3/4 Front Glamour 2013 BMW Z4

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Expert's Rating

4.5Excellent

MPG 19 City / 28 Highway
Pros
  • Sporty look
  • Quick acceleration
  • Excellent handling
  • Easier to drive than some other sports cars
Cons
  • Limited trunk space with top down
  • Lots of brake pedal travel
, Automotive Editor -
It may seem like it was only yesterday, but the Z3 actually debuted way back in 1998. In 2002, BMW began the changeover that led to the phasing out of the Z3 and phasing in of the slightly larger and more BMW-like Z4. With the 2013 model year approaching, the BMW Z4 enters into its 12th model year carrying over virtually everything from its 2012 model year.

Introduction

For the 2013 model year, the Z4 has a relatively simple lineup, featuring just three main trim levels: sDrive28i, sDrive35i and sDrive35is. The sDrive28i trim level acts as the Z4’s base level format, and it features the lowest-powered engine of the bunch, but retains all of the basic amenities that a BMW buyer would expect. The sDrive35i gets a rather large bump in both engine size and output, plus it gains a few extra standard amenities, like larger wheels and leather seating. The top trim level, the sDrive35is, receives yet another significant boost in engine output, exclusive wheels, premium headliner and, BMW’s famed M trimming.

See our picks for best coupes in the CarsDirect 2012 Coupe Buying Guide.

In the world of two-seat roadsters, competition is plentiful, but the price ranges vary significantly. A perennial competitor for the BMW Z4 is the Mercedes SLK-Class, which features similar styling as the Z4 and engines ranging from a 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter to a 425-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8. Another model in BMW’s rearview mirror is the 2013 Porsche Boxster, which features a pedigree like no other and power output from 265 horsepower to 315 horsepower. It is a bit of a stretch, but the 2013 Corvette and its massive V-8 engines is yet another option to look at when considering the 2013 BMW Z4. A final competitor would be the Mazda MX-5 Miata with its legendary handling and competent 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The roadster realm is one that is pretty well contested from top to bottom, and there are some rather wide gaps between the entrants. This allows buyers plenty of options to choose from and a wide range of prices too.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 BMW Z4
Starting price
$36,888

2013 BMW Z4 sDrive28i

Recommended for: Buyers that want a premium roadster for under $50K

The BMW sDrive25i is as low as the lineup goes. It comes standard with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that cranks out 240 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 260 foot-pounds of torque between 1,500 and 4,800 rpm. This engine links up to a standard six-speed manual transmission and the driveline combination gets the Z4 to 60 mph in only 5.5 seconds. The sDrive28i comes pretty well equipped with leatherette interior, eight-way power seats with driver side memory, four-way power lumbar adjustment, brushed-aluminum trim, automatic climate control, three-spoke steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control buttons, and an AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 capabilities. On the outside it includes: 17-by-8-inch light alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, heated rear glass and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

2013 BMW Z4
Starting price
$36,888

2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35i

Recommended for: Buyers that want leather, but don't need all of the performance goodies

The 2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35i starts off with the installation of a 3.0-liter, in-line six-cylinder TwinPower turbo engine that cranks out 300 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 300 foot-pounds of torque between 1,400 and 5,000 rpm. The engine, like in the sDrive25i, links up to a six-speed manual transmission and this combination allows it to hit 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Inside the sDrive35i model the Z4 has all of the same features as the sDrive25i, but this trim level adds in 10-way adjustable sport seats with two-way thigh support and Kansas leather interior. This trim level only changes one thing on the outside of the Z4 and that is the elimination the standard rims and replacing them with 18-by-8-inch rims up front and 18-by-8.5-inch rims in the rear.

2013 BMW Z4
Starting price
$36,888

2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35is

Recommended for: Buyers that want peak performance

The sDrive35is trim level caps off the 2013 Z4 lineup. For the extra money, BMW bumps the TwinPower Turbo 3.0-liter engine’s output to 335 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 332 foot-pounds of torque at 1,500 rpm. BMW eliminates the manual transmission in this model and replaces it with a more advanced seven-speed, double-clutch transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. This added horsepower and advanced transmission lower its 0-to-60 time to just 4.8 seconds. BMW also loosened up the Z4’s speed limiter in this model, allowing it to hit 155 mph, but compensated for the extra speed by adding in an Adaptive M suspension. The rims on the sDrive35is are the same size as the sDrive35i, but they are a sportier variety. Also added in to the exterior is an aerodynamics kit, which gives the Z4’s front end a more aggressive appearance. Inside the Z4 sDrive35is it gets the Aluminum Carbon Shadow trim, leather-wrapped M-Sport steering wheel, a premium AM/FM/CD stereo system with surround sound, and all of the sDrive35i’s base features.

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