THE name’s Notes, Exhaust Notes. And this, this is the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i. It’s a car for those individuals who like their driving experience shaken, not stirred. It’s the drop top that behaves like a loaded gun.
Ever since its film debut as a James Bond vehicle in 1995’s Goldeneye (in its second generation Z3 form), the BMW Z series has been associated with MI6’s vast fleet of drool worthy vehicles.
Sleek and sophisticated, with all its sexiness accentuated in its Metallic Black Sapphire paintwork, our test vehicle is packed with a list of BMW goodies, which unfortunately doesn’t include twin high mounted Gatling guns.
You can however login to your BMW Connected app and start it remotely, and turn on features in your Z4. For the record though, you cannot remotely drive the car, they keep that function for government agencies.
Wrapped in 255/35 front and 275/35 rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, the 19-inch Cerium Grey Double-spoke M light alloy wheels perfectly compliment the Z4’s body lines and completes the M40i’s exterior styling.
At the press of a button, followed by a long 10 second wait (insert giggle here), the cleverly designed and engineered soft top roof lowers to unveil an interior that oozes high-class sophistication and ‘touch me’ tech.
Leather ‘Vernasca’/Alcantara driver and passenger M sport seats in black with blue contrast stitching, come with a matching seat belts and steering wheel. M door sill finishers and exclusive M designation floor mats are here too.
There’s an M driver footrest and M pedals, and aluminium tetragon interior trimming. The Z4 interior looks and feels like a sports car whilst maintaining a sense of luxury and elegance.
Place your mobile device in the wireless charging pad, select from DAB+, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB, iPod or the internal 32GB hard drive, and play your favourite beats.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen BMW Live Cockpit professional control display system lets you take command of it all. Harman Kardon delivers auditory excellence through a 12-speaker, seven channel 408-watt digital amplified sound system.
Roof up or down is not a problem, audio is delivered crisp and clear.
City, suburbs or country roads, all no problem, as the Z4 is an absolute pleasure and joy to drive. The M40i offers adaptive M suspension delivering precise and agile handling while enjoying a smooth yet solid ride.
M sport brakes (four-piston front and single-piston floating calipers rear) are on hand for temporary fun termination, while an M sport differential offers stability and traction optimisation.
There’s surprisingly minimal cabin noise (even with the top down) and just an overall build quality and feel. Switch the 8-speed Steptronic sport transmission (equipped with launch control) into SPORT or SPORT+ and the Z4 shows its true colours.
Whether you are escaping from henchmen or out for a spirited drive through the country, the BMW TwinPower Turbo 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder petrol engine, featuring Double-VANOS, Valvetronic, High-Precision Injection and TwinScroll turbocharger will make you double check that traction control is still on.
The Michelin’s are put through their paces as the Z4’s 250KW (340hp) powerhouse puts the traction breaking power to the bitumen. You can feel the sticky rears doing their designers justice as they hold you firm through the corners.
The M sport exhaust orchestra plays a symphony that is music to your ears as the car ascends through each of its eight gears. It has claimed acceleration from zero to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds. Yup! we believe it.
BMW claim a fuel economy of 7.4-litres/100km. Our usual mix of city, suburb and spirited country driving managed an 11.0-litres/100km average. If you are worked hard you cannot help but be thirsty, clearly.
It’s biggest rival could well be its half-sibling, the 2020 Toyota Supra GTS. We’ve tested both, and it’s immediately obvious that the M40i offers a lot more car for not that much more money.
The first thing you notice is the increased cabin space, with more head room, more technology, more features and a general finish and feel of quality that assures you that the price of the Z4 is money was spent well.
As BMW have chosen to pay homage to Z4’s heritage, we can understand why the body isn’t as aggressive as the Supra. For want of a better description, the Z4 would be the older, wiser, proper, naughty when I have to be person in your life.
Fully loaded, the BMW features active cruise control (with stop/go), Cerium Grey exterior trims, ambient interior lighting, comfort access, key-less entry, and a ‘digital key’ smartphone door lock/unlock, and engine start.
The digital key uses near-field communication (NFC) technology, in case you’re wondering how it works. There’s also a head-up display, LED headlights, high-beam assistant, exterior handle area lighting, and interior welcome lights.
The interior and driver’s side exterior mirror come with automatic anti-dazzle function, and the exterior mirrors are electrically adjustable and heated, with electric fold-in function. The passenger side has an automatic parking dipping function.
Like a bunch of gadgets from Q, there’s also rain sensing wipers, follow-me-home functionality, electric seating, tele-services, and the Connected Package Professional, which adds a host of coolness, including wireless Apple CarPlay.
It also gives you remote services, automatic climate control, real-time traffic and concierge services. You even get free usage of vehicles apps via BMW Online (news and weather), and connectivity via an in-built SIM card and 4G LTE network compatibility.
Safety wise, there’s dynamic stability control, ABS, cornering brake control, lane departure warning, frontal collision warning with brake intervention, rear collision prevention, parking and reversing assist, just to name a few.
The luggage capacity is 281 litres, but you’re not buying one of these babies for a family getaway. As far as negatives are concerned, the car doesn’t automatically transition to P (park) mode and apply the hand brake when you open the door.
Given a lot of high end vehicles can do it, we’d have liked to have seen it on the Z4 too. It desperately needs a hardtop convertible version too. It would make an awesome car, well, magnificent.
Quality does come with a price though, and the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i will set you back around $135,000 drive away. If the cost outweighs the power, then there’s also an sDrive30i and sDrive20i variant, which are both significantly cheaper.
The fact that there is a lack of additional options to add to your M40i shows that you are paying for the works, but just to add to the excitement of the range topping Z4, BMW will launch a 285kW version for the same price in the coming months.
It includes a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty and roadside assist. So that you can be the secret agent for any occasion, your Z4 can come in Alpine White, Misano Blue, San Fransisco Red, Frozen Grey II or Black Sapphire.
Inside, you can choose from five different upholstery options, and there are two different interior trim choices, as well as three sets of wheels. So if you have a Licence to Thrill, then we recommend you get yourself a 2020 BMW Z4 M40i.
Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i, contact your local BMW dealership. Images courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.