BMW Z4 M40i officially unveiled at Pebble Beach

The wait is over. We finally get to meet the all-new BMW Z4, sister car of the Supra and on show now at the Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance. Unsurprisingly, the first two-seater into the spotlight is the range-topping M40i First Edition, outfitted with a plush kit list and turbocharged straight-six engine to emphasise its leading part as BMW’s new luxury sports car.

This is a big deal though because it means right from the off we'll be presented with a PH-certified Z4. We already know the entry-level cars will get turbocharged 2.0-litre engines when the model reaches market in spring 2019, but this launch variant will use the six-cylinder engine shared with the M140i and M240i, two cars we like very much.

No mechanical changes have been made to the powerplant in the Z4, so it'll offer the same 340hp and 369lb ft of torque. The unit drives the rear wheels exclusively via an eight-speed automatic gearbox – sadly no manual option is on the cards thanks to a lack of demand in this segment – and electronically controlled M Sport differential. With any luck, those will prove to be all the ingredients it needs.

That much was already made clear during our prototype drive earlier in the summer. What we didn’t know then was what the car’s six-cylinder powertrain would be deemed capable of. Now, however, BMW has confirmed it can accelerate the Z4 from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, which makes it as quick to the mark as a Porsche 718 Cayman S. Not bad going.

More impressive still is BMW’s claim of a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, suggesting engineers have worked hard to keep the engine located as close to the bulkhead as possible. The launch car also gets a new sports suspension setup with electronically controlled damping as standard, which will be key to ensuring that the roadster appeals to a wide audience.

Aside from being the launch car, the First Edition also acts as a halo model for the whole range while it’s on sale. It therefore comes with a plusher kit list and higher specification, with Frozen Orange paintwork and an anthracite fabric for its electrically folding soft top helping it stand out, along with those two-tone 19-inch wheels.

Inside, there’s Vernasca black leather for the electrically adjustable seats and trim, a Harman Kardon surround sound system and BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional. The latter brings BMW’s most high-tech cabin layout comprising a digital instrument cluster and centrally mounted infotainment screen. The manufacturer has said it will announce more details, including specifications for the entire range, on the 19 September. Watch this space!

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Comments (129) Join the discussion on the forum

  • jako1 23 Aug 2018

    I don't like it, I don't know why.... Which is unfair on BMW.

    If it costs the same as a Porsche I wouldn't look at this.

  • Ares 23 Aug 2018

    Still unsure of the front end, pending a normal picture, but on the whole, I like it.

    Has the same 'retro roadster' looks of the previous incarnations, updated for 2018.

    If positive drive reports are to be believed, it could be a success. Won't eclipse SLK/SLC let alone Boxster IMO though....although with a mainstream 6-pot and hot M version in the lineup, it could be a strong contender for some.

  • Codswallop 23 Aug 2018

    Do not like the look of that at all.

    The wheelbase looks too short for the overhangs, the belt line looks too tall for the length, and the swage line looks like an unfortunate copy of the current Merc SL.

  • WonkeyDonkey 23 Aug 2018

    I don't really get the point in that engine bay picture.

    It's just plastic. You can't see any of the components at all.

  • Paracetamol 23 Aug 2018


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