2013 BMW Z4 Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 30, 2013
  • Hardtop roadster body style
  • Up to 335 horsepower
  • EPA-estimated to achieve up to 34 mpg on the highway
  • 3 available trim levels
  • Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  • Free scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles
  • 2-passenger seating


BMW's long-nosed, 2-door, 2-passenger Z4 roadster is slated to undergo significant updates for the 2014 model year. As a result, the 2013 Z4 arrives with only minor changes, including the addition of a few standard features.

Exterior Features

A power-retractable hardtop with a heated glass window is common to each of the 2013 Z4 trim levels, as are automatic and auto-leveling HID headlights, heated auto-dimming power-adjustable outside mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. The Z4 sDrive28i adds 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in run-flat high-performance tires, whereas the upper trim levels feature uniquely designed 18-inch alloy wheels, and the Z4 sDrive35is, in particular, adds a lower body kit.

Interior Features

The 2013 BMW Z4's interior may not be expansive, but the space that is available is filled with an abundance of features. For the sDrive28i, these include power seats with driver-side memory and 8-way adjustment, leatherette upholstery, aluminum trim, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, trunk pass-through with storage bag, and a wind deflector. Buyers of this base model also get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a sound system offering a single-disc CD player, USB port, and HD Radio service.

BMW raises the bar a bit with the Z4 sDrive35i by adding power sport seats with 10-way adjustment and genuine leather upholstery. The sDrive35is goes a bit farther, as it boasts standard aluminum doorsills, anthracite headliner, sport steering wheel, and a premium surround-sound system.

Optional Features

Several factory options are available for the 2013 BMW Z4 hardtop convertible, including a Cold Weather package with a heated steering wheel and heated seats, Canyon Brown package offering unique leather upholstery and wood trim, and a Hyper Orange package that upgrades the Z4 with black and orange Alcantara and leather upholstery, orange mirror caps, and metallic interior accents.

A Technology package is also available, and is comprised of iDrive, navigation system with high-resolution display screen and 3-D map, 12 GB of hard drive space for music files, BMW smartphone apps, and Bluetooth audio streaming.

These feature-laden bundles are topped off by an M Sport package that's paired with the Canyon Brown or Hyper Orange color scheme. Highlights include an upgraded sport-tuned suspension, lower body kit, and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.

Under the Hood

BMW equips the 2013 Z4 sDrive28i with a direct-injection, turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, all directed to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission or optional 8-speed automatic with manual and sport modes, as well as steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The sDrive28i also includes a fuel-saving start/stop assist feature.

Under the hood of the 2013 BMW Z4 sDrive35i is a direct-injection, turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine that generates 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. Again, a standard 6-speed manual gearbox acts as a conduit between the engine and rear wheels, though buyers can opt for a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission with paddle shifters.

The top-of-the-line Z4 sDrive35is also features the turbocharged, 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, which in this case has been tuned to produce 335 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard, as is an adaptive sport suspension with a lower ride height and multiple settings.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 BMW Z4 are:

  • Z4 with 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission: 22/34/26 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Z4 with 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic transmission: 22/33/26 mpg
  • Z4 with 6-cylinder engine and manual transmission: 19/26/21 mpg
  • Z4 with 6-cylinder engine and 7-speed automatic transmission: 17/24/19 mpg


The 2013 BMW Z4's standard safety components include 6 air bags, roll bars, adaptive brake lights, cornering brake control, traction control, and 4-wheel anti-lock ventilated disc brakes featuring brake drying, brake stand-by, and brake-fade compensation systems.

As this preview is written, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the crashworthiness of the 2013 BMW Z4.


In addition to its navigation and Bluetooth features, the optional Technology package--available on all Z4 trim levels--provides stolen-vehicle recovery services, transferred contact information via MyInfo, voice-to-text functionality with Mobile Office, and emailing capability through BMW ConnectedDrive.
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