Few will complain about the performance or driving experience behind the wheel of BMW’s impressive rear-wheel drive Z4 Roadster, regardless of which powertrain you go for.
That’s especially true of the high performance Z4 sDrive35i, but more is always better, particularly if that means 250 kW and 450 Newton-metres plus, of rear wheel drive torque, which is what you can expect with BMW’s new Z4 sDrive35is.
The ‘plus’ is when the Z4’s overboost function kicks in under full load, which means torque climbs to a whopping 500 Newton-metres. Just the medicine for those twisty mountain hill climbs.
And it just gets better; with BMW’s proven seven-speed Sport Automatic with double clutch operation, gearshifts are seamless, very quick and standard kit on the Z4 sDrive35i and 35is cars.
The extra power and torque means a significantly faster sprint time from standstill to 100 km/h of 4.8 seconds, that’s up from 5.2 seconds with the Z4 sDrive35i.
But BMW is all about efficient dynamics these days, and trust me, when I say that this is a lot more than just clever marketing spin.
Take fuel consumption with the Z4 sDrive 35is. Despite the fact that this car has an additional 25 kilowatts and up to 100 Newton-metres of torque from very low in the rev range, combined fuel consumption and CO2 emissions remain the same as the Z4 sDrive 35i with Sport Automatic at 9.0 litres/100 kilometres and 210g/kilometre.
The benefits of the Z4 sDrive35is over its 35i sibling are numerous and include both M Sports Package and adaptive M Suspension as standard kit.
Light weight 18-inch alloys (19-inch are optional) with race car like split tyre sizes front and back, combine with various aerodynamic aids to optimise the exterior of the car, while the adaptive M suspension lowers this Z4 by 10 milimetres together with a sophisticated damper system.
There are four continuously adjustable twin-sleeve gas pressure dampers with interacting adjustment of the inbound and rebound movement, ensuring a quick reaction to sudden steering inputs.
That’s not to say that the ride will not be compliant and comfortable, despite the car’s impressive performance skew.
Damper pressure is adjusted via externally mounted valves controlling the flow of damper fluid, which reacts to both road surface conditions and driving style.
More Z4 sDrive35is exterior features include a unique front bumper with a horizontal trim bar finished in matt aluminium, similar to those in the BMW grille.
The rear bumper work includes accentuated surrounds above the exhaust tips and a two-piece diffuser, which are specific design features of the Z4 sDrive35is.
And there’s plenty of ‘M’ inside the new Z4 too with M leather steering wheel, footrest, and sports seats.
The instrument dials are grey faced with the ‘sDrive35is’ model description also inside the cluster.
Further highlights include the Anthracite-coloured roof lining and aluminium carbon M interior trim.
While anyone of the six exterior colours does the car justice, whatever colour you end up choosing, the exterior mirror caps will be finished in Oxide Silver.
Expect the Z4 sDrive35is to arrive in Australia in May 2010 with pricing to be announced in due course.
Note: Tuning upgrades are available from BMW dealers for both the 135i and 335i models, which boost power from 225 kW to 240kW.