BMW Z4 sDrive20i driven

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BMW Z4 sDrive20i driven

Driven February 23rd, 2012

Rated 1 out of 10

Double-edged compliment alert: this entry-level Z4 doesn’t feel like a small-engined sports car.


Which means, on the upside, it doesn’t feel small-engined. Though the 2.0-litre turbo four makes less power than the 23i straight-six it replaces (181bhp plays 204), it’s nearly as quick to 100kmph, with improved economy and emissions.


Unlike many old attempts to replace cubic inches with forced induction, the Z4 doesn’t have a ricepaper-thin powerband. With BMW’s twin-scroll turbocharging, it spools up smoothly, revving with nearly the freedom of a naturally aspirated petrol.


But, on the downside, this Z4 doesn’t feel like a sports car. Even with this lightweight lump up front, this still isn’t the most agile roadster around: if you want a bit more, er, phwoar from your Z4, hold out for the sDrive28i, which, for a little more money, gets a boosted version of the same engine, hiking power to 242bhp and dropping the 0-100kmph time by just over a second while managing identical emissions and economy.


But should you choose to save your cash and opt for this Z4, you won’t be disappointed: the 20i is beautifully finished and grown-up. Yep, that’s another one of those double-edged fellas.


Sam Philip


The numbers
1997cc, 181bhp, 199lb ft, 17.6kmpl, 159g/km CO2, 0-100kmph in 6.9 secs, 235kmph, 1470kg


The verdict
Cheapest Z4 on sale is no poor relation to the bigger hitters, but isn’t an out-and-out sports car.


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