Road Test: 2013 BMW Z4 sDrive18i

Road Test: 2013 BMW Z4 sDrive18i

BMW Z4’s new entry level version is the sDrive18i powered by a 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine. This same power source can be found from the sDrive20i and sDrive28i models. The four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine features twin-scroll turbocharging, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, Valvetronic fully variable valve control and Double-Vanos continuously variable camshaft control. In the sDrive18i, the BMW TwinPower Turbo engine delivers 115 kW / 156 hp at 5,000rpm and 240 Newton metres (177 lb-ft) of torque between 1,250 and 4,400 rpm. As standard the engine is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and the eight-speed automatic is available as an option.

This engine gives you a bit mixed feelings. When you’re driving with the roof down, the engine’s performance is more than enough. You do well with the 156 horsepower when you’re enjoying the sunshine and surprisingly nice sounds delivered by the exhaust system even with this four-cylinder engine. However, with the roof up, the sDrive18i feels underpowered. With the manual the sDrive18i accelerates from zero to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 7,9 seconds and with automatic in 8,1 seconds. So it moves quite well, but considering its fantastic, sporty looks, you expected it to be much much faster. Luckily, there are also more powerful versions available. The other 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine variants in the Z4 range deliver 184 hp (sDrive20i) and 245 hp (sDrive28i). If you want even more, there are also six-cylinder models sDrive35i delivering 306 hp and sDrive35is with 340 hp.

Although the Z4 looks quite good in its standard form, you can always upgrade it a little bit. One possibility is to choose the optional M Sport package. It includes features like sports seats, M leather steering wheel, M gear lever knob, M driver’s footrest, M door sill finishers, Aluminium Carbon trim strip and an anthracite-coloured roof liner. M aerodynamics package with large air intakes in the front wing and a rear bumper inlay painted Anthracite metallic improves the car’s exterior design. The 19-inch wheels with low profile tyres look delicious, but give the car a quite hard ride when combined with the M Sport suspension. Especially if you have the sDrive18i, you might consider the standard suspension which provides perhaps a bit more comfortable ride.

This car was also equipped with a new Design Pure Traction package. With the Pure Traction package, the bespoke Alcantara door panel trim, like the lower section of the instrument panel, comes in orange. The black leather seats have contrast stitching in Valencia Orange and an accent stripe running down the central section of the backrests and seat cushions. This stripe is likewise orange and is flanked by two thin white lines. The door panel trim and lower section of the instrument panel can also be specified in black as an option. Another exclusive element of the Design Pure Traction package is the metal weave trim strip, which can be combined with further decorative elements in high-gloss black for the door openers and the gearshift or selector lever. A total of 11 external paint finishes are available for the new BMW Z4. This Valencia Orange metallic can only be ordered together with the Design Pure Traction package.

The new BMW Z4 looks fantastic and is great to drive with its low and back seating position. The only problem might be choosing the right engine variant. This new entry-level model sDrive18i is a bit cheaper to buy, and if you drive only with the roof down, you will probably be quite happy with it. But if possible, you should also consider other engine options, because this kind of roadster is always more fun the more power it has.



  • Petrol
  • 4-cylinder
  • 1997cc
  • Turbo


  • 115 kW (156 hp) / 5000rpm


  • 240 Nm / 1250-4400rpm


  • 8-speed automatic
  • RWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 8.1 seconds

Top speed

  • 220 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 6.8 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 159 g/km