BMW Blog reviews the 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive 35iS and judges whether this is the ideal sports car for BMW enthusiasts. The latest edition of the Z4 roadster is put to the test. Is it worth the additional cost? See an excerpt of their review below:
“sDrive” denotes a rear wheel drive layout (as opposed to xDrive) and ‘35i’ refers to the engine spec, in this case a forced induction fuel injected 3 liter inline 6 (yes, the 5 is mysterious and we’ve yet to decode it, it probably means, “relax, it’s just a badge.”) Finally the most important character, “S.”
“S” stands for sport, and sport driving is right up our alley. How does BMW’s spicy version of the Z4 perform? Is it worth the extra money, or should one sign for the standard Z4 – better off spending the money elsewhere?
The iS receives 340hp at 5,900 rpm from an even further tuned N54 engine architecture. Increased boost is responsible for the power jump, along with higher torque output: 332 lb-ft available from 1,500 rpm with an additional 37 lb-ft available for temporary boosts of acceleration bringing the total torque output to 369 lb-ft with foot-to-floor. This increased performance is secondary to a larger, free-flowing intake manifold, increased peak turbo boost, a new high-flow exhaust, and reworked engine management.
All this in a 1,525 kg (3,362 lb) hardtop convertible roadster – the performance that follows is unsurprising then: 0-60 times are accomplished in a blistering 4.7 seconds.
In practice, BMW’s latest Z4 feels relaxed, ready for an open-air drive. Adaptive suspension provided by M division allows for a split personality: sleeping puppy mode or scared cat. Unfortunately, we found major, persistent understeer while prodding the Z4’s limits; perhaps the legal team had a little too much say in the final setup. Short of a Scandinavian flick, it is all but impossible to get this car to rotate. A possible explanation for this conservative handling measure could be the seating position inherent to the car. Sitting well-nigh ‘on’ the rear axle, the driver is treated to a very unique sensation when the tail breaks lose – this increased lateral movement could frazzle even some experienced drivers. Ultimately, BMW has played it safe with this car’s at-the-limit handling characteristics.
That is not to say that the Z4 sDrive 35iS can’t handle! No, on the contrary we were impressed with the lateral grip this car is capable of. It’s not every day that you’ll find a sports car capable of lifting its inside wheel – and that is precisely what this stock Z4 is capable of! Don’t believe us? Pay closer attention to our cover photo and note the daylight showing underneath its front wheel.
In summary, BMW’s Z4 sDrive 35iS is a beautiful example of modern roadster design wherein, “One must be able to touch the rear wheel whilst sitting in the driver’s seat.” Depending on your driving style, the Z4 sDrive 35iS could be your ideal roadster. After all, this lengthy name spells, “sports car.”
Source: BMW Blog