2013 BMW Z4 Vehicle Overview
View information about the 2012 BMW Z4
The two-seat Z4 roadster uses a standard folding metal hardtop. Trim levels include the four-cylinder sDrive28i, six-cylinder sDrive35i and high-performance sDrive35is, all of which are turbocharged. All three also have standard Driving Dynamics Control, a feature that allows drivers to vary steering and accelerator settings to suit their tastes. Anyone considering the entry-level Z4 might cross-shop Nissan's redesigned 370Z; a loaded Z4, on the other hand, could compete with the Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT or Porsche Boxster.
New for 2013
Despite a starting price that's now $1,300 less, new standard features have been added including power-adjustable front seats with driver-side memory, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, aluminum trim, auto-dimming mirrors, ambient lighting, a universal garage door opener and a compass.
BMW says all of the Z4's surface lines strive toward a point on the road ahead. It's evidently shown in the headlights and hood. BMW's dual-kidney grille remains front and center. Exterior features include:
- Standard 17-inch alloy wheels
- Optional 18- or 19-inch wheels
- Optional automatic high beams
- Unique bumpers, tailpipes and mirrors on sDrive35is
- Optional aerodynamic kit emulates sDrive35is look
Available sun-reflective leather is designed to keep surfaces cooler on a sunny day. Other options include leather-upholstered dashboard and door panels, heated seats and a heated steering wheel. The Z4's iDrive unit, included with an optional navigation system, has better graphics, more shortcut keys and improved menu functionality. Interior features include:
- Standard simulated leather seats
- Optional leather upholstery and sport seats
- Optional upgraded stereo
- Thicker steering wheel, aggressively bolstered seats, faux carbon-fiber trim and gray instruments (sDrive35is)
Under the Hood
The sDrive28i's turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. It works with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
A turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 300 hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque powers the sDrive35i, which comes with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The sDrive35is, meanwhile, adds more turbo boost to provide 335 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque. Pushed hard, the engine can provide up to 369 pounds-feet of torque for a few seconds. It works through a performance-calibrated version of the dual-clutch automatic. BMW says the sDrive35is can hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Mechanical features include:
- Recalibrated power steering and suspension tuning (sDrive35is)
- Optional adaptive suspension
- Fuel-saving auto stop-start technology (sDrive28i)
- Rear-wheel drive
The standard stability system uses a brake-drying function to keep the discs dry during wet weather. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard, as are four-wheel-disc antilock brakes. Other safety features include:
- Head-protection extension on side airbags
- Knee airbags
- Traction control
- Available front and rear parking sensors
2012 BMW Z4 Vehicle Overview
James Bond once drove a BMW roadster with a four-cylinder engine, apparently content with the firepower provided by the Stinger missiles behind the car's headlights. Non-spy buyers were a different story, however, and BMW eventually did away with the Z3's four-banger in favor of a traditional straight-6. That was more than a decade ago, and now an inline-4 engine has returned to a two-passenger BMW convertible, this time as the base engine in the 2012 BMW Z4.
This may seem like a downgrade, but a lot has changed since 007 drove that humbly powered BMW roadster. The new turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter inline-4 found in the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i produces 100 horsepower more than the old Z3. More important, the new four-cylinder delivers 35 pound-feet of torque more than the base Z4's outgoing naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6. The result is an engine that matches the straight-line acceleration of last year's base Z4, while actually feeling more robust thanks to its low-end grunt. Even more important than that, the 28i achieves an impressive 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. That's economy car territory.
The turbocharged six-cylinder engines found in the sDrive35i and sDrive35is models carry over. Despite their significant power advantage over the 28i, they deliver 0-60 times that are less than a second quicker. Yes, you get even more of that low-end grunt with the six, but the 28i carries around less weight, making it feel more nimble around corners. If it sounds as if we're smitten with the new engine, you'd be right.
In fact, the 2012 BMW Z4 as a whole is easy to love. While not possessing the perfectly balanced nature of the Porsche Boxster or the peerless refinement of the new Mercedes-Benz SLK, the Z4 manages to strike a middle ground between the two. It handles well (especially with one of its must-have sport packages), offers a comfortable ride and cossets its passengers with a spacious cabin. Sure, it's expensive, but so are its competitors. With its new engine for 2012, the Z4 definitely won't need Stinger missiles to get itself noticed.
New for 2012
The 2012 BMW Z4 introduces a new entry-level model. Replacing the sDrive30i and its normally aspirated six-cylinder engine is the new sDrive28i with a turbocharged four-cylinder. The new engine produces more torque than the former six-cylinder, and when it's paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission, a stop/start system delivers surprising fuel efficiency.
The 2012 BMW Z4 is a two-seat convertible with a retractable hardtop, available in three trim levels that correspond to engine choice: sDrive28i, sDrive35i and sDrive35is.
Standard equipment on the 28i includes 17-inch wheels, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, adjustable drive settings (alter steering, throttle, automatic transmission response), cruise control, air-conditioning, height-adjustable seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a sound system that includes a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The 35i adds an inline-6 engine, dual-zone automatic climate control and eight-way power seats with driver memory functions and leather upholstery. Besides the engine, these features are all available in the 28i's Premium package.
The 35is adds a more powerful engine, unique styling cues, a lowered suspension with adaptive dampers, a sport steering wheel and 10-way sport seats with adjustable bolsters and a manual thigh adjustment. These latter items are included in a Sport package available on the other two Z4 models.
Every Z4 is eligible for several options. The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and headlight washers. There are also several bigger wheels to choose from, along with parking sensors, automatic high beams, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system (includes BMW's iDrive electronics interface), BMW Assist emergency communications, satellite radio, a six-CD/DVD changer and a premium sound system.
The 2012 BMW Z4's cabin is sleek and upscale. High-quality materials abound and combine with diverse shapes to create an undeniably premium environment. The addition of several new two-tone color choices for 2012 adds some further pizzazz. There are also a few thoughtful touches inside, including secondary knee-level air vents and a small cargo shelf behind the seats.
The Z4 is also arguably the most practical two-passenger sports car on the market. Legroom is plentiful, which is something you don't hear often about small convertibles. Visibility is also unmatched thanks to large rear quarter windows that eliminate the typical blind spots in most convertibles. With the hardtop roof raised, the trunk is quite large, measuring 8 cubic feet and capable of holding two sets of golf clubs and a carry-on suitcase. You'll have to ditch those clubs when you lower the two-piece hardtop, but the suitcase can remain, which is more than you can say for some other hardtop convertibles. There's also an available trunk pass-through that can accommodate longer items.
Under the Hood
The 2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard, while an eight-speed automatic is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped 28i went from zero to 60 mph in a respectably quick 5.8 seconds. Manual-equipped cars include an automatic stop/start function that turns off the engine when the car is stopped to improve efficiency. EPA-estimated fuel economy is an excellent 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined with the manual and 24/33/27 with the automatic.
The Z4 sDrive35i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual is standard and a seven-speed automated dual-clutch manual known as DCT is optional. With the six-speed in place, the Z4 goes from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/26/21 with the manual and 17/24/19 with the DCT.
The Z4 sDrive35is gets a revised version of the 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. At full throttle, an overboost function increases torque to 369 lb-ft. The DCT is the only available transmission. In Edmunds testing, the 35is went from zero to 60 in 5 seconds flat. Its fuel economy is 17/24/19.
Every 2012 BMW Z4 comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, side airbags and knee airbags. The antilock brakes also integrate several features designed to improve braking performance, such as periodically wiping the brake rotors dry when the windshield wipers are in use and snugging the brake pads against the rotors if the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle. Parking sensors and BMW Assist emergency communications are optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 28i came to a stop from 60 mph in an outstanding 103 feet. The other two models were essentially identical.