2024 BMW Z4 M40i

BMW's Z4 M40i is a capable cruiser with the chops of a real sports car
BMW's Z4 M40i is a capable cruiser with the chops of a real sports car

by Nathan Leipsig | July 18, 2023


There’s this prevailing idea, perpetuated through the modern scourge of doom-scrolling, that life is hard, and getting harder. Money is becoming meaningless, space is disappearing, everyone is getting angrier, and the ever-ominous climate is getting nastier, with no end to any of this in sight. We’ve been sold the idea that our sole parking spot should be occupied by a (fake) battle tank, a crossover SUV that’s kinda cute but also kinda tough, or some such malarkey. The 2023 BMW Z4 M40i is a glorious rejection of this idea.

The Z4’s primary purpose is pleasure. It’s not trying to be tough, it’s not trying to be practical, it exists solely to please. It’s an absolute treat to behold and helm, and it packs just enough pragmatism to not be a burden. It’s one of those few cars that doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, but it absolutely nails what it does want to be — a capable cruiser with the chops of a real sports car.

It’s a striking little thing, made all the more distinct by its Thundernight Metallic purple paint, a wonderful throwback to the unique shades of violet that adorned elder BMW M cars. Nineteen-inch black wheels with machined lips serve as fly footwear, and an Ivory white leather interior sets off the style beautifully. I normally really struggle white interiors, but I don’t know that I would spec mine any differently. It’s gorgeous.

In typical BMW fashion, the cabin is appointed with excellent materials, with a comprehensive suite of tech to back it up. The Z4 is blessed with the “old” iDrive, which I’m still convinced is the best infotainment software on the market; it’s snappy, attractive, and intuitive. Our test vehicle came garnished with the Premium Enhanced package, which adds active cruise control, parking sensors, heads-up display, a wireless charging pad, a Harmon Kardon sound system, and sexy ambient lighting, all of which seems like a no-brainer for an extra $4,700 on a car of this calibre.

Just because its main focus is pleasure, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for business on this trip. Under the long, sculpted hood is BMW’s peerless B58 twin-turbocharged straight-six, which is and has been since its debut, very comfortably one of the best engines in the world. It’s paired with the ZF eight-speed automatic, which is and has been since its debut, very comfortably one of the best transmissions in the world. This might sound like an over-simplification, but they’re actually just that good, and they’ve been around long enough to prove it.

It’s a fabulous powertrain combo, good for an alleged 382 horsepower in this application; typical for BMW, it’s a dubious figure because it very obviously feels like there’s a lot more muscle on tap, good for a sub four-second zero-to-100 km/h sprint. BMW’s ubiquitous xDrive all-wheel-drive system is missing here, supplanted instead with good ol’ rear-wheel-drive and an M-Sport differential to manage traction. The closely spaced gear ratios and eager response of the gearbox make excellent use of the engine’s perfect powerband, meaning the big engined Z4 never feels like it’s caught off-guard.

It’s seamlessly able to snap between offering frantic acceleration and a melodic exhaust note, and being a quiet, smooth, and incredibly efficient cruiser. We observed an average fuel consumption of 9.4 L/100 km in our week, which is astonishing for a 400ish horsepower sports car that got driven like a 400ish horsepower sports car. I would call it faultless, were it not for an occasionally rough start/stop, but that’s an easy fix with a button press.

BMW making a fantastic powertrain isn’t news to anyone, though. They’ve always been good at that, even since dropping their “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra. What’s been hit-and-miss is their handling and chassis dynamics, and this Z4 is wonderful. Where the last Z4 was very much set up to be a boulevard car, this chassis, which is shared with the brilliant Toyota Supra, is a great return to form. It’s tight, communicative, well balanced, and satisfying.


Without all-wheel-drive to interfere and a relatively scant 3,500 pounds to shift, the Z4 is agile and lively like nothing else BMW makes anymore, exhibiting great balance and seemingly limitless grip, overwhelmed only by its prodigious power. Getting this car sideways is easy and so much fun, and it’s not artificially snappy like some other modern BMWs; in classic Bimmer style, the Z4 is handily able to dial in a little bit of yaw with the throttle.

For all the thrills, the Z4 is also able to serve double-duty as an excellent cruiser. The ride is sports-car firm but never veers into harshness, and the cabin is nearly hardtop quiet with the top up. More impressive is the incredible wind control with the top down; you have to be going well and truly fast before it starts feeling windy in the cabin. It was cloudy and cool during our test period, but the refined manners and heated seats allowed me to keep the top down the whole time. There’s plenty of interior storage and a surprisingly generous trunk, too. You could easily live with this every day.

It’s hard to be critical here. I like BMWs and I like convertibles. This BMW convertible is adorned with the best engine, the best infotainment, fantastic style, terrific materials, and a terrific chassis that recalls BMW’s legendarily excellent driving dynamics. Even its $88,745 sticker isn’t really a complaint, either, as this topless Bavarian is capable of hanging with the likes of the Chevy Corvette, Porsche Boxster, and Toyota Supra, while arguably being a better daily driver than all of them.

The 2023 BMW Z4 M40i is a fantastic pleasure craft that’s ready to get down to business, and the world would be a better place with more carefree cars like this, and less doom-scroller crossovers.

See Also

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 6MT

Enthusiast’s Corner: 2000 BMW Z3 M Roadster

2023 BMW M340i xDrive

Vehicle Specs
Luxury performance convertible
Engine Size
3.0 L twin-turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower (at RPM)
382 at 6,500
Torque (lb-ft.)
369 at 1,600
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
The DoubleClutch.ca Podcast

About Nathan Leipsig

Deputy Editor Nathan is a passionate enthusiast with a penchant for finding 80s and 90s European vehicles. He can typically be found messing about on his E28 5-series or on Kijiji looking for the next project. Current Toys: '23 Miata Club 6MT, '86 535i, '99 Beetle TDI 5MT