2012 BMW Z4 to Offer Four-Cylinder Powertrain

2011 BMW Z4A few months ago, BMW announced that a four-cylinder will re-enter the U.S. market, without mentioning the vehicles that will get the powertrain. Today, the automaker confirmed that its Z4 roadster will be the first convert to the inline-four.

The new Z4 trim is called sDrive28i, and it replaces the 2011 sDrive30i. BMW didn’t confirm whether the sDrive35i and sDrive35is will still be available with their turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder or if they will be discontinued. But we'd assume they will remain the top trim levels.

As we reported earlier, the new inline-four-cylinder will combine twin-scroll turbocharging, direct injection and BMW’s proprietary variable valve timing system known as Valvetronic. The 2.0-liter motor will make 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque in U.S. variants. That’s more power than BMW’s normally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder, which is found on the current 3 Series, and the 2.0-liter turbo from Audi, which puts out 211 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque.

The four-cylinder will be mated to an optional eight-speed automatic transmission; the 2011 sDrive30i was only available with a six-speed auto, and the sDrive35i with a seven-speed auto-shift manual.

The Z4 sDrive28i is expected to be 20% more fuel efficient than the model it replaces when equipped with the new transmission. The current sDrive30i returns 18/28 mpg city/highway with either the manual or automatic.

The new Z4 will be the first BMW offered with a four-cylinder since 1997. The model goes on sale later this year. Pricing hasn't been announced, but we'd bet BMW will lower the price of entry to the slow-selling but well-reviewed Z4 from its current $47,450.

By Colin Bird | April 19, 2011 | Comments (7)

Comments 

Zack

I wouldn't assume they'll reduce the price of the Z4 when they put the turbocharged four in place of the smooth inline six. If they do cut the price a few hundred dollars they'll certainly get it back in the added maintenance of a turbocharged engine.

Anonymous

They decreased 2 cylinders to V4 and added 2 gears to 8-speed tranny.

This is wonderful. Every automaker should follow.

V4 is more than enough for this small car.

After all, train locomotives could pull 1000's of tons with just a 16 cylinder engine.

FactChecker

Ah yes, yet another V4 advocate... Although a few fans Saab's late-60's / early-70's engine offering may still exist, most are so ill-informed it's not worth discussing the trade-off's of engine balance, displacement, etc. in terms of performance and fuel economy...

I would much rather have a four cylinder car with gas prices being as crazy as they are now. Do you think it would make my auto insurance go down too?

I can say first hand that the Z4 is a great car. Not only is it a great looking car but the handling is impeccable

expert007

way way over-priced; get the base Boxster or Cayman instead.

Zack

As I predicted above, BMW cut the number of cylinders while raising the price, just like they did on the three series .

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