Waiting for a new take on the M roadster? You’ll have to make do with the 2010 BMW Z4 sDrive35is. It may not wear that fabled “M” badge, but the new range-topping Z4 model is faster than the last Z4 M models produced.
As indicated by the awkward name, the Z4 SDrive35is makes use of the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 as the Z4 sDrive35i, but BMW’s increased the output to 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. An “overboost” button allows the driver to command even more torque -- 369 lb-ft -- at the driver’s whim.
Mated to a modified form of BMW’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox or a six-speed manual transmission, the boosted 3.0-liter can slingshot the Z4 sDrive35is from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds, making it three-tenths of a second faster than an sDrive35i. In comparison, the last Z4 M coupe and roadster models blasted from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
In addition to tinkering with the powertrain, BMW’s also made the M Sports package -- an option on other Z4 models -- standard on the Z4 sDrive35is. As a result, the adaptive suspension, special lightweight 18-inch wheels, and aggressive front and rear bumper fascias are standard equipment.
BMW hasn’t disclosed an on-sale date or pricing for the new Z4 sDrive35is, but expect the newest Z4 model to debut this January at the 2010 Detroit auto show.