2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35i Review

100% Pure BMW with Pulp

2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35i Review

BMW is the go-to brand for drivers who love an engaging experience, but fans have been complaining recently that the company is starting to go soft. Anyone with that opinion probably hasn’t had seat time in the Z4.

FAST FACTS

1. The Z4 is available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or turbo 3.0-liter straight six.

2. The sDrive35i sits mid-pack and makes 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.

3. A six-speed manual or s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are available.

4. Pricing for the Z4 starts just under $50,000 or about $67,000 as tested.

When the current generation debuted as a 2009 model, it was available with both a naturally aspirated and turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. Last year, BMW scrapped the self-breather in favor of a turbocharged four banger. Either model may be had with a six-speed manual and there’s an available seven-speed dual clutch if you so choose.

Since the car’s introduction, the base inline-six has been replaced with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and BMW has introduced a higher-performing sDrive35is with an added kick to deliver 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. AutoGuide’s test car, however, is the mid-range sDrive35i. Using the same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six it makes slightly less power at 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. It’s the version that’s been around the longest, and for good reason.

THE ESSENCE OF BMW IN ONE CAR

Right-foot down isn’t the only way to drive the Z4, but it’s the most fun. Acceleration from the turbo-six is excellent and had us questioning BMW’s claimed 300 hp rating. It feels like even more.There’s an excellent linear progression of speed too, with no hint of turbo lag.

Then there’s the way the exhaust screams, pops and cracks as the engine approaches redline. It’s so much fun, it should be listed in the brochure as an entertainment feature.

BMW also offers an “M Sport” package. Upgrades include an adaptive suspension, aerodynamic enhancements, an upgraded headliner and metal weave interior trim pieces.

2013-BMW-Z4-Review-12.jpg

Standard with the Z4 is the ability to flip between three-driving modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. Each mode dramatically changes the way the throttle reacts, as well as how much steering effort is required. The drive modes also affect how compliant the suspension is and how soon the stability control intervenes on sideways fun (which can happen quickly and easily).

Drivers will have few complaints with how the car acts under Sport and Sport Plus modes, as the car responds wonderfully to driver input. Those concerned with the ride quality may be happy to learn that selecting the “Comfort” mode does improve the firm ride, but just by a bit. If you’re looking for a soft grand-touring ride, the Z4 may be a little too rough.

There are more comfortable convertibles out there in terms of ride quality and interior space. However, as a sports car, the Z4 is exactly as it should be. Compared to its German rivals, the road feel of the Z4 fits right between the more enthusiastic Porsche Boxster and the refined Mercedes-Benz SLK.

2013-BMW-Z4-Review-22.jpg

The electric power steering isn’t perfect with a hint of on-center deadness, but that decreases in both Sport and Sport Plus modes, where it feels heavy and engaging.

As you sit so low to the ground and almost right on top of the rear-axle, the Z4 really does feel one-with-the-road and in-tune with the driver. Simply-said, it’s easy to have fun with this convertible.

Shifts through the dual-clutch feel sporty and come instantly, but can feel unrefined at times as starting slowly in first gear feels rough. This car seems destined to be driven quickly and is in its element when taken by the scruff and tossed about.

WON’T GO UNNOTICED

BMW hasn’t bothered to modernize much about the Z4 over the years but there are a few updates to the exterior. A revised headlight design means that the convertible fits in with its stable mates and provides easy recognition on the road, during the day or night.

2013-BMW-Z4-Review-53.jpg

While the rest of the Z4’s exterior updates are subtle, the new Hyper Orange paint certainly isn’t.

The interior is equally eye-catching thanks to contrasting orange and black trim and Alcantara inserts. It might be a bit halloween-esque, but it works well. Without the Hyper Orange package, the cabin loses its Alcantara-trimmed seats in favor of leather.

As such a small and low roadster, taller drivers may find the accommodations to be a bit tight. At over six-feet tall, the Z4’s interior is constraining to me.

Regardless of your dimensions the cargo room of the Z4 is limiting. At eight cubic feet, it’s slightly more generous than the SLK, but almost 25 percent smaller than the Porsche Boxster boot.

2013-BMW-Z4-Review-14.jpg

PRESTIGIOUSLY PRICED

Unfortunately, those looking for an exciting convertible that’s engaging and fast will have to pay quite a bit for it. A base four-cylinder Z4 rings in at $49,875, while the six-cylinder models start at $58,425. Our model as equipped rang in at about $67,000 after destination.

Seem like a bit much for a 300 hp convertible? You’re not the only one that thinks so. The Z4’s sales chart looks like it drove off a fiscal cliff.

Still, it’s priced right between a competitively equipped Mercedes SLK350 and a Porsche Boxster S.

2013-BMW-Z4-Review-3.jpg

THE VERDICT

A mild update for 2013 makes the Z4 more exciting and keeps it right on the heels of its rivals. It’s the classic ultimate driving machine with very few compromises. If there’s one car that could represent the BMW brand, the Z4 might be it.

  • Pete Flynn

    Ever notice that the publicity pics omit the lumpy-looking canvas top? For this much $$$ that oversight shouldn’t have happened!

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked