2012 BMW Z4
If you remember back to 1996, BMW made quite a splash with the debut of their Z3 Roadster. Not only was it the first BMW to be manufactured here in the U.S., it played quite a roll in the James Bond movie GoldenEye. On the other hand, it also featured underwhelming 4-cylinder power, and after only one generation, that Z3 was soon replaced by a bigger and faster Z4 in 2002.
Now, the 2012 BMW Z4 goes back to its roots by once again packing 4-cylinder power, only this time it’s far from underwhelming. The new 2-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-4 boasts 240-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. That’s slightly less horsepower, but 40 more lb-ft. of torque than the normally aspirated inline-6 that it replaces. Fuel economy numbers improve by 20 percent.
But this is a BMW, so handling is where we expect it to shine, and in our first drive down the California coast from Monterey to L.A. we can confirm that yes indeed it feels all-BMW. The new 4-cylinder is not only lighter, but sits further behind the front axle to even out weight distribution.
Thankfully, the styling of this hardtop roadster remains unchanged, and as the new base model, the 28i will come with more standard features than the previous base 30i. Available now, the 2012 BMW Z4 sDrive28i starts at under $50,000.
Engine: 2-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-4
Torque: 260 lb-ft.
Price: Starts under $50,000