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    CAR #2020-BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #BMW-Z4-M40i / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW

    REPORT
    £49,050 OTR/£51,985 as tested/£591pcm

    WHY IT’S HERE
    Can Supra DNA lift BMW’s sports car from the Boxster’s shadow?

    DRIVER

    It’s difficult to talk to anyone about the #BMW-Z4-G29 without the Toyota-Supra-A90 soon crowbarring its way into the conversation. The debate about whether the two should share parts so flagrantly is raging, of course, not least between two of TG telly’s own. I’m with the dating show host rather than the racing driver, though. A sentence I never thought I’d type. Sharing engines, gearboxes and electronics is far and away the easiest way to cut costs and enlarge profit margins. Doing so has enabled both BMW and Toyota to launch some very accomplished sports cars at a time when the market and its increasingly tight emissions regs might suggest such things are unwise. I suspect having the Supra to worry about as an in-house rival made the German engineers up their game, too, as I can’t remember any of the Z4’s predecessors driving this keenly. Few cars’ aggression ramps up so tangibly through their Sport modes.

    That parts sharing also came in handy for my first go in the Supra, which jammily took place on the full layout of Circuit de la Sarthe, shortly before the Le Mans 24 Hour grid rolled out for its warm-up laps. Hopping in a car whose dynamics I’m familiar with by proxy was exceedingly welcome, then, and moments after prodding the starter button I was hitting an indicated 158mph down the Mulsanne Straight amid five of the better minutes in my life.

    The Supra’s not the only car to share vital organs with the BMW, though, and I’ve also tried the new Morgan Plus Six this month. A stonking 500kg lighter than the Z4 and with none of its electronic safety nets, it’s a loud, boisterous, intoxicating thing to drive. Anyone thinking Toyota went soft by borrowing a BMW engine needs to try it in a British lightweight with all the nannies removed. Paddy’s right. Parts sharing really isn’t so evil.

    SPECIFICATION
    Engine 2998cc, 6cyl turbo, RWD
    Max power 335bhp
    Max torque 369lb ft
    Weight 1610kg
    0–62mph in 4.6secs
    Max speed 155mph
    33.2mpg, 165g/km CO2

    + GOOD STUFF
    A warm fuzzy feeling from seeing ‘my’ car on primetime Sunday night telly

    - BAD STUFF
    I’ve had my head turned by a much wilder Morgan with the same powertrain

    MILEAGE: 7650 OUR MPG: 34.0
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  • Post is under moderation
    Come on, that can’t be all you’ve got So far, the Z4’s proved less than the sum of its parts. But we’re going in hot pursuit of the thrills that must lie beneath. By P Taylor / #BMW

    Here’s a second chance to make a first impression. When I first drove the Z4 at its launch in October last year, it was a good car but not an exciting one. It felt more like a saloon that happened to have two seats and a soft-top than a spinetingling sports car. I’ve been wondering if I judged it harshly, especially after enjoying driving its closely related, co-engineered Toyota Supra platform-mate recently. Now the Z4’s got an entire British summer (and a bit of autumn too) to argue its case.

    The Z4 range starts at £37,115 for the 20i model, with a 196bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, or £40,815 for the same engine hopped up to 256bhp in the 30i. This car, however, is the range-topping Z4 M40i, with a musclebound 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six under its stubby bonnet.

    Compared with the rest of the range, the M40i also gets larger 19-inch wheels (with tyres essentially the same as those fitted to the current M3/M4), adaptive dampers (optional on 2.0-litre cars) and an active diff, as also fitted to the Supra. Less dynamic niceties include electrically adjustable seats with leather-meets-alcantara upholstery and extra aluminium trim compared with lowlier models.

    Our car’s also got a fancy paintjob, the optional Frozen Grey II metallic matt paint priced at £1880. In addition to the paint there’s a further £3450 of options: the £900 Visibility Package (adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam assist); the £750 Comfort Package (heated steering wheel, wind deflector, keyless entry and start, and a through-load serving hatch from boot to interior); and the £1800 Technology Package (head-up display, Harman Kardon surround-sound speaker system, wireless phone charging, rear-view parking camera and automatic parking assistant).

    So many of the ingredients are there for a truly great sports car – engine set back for a 50:50 weight distribution, short wheelbase for agility, wide track for stability, clever diff and great throttle response by any standards, not just for a turbocharged engine.

    Maybe a bit of extra soak-time will help the Z4’s true character shine. I’m looking forward to getting to know it again over the coming months, and finding out if it can thrill as well as cosset.

    The Z4 has traditionally been more about sun-dappled boulevard cruising, rather than being a car to inspire an early alarm and the long, twisty way to work. Here’s hoping this one’s both.

    Great throttle response by any standards, not just for a turbo engine

    #Frozen-Grey paint will set you back a cool £1880

    Car #2019-BMW-Z4-M40i / #BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #2019-BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #2019 / #BMW-Z4-G29 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW-G29

    Month 1
    The story so far
    Soft-top Supra twin with big-chested straight-six, short chassis, clever diff. Equivocal reaction at launch; it has six months to set us straight

    + Great throttle response; refinement; everyday usability
    - Odd proportions; is it exciting enough?
    Price £49,185 (£53,865 as tested)
    Performance 2998cc turbo straight-six, 335bhp,
    0-62mph 4.6sec
    Max speed 155mph (limited)
    Efficiency 33.2mpg (official), 31.3mpg (tested),
    CO2 165g/km
    Energy cost 18.3p per mile
    Miles this month 299
    Total miles 4746
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  • Post is under moderation
    Peter Taylor
    Peter Taylor created a new group BMW Z4 G29
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