BMW Z4 Gets the Tiniest Touch of Botox for 2014 [2013 Detroit Auto Show]
BMW is launching a face-lifted version of the Z4 at the 2013 Detroit auto show, and the changes are few and far between. The two-seat convertible with its retractable-hardtop keeps its current engine choices: The entry-level model is the Z4 sDrive28i with its 240-hp, 2.0-liter four; it comes with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Above that, there are two models with the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six: the Z4 sDrive35i with 300 hp, and the Z4 sDrive35is with 335 hp. Like nearly everything else in the 2014 Z4, both six-cylinder models keep their existing transmissions: the 35i with its choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch auto, and the 35is with its seven-speed dual-clutch.
BMW has chosen to keep the legendary N54 engine for the Z4; there is no upgrade to the more modern but perhaps less fascinating single-turbo N55 unit. “We felt the N54 suits the car,” a spokesman tells us. We fully agree; in fact, it suits any BMW perfectly. Top speed is governed at 130 mph on the lesser models and 155 mph on the sDrive35is; with performance tires, the 28i and the 35i can reach the higher number as well.
The exterior is graced by slightly altered headlights, and a differently shaped chrome strip around the side air intakes. A new 18-inch wheel option is new for 2014, as are these colors: Mineral Gray metallic, Glacier Silver Metallic, and Valencia Orange metallic—which is available only with the Hyper Orange design package. This extroverted package adds Valencia Orange contrast stitching and a faux-suede door panel done in the same color. If you liked the Citrus Yellow package that’s available on current models, get to a dealer now—the Hyper Orange package replaces it. Inside the Z4, BMW has added gloss-black plastic surroundings to the vents and iDrive screen, and a new wood trim is available. And while the standard infotainment systems remain unchanged, there are now several online services available.
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We have to admit to a slight feeling of disappointment. The Z4-based Zagato concepts—coupe and roadster—had us hoping for more sweeping changes, perhaps the addition of a fixed-roof coupe, or an honest M version. That said, the current Z4 offers a pleasant and all-around fun-to-drive package, and perhaps it’s a good thing BMW hasn’t tinkered with the formula. The 2014 models will be at dealerships in the spring of 2013, with pricing being announced closer to the car’s on-sale date.
By Jens Meiners