This might be an interesting place to start on a review about a BMW, but a proper thank you is truly owed to Toyota. Without the Japanese automaker’s commitment to bringing back the cult-classic Supra, BMW’s own defunct classic performance roadster/coupe wouldn’t have seen the light of day and for that, we are forever grateful. Of course, we’re talking about the shifty and nimble, BMW Z4. BMW never officially announced back in 2016 when the last Z4 went off the lot how long the model would be on an unofficial hiatus for, but most automotive experts did not expect such a quick revival this soon.
In an automotive world dominated by sporty crossovers and seven-passenger SUVs, BMW had more important model launches to worry about like the X2 and X7 respectively. But, Toyota came calling looking for a collaboration and BMW answered the call that birthed both the 2019 Supra and 2019 BMW Z4. Cue the jubilant music for enthusiasts around the world.
Earlier this month, we were able to get our hands on not only the new Z4, but the more powerful 2020 BMW Z4 M40i, AKA the more zippy version of the two Z4 trims offered, with the base model being the 30i. We tested everything there is to the new Z4 M40i including the features and packages offered, styling, technology and of course, performance. To top it all off, we’ll finish off the review with some information on getting behind the wheel of the Z4 with some lease and finance tips, tricks and options.
Right off the bat, the newly designed Z4 looks every bit as stunning as its fellow 2019 BMW models. The familiar BMW kidney grille on the Z4 gives off more of an aggressive rather than cute look that the previous generation had and it definitely suits it well. The new grille technology complements the Z4 well, to go along with the first-ever stacked headlight design on any BMW as well. Getting into the side of the roadster, the sleek design lines accentuate the wide wheelbase of the Z4, which when paired with the M Sport 19 inch double spoke Orbit Grey rims, looks absolutely stunning.
A subdued spoiler, LED taillights and rectangular dual exhausts make up the rear of the Z4, which once again looks every bit of a sports car no matter the angle.
BMW also opted to make the new Z4 a soft-top convertible (roadster) rather than a hard-top (coupe) which not only makes for a lighter ride, but a more luxurious look. With the Z4 M40i, the standard M features included are the M Sport seats, brakes, steering wheel and suspension, just to name a few.
The interior of the Z4 M40i that we tested had extremely supple upgraded Cognac Vernasca Leather upholstery, which is a huge upgrade over the included synthetic leather and is an option we would recommend highly.
When it comes to optional packages, the Z4 that we tested spares no expense. Fully loaded with the Executive Package, Premium Package and Driving Assistance Package, this particular Z4 is essentially maxed out when it comes to options. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each package comes with.
- Automatic High Beam
- Ambient Lighting
- Adaptive Full LED Lights
- Harmon Kardon Premium Sound System
- Wireless Charging and WiFi Hotspot
- Head-up Display
- Remote Engine Start
Driving Assistance Package
- Daytime Pedestrian Protection
- Frontal Collision Warning w/City Collision Mitigation
- Cross-traffic alert
- Active Blind Spot Detection
- Lane Departure Warning.
However, if you choose to forgo the packages, the Z4 still comes standard with must-have features such as Apple CarPlay (free for one year), Dynamic Cruise Control, 10-inch touchscreen, and heated front seats. At the very least, we recommend tacking on the Driving Assistance package for a mere $500, since you get so many great safety features that will be sure to come in handy on the road.
Under the hood is where the Z4 really shines. Unlike the Z4 30i’s 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine outputting 255-hp, the M40i boasts a significantly more powerful setup. BMW’s 3.0-liter M Performance TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder, 24-valve 382-hp engine is truly one of the most responsive engines we’ve seen in 2019, and is a perfect, if not overpowered fit for the minuscule Z4. 0-60 times for the M40i come in at a scintillating time of 3.9 seconds thanks to the inline 6-cylinder, which makes it the fastest production Z4 to date.
The 8-speed automatic transmission offered with the Z4 is smooth and quick shifting, and there are plenty of different drive modes to choose from. Although, we’d be lying if we said we took it out of Sport Plus for the majority of our test drive.
Power is pushed into the Z4’s rear two wheels, making the Z4 a little susceptible to tire slip, but also raucous instant power. Engine and exhaust noise are both intoxicating on downshifts, and we got more than a few eyebrows raised on our cruise around town. Simply put, it’s hard not to have a big, goofy grin on your face while driving the Z4.
Handling is what you would expect from a light, wide wheelbase roadster – exceptional. Cornering is a breeze and the all-season tires from the factory grip the road with overwhelming confidence. Braking power is also top-notch and highly responsive due to the M Sport brakes that come with the M40i.
There are a few different direct competitors in the subcompact car category, but for argument’s sake, let’s quickly pit the Z4 up against its closely related cousin, the aforementioned Toyota Supra. Since the 2020 Z4 M40i and 2019 Supra are so closely related, down to the same TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder engine, ultimately the decision on which one to get will come down to two aspects: preference and budget.
While the base Supra is a much better performer than the 4-cylinder base Z4 3oi, the Z4 M40i is essentially in another league, especially when it comes down to budget. While the starting MSRP for the 2019 Supra and 2019 Z4 are in the high $40K range, the 2020 Z4 M40i starts out at a significantly higher $63K. The M40i has a much more luxurious, almost cruiser-esque feel as well, while the Supra screams performance coupe in every way shape and form.
The decision will also likely come down to the old soft-top vs hard-top debate since some folks are particular over the convertible aspect of the vehicle.
Overall, if budget is not a top priority, the Z4 M40i is the clear choice in our opinion. However, if you’re looking to save a few bucks, the Supra gets you that robust TwinTurbo Inline 6-cylinder engine without the price tag that comes with owning a BMW.
Now let’s get down to dollars and sense. Due to the fact that the Z4 has re-emerged from BMW’s lineup after a slight hiatus, the Z4 is essentially being priced like a brand new model. This means that lease programs on the Z4 aren’t super aggressive, but there are still a number of ways to save big on the sporty roadster.
However, if you are leasing the Z4 from a BMW dealership in NJ, you can put down what is called multiple security deposits, a leasing strategy that lowers the money factor, or interest rate, on the vehicle. Guaranteeing five to seven payments upfront in the form of a security deposit can bring down the monthly payment on the Z4 anywhere from $30-$50, depending on how many payments you choose to put down and the MSRP of the vehicle. As with all security deposits, as long as you bring the car back safe and sound at the end of your lease, you’ll get those payments back in your pocket or you can put them towards a new lease. Talk about some serious savings over the course of three years.
You can expect lease pricing for the month of July 2019 to look something like this:
2019 BMW Z4 30i: $53,000 MSRP Vehicle – $604/month with 10K miles for 36 months with $4,742 due at signing.
2019 BMW Z4 M40i: $65,000 MSRP Vehicle – $782/month with 10K miles for 36 months with $5,488 due at signing.
When it comes to financing options for the Z4, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, what will your driving habits be with the Z4? This is by no means an everyday commuter car, meaning mileage shouldn’t be a major factor for most individuals when determining whether or not to lease or finance this vehicle.
Second, we have the residual value of the Z4. The estimated residual value of the Z4 after three years of ownership is around 59% of the original value of the vehicle. That’s not a particularly great number since it means you’ll be financing much more than what the vehicle is estimated to be actually worth over time. That being said, if you plan on holding onto the Z4 for a significant amount of time, finance is obviously the way to go. However, if you foresee yourself selling the vehicle after the finance period is complete, we fully recommend leasing the Z4 to save yourself a ton of money.
Here at Capital Motor Cars, we have professional relationships with a number of dealerships in New Jersey, meaning if you lease a Z4 through us, not only will you benefit from our industry-leading pricing, but you’ll also have the opportunity to use the multiple security deposits strategy.
Get in touch with one of our automotive experts today to get instant pricing on the Z4 and any other make and model vehicle for that matter. Or, you can start building your own 2020 BMW Z4 M40i on BMW USA and you can send us the build number to get started on that specific car!