New BMW Z4 is Faster, Grippier And More Balanced Than Ever But Is It A Boxster Killer?

BMW promises that the new Z4 is a genuinely sporty roadster that manages to entertain its driver in a way that its predecessor simply couldn’t. That shouldn’t be that hard of a task, since the last Z4 was heavily criticized for its lack of depth in its dynamic abilities when pushed.

The real question the new BMW Z4 has to answer is how does it compare against today’s benchmarks, namely the Porsche Boxster. Carfection’s Henry Catchpole took the latest Bavarian roadster on a road trip across Southern Spain in order to find out.

The range-topping Z4 M40i is the only member of the range available with a six-cylinder engine; a turbocharged 3.0-liter unit producing 335 hp (340 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque.

Also Read: Does The New BMW Z4 M40i Sound Good To You?

That’s enough grunt to send the compact two-seater to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.5 seconds. The top speed is limited to 155 mph (250 km/h), which is the norm for German cars. An eight-speed automatic transmission is the only option, but it does come with an M specific software to give the driver a more sporty feeling while there’s a limited-slip differential as well.

The Z4 was never going to be as sharp or as rewarding as the Toyota Supra, its fixed-roof sibling, as BMW apparently targets a different audience. But take it on the right road, with the velvety smooth straight-six under its long bonnet growling and burbling, roof tucked away, and it will demonstrate its balanced chassis and stronger than ever grip.

Will that be enough to trouble the best in the class? Let’s see what Carfection has to say.


  • Bo Hanan

    The styling is horrible from front to back. Not an elegant shape on it.

  • GobbleUp

    Lol, forget performance, this thing is stillborn. Ugly car.

  • Six_Tymes

    Better looking than the previous, and much better looking than the hideous supra.

    • Mike Sinyaboot ©

      There are plenty of people that don’t like either car, but probably not as many that specifically think “bmw and Toyota didn’t try hard enough”. Most of negativity I have seen is simply about their looks or the fact that the Supra is a whole lot of BMW. That being said, I very much disagree that both are “half-arsed attempts”. Both cars, especially the Supra, have gotten pretty solid/good reviews. Looks aside, the Supra provides great performance while being comfortable enough to be a daily driver and Toyota will undoubtedly offer higher performance versions in the future.

      Now, regarding why you think they didn’t try hard enough, both of your assumptions were definitely a factor.

      1. DEMAND: These are both low volume cars as you suggested. The market for 2 seater sports cars is just not very large. For example, from 2012-2017, US sales for the last Z4 averaged 1,817 per year. Automotive manufacturers will only invest so much when they know sales will be low no matter what.

      2. EVs: This played a role but mainly for Toyota. BMW is not going to stop building ICE vehicles anytime soon despite their investment into EVs. They build “the ultimate driving machine” and their customers demand expensive ICE powered cars. Toyota, on the other-hand, has shifted their tooling and focus onto EVs. This is actually one of the main reasons they teamed up with BMW as they are not currently setup to develop and produce and brand new in-line six. This plays into the next point….

      3. TIME and COST: By teaming up, both factors are reduced. Toyota has said that if they would have developed the Supra by themselves, it would still be another 2-3 years away.

      4. COST: Cost really is the biggest factor in my opinion. It is unbelievably expensive to develop a brand new model/drive-train and that is why we are seeing a lot of manufacturers team up. For example….
      – VW estimates it cost them around $1.5 billion to bring an entirely new Golf generation to market.
      – BMW spent around $800 million developing the latest 7 series.
      – BMW invested around $4 billion developing all the technology for the i8 and i3 which is now starting to find
      its way into many of its other models.
      – Ford spent $6 billion in 1990 developing its CDW27 platform “world car” which
      produced the Mondeo, Contour and Mercury Mystique. They had previously spent $3 billion on the
      Taurus/Sable in the early 80’s.
      – GM even beats Ford as it spent $7 billion developing its W platform which was to replace all of its mid-
      sized cars produced by Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick along with its G and A platforms.
      – GM and Ford recently teamed up to develop their new 10 speed transmissions which cost well over $1
      – Aston Martin now uses AMG engines along with Mercedes electronics and switchgear. This partnership
      was originally announced back in 2014 and the reason is obvious….Aston Martin had just suffered a $40
      million loss in 2012 and were in a fragile financial position. Aston Martin simply did not have the money
      it would have needed to develop new engines along with everything else.
      – Another Aston Martin example….it used Lotus Engineering to develop the chassis for the Vanquish and
      this had a hefty price tag tag $170 million.
      – Toyota and Subaru teamed up for the BRZ and 86.
      – Koenigsegg is obviously a very small company and while they do develop and manufacturer most of their
      components, they partnered with Rimac Automobili for battery pack and PDU development for the Regera.
      Koenigsegg then supports Rimac with low volume production questions, structural composites and certain

      Soo….basically what I am saying is that modern cars have become incredibly complex and feature an ever increasing amount of technology/electronics. It has always cost a ton to develop cars and these modern advances only help increase that cost. Auto-manufacturers will continue forming partnerships in the future to help reduce their investment and speed up time to market.


  • msterbeau

    Boxter killer? Probably not. Also: Ugly.

  • Kagan

    It is not just you.

    First time I saw it on real and I didn’t want to look at it again.

  • Bash

    It is sure not. Not even close.

  • mas921

    What a road!

  • Andrewthecarguy

    Agreed…saw it again in person yesterday and the the nose is the problem. The non-M looks a bit better for that reason.
    Overall though, it seems overwrought, but I suspect it will “fit” the landscape in 10 years, which is what you want a roadster to be. Just a shame it can’t fit now and then, like the Z8 did and still does.

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