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BMW Z4 M40i (2019 - )

The two-door, two-seater roadster has been updated to include new design cues, along with extra interior kit plus a wider range of options to choose from.

Starting price:
£56,475 (before options)

Why we love it:
  • Powerful 3.0-litre, straight-six petrol engine
  • Comfortable, yet dynamic ride and handling
  • Beautiful design and it’s an open-top for goodness’ sake!
Where it could be better:
  • There are sportier and more dynamic rivals out there
  • Engine note seems a little tame at times
  • Optional packs are expensive additions


BMW Z4 M40i

Oh how we Brits love our open-top convertibles, so when BMW announced enhancements to its stunning Z4, we couldn’t resist a test in the latest model.

The two-door, two-seater roadster has been updated to include new design cues, along with extra interior kit plus a wider range of options to choose from.

With powerful engines, the thrills of rear-wheel drive and a classical soft-top roof, the car has been engineered for performance with maximum agility. 

All models are petrol-powered and customers can choose from a 2.0-litre unit in M Sport guise or the more powerful 3.0-litre six-cylinder Z4 M40i and it was the latter of the two that we took for a spin.

BMW Z4 M40i

With muscular proportions, the third-generation Z4 roadster has just been given a makeover and now features the latest BMW kidney grille for maximum impact. Other design cues on the range-topping M40i model, as tested, include muscular lines, trapezoidal tailpipe trims for the exhaust system, Cerium Grey mirror caps, L-shaped rear lights with smoked effect, a spoiler integrated into the roof, large air inlets, 19-inch alloys and blue brake calipers.

Moving inside, you are greeted by dazzling red leather upholstered seats, door panels and centre console. Well, this is a sports car after all! The seats have integrated headrests and are power-adjustable and can be heated to fend off the winter chill. With the manually-adjustable steering wheel (this can also be heated), its simple enough to find the ideal driving position.

Despite its compact layout, there is a wealth of on-board tech to explore, with the main focal point being the 10.25-inch infotainment display screen which is the access point to the many on-board systems. These include full smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot, sat nav, a hard-drive multimedia system, a Harman Kardon sound system, a reversing camera, plus a voice-activated personal assistant that is one of the best on the market today. 

In addition, all the vital driving data is displayed in a separate 10.25-inch screen behind the steering wheel and also via the head-up display so you can keep a watchful eye on that speed.

On The Road

BMW Z4 M40i

Handling & Performance

We tested the BMW Z4 M40i powered by the turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine matched to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with gearshift paddles for added driver engagement.

With 340hp and a whopping 500Nm of torque, this is a two-seater roadster that can put in a performance with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.5 seconds and a top speed that’s limited to 155mph.

With rapid acceleration out the starting gates, the rear-wheel drive Z4 is beautifully composed and has an aggressive attitude as it powers through the gears. It’s perfectly balanced through steep, twisting hill climbs and the grip is flawless.

Drive modes called Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport alter the driving characteristics and, if Sport is selected, the driver display changes too with a red glow and revamped dials. You also get a raspier engine and exhaust note as an accompaniment.

The steering is well weighted and offers plenty of driver feedback and it’s nice to have steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra control over the gear shift timings too.

Despite sitting inches from the Tarmac, the Z4 is deceptively comfortable with adaptive suspension helping to smooth out the bumps along the way. Put the car in Comfort and it suddenly becomes a rather enjoyable cruiser for clocking up high mileage.

And then, with the first sign of sunshine, the soft-top roof can be lowered automatically – a process that takes just over 10 seconds to complete. Thankfully, with our changing weather patterns, it can be closed while driving at speeds up to 31mph.

BMW Z4 M40i

Space & Practicality

First and foremost, the Z4 is a two-door, two-seater roadster, so practicality is never going to be a priority for customers looking at this car.

It stretches 4,324mm in length, is 1,864mm wide and 1,304mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,470mm, so it is a compact model.

That said, BMW designers and engineers have cleverly made maximum use of the available cabin space and the result is a deceptively room cockpit area that can easily accommodate a couple of six-foot-plus adults.

As for space in the back, basically there isn’t any, apart from a small area behind the seats that would be okay to throw a coat or small bag. On a positive note, the boot is larger than the Z4’s closest rivals with a capacity of 281 litres which is plenty big enough to carry a few overnight bags for weekends away in the country.

And there are a number of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin too, such as a lockable glovebox, a central bin with cup holders inside, a net behind the seats, trays and narrow door pockets.


BMW Z4 M40i

Running Costs

The BMW Z4 costs £44,490 for the M Sport model powered by the 2.0-litre engine. Our test car, the M40i with its mighty 3.0-litre, six-cylinder powertrain, cost £56,475 although the price was bumped up by the addition of some optional extras.

These included a Technology Pack that introduced Parking Assist, a Head-Up Display, a premium Harman Kardon surround sound system, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging and a WiFi hotspot. Other options included a Driving Assistant Pack that added a Driving Assistant and Active Cruise Control, along with a Comfort Pack that featured a heated steering wheel and comfort access. Altogether, these extras increased the price by a further £3,200.

With its blistering pace and that 3.0-litre engine pounding beneath the bonnet, the day-to-day running costs are never going to be cheap. The official fuel efficiency figure, under WLTP testing, is a combined 34.9mpg (it would be possible if driven with an ounce of respect) and carbon emissions of 184g/km.

This high CO2 figure would result in a first-year road tax bill (Vehicle Excise Duty) of  £1,040 dropping to the standard charge of £180 after 12 months. And, due to the vehicle costing in excess of £40k there is a premium car levy to pay too. This is an additional £370 for five years from years two to six.

For anyone lucky enough to be offered the Z4 as a company car, the Benefit in Kind tax rating is not too rewarding at 37 per cent and the vehicle, as tested, sits in insurance group 38.


More than 55,000 third-generation Z4 models have been sold worldwide to date which is an impressive figure for such a sector-specific car. And in places like Germany, 48 per cent of the sales have been the high-performance M model.

With all the added design enhancements, additional interior features and its exhilarating performance, those sales figures are sure to climb. If, of course, you crave that wind-in-the-hair driving experience and have a spare £50k-plus sitting idle in the bank.

And hopefully, with the extra investment in the latest model, the Z4 is here to stay for a while unlike the recently axed Mercedes SLK and Audi TT.

By Maxine Ashford
Jun 27, 2023

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