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2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven

2020 BMW M850i Convertible - Driven

Fighting the competition in an all-new niche we didn’t know existed

The year was 2018, and it was time for BMW to have a Halo car outside of the aging i8, but BMW didn’t go for another EV or a high-powered supercar. Instead, after a 20-year hiatus, BMW decided that it was time to revive the 8 Series name, and that’s exactly what happened on June 15, 2018. The modern, sporty 2019 BMW 8 Series shot like an arrow straight to the heart of purists as BMW let out the roaring promise of crippling power in a sexy coupe silhouette – 523 horsepower in M850i form, to be specific. Since the return of the new 8 Series that hot day in the middle of June, the 8 Series lineup has expanded to include the 840i, M850i, M8, and the soon-to-launch Gran Coupe that should be offered in both M850i and M8 form.

Like most BMW fanboys, we started picking apart the new BMW 8 Series. We wondered: Is it worthy of the 8 Series name? Will it be worth the near-six-figure price? Can this large of a car really offer up the performance, handling, and luxury that not only have we come to expect from BMW but from something that wears the crown of a halo car? We’ve set out to find the truth on a number of occasions, and have even compared it on paper to the 6 Series, the Aston Martin DB11, and the Mercedes S-Class. It wasn’t until Summer of 2019 that we actually got to sit behind the wheel of the new 8 Series, though. But, when we did, we were graced with the honor of driving the M850i Convertible – a model that is said to blend 523 horsepower, world-class driving dynamics, and the best open-air feeling on the market.

The question now is, however, does the all-new 8 Series actually live up to the bold claims made by BMW? Well, we spent a whole week with the M850i Convertible, and this is our story. You might want to buckle up because things get interesting!!

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2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven

2019 BMW i8 Roadster Driven

The reasonably powered supercar

The BMW i8 Roadster is the car you want to have if you want to make more statements at once. If you want to look wealthy, unusual, and with an eye towards our future, you should park an i8 in your driveway. The 2+2 sports car still looks fresh six years into its production cycle and, as much as we love the glassed roof of the coupe, this roadster version is the one to have during the summer months. We took one for a spin to see if BMW has lost the lead in the hybrid sports car segment or if the i8 is still the king of the crop.

Now, the first thing you must know about the i8 Roadster is the concession it pushes you to make: due to the fact that you no longer have a fixed roof over your head and, instead, you have to make do with a soft top, there are o back seats. The place where the back seats used to be is eaten up by the two-piece, electrified roof when it’s folded away from view. On the other hand, you do get just as much oomph as in the case of the Coupe, namely 369 horsepower combined that translate to a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Also, the roofless i8 was the first to come with the 11.6 kWh battery pack that feeds the single synchronous electric motor on the front axle and the one that sits on the back axle, near the engine.

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1998 - 2002 BMW M Coupe

1998 - 2002 BMW M Coupe

Weird that goes fast

It’s been called the “clown shoe” on more than one occasion. Personally, I think it looks like a Dutch clog, but that’s just me. Whatever you want to call it, the BMW M Coupe is undeniably unique, and the individuality runs much deeper than simple aesthetics. From a numbers standpoint, it’s one of the lowest production BMWs ever made. Philosophically, the M Coupe was built by engineers for people who want to go fast, completely removed from the velocity-killing forces of branding and marketing. Rather, the approach taken here was more backyard-special than high-gloss advertisement – low weight, high horsepower, lots of rubber, and let the public think whatever it wants.

While at times unbridled and unforgiving, the M Coupe is still whip-smart, with handling that takes finesse and patience to master. A true enthusiast’s vehicle, Car and Driver called it “nerd chic,” while U.S. owners gather every year to share their passion at an event called Dorkfest. Let’s just say appeal is limited, at best.

While rarity and explicit weirdness have pushed the M Coupe into obscurity, car lovers of every stripe would do well to regard it as the fast, unhinged shooting-brake challenge that was never truly answered.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1998 – 2002 BMW M Coupe.

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2017 BMW Z2 Roadster

2017 BMW Z2 Roadster

Rumors of a smaller roadster known as the BMW Z2, which aims to capture the spirit of the departed BMW Z3, have been swirling for several years, but nothing ever happened. Well, Autocar has resurrected the rumors and we now have a little bit of unconfirmed information on this potential model. It looks like it is the real deal, but you’ll have to be the judge.

While the Z4 is slowly transitioning into a GT car, the rumored Z2 will be an open-top, entry-level roadster that gives the opportunity for roadster fans to buy one without shelling a small fortune, an aspect that made the Mazda MX-5 Miata legendary.

While BMW is bound to call this car a "Z3 successor," the omission of RWD alone isn’t deserving of that description. Let’s see what BMW has in store for us in this exciting project they may undertake.

Updated 5/12/2014: Car and Driver has brought to our attention that despite a lack of information, the FWD BMW Z2 is very much still alive and projected to hit the market in late 2016. Prices will range from around $30,000 for the base model to as high as $50k for the M variant.

Click past the jump to read more on the Z2 Roadster.

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2014 BMW Z4

2014 BMW Z4

While we are all waiting for the next-generation Z4, it looks like BMW has slid in a refreshed version for the 2014 model year for good measure. The model has been caught testing in many times and now it will be making its world debut in January 2013 at the Detroit Auto Show.

BMW’s decision to update for the current generation Z4 Roadster shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. First, the current-gen Z4 has been on the market since 2009 and secondly, a final decision on a third-generation Z4 is still to be made.

Of course, the updates on the 2014 Z4 aren’t very impressive; in fact, the U.S. market will be the only one not receiving the biggest update — a new entry-level model that features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. Other updates will be limited to the exterior, and will include updated LED headlights and two new set of wheels… That’s pretty much it!

Updated 12/18/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Updated 12/26/2012: BMW has unveiled two very cool video for their new Z4 Roadster set to be revealed in Detroit. The new video show the car in action, but also a few exterior and interior design elements.

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2012 BMW Zagato Roadster

2012 BMW Zagato Roadster

When BMW and Zagato teamed up to introduce the BMW Zagato Coupe at the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este a few months ago, nobody had any inkling that the two companies had more than just one project up their collective sleeves.

Needless to say, all of us were once again caught by surprise when BMW released a teaser photo of another concept collaboration with Zagato, which made its debut at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance.

We weren’t about to assume what this new concept would be, but we easily made out the image of a BMW roadster, which lead us to think it could be a roadster version of the Zagato Coupe we saw a few months ago.

Well, we were right about it being a roadster version of the BMW Zagato, but what we weren’t expecting was for the new Roadster to carry many characteristics that were all its own. This isn’t just a drop-top version of the Zagato Coupe, this is a whole new level of awesomeness mixed with the superb styling characteristics of BMW and Zagato.

UPDATE 09/10/2012: BMW has unveiled a new video featuring BMW’s Head of Design, Karim Habib, as he explains the design concept behind the Zagato Roadster. Enjoy!

Hit the jump for full details on the BMW Zagato Roadster.

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2012 BMW Z4 White Wold by Rowen Japan

2012 BMW Z4 White Wold by Rowen Japan

While BMW is currently designing the next generation Z4, Japanese tuner Rowen gave updating the current generation a try. We don’t necessarily think it needs updating, but to each his own.

The updates for the BMW Z4 began with the exterior where the base element was carbon fiber. The kit consists of a new front bumper spoiler, side steps, a side carbon under flap, rear bumper spoiler, and wing all made of carbon fiber. A new set of wheels complete the look, while the rear of the vehicle gets a new titanium high performance exhaust system that weighs 28 lbs less than the standard exhaust. However, Rowen has yet to reveal if this new exhaust system will translate into any changes under the hood, but it is very possible.

On top of those changes, the package also includes a new LED reflector and a LED Z4 emblem to make it a bit more eye-catching.

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2015 BMW Z4

2015 BMW Z4

We brought the first details on the next generation BMW Z4 in the beginning of May 2012 and now British magazine, AutoCar, has put their investigative hats on to bring us even more news on the next Z4. The new details suggest that the next Z4 will be "more agile, athletic and sportier to drive."

The most important change will be made to the bonnet which will be shorter than in the current model. This change can’t be too drastic, however, because US customers are very fond of this feature. BMW opted for this aerodynamic change because it is believed the longer bonnet inhibited fast driving. The rest of the vehicle’s design will remain almost completely unchanged because BMW is adamant on keeping up the character of the Z4.

In terms of power, the next-generation Z4 will benefit from the downsized, four-cylinder N20 engines launched last year in the current generation Z4. Such a decision makes us hope that the famous Z4 M version will make a comeback, even though BMW officials have stated previously that a "business case for an M version of the current car is too weak to justify such a model. "

Expect to see the next generation BMW Z4 launched in 2015.

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2009 - 2012 BMW Z4 Roadster

2009 - 2012 BMW Z4 Roadster

The BMW Z4 is a relatively young model on the market. Its first generation was announced in 2002, and became a very successful model on the market thanks to its beautiful design language and its relatively cheaper price compared to other sports cars.

At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, BMW brought out the second generation Z4. And, next to a new design language and new engines, the E89 model came with big changes to the line-up: the coupe version was dropped and so was the previous M version. Instead, BMW offered a Z4 sDrive35is version - the most powerful Z4 currently available on the market.

On the US market, the current Z4 line-up includes the Z4 sDrive28i,
the Z4 sDrive35i, and the Z4 sDrive35is with prices ranging from $48,650 to $64,200. In Europe, customers can also opt for the sDrive20i, sDrive23i, or sDrive30i.

Hit the jump to read more about the BMW Z4 E89.

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2012 BMW i8 Concept Spyder

2012 BMW i8 Concept Spyder

In the past few months, we have seen tons of spy shots for the upcoming BMW i8 Coupe, but not even once have we heard rumors about a possible roadster version of the car. Somehow, BMW has been able to keep a tight lid on this project, but they are now unveiling the first details of the BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

Spyder models are generally top-less versions of their Coupe counterparts, but the new i8 Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length than the i8 Coupe. It has also received laser headlights, a semi-transparent "V" hood, and a rakish windscreen with an integrated spoiler.

Like its coupe brother, the new i8 Spyder combines two different power sources: a 131 HP electric motor on the front axle with a 223 HP turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine on the rear wheels. With a total of 354 HP, the new concept will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 155 mph. While running on electric only, the car has an autonomy of 19 miles.

Hit the jump to read more about the new BMW i8 Concept Spyder.

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2000 - 2003 BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning

2000 - 2003 BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning

The BMW Z8 was one of those cars that were great in theory, but lacked true ingenuity in production form. Before that realization, though, BMW built 5,703 units from March 2000 to July 2003, and 555 of those units were an Alpina version - meaning they were equipped with an an automatic gearbox and featured a wider radiator grill and side air intakes created by Henrik Fisker to get something good out of a design that didn’t exactly work out the way they had intended. Needless to say, the Z8 needed some work to crank up its style and Senner Tuning was able to get their hands on one of these models to do just that.

The BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning features a sleek, black exterior with a new set of 19" Work Schwert SC1 wheels in Diamond Black, wrapped around Continental Sport Contact 5P 255/40R19 and 285/35R19 tires. The wheels were then combined with a new set of Racing Gold varnished brake calipers and a new coilover suspension Variant 2 Inox-Line. The suspension comes with an adjustable rebound and a strut bar installed on the reinforced shock mount in the front in order to stabilize the front end. Nothing else was done to the look of the vehicle, which is probably okay because of the engine upgrade provided.

The original Z8 came equipped with a 5.0 liter V8 engine producing 400 HP and 370 lb-ft of torque. With a sports air filter set, a new a stainless steel silencer, and flame tubes designed with metal catalysts, the Z8 by Senner can now deliver an extra 50 HP and 25 lbs-ft, bringing it up to 50 HP and 395 lb-ft of torque. These figures make the Z8 good for a top speed of 186 mph, up from the standard 155.4 mph.

The full conversion kit for the BMW Z8 by Senner Tuning will set customers back 18,900 Euro (or $24,800 at the current exchange rates).

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2012 BMW Z4 by Anabolicar Magazine

2012 BMW Z4 by Anabolicar Magazine

Anabolicar Magazine is one of Germany’s biggest supercar magazines so obviously, they had to have a presence at the just finished 2011 Essen Motor Show. What we didn’t know was that they were bringing a humdinger of a project in the form of a tuned-up BMW Z4.

The show car, which was built specifically for the purpose of displaying it at Essen, comes with plenty of aerodynamic and performance enhancements that compliments the M Package the car already has. The exterior of the Z4 is highlighted by a Green reptile skin finish that was worked on by KK-Cocoon. In addition to that, the Z4 Anabolicar also has a new KW coil-over suspension, an Eisenmann exhaust system, a lowered M-chassis, and a new set of black, 19" OZ Racing alloy wheels. Meanwhile, the modifications for the interior include new M sports seats, a new M steering wheel, and a voice activated navigation system.

Under the hood of the Z4 Anabolicar lies a 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine that produces 265 horsepower. All that juice wrapped up in a fancy aesthetic dress results in a sports car that stole the show at the 2011 Essen Motor Show. Then again, we really shouldn’t have expected anything less from one of Germany’s biggest supercar magazines.

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2011 BMW Z4 sDrive20i and sDrive28i

2011 BMW Z4 sDrive20i and sDrive28i

BMW has chosen the British market to launch two new models for the Z4 line-up. The new Z4 sDrive20i and Z4 sDrive28i continue a tradition of over 80 years started by the 3/15 PA Wartburg Roadster back in 1930. It was a memorable car thanks to its setback glasshouse and front engine rear-wheel-drive configuration with the two seats positioned close to the rear axle.

The Z4 sDrive20i is powered by a four-cylinder engine with an output of 184 HP and 199 lb-ft of torque. It sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and can hit a top speed of 146 mph. For the sDrive28i, the total output has been increased to 245 HP. It sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The Z4 sDrive20i will be offered in Space Grey metallic paintwork and will be equipped with 17" light alloy Star-spoke style 290 wheels and is priced at £29,480.00 ($40,172 at the current rates). The sDrive28i gets a Black Sapphire metallic paintwork with 18" Star-spoke style 325M light alloy wheels and is priced at £33,645.00 ($45,848 at the current rates).

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2011 BMW Z4 Project Flashbang by SR Auto Group

2011 BMW Z4 Project Flashbang by SR Auto Group

SR Auto Group impressed us with lots of impressive tuning package lately. If you remember just recently we have reported about the Project Deathbolt and the Project Veneto. And today its time to talk about the Project Flashbang based on the BMW Z4.

The drawing board for Project Flashbang was filled with an abundance of ideas but in the end the tuner decided to go with what felt natural. SR Group is usually a tuner that modifies the least as possible. But with the Z4 they did a little bit more: they have added an AC Schnitzer front aero lip, a new front bumper, a two piece lip spoiler and a rear with a sharper edge.

The package continues with a new set of wheels from Modulare. The B11 model was finished with a gunmetal tint face and gloss black windows. Completing the package was a set of H&R lowering springs.

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2012 BMW Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition

The Chinese market is well on its way to become the biggest automotive market in the world, so it’s not at all surprising that automakers are sending them special editions by the boatload. BMW sent them the beautiful M3 Tiger Edition last year, and this year they are bringing the special Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition.

The Flame Edition gets its name from the special desert yellow metallic paint on the exterior. This color was inspired by the Art Karma desert located in the central west coast of South America. Combined with a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels, this paint provides the Z4 with a dynamic and elegant appearance.

The incredible exterior look is highlighted by the elegant touches in the interior. The special BMW Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition features Alcantara / Nappa leather combined with yellow stitching, a yellow center console, and Alcantara trim for the doors and the center panels. BMW is also offering a personalized version of the piano black trim to provide the Flame Edition with an even cleaner look.

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2011 BMW Z4 by Kelleners Motorsport

2011 BMW Z4 by Kelleners Motorsport

We’ve been having plenty of tuning programs for the BMW Z4 recently, including two projects done by Japan’s 3D Design, including the ’Z4 for North America’.

Today, the BMW Z4 is once again front-and-center in the tuning world, only this time, the program comes courtesy of Kelleners Motorsport. Unlike the works made by 3D Design, which were largely based on aerodynamic improvements, Kelleners Motorsport offers the whole gamut of upgrades, including on the powertrain.

With a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine already under the hood of the Z4, Kelleners Motorsport gave it a jolting boost, raising the sports car’s output from 335 horsepower and 332 lb/ft of torque all the way up to a mighty impressive 400 horsepower and 398 lb/ft of torque.

In addition to the engine improvements, Kelleners Motorsport also dressed up the Z4 with a set of 19" and 20" Hamburg or Berlin rims, as well as a lowered ride height by 20mm at the front and 10mm at the rear. Inside, there’s also a new three-spoke sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, velour floor mats, and bespoke interior finishes in leather with wood trims that can be requested as a customer order.

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2011 BMW Z4 for North America by 3D Design

2011 BMW Z4 for North America by 3D Design

Japan has had more than its fair share of natural disasters over the years, with scientists predicting that a "big" quake was bound to hit some time soon. That being said, no one could predict the massive 8.9 magnitude quake followed by the tsunami that recently struck the country. The footage was a sight that was horrifying to watch, but even more so to live through. Japanese companies are still struggling to regain their balance, but 3D Design is out to prove that the country will not just sit back and allow negative things to happen to them. They are out to make positive things happen for themselves. This realization is what made 3D Design, along with a number of Japanese and US tuning firms, create the BMW Z4 tuning package that illustrates that hope and determination.

The BMW Z4 by 3D Design by a number of players who contributed the many different elements of the vehicle. The overall design theme was worked on by WSTO and IND with 18" wheels from BBS inspired by the BMW’s M3 GT4 program and wrapped around Yokohama tires, size 235/40/18 front and 255/35/18 rear. The exterior of the vehicle is transformed by 3D Design’s own aggressive, full carbon fiber aerodynamic package.

The inner workings of the vehicle were also changed with an upgraded turbo kit from ESS, a KW variant suspension system, and a handbuilt exhaust system from Eisenmann. Other features include a Dinan camber plate, an upgraded brake package from Brembo, and a gauge package from Stack.

The most inspirational aspect of the vehicle is emblazoned on the passenger side of the BMW Z4: "Don’t give up, Tohoku." I think it is clear that no one is giving up. In fact, they will end up being stronger than ever.

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2011 BMW 328 Hommage

2011 BMW 328 Hommage

Back in the ’30s BMW unveiled the 328 - the most successful and best-looking sports car at that time. The car’s success was due to its impressive design parameters: systematic lightweight construction, aerodynamic lines, optimum engine types, and outstanding suspension technology. Now, as a celebration of the car’s 75th anniversary, BMW will unveiled the 328 Hommage at this year’s Mille Miglia. This model modernizes the principles and the character of the vehicle from back then and offers a possible interpretation of how the designers of that time, Fritz Fiedler and Rudolf Schleicher, might have built the BMW 328 if they had the use of our current technology.

"With the BMW 328 Hommage, we wish to pay homage to the passion and inventiveness of the fathers of the BMW 328", explains Karl Bäumer, CEO of BMW Group Classic. "They created an icon, which is consid-ered a milestone in the history of the automobile."

UPDATE 05/23/2011: BMW revealed the first details on the 328 Hommage earlier this weekend and now it’s time to see the concept in action at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. At that same event, the concept won the title of "best of show" in the "Concept Cars and Prototypes" category. Hit the jump for the video.

UPDATE 05/31/2011: BMW has revealed a rather cool video of the 328 Hommage that captures the brand new concept car in action. The movie was filmed around BMW Design.

UPDATE 06/06/2011: BMW has unveiled a new cool video in which it compared the new 328 Hommage concept to the model that inspired it: the classic 328. A must see for anyone out there!

Hit the jump to read more about the BMW 328 Hommage.

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2003 - 2010 BMW 6 Series by Lumma Design

2003 - 2010 BMW 6 Series by Lumma Design

The new generation of the BMW 6-Series Cabrio may be reveling in the glow of its unveiling, but not everyone follows the out with the old and in with the new way of life. Lumma Design, for example, isn’t bothering with developing a new package for the next generation Cabrio, but is instead revitalizing an older version for all of us that would like to feel that our old cars can still feel like new. The E64 6-Series is all polished and ready to go, sporting a new ’do in the form of added features for the exterior and interior.

The updated BMW can now be seen wearing a new front bumper, a matching rear apron, a new rear wing, and a new set of 21" polished chrome three-part sport rims. Other add-ons, like the front grille and exterior mirror casings, are sharpened up with the use of carbon fiber. At the back, the convertible makes good use of the 4-pipe sports exhaust system filtering out the power from the eight-cylinder power unit developing 360 HP.

Lumma Design didn’t leave the interior untouched as they added an ergonomically shaped and flattened steering wheel trimmed with carbon and leather, white instrument dials and seat belts, an aluminum pedal set, door sills, a dash panel, a handbrake handle, and seat back shells trimmed in real carbon.

It may not be the brand spanking new 6-Series Cabrio, but this finished product is worth a glance or two.

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2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i

2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i

Just as BMW promised back in February, they have arrived at the 2011 New York Auto Show with the return of a 4-cylinder engine to the US line-up. The first vehicle to benefit from this new engine is the Z4 sDrive28i. This new model will go on sale this fall and will replace the Z4 sDrive30i (pictured).

The new 4-cylinder engine delivers a total of 240 HP at 5,000 rpm and a peak torque of 260 lb-ft at only 1,250 rpm. This power will allow 30% more torque than the inline-six engine and achieves 1,500 rpm earlier.

The 4-cylinder engine features an all-aluminum crankcase and is lighter and more compact than a 6-cylinder engine. The turbocharger is a twin-scroll system. The exhaust streams out in two separate pairs of cylinders, flowing through the exhaust manifold and the turbocharger, then circulating to the turbine wheel.

The new Z4 sDrive28i will be offered with an eight speed automatic transmission and will offer a fuel efficiency gain of approximately 20% over the naturally aspirated engine it replaces.

UPDATE 04/22/2011: Paul Ferraiolo, Manager, Product Planning & Strategy, BMW of North America talks about the new BMW Z4 equipped with a four-cylinder engine. Check out the video by clicking on the photo above.

UPDATE 08/22/11: BMW has released a new promo video of the Z4 sDrive28i as its being driven around Grimes Canyon. If you ask us, the car looks great!

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