2015 Z4 35is: BMW of North America
E89 (2011-2015) #GE634646
2,979cc N54 HP inline six-cylinder
Valencia Orange metallic
BMW of North America
Woodcliff Lake, NJ (since 2015)
When the first-generation Z4 was replaced by the new E89 in 2009, BMW’s compact roadster seemed to have gone a bit soft—aiming at Mercedes’ SLK rather than the Porsche Boxster. A folding hardtop and greater luxury appointments added weight, and a less-punishing ride included a bit more body roll. No hardtop coupe would be forthcoming, and neither would an M version. If that seemed to spell doom for the Z4’s status as a serious sports car, BMW rectified the situation handily in 2011, introducing the high-performance Z4 35is.
The “s” stood for Sport, and the Z4 35is was equipped with M Sport Package with Adaptive M Suspension, an aggressively tuned Dual Clutch Transmission, and BMW’s first turbocharged engine of the current era. The N54 six reached its performance zenith in the Z4 35is, delivering 335 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 332 lb-ft from 1,500 rpm. The real story, though, was the overboost function that allowed as much as 370 lb-ft for a few seconds at full throttle. Combined with a short wheelbase, a lack of limited slip differential, and liberal traction control settings, that extra 38 lb-ft made the Z4 35is a bit tricky to handle, but a genuine blast once mastered.
The car you see here was built in April 2015, making it one of the last Z4 35is models built. All E89 Z4 production took place in Germany.