/km) – that downgrades it four tax bands, saving you nearly £100 a year. Fuel economy rises from 33.2 to 41.5mpg.

What’s it like to drive?

If you plan on stepping into one from a straight-six Z4, then you’ll immediately miss the noise and naturally aspirated power delivery. But this turbo 2.0-litre is not without merit, and makes a rorty (if synthesized) noise towards the top of its rev-range.

Shame, then, that all of its power is delivered by an almost diesel-like 4800rpm and its 199lb ft maximum from a mere 1250rpm. Therefore getting the best from the engine and gathering most pace is via shuffling through the well-weighted shifts of its six-speed gearbox (an eight-speed automatic joins the options list).

That’s not exactly the most enthusiastic way to drive a car like this, but it matches the Z4’s other dynamic facets well: while all of its key controls are positive and feelsome, they aren’t attached to the most playful of chassis, the end result being a driving experience closer to that of a Mercedes SLK than a Porsche Boxster. It’s still good fun, but it’s no hardcore drivers’ car.

Rivals

The main rivals are the Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Roadster (£29,120, 208bhp, 156g/km, 42.2mpg), Mercedes SLK 200 (£30,480, 181bhp, 158g/km, 41.5mpg) and Porsche Boxster 2.9 (£36,572, 251bhp, 221g/km, 30mpg). The Boxster remains the drivers’ choice, but the BMW offers up the best balance of style, fun and efficiency.

Anything else I need to know?

The sDrive28i might have more power and torque, but its CO2 and mpg figures are identical to the 20i, so if you can stomach a £4165 higher asking price, you’ll gain a considerable wedge of extra performance.

And while the 20i is £945 cheaper than the 23i it replaces, its kit-count is stronger: leather seats, Bluetooth and a USB connection are among the newly standard equipment.

Price and release date

The BMW Z4 sDrivei20 is available now from £29,480.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4cyl, 1997cc, turbocharged
Max power181bhp @ 4800rpm
Max torque199lb ft @ 1250rpm
0-606.9sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed142mph

Most Popular

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 2022 review – a sports utility vehicle done right
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo – front cornering
Porsche Taycan

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 2022 review – a sports utility vehicle done right

A convincing play at being the ultimate everyday driver of the future. It’s heavy and doesn’t have enough range, but there’s lots here to like
2 Jul 2022
A car wash loophole in an MGF – evo Archive
Car wash loophole in an MGF
MG

A car wash loophole in an MGF – evo Archive

How the drop-tops Grand Challenge got some of the evo team in a lather
21 Jun 2022
GMA T.33 specs, prices and rivals – the tricky second album to the T.50
T.33
GMA

GMA T.33 specs, prices and rivals – the tricky second album to the T.50

Brother to the T.50 and different in spirit, if not layout, the T.33 is the car Murray’s been wanting to build for 25 years
30 Jun 2022