There has been a BMW fanbase displeased with the automaker’s decision to discontinue a high-performance M-badged version of the Z4 roadster for its current generation. Instead, the automaker has offered the consolation of the BMW Z4 sDrive35is with a little more power and a few suspension tweaks. It was a mild tide-over.
BMW’s trying to make amends with its loyal followers, though, if only slightly. It’s being reported that for the 2013 model year, BMW will be dropping the sDrive35is in favor of an even hotter version of the Z4.
Autocar says the new version, called the Z4 M35i, will have an identical 335 horsepower on tap from its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine. But it should have a firmer suspension and some styling and aerodynamic tweaks. It is also expected to get new wheels, LED turn signal lamps, and BMW’s latest version of iDrive that makes its debut in the 2012 BMW 6 Series and 7 Series. Those technological changes will be coming to the four-cylinder and more pedestrian six-cylinder variants of the Z4 as well.
While not a radical departure from the current BMW Z4, it’ll add a little more flare to a car widely regarded as softer and more luxury-oriented than its somewhat raw predecessor. It’ll also help clear up the alphabet soup nomenclature adorning BMWs today. Recently, BMW introduced its M Performance line overseas as a bridge between BMW’s standard cars and its all-out sport models from the M brand.
If nothing else, at least it’ll be a good refresher that somewhere in its stable of sports sedans, coupes, and crossovers, BMW still actually makes a legitimate two-seater sports car.