BMW Z4 M40i Gets Closer Than Ever To Challenging The Porsche Boxster

The market for two-seat sports cars has been shrinking in recent years, forcing important automakers like BMW and Toyota to collaborate on the new Z4 and Supra, which otherwise might have not existed.

This has forced BMW to make the all-new Z4 sharper than its predecessor in order to rival not only similar models such as the Mercedes-Benz SLC and Audi TT, but also the segment’s benchmark: the mid-engined Porsche 718 Boxster.

Has BMW pulled that off? Quite possibly, according to Auto Express’ Steve Sutcliffe who drove the 2019 Z4 in range-topping M40i guise and found it an improvement over its predecessor in every measurable department. So what about that Boxster, then?

Also Watch: 2019 BMW Z4 Driven: Has The New Roadster Been Worth The Wait?

Well, that’s where things get more complicated. While the Z4 M40i is sharper than any of its predecessors, the chassis is still a bit soft and doesn’t feel as glued to the asphalt as a 718 Boxster. Sutcliffe says the extra lateral movement compared to the mid-engined rival is obvious even in the adaptive suspension’s sportiest setting, making the Z4 feel less planted in corners.

However, the BMW’s slightly softer suspension setup translates into a better ride quality than the Porsche’s. Then there’s the (Euro-spec) 335hp (340PS) 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six that’s better in every respect than the Boxster S’ 345 hp (350PS) 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four. The Z4 also has the upper hand when it comes to onboard tech.

The Z4 has come a long way since the original model launched in 2002, evolving into its best iteration yet in M40i guise. Furthermore, chances are it won’t alienate its loyal followers because everything that made the Z4 nameplate what it is today is still there – only better.


  • Ben

    The main issue it will always have is that it’s not a Porsche. I can tell you from anecdotal experience, co-workers and partners of mine value the brand value more than performance. Porsche is seen as a race heritage sports car that happens to have a bit of luxury (as it should be). On the other hand, BMW is seen as a luxury car that can be sporty. Also, when I pass a local school here that has designated parent/PTA parking, its mostly small compact BMW suvs with a Volvo sprinkled here and there. Surprisingly few Mercedes or Audi models. Again, this is anecdotal, but I truly believe regardless of the BMW’s “close to Porsche” like performance, any 911 or boxster models will be valued more for most people.

  • GobbleUp

    Challenging looks and sound, yes.
    This BMW is hideous. Already looks 8 years out of style.

  • Kagan

    I saw it in fresh meat last week and I didn’t want to look at ones more.

  • SteersUright

    I had a 2014 Cayman. Capable, fun, and great at the limit and also totally sucked as a daily driver. Rough, loud, limited visibility, horrible glare on windshield, electronics always going wrong, it got tiring as anything but a toy.
    Modern BMW’s serve a whole different purpose, they’re meant to be both practical and good to drive. Practical also meaning comfortable. And that’s perfectly fine with me. I’m enjoying my M235i as a daily driver exponentially more than I did the Cayman, despite its goofy looks. Yes, aside from direct front view, I think the 2-series isn’t a good looking car at all and neither is this Z4. Also, while the BMW inline 6 sounds great, nothing sounds as good as that flat-6 at full rev’s. Just my personal experience.

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