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February 4, 2024

Review: 2024 BMW Z4 sDrive20i

Credit Toyota and their decision to resurrect the Supra for the existence of the third-generation BMW Z4, but whatever the result stemming from the boardroom meetings of the two carmakers, don’t discredit the fact that this is actually available at BMW showrooms. Just when the market appeal for roadsters has softened, this G29 is the best version to have come out of Munich; well, technically the Magna plant in Austria, but who cares. It’s a return to fighting form and one that has it nipping at greatness.

The Z4’s basic mechanical components isn’t anything extraordinary—it’s a setup that’s present in just about every rear-wheel drive BMW. Yet, engineers have cleverly worked on the details all for the sake of driver enjoyment. The wheelbase has been shortened and the tracks widened for the sake of agility, the suspension mounted to an aluminum subframe for precision, the center gravity lowered, and the platform lightened and stiffened at the same time.

In a word, it’s capable. The chassis cope with just about every type of driving scenario. Through tight, twisty roads, there’s an enormous amount of grip to exploit, and the suspension easily puts both body roll and float in check. As a trade-off, a bit of bounce and waywardness is noticeable over rougher patches of roads, but that’s all in character for a low-slung, two-seater sportscar. On long, smooth pieces of road, it’s also extremely capable with controlled levels of wind and road noise. The steering is, admittedly, short on feedback, but is intuitive and accurate. Even a small effort will thread it through a tight bend with forces those standard Michelin Pilot Super Sports can exploit.

As a roadster, the Z4 allows some outside noise to permeate the cabin. In standstill traffic, you’ll actually hear what motorists, particularly cyclists will think of this BMW’s design. Nonetheless, its insulation, especially against Manila’s midday heat is seriously good. Bringing the fabric top down on the Z4 takes about 10 Mississippis and can be done at speeds of up 50 km/h. However, there’s almost no indication that the top’s working except for a small display at the bottom of the gauge cluster. It’s also annoying having to hold the roof button up or down as it completes its intricate ballet.

As the Z4 sDrive20i, this variant comes with a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter with 197 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque. On paper, these outputs don’t sound a lot—as the MX-5 makes 184 horsepower without forced induction, while the BRZ makes 235 horsepower with a larger normally-aspirated motor. But again, engineers have managed to find a way to put all that power to the pavement. Zero to 100 km/h is achieved in an efficient 6.6 seconds. Character-wise, it’s not exactly the most rev happiest of engines, but it does use the generous torque spread—1,450 to 4,200 rpm—to push the 1,435-kilogram curb weight around. The 8-speed automatic is a willing ally too, but at its default “Comfort” mode, it feels choked. Sport is best to keep the entire thing singing happily.

If there’s a glaring issue with the Z4, it’s that the brakes are just hard to modulate. With a very short pedal stroke, it’s extreme grabby and this can make driving it in stop-and-go traffic an infuriating experience.

Equally compelling for the Z4 is its interior. The design itself is straight on corporate BMW so don’t expect it to look that different from the rest of the line-up. The switchgear, the spattering of chrome and piano black trim are all impeccably finished. That said, the dash, door cards, and seats are all bespoke. Thus, the controls are all canted towards the driver, creating a driver-focused environment. The seats are low-slung, but they’re still easy to see out of. They also come with, surprise, electronic adjustment (including the bolsters) so they’re supportive, comfortable, and can fit a wide variety of body types.

Oh, and speaking about body types, there’s plenty of space on offer here despite the Z4’s compact exterior proportions. The foot well themselves are free from any obstructions, enabling you and your companion to spread their legs in comfort. Plus, the wide set cabin means there’s no rubbing shoulders in here. There are plenty of cubby holes too, but here’s wishing the cup holders and USB Type C charger were designed better. As it stands, they’re mounted inside the covered arm rest. This means having to drive around with the arm rest bin open. And even then, it’s a choice of whether you’d like to charge your phone or fit two cups of coffee (wireless charging isn’t available). Behind the seats, there are map pockets and even a shelf that’ll fit an umbrella or two. Most impressive of all though, the trunk can hold a reasonable 281 liters; there’s even a ski hatch in-between the front seats for extra-long items.

The good news continues with the Z4’s infotainment system. It may be stuck in the previous generation BMW Operating System 7 era, but don’t take away the fact that it’s responsive and easy-to-use (save for pairing an iPhone for CarPlay for the first time). The menu system itself is relatively flat with just one or two sub-menus per function and navigating them can be done either with the 10.3-inch touchscreen, if that’s your preference, or via the rotary controller located on the center console. However, the gauge cluster and its polygonal-shaped interface, isn’t the most legible so thankfully there are clear digital markings for speed.

The Z4 lost its way when BMW tried to broaden its appeal with the previous-generation model. Now, whether it was their intention or Toyota’s, this third-generation model has gone back to basics with a formula that puts emphasis back on driver enjoyment. For those considering a luxury roadster, the BMW Z4 has made a case for itself. It’s truly appealing for those who want something engaging and athletic. Yet, at the same time, it can cover ground in a seriously comfortable manner and remains practical and civil even for daily use.

2024 BMW Z4 sDrive20i

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Bottom Line
Pros Engaging, yet comfortable chassis; room for two and their luggage; impeccable build.
Cons Grabby brakes, gauge cluster doesn't promote legibility.
TL;DR A seriously good sportscar that's comfortable enough for daily use.
Year Introduced 2019 (Refreshed: 2023)
Warranty 5 years / 200,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Sportscar
Seating 2
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
Maximum Output (PS @ rpm) 197 @ 4,500-6,500
Maximum Torque (Nm @ rpm) 320 @ 1,450-4200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~95
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes, w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 13.69 km/L @ 35 km/h
Fuel Tank Size (L) 52
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,324
Width (mm) 1,864
Height (mm) 1,304
Wheelbase (mm) 2,470
Curb Weight (kg) 1,435
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Michelin Pilot Super Sport
225/45 R 18 (front),
255/40 R 18 (rear)
Recommended Tire Pressure (PSI) 32 all (partial load),
32 front, 35 rear (full load)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 4
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts None
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Advanced Driver Assist System Emergency Braking (Rear, Side)
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Parking Assistant
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear (LED)
Light Operation Automatic
Wiper Operation Rain-Sensing
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic, Manual
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-way, w/ Memory
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row None
3rd Row None
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display / Size Yes, 10.25-inch
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold, Auto-dimming (Driver)
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Wireless Charger None
Infotainment Display / Size 10.25-inch
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 10
Steering Controls Yes


  1. If BMW Ph can offer a 2 liter Z4, I hope Toyota Ph can also offer the 2 liter Supra.

  2. You should keep on doing more car reviews sometimes, i love it. Maybe review some other car brands too

    1. Thanks! We do review brands too. We're not picky.

    2. It's the brands that are wary with Uly... *Cough* *ford* *Cough*, which is surprising since they still lent you recently a wildtrak.

  3. In fairness to Ford, they lent me the Ranger, Everest Sport, Everest Titanium and Raptor. They won't let me touch the all-new Territory...and based on what my colleagues tell me (off the record), it's better they don't LOL.


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