First impressions can last a lifetime and have the power to change any misconceptions or preconceptions you may have formed. The 2020 BMW Z4 M40i, with its updated 285kW of power and 500Nm of torque is most certainly a testament to that.
Two door convertibles have always held a little bit of a reservation for this particular reviewer. As a blokey bloke, yours truly has never really considered himself a convertible driver and left those cars to the societal equivalent of a hairdresser.
But the powered up Z4 M40i has changed all that, thanks to its pure smile making grunt. Which means this car has also made a fool out of this reviewer and taught him not to have pre-conceived ideas about convertible drivers.
It’s a stunning looking car, both inside and out. Park yourself in the comfortable seats, in a car that sits low to the ground, and you’ll soon realise this is every bit a true driver’s car. And with an M badge, you know it belongs in Sport+ mode.
So of course, that’s where we started. We found a nice secluded piece of clean bitumen and planted our right foot. Dance baby, dance. By the time we lifted off the go pedal, we felt we had just experienced something a little special.
Perhaps the pleasure was a little dirty, but it’s pleasure none-the-less. The kind that makes you feel on top of the world, and makes you grin from ear to ear. Power aside, it’s the sleek lines of the BMW sports car that make it stand out.
German refinement and finesse abound, with its menacing 19-inch M light alloy double spoke rims in grey, set against the Glacier Silver paintwork providing an aggressive stance. The M badging everywhere doesn’t hurt the cause either.
It’s also loaded with M goodness, including M Sport brakes (those big blues ones protruding out from behind the wheels), adaptive M suspension, and an electronically controlled limited slip diff for better launch control.
There’s also an M-specific sports exhaust, which creates a beautiful gurgle as you exercise your right foot on the power pedal. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your roadster experience.
Those seats we spoke about earlier are powered and leather, and enhance the sporty theme, providing ample support whether driving enthusiastically, or simply cruising with the top down.
The infotainment system features an easy to read and reasonably easy to navigate 10.25-inch digital touchscreen display which can also be navigated via the controller in the centre console. It features the latest version of BMW’s outstanding operating system.
You’ll find satellite navigation, and thanks to the BMW Connected Package Professional, live traffic updates, and all your usual functionality, be it music or phone, as well as a host of driving and vehicle functionality, wireless phone charging and wireless Apple CarPlay.
DAB+ digital radio also features, and that’s a good thing, because you can pump all that quality music through a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon surround sound audio setup that is second to none.
It’s a beautiful car that ticks a lot of boxes from inside the cockpit, but it’s the performance gains over the previous 250kW model that make the Z4 M40i truly memorable for us.
Perhaps this reviewer was expecting the Z4 to be a little more show than go and having driven cars that had boasted far in excess of 285Kw expectation of the Z4’s performance was not where it should have been.
Under the hoot is a 6-cylinder in-line TwinPower turbocharged 3.0-litre engine, married to an 8-speed auto with flappy paddles behind the steering wheel. It coveres the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.1 seconds (.4 of a second faster than the 250kW variant).
And while speed is a factor, it’s the exceptional driving experience the Z4 M40i offers that delivers true roadster fun. It feels planted, and handles corners well, even under hard acceleration. It’s definitely rear-wheel drive though, and behaves appropriately.
That said, it never feels out of control, rather it remains exhilarating. But it’s no family car. It is a two seater after all. It’s an escape from everyday life, a chance to get away from it all and chase the tarmac.
It doubles very nicely as a quality, if a little flamboyant, daily driver. And if the silver of our test vehicle is not your thing, it’s available in San Francisco Red Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic and Misano Blue Metallic.
Now to the serious stuff. With a drive away price of starting at $127,900 plus on roads, it’s significantly dearer than the Supra which it shares much with (and the two are about to have the same power levels).
But the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i roadster is different. For one it’s a drop top, but it’s the premium interior and BMW technology that sets it apart. That’s never more evident than when you lower the roof and invite the world in.
The Supra fans can start the hate now, but the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i has converted this reviewer and with the top down he can still imagine himself hitting the bends with a huge grin, with the wind blowing through what is remaining of his hair.
The moral of the story here. Never judge a book, or in this case a car, by its cover.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i, contact your local BMW dealer. Pictures courtesy of Jessica Jenkin Photography.