Customers would rather have an M2 Convertible.
During a recent drive event, CarBuzz learned that there will not be an M version of the current G29 generation BMW Z4 Roadster. "There is no market for it," said Z4 Head of Project, Michael Wimbeck. "Customers said they would rather wait for an M2 Convertible." Sadly, a drop-top M2 is not in the cards either.
BMW has built M variants of the Z in the past, including the Z3 and Z4, but it did not do so for the previous E89 generation car. The German brand came close with the sDrive35is model, powered by the same N54 engine as the 1 Series M, but it never built a fully-fledged M variant. For this current car, the 382-horsepower M40i version will be the quickest one available. With a 0-60 mph time of just 3.9 seconds, it should be adequate for most drivers.
The Z4 M40i uses the same 3.0-liter turbocharged B58 inline-six engine that's found in a variety of BMW products as well as the Toyota GR Supra, which shares a platform with the Z4. Building a Z4 M would require BMW to shoehorn in the twin-turbocharged S58 engine from the M3/M4 and X3 M/X4 M. This may sound like an easy job, but there are subtle differences between the S58 engine and the B58 on which it is based, including the brakes.
The S58 includes BMW's M Integrated Braking System that uses a compact module. This allows the M models to adjust their brakes more precisely and offer two pedal feel settings. Squeezing the S58's braking system under the Z4's hood while also factoring in for cooling changes proved too much hassle for a car that already sells in low volume (just 1,567 units in 2022). Considering that a manual-equipped M3 is actually slower to 60 mph than the Z4 M40i, the additional power of the S58 likely wouldn't have drastically improved the Z4's performance.
Of course, this news likely puts a damper on the rumored Supra GRMN with the S58 engine.
Though the Z4 M is off the table, BMW says a manual transmission is currently "under consideration" for the Z4. "We helped Toyota with the Supra's manual," Wimbeck said, hinting that the same transmission could be used by BMW. For now, the facelifted convertible will only be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels, as Wimbeck said "all-wheel-drive would not fit."
Among the changes for 2023, BMW decided to offer Thundernight Metallic as a paint option after it originally debuted on the 2 Series Coupe. "You have fans, and you have people who hate it," Wimbeck said of the purple hue. "But customers showed that the take rate was way higher than expected, so we thought it would fit perfectly on the Z4 because it's an extroverted color."
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