2011 BMW Z4

sDrive30i RWD 2-Dr Convertible I6 man trans

2011 bmw z4 Reviews and News

Bmw Z4 Front View Driving
Toe-to-toe at last
We've been waiting a long time for this meeting. The predecessors to the two cars you see here debuted back in the booming late 1990s, but were as different as Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, or Friends and Seinfeld. The bulldog-faced Z3 oozed machismo, performance, and back-to-basics simplicity. James Bond drove one. The SLK, in contrast, had a steel folding hard top, came in colors like copper and electric green, and had recirculating-ball steering. Your wife wanted one.
Bmw Z4 Front Slight Right View Parked
It's a lot more complicated these days. Everyone knows Newt's a philanderer, too, and no one knows what's on NBC Thursday nights. More to the point, with the two-seat convertible segment shriveling to a size that can no longer support multiple niches, BMW and Mercedes have moved away from their extremes and have, in the process, created very similar roadsters. In the Z3's transformation to the Z4 and now the second-generation Z4, it aped the SLK's luxurious appointments and its folding hardtop. Mercedes, meanwhile, has quietly injected testosterone into its "chick car" such that the new SLK350, which went on sale earlier this month, puts down 302 hp and carves corners like an honest-to-goodness sports car. Call it evolution; call it regression to the mean; call it business. We'd call it the makings of a great showdown.
Uniqueness counts. Or does it?
A comparison of lesser hardtop convertibles would no doubt spend much time talking about which did a better job disguising the frumpy rear quarters. This, however, is the master class, and there's no trace of awkwardness in either our diamond white metallic SLK350 or Melbourne red metallic Z4 sDrive35is. Instead, we can consider the SLK and Z4 on the merits of their overall design.
Much like buying the cheapest house in a ritzy neighborhood, the SLK clearly benefits aesthetically from having very expensive older siblings. The roofline whispers "SL550" and the upright front end barks "SLS AMG." And yet unlike the last model's drooping SLR McLaren nose, the cues on the new SLK don't seem tacked on in a vain effort to convince dates that you're a movie star rather than an orthodontist. It's convincing, mature, and masculine without being butch.
The Z4, in contrast, will never be mistaken for anything other than a Z4. Even though BMW designers toned down Chris Bangle's controversial (but influential) flame surfacing for the current generation, the Z4's styling remains polarizing. Some, including design editor Robert Cumberford, think it's exceptional. Others, including this humble writer, still find it a bit overwrought. That impression is enhanced by our model's M aerodynamics package, which adds aggressive rocker and fascia extensions.
Bmw Z4 Left Side View Driving
Both cars maintain a high level of style in their cabins. The SLK's interior here again borrows successfully from the SLS to great effect. Though we actually find the switchgear and details a bit pedestrian in the $183,000 Gullwing, it's more than enough to impress on a $66,805 SLK. In fact, the materials quality edges out that of the Z4, which as equipped is $64,225, although we still fancy the BMW's unique layout and circular secondary controls.
When it comes to more functional aspects of design, neither car avoids hardtop compromises completely. To lower the top - a process that takes about twenty seconds in either car - you need to first slide in place a trunk divider that slashes cargo room from 10.9 to 6.4 cubic feet in the Z4 and from a slightly better 11.8 to 7.9-cubic feet in the SLK. With the top up, however, the Mercedes scores a clear victory thanks to its general quietness - the Z4 rattles some over bumps - and a new parlor trick called Magic Sky Control. Introduced last year on the outgoing SLK, the optional panoramic sunroof automatically adjusts its tint level to let in just the right amount of sun. We won't go so far as to say we'd part with $2500 of our own money for the option, but on this test car it certainly relieved the cramped, dank atmosphere common to convertibles when the top is up.
Sweet six-cylinder sound, sour SLK seven-speed shifting
The engine downsizing zeitgeist will soon catch up with these roadsters - Mercedes and BMW will each introduce 2.0-liter four-cylinder variants within the next twelve months. For this fleeting moment though, power still rules and both these test cars produce lots of it. The "350" nomenclature for the SLK refers to a heartier version of the new, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 in the C-class, good for 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The sDrive35is muster even more. BMW's familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six here is tuned to deliver the same 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque as the 1-series M.
Tops lowered to worship the summer sun, we stomp on gas pedals and shoot down the rural roads outside of Ann Arbor. The SLK and Z4, despite weighing some 3400- and 3500-pounds respectively, reward our indulgence with effortless acceleration and exhaust notes raspy enough to dispel any remaining notions that these are mere poseurs. We're impressed by the smoothness and flexibility of the SLK's big V-6, which responds enthusiastically regardless of the tachometer needle's position. That said, this is still BMW's dominion. Its inline-six reacts instantly to commands of the throttle and at full howl drowns out the Mercedes.
Mercedes Benz Slk350 Front Parked
Both cars might be described as having seven-speed automatics, but the BMW unit has the key modifier, "dual-clutch." As a result, the SLK simply can't match the ferociousness of the Z4's upshifts nor the immediacy of its downshifts, especially when we apply multiple taps to the steering-wheel-mounted paddle. We suspect this quick shifting, as much as the 33-hp advantage, explains why the Z4 is about a half second faster to 60 mph, according to factory estimates. Still, we're more annoyed with the Mercedes' software than the hardware. Regardless of whether it's in economy or sport mode, the gearbox proves too eager to upshift and isn't nearly proactive enough in downshifting under hard braking. There is a manual mode, but even that won't keep it from upshifting if you happen to hit the rev limiter - not what we want during cornering.
The Z4's gearbox does not entirely escape criticism. We still think BMW's insistence that each paddle should be able to call up either upshifts or downshifts (tap forward for upshift, pull back for upshift) is confusing. And for all its sporting credentials, the Z4, like the SLK, often refuses to hold a gear at redline, even with the transmission in manual mode and all the adjustable electronic settings dialed up to eleven.
Heavy steering is not always good steering
The SLK and Z4 are both fantastic handlers in the modern idiom, which is to say they rely on high levels of grip, excellent body control, and some high-tech wizardry. The sDrive35is has adaptive dampers with the usual sport and comfort settings (the SLK350 can be equipped similarly, but only as a special order option that was not on our test vehicle). In the real world, at least, it's tough to discern a substantial difference in body control, especially since the Z4 is so stiffly sprung to begin with.
The Mercedes, for its part, boasts variable ratio steering that quickens during aggressive driving. We feared this would feel unnatural, as many such setups are, but Mercedes has executed it nearly to perfection. The variable effect is transparent, and the steering itself is light, precise, and extremely communicative. We wish we could say the same of the Z4's steering. It's a variable effort setup that seems to have two settings: "heavy" and "heavier." We'd happily live with this extra forearm exercise if the reward was excellent feel and feedback but, sadly, it is not.
Mercedes Benz Slk350 Front View
Conclusion:
The BMW Z4 sDrive35is proves once and for all that a hardtop convertible can be aggressive, macho, and sporty. And yet, the Mercedes-Benz SLK350 is also aggressive, macho, and sporty without needing to prove it constantly. It looks muscular without a million creases in its sheetmetal; it handles well without the pretense of heavy steering or adaptive dampers. If you want a the most performance and attitude you can get for your dollar, then by all means, go for the Z4 and its iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove powertrain. Just make sure you don't actually want a Porsche Boxster, first. Most hardtop convertible buyers, however, would do better to choose the SLK350, which provides as much real world driving pleasure but never hides or apologizes for being what it is: a very comfortable, stylish hardtop convertible.
1005 08+2011 BMW Z4 Sdrive35is Roadster+rear Three Quarter View
It's appropriate that BMW has bestowed perhaps the most extreme example of its ridiculous new naming convention upon the most extreme version of its Z4 hardtop roadster, the sDrive35is. Suffice it to say that the "s" at the end of the newest Z4's name stands for "sport" and is accompanied by a lot more than a cute little body kit.
1005 08+2011 BMW Z4 Sdrive35is Roadster+rear Three Quarter View
As you might recall, the current-generation Z4 debuted a little over a year ago with the top model -- called the Z4 sDrive35i -- featuring BMW's venerable 300-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo in-line six code-named N54. The sDrive35i, unlike other "35i" vehicles, stands pat for the 2011 model year and doesn't get BMW's new N55 single-turbo 3.0-liter straight six. Instead, the Z4's powertrain news for '11 is that the new sDrive35is edition gets a more powerfully boosted version (14.5 psi of peak turbo boost versus 8.7 psi) of the N54, which results in jumps of 35 hp and 69 lb-ft of torque ... it also results in the front end of the car jumping upward during hard acceleration like that of an old-school big-block American muscle car at the drag strip.
It's therefore easy to believe BMW's claim that the Z4 sDrive35is (which we'll refer to as "35is" from now on to save precious Internet ink) will blast from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds -- 0.3 second quicker than the sDrive35i (henceforth "35i") with a dual-clutch automatic. The transmission qualifier is important because, while the 35i can be fitted with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch unit ("DCT" in BMW-speak), the 35is comes only with the DCT. That may sadden traditionalists, but we find some consolation in the fact that the transmission is very responsive and well-matched to this upgraded engine. It is unfortunate, however, that BMW designed each column-mounted shift paddle to handle both upshift and downshift duties, rather than the more traditional left-for-downshift, right-for-upshift approach. While test-driving the 35is on rural New Jersey back roads, I quickly gave up on those shifters in favor of the console-mounted shift lever's manual control, where pushing forward intuitively (at least to this reviewer) actuates a downshift and pulling back cues an upshift.
Once I was behind the wheel of a 35is on New Jersey Motorsports Park's lovely Lightning Raceway, though, I was content to toggle the Z4's standard Driving Dynamics Control to its Sport Plus mode and let the transmission manage gear changes automatically. I found this especially helpful since the 35is can be a bit of a handful to drive quickly on the track (especially compared with the other BMWs that I sampled at NJMP, including the glorious M3 and the physics-defying X6 M). The hottest Z4 certainly has plenty of power and nice steering, but it can feel unstable under braking, particularly unforgiving of hamfisted inputs, and extra challenging at times in the hands of relatively inexperienced track drivers like myself. It's much easier for a novice to play Lewis Hamilton in a more balanced-feeling Porsche Boxster S. Not only is the Boxster S less powerful by 25 horses, its normally aspirated urge comes on buttery smooth and predictable. Of course, it can be more rewarding to get a more powerful and anxious car like the Z4 working well on a track, but when you're limited to just a few laps in a car, it's sometimes preferable to enjoy yourself instead of frighten yourself.
The buzz around the paddock at NJMP was that the 35is might ultimately represent the most powerful E89-chassis Z4; M editions of the last-generation Z4 roadster and coupe -- a.k.a. E85 -- were part of that vehicle's swan song. The rumor that the E89 will top out with this 35is model could be supported by the fact that BMW worked so hard to differentiate it cosmetically from its lesser siblings. To wit, the 35is features M-badged items including its steering wheel, dead pedal, and doorsills along with its front and rear fascias; a lowered adaptive suspension is also sourced from BMW's legendary M division. The sideview mirrors are capped in silver (à la Audi S4), and the cabin also features gray-faced gauges and cool carbon-fiber-look aluminum trim on the dash, center console, and door panels. The 35is's exhaust system was specially modified for this engine's tuning, and the aggressively refined result is music to our ears. The 35is also gets unique wheels, whether the base five-spoke eighteen-inch design or the very attractive split-five-spoke nineteen-inchers, which are a worthwhile $1200 option.
1005 07+2011 BMW Z4 Sdrive35is Roadster+profile View
Speaking of money, the Z4 sDrive35is is on sale now and has a base price of $61,925, which is a $9150 premium over the 35i model and $15,050 dearer than the base 30i version of the Z4. BMW claims that the 35is, despite its higher-strung engine, gets similar mileage to the DCT-equipped 35i, which is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
We'd still love to see an M edition of this Z4 (maybe they'd call it simply "Z4 M" ... wouldn't that be novel?), but the new sDrive35is is a suitable flag-waver, no matter what, if anything, comes next.
2011 BMW Z4
2011 BMW Z4
The BMW is a very competent little sports coupe that only seats two, but offers some very nice open road power. The coupe is more for cruising and enjoying the ride and no so much for storage and features. BMW understands this and has built in only the bare necessities when it comes to interior features. The main engineering in this little pocket rocket is in the ride and the overall driving experience. There are few changes to the body since last year's model, but the engine has received some revisions. Now with a 3.0 liter I-6 instead of a twin turbo, the driver will notice almost no difference in performance, but there is a noticeable increase in fuel economy due to the increased air intake flow.

This soft top roadster is a very small and very fast car. Because of the very light weight this vehicle gets away with a smaller engine that some of its competitors. The price of the vehicle is an issue for some, because this car can only carry 2 passengers the $60,000 + price tag may be a little rich for some peoples blood.
2012 Audi S7 Front View
Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.
BMW Z4 GT3 Front
As enthusiasts, we all at some point wish our cars were instead their racing equivalents.BMW apparently understands this feeling, and produced this commercial spot depicting a woman driving her Z4 sDrive35is who slips into fantasy as she dreams that it’s actually a Z4 GT3 race car.
2011 BMW Z4 SDrive35is Front View In Motion 2
I can muster no complaints about this turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine and its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. We've all driven various BMWs with this powertrain, and I'm always particularly struck by the transmission's performance. Crisp, fast, upshifts and explosive acceleration are yours with a simple mash of the accelerator pedal.
2011 BMW Z4 SDrive35is Front View In Motion
It's truly remarkable how absolutely pinned to the road the Z4 feels, whether in a high-speed corner or during a triple-digit straight run on the highway. Not even Michigan-style heaves, holes, or otherwise imperfect pavement can deflect the Z4 off your chosen line. But that glued-to-the-road feeling is accompanied by an overall impression of heaviness that makes the Z4 feel far less fun than a Porsche Boxster or a Mazda Miata.
2011 BMW Z4 SDrive35is Front View Parked
The Z4 may not be at the top of the sports car hierarchy, but it sure is fun to drive with the top down on a sunny day. One push of the button is all it takes to lower the roof and start to enjoy the exhilaration that you can only feel when driving in the open air. Add to that the ability to summon 335 hp from a responsive turbocharged in-line six, and driving the Z4 is hard to beat. Sure, it doesn't quite match the dynamic performance of a Porsche Boxster, but I have no complaints. Anyone who buys a Z4 should know exactly what they're getting, and I doubt that most of them have any complaints, either.
2011 BMW Z4 SDrive35is Left Side View
BMW Design2
DesignworksUSA, BMW’s in-house design subsidiary, has been chosen to dream up the next batch of train cars for the San Francisco Bay Area’s BART, the fifth largest light-rail train system in the U.S. These new train cars, called “The Fleet of the Future,” will replace the existing cars in service since BART’s inception in 1972. DesignworksUSA believes that its experience in the transportation field will help it bring a premium ridership experience to BART when the trains go online in 2017.   
Bmw Z4 Mercedes Benz Slk
Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week along with the weekend racing schedule for your convenience.

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Certified Pre-Owned 2011 BMW Z4 Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$28,625

Used 2011 BMW Z4 Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$47,450

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2011 BMW Z4
2011 BMW Z4
sDrive30i RWD 2-Dr Convertible I6
18 MPG City | 28 MPG Hwy
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sDrive30i RWD 2-Dr Convertible I6
$47,450
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2011 BMW Z4
2011 BMW Z4
sDrive30i RWD 2-Dr Convertible I6
255hp
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2011 BMW Z4 Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
3.0L I6Engine
Fuel economy City:
18 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
28 MPG
Horsepower:
255 hp @ 6600rpm
Torque:
220 ft lb of torque @ 2600rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
50,000 miles / 48 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
Unlimited miles / 48 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Summary
BMW is recalling certain model year 2008-2012 1-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured December 2007 through September 2011; and 2007-2011 3-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sedans manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sports wagons manufactured March 2007 through June 2011; and 2009-2011 Z4 vehicles manufactured March 2009 through June 2011. In February 2013, BMW recalled 504,545 vehicles. In July 2013, BMW informed the agency that it was adding 1-Series, 3-Series, and Z4 vehicles, representing an additional 12,094 vehicles. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 516,791. The connector for the positive battery cable connector and the corresponding terminal on the fuse box may degrade over time. Over time, the high current flow and heat from electrical resistance may lead to a breakage of the connection, and a loss of electrical power to the vehicle.
Consequences
If there is a loss of electrical power to the vehicle, the vehicle may unexpectedly stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the positive battery cable connector and secure it with an improved method, free of charge. The recall began on March 13, 2013. Owners may call BMW at 1-800-525-7417 or email BMW at CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.
Potential Units Affected
516,791
Notes
BMW of North America, LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:BATTERY:CABLES
Summary
BMW is recalling certain model year 2008-2012 1-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured December 2007 through September 2011; and 2007-2011 3-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sedans manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sports wagons manufactured March 2007 through June 2011; and 2009-2011 Z4 vehicles manufactured March 2009 through June 2011. In February 2013, BMW recalled 504,545 vehicles. In July 2013, BMW informed the agency that it was adding 1-Series, 3-Series, and Z4 vehicles, representing an additional 12,094 vehicles. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 516,791. The connector for the positive battery cable connector and the corresponding terminal on the fuse box may degrade over time. Over time, the high current flow and heat from electrical resistance may lead to a breakage of the connection, and a loss of electrical power to the vehicle.
Consequences
If there is a loss of electrical power to the vehicle, the vehicle may unexpectedly stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the positive battery cable connector and secure it with an improved method, free of charge. The recall began on March 13, 2013. Owners may call BMW at 1-800-525-7417 or email BMW at CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.
Potential Units Affected
516,791
Notes
BMW of North America, LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:FUSES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS
Summary
BMW is recalling certain model year 2008-2012 1-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured December 2007 through September 2011; and 2007-2011 3-Series coupes and convertibles manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sedans manufactured March 2007 through October 2011; 2007-2011 3-Series sports wagons manufactured March 2007 through June 2011; and 2009-2011 Z4 vehicles manufactured March 2009 through June 2011. In February 2013, BMW recalled 504,545 vehicles. In July 2013, BMW informed the agency that it was adding 1-Series, 3-Series, and Z4 vehicles, representing an additional 12,094 vehicles. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 516,791. The connector for the positive battery cable connector and the corresponding terminal on the fuse box may degrade over time. Over time, the high current flow and heat from electrical resistance may lead to a breakage of the connection, and a loss of electrical power to the vehicle.
Consequences
If there is a loss of electrical power to the vehicle, the vehicle may unexpectedly stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Remedy
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the positive battery cable connector and secure it with an improved method, free of charge. The recall began on March 13, 2013. Owners may call BMW at 1-800-525-7417 or email BMW at CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.
Potential Units Affected
516,791
Notes
BMW of North America, LLC


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:40
Component
ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:ENGINE
Summary
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2010-2011 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible, 328i Sedan, 328i xDrive Sedan, 328i Coupe, 328i Convertible, 328i Sports Wagon and Z4 sDrive 30i, 2011-2012 135i Coupe, 135i Convertible, 335i Sedan, X5 xDrive 35i, and X6 xDrive 35i, 2011 335i xDrive Sedan, 335i Coupe, 335i Convertible, 528i Sedan, 535i Sedan, 535i xDrive Sedan, X3 xDrive 28i, and X3 xDrive 35i, 2010 X3 xDrive 30i, and X5 xDrive 30i, 2012 640i Coupe, and 640i Convertible and 2010-2012 535i Gran Turismo vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the bolts that secure the housing for the variable camshaft timing adjustment (VANOS) unit can loosen over time and may possibly break.
Consequences
If the bolts loosen or break the engine may have reduced power or stall. An engine stall increases the risk of a crash.
Remedy
BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the four VANOS housing bolts for both VANOS units (intake and exhaust), free of charge. In addition, owners of approximately 170,172 model year 2010-2012 BMW vehicles equipped with inline 6 cylinder engines not covered by this recall, will receive an extended warranty to address this condition. The recall began on September 24, 2014. Owners may contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417.
Potential Units Affected
156,137
Notes
BMW of North America, LLC


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2011 BMW Z4

Depreciation
31.2%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$14,638
31.2%
Insurance
$7,290
15.5%
Fuel Cost
$12,463
26.6%
Financing
$3,169
6.8%
Maintenance
$4,485
9.6%
Repair Costs
$4,473
9.5%
State Fees
$415
0.9%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $46,933 What's This?
Value Rating: Above Average