Sometimes the least powerful model in the range is the sweetest, but I wasn’t expecting that to be true of the new BMW Z4. With its folding steel roof, it’s a heavy car. The range-topping 35i we’re running on our long-term fleet feels brisk enough with its 302bhp twin-turbo boosted 3-litre, so I expected the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre 23i to feel a bit overwhelmed with just 201bhp.
Well, it’s not so slow that you shout ‘Come on!’ when you go for an overtake, but you have to work it hard. Still, what the straight-six lacks in grunt it makes up for in smoothness and character. It’s also nicely matched to a chassis whose 17in alloys and plump tyres look unsexy but help give a supple ride and playful but tidy handling, while the steering is clear and bright.
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It’s a homogenous, balanced car, the 23i, and, in its own way, as satisfying as the larger engined models.
|Max power||201bhp @ 6400rpm|
|Max torque||184lb ft @ 2750rpm|