IMAGINE if opulent hooked up with sexy in 2020, and they had a love child. Well that happened. Their baby is called the BMW Z4. Now imagine if that infant was born with a manual gearbox and a drop top.
Fast forward to its teenage years a few months later (we know, kids grow up so fast these days), and by then it will have changed its name to sDrive20i and wear M Sport clothing. Enough about babies and teen angst though, let’s talk about the car.
The 2020 BMW Z4 sDrive20i M Sport sports a redesigned version of the famous kidney grille, with a chequered styling, and chrome surrounds. It suits the Alpine White exterior colour, as do the sleek LED headlights.
A stern roadster vibe is only enhanced by the contoured wrap around bonnet. From the side, it’s an eye catching package, with 18-inch M light alloy wheels, a wide body, and a classic looking rear end, complete with built-in spoiler.
And if white isn’t your thing, you can also choose from Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver, Misano Blue, and San Francisco Red. They’re all metallic (except the white). You can even have Frozen Grey II from the BMW Individual range.
Inside, the interior is opulent, luxurious and sporty. Electrically adjustable Vemasca leather seats, with memory, a leather steering wheel with touch controls, and a digital instrument cluster that extends to the infotainment screen.
Thanks to BMW Live Cockpit Professional, it’s a seamless experience, that’s also paired to a head-up display, with the combination able to provide such things as satellite navigation, everywhere you look.
If there’s a downside, it’s only apparent when you’re wearing polarised sunglasses, or not, as the case may be, because it’s far less visible. BMW’s 7.0 operating system also features, providing plenty of digital information for the driver.
But, and there’s always a but, some things don’t need digitisation, and the reset button for the odometer is one of them. We spent a good five minutes figuring out how to reset it after a fuel fill.
Natural voice selection also features. However, our author attempted to provide instructions like “Call mum” (yes, he is a good boy), and it wouldn’t register. Several attempts later, and mum got her call.
The voice recognition system has a little way to go compared to something like Siri, but it’s getting there. Voice recognition is almost non-existent with the top down though, which is a little frustrating as well. Apple CarPlay is available by subscription.
Beyond the infotainment system, there’s a well laid out centre console, although it feels a little wide for the cabin, in a car that’s already struggling for space. In the front, you have a generously sized wireless charging station, along with a single USB (Type A) port.
The wireless charging pad was large enough to accommodate our devices; the iPhone XS, and a Samsung Note 10 Plus (not at the same time obviously), both wrapped in shockproof protective cases which makes the device diameter larger.
The traditional BMW control dial for all things infotainment system sits below the centrally positioned gear shifter, and unfortunately you can’t disable it. So if you have larger forearms, you might find yourself nudging the dial when shifting gears.
It’s funny until it creates mayhem on the infotainment system, then nobody’s laughing. There’s also two cup holders, and a USB (Type C) port for new mobile devices. You won’t find any drink bottle holders in the doors though.
The 10-speaker sound system is amazing, with sound pumped in from everywhere in the fairly compact cockpit. It provides an exceptionally immersive audio experience. In case you hadn’t guessed already, the BMW Z4 is a 2-door, 2-seater convertible.
It comes with a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating (no ANCAP), and features a host of safety technology, including four airbags, dynamic stability control, ABS, cornering brake control, lane departure warnings, rollover protection, and dynamic traction control.
Despite being a convertible, the Z4 sDrive20i has a reasonably generous 281-litre boot, with the top up or down, and even has cabin access to the rear luggage space.
But the Z4 is not just about looks and tech stuff. It’s about how it drives. The driving experience if you will. And sure comfort, looks and technology play a part, but how it dives into a corner and accelerates up a straight away, that’s important too.
The 2020 BMW Z4 sDrive20i M Sport is an absolute pleasure to drive. Due to its low ride and wide stance, this rear wheel drive offers amazing handling around corners, and impressive acceleration thanks to its short throw 6-speed manual transmission.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo 4-cylinder engine, producing 145kW of power and 320Nm of torque. It provides a zesty 6.6 second sprint to 100km/h. Fuel consumption is an impressive 6.5-litres/100Km.
It can be had in an 8-speed Steptronic sports auto version too, but let’s face it, manuals are way more fun. You can control a good portion of the driving experience too, through various drive modes including ECO PRO, and the staunchly spirited SPORT mode.
In each mode, the Z4’s personality changes, with rev matching available in SPORT mode, keeping your gear shifts at maximum optimal performance. All that aside, one of the coolest things about driving the BMW convertible is not its performance.
One of the most enjoyable moments for us was actually the sound of rain on the canvas soft top, compared to the traditional metal roof of a normal car. The sound of the pitter patter of the rain was soothing and calming.
As seems to be often the case of late, with the German car maker upping the ante when it comes to specs and performance, BMW have yet again excelled themselves by delivering a gorgeously designed roadster convertible, with a focus on driving experience.
For this beautiful beast, you are going to have pay handsomely though. The 2020 BMW Z4 sDrive20i, with a manual transmission, will set you back $95,669 drive away. It comes with BMW’s standard 3-year warranty.
Our 2020 BMW Z4 sDrive20i was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more, visit your local BMW dealer. Pictures courtesy of Joey Snaps.