What’s the deal with car launches in Florida? Everyone knows that if a company launches a car in the Sunshine State, it’s not worth driving. I mean, let’s be honest, Florida is not known for its great roads. But that’s a disservice to cars like the 2023 BMW Z4, which is a little roadster that deserves better.
This year, the Z4 gets some minimal changes, like new wheel designs and some spiffy paint colors. Personally, I’m a big fan of Thundernight Metallic – it’s just a fancy way of saying “purple.” The base Z4 sDrive30i also now comes with the M Sport package, which includes a more aggressive-looking front fascia, new steering wheel, and more voluptuous seats. It really just makes the Z4 sDrive30i look like its more powerful sibling, the M40i. I mean, I wouldn’t call this generation Z4 pretty, but it’s not terrible either.
Mechanically, there aren’t any major changes to speak of. Both four- and six-cylinder engines are available, and all Z4s use rear-wheel drive. The sDrive30i has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that makes 255 horsepower, while the Z4 M40i gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six with 382 horsepower. If you’re looking for speed, the Z4 M40i will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, accompanied by a much heartier exhaust note.
Both Z4s come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is interesting because the Z4 and Toyota GR Supra are fraternal twins, with BMW leading the powertrain development. The 2023 Supra added a six-speed manual transmission option for the 3.0-liter engine, and it’s disappointing that the same ZF-sourced transmission adapted for one car could not be dropped into the other.
The Z4’s chassis is pretty good overall, with nice cornering composure and light but accurate steering. The Z4 demonstrates that it’s totally capable of more enthusiastic antics than Florida’s lame-o roads can accommodate. Road tripping through Florida really feels like a waste.
The Z4 is also super comfortable, making a long slog up the I-95 freeway much more palatable. Obviously, the point of a roadster is to enjoy it with the top down, but if you’re driving in a place as hot and humid and generally gross as southern Florida, you’ll be happy to know the Z4 is pretty quiet inside when the soft top is up.
All of the Z4’s cabin tech carries over unchanged, so no, it doesn’t upgrade to the new iDrive 8 infotainment suite you’ll find in the 3 Series, 7 Series, iX, and so on. A key difference between the two is the 10.2-inch central display can be operated either by touching the screen or with the familiar iDrive knob on the center console that’s been removed for iDrive 8. The Z4 has a solid list of driver-assistance technologies built in, as well, though the good stuff is locked behind a $700 Driving Assistance Package.
The 2023 Z4 sDrive30i is $1,300 more expensive than before, starting at $53,795 including a $995 destination charge. The Z4 M40i keeps its $66,295 MSRP intact. Honestly, the four-cylinder 30i seems like the better buy of the two, since it doesn’t compromise on luxury or good road manners, and I have to believe…