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First look: BMW waves M wand over Z4

Z4 gets sportier: M Sport bodykit arrives for BMW's latest Z4 next year, while the hi-po Z4 sDrive35si (below) will also debut at Detroit.

No, it’s not an M version of BMW’s newest Z4, but it is the next best thing

14 Dec 2009

BMW has remained true to its promise never to build an M version of the Z4, presumably because the M3’s maniacal 4.0-litre V8 doesn’t fit under its bonnet, but it has produced the next best things in an M Sport bodykit and a higher-performance ‘is’ version powered by a tweaked twin-turbo straight six.

Last month BMW also announced it will fit all versions of the new Z4 coupe-convertible with brake energy regeneration technology, which in the case of the Z4 sDrive35i cuts fuel consumption by 0.4 litres per 100km to 9.4L/100km (auto) and 9.0L/100km (manual).

Now it has upped the Z4 ante in the direction of performance by revealing both an M Sport styling package and the Z4 sDrive35is, powered by a 250kW version of the Bavarian brand’s lauded twin-turbo six, which also briefly offers no less than 500Nm of torque during overboost – from the same 1400rpm.

With even more peak power and torque than the 240kW/450Nm engine BMW is considering fitting to a limited-edition version of the 135i Coupe (and which also powers the 740i limousine), the “appropriately optimised” engine punches the Z4 35is to 100km/h in a claimed 4.8 seconds, making it almost as quick as the V8 M3.

What’s more, the new Z4 flagship, which will be produced only with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (now dubbed Sport Automatic) is said to return the same fuel consumption as the regular Z4 35i.

14 center imageBMW says both the Z4 M styling pack and Z4 35is, which borrows the former’s bodykit, will be made available in Australia around May at an as-yet-undisclosed price premium, with the Z4 M Sport pack to be available across the Z4 range.

Along with the most ballistic iteration of the twin-turbo six yet seen from BMW, the Z4 35is will also come with 10mm-lower adaptive M suspension as standard.

Other specific modifications include a more sporting control map for the electric power steering system, plus matt-aluminium outer air-intake highlights and exhaust outlet surrounds, ‘Oxide Silver’ exterior mirror caps and ‘sDrive35is’ front quarter badges.

However, although the Z4 35si’s staggered-width 18-inch alloy wheels are unique, 19-inch wheels will remain optional.

Inside, the Z4 35is features an M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, an M footrest, M sports seats, grey instrument dials with ‘sDrive35is’ badging, Anthracite-coloured BMW Individual roof lining, M entry strips, badged floor mats with coloured piping and M interior trim in Aluminium carbon.

Z4s fitted with the new M Sport kit, meantime, come with an M gearshift lever (manual only), while BMW will also release a new ‘Kansas Walnut’ leather option across the Z4 range.

The Z4 35is will be available in six exterior paint colours: Alpine White, Titanium Silver metallic, Sapphire Black metallic, Space Grey metallic, Deep Sea Blue metallic and, for the first time for the Z4, Melbourne Red metallic.

Both new Z4 models will make their global public premieres at the Detroit motor show from January 11.

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