BMW may not be planning an M version of the new Z4 but that has not stopped the Bavarians from providing fans with this smokey range-topping high-performance sDrive35is model. Spied testing a few times before, the car is a double treat for BMW fans who also longed for the return of the "is" badge. Improvements are not just in the engine bay but also in the exterior and interior appointments.

The standard M Sports Package includes a new front bumper with a very distinctive M look and outer air intakes finished in matt aluminium, standard 18-inch light alloy rims (19-inch optional), a new rear bumper with specially accentuated surrounds on the tailpipes and a two-piece diffuser. The exhaust note is supposed to be reflective of the car's status in the scheme of things.

The adjustable suspension is lowered by 10 millimetres and provides a good balance between sporty and comfortable.

Making the Z4 sDrive35is extra special is an upgraded engine system whose power was increased from a standard 225kW (306hp) to 250kW (340hp) available at 5,800rpm. However, US customers will have to make do with only 246kW (335hp). Torque has been boosted from 400Nm to 450Nm (332 lb-ft) between 1,400rpm and 4,500rpm under normal driving. A special overboost function takes it to 500Nm (369 lb-ft).

Thanks to Launch Control it will sprint from 0 - 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and stop accelerating at 250km/h (155mph). The transmission is the 7-speed double-clutch used in the normal sDrive35i. Average fuel consumption is said to be 9.0 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 26.1 mpg US) while corresponding C02 emissions are 210g/km.

To make this all happen the incumbent's 3.0-litre twin turbo unit was tweaked through actions like optimising air supply and increasing boost pressure. The two small turbos made from special steel have very low inertia and can cope with temperatures of more than 1,000° C (1,830° F).

The interior features M entry strips, gearlever knob, aluminium carbon and a new leather colour. There are six exterior colours but regardless of what hue a buyer chooses the side mirrors are always in Oxide Silver.

BMW will debut the Z4 sDrive35is at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. US and European Market launch is in spring. All other Z4 models will also be offered with the M Sports Package as an option.


Got a tip for us? Email: