There hardly seems to be any visual differences...
You need to have eyes of an eagle to note the cosmetic changes employed in the facelifted Z4. The most notable alterations BMW has given to its roadster are the redesigned front and rear bumpers.
A new colour has also been added to the Z4's range including this orange hue of the so-called Pure Traction spec that extends to the interior as well.
There's also a bespoke shade for the foldable roof in either black or silver which can be opened and closed in 19sec at speeds of no more than 40kph.
As if the 20i engine variant isn't slow enough...
True, but don't forget that so many people buy roadsters like the Z4 merely for their looks and don't really care about performance.
Pure Traction trim sees new interior colours.
Thus, to make the Z4 even more attractive to hairdressers, there's a new entry-level version in the guise of 18i sporting the same 2.0-litre petrol engine of the 20i albeit lower outputs of 156hp and 240Nm available with the same eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 18i doesn't provide any advantage in performance and economy terms over the 20i, which has a higher 184hp and 270Nm. The 18i does 0-100kph in 8.1sec and has a 14.7kpl record; the 20i is nearly a second quicker at 7.2sec yet just as economical at an identical 14.7kpl.
The purpose then is surely for price, right?
BMW hasn't mentioned that, but this is obviously the reason. Now that archrival Mercedes-Benz has embarked on a very aggressive pricing for all its models in Thailand to cope with the grey market, the SLK200 Sport AMG costs just 3.49 million baht.
That's quite a big difference to the 4.299 million baht price tag asked for the SLK200 earlier this year (besides some subsidies, the SLK200 benefits from a 5% tax reduction due to E20-compatibility).
The cheapest Z4 on sale today costs 3.799 million baht in basic 20i form; High Line goes for a higher 4.199 million baht.
Because of that, the 18i version could renew the Z4's price war with the SLK in the Thai market.
Just for the sake of looks, right?
Exactly, because if you re-consider the performance credentials of the Z4 against the SLK, the Bimmer is inferior to the Merc in any case.
Equipped with a 184hp/270Nm 1.8-litre petrol-turbo motor, the SLK200 has both better acceleration and economy than the identically powered Z4 20i.
With figures of 7.0sec and 15.4kpl, the SLK is faster by 0.2sec and more frugal by 0.7kpl than the 20i _ yet is 300,000 baht cheaper. That said, the 18i needs to really do something marvellous in the Z4's pricing, otherwise it won't be considered for the Thai market when sales of the Z4 facelift start next March.
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor