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      05-12-2019, 08:51 AM   #1
CeEl
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Review after 300 miles

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I used to drive the previous Z4 35i. It was a lease and I had to return it (reluctantly, even extended the lease for a couple months) several years ago. The new one was supposed to come out Ďreally sooní, so I didnít get a new one, decided to wait for the G29. And waited. And waited. And waited. Test drove two 30i and ordered the M40i in San Francisco Red and white interior. Waited long enough for the car that I had saved up the difference, so I splurged. To be honest, here in the US, I would have been very happy with a 30i as well. But itís a fun car, and I was afraid of second guessing myself after purchase.

There are plenty of test drives and first impressions out there already, so I am concentrating on nitpicking both my own personal positive and negative impressions of the car. Your mileage may vary.

I donít drive the car on the track. I do like to go a bit nuts every now and then on empty roads, curvy roads and parking lots. (Hey, if you know of an empty & curvy parking lot in the Chicagoland area, message me ;-) And participate in drive events organized by manufacturers and clubs of all kinds of cars. Please keep in mind in the context of my review I am a Ďregularí driver, on streets mostly, and thatís where I am driving the Z4. I did grow up in Europe, therefore Autobahn isnít a foreign concept to me. Still, I was not looking for a super sports car, I prefer a daily driver (well, at least when the temps are above 45) with which I can enjoy my drive to and from the office, weekend excursions and of course drive to visit family in another state, reasonably practical and with creature comforts Ė no, please put that AC back in for me, really no need to save the 5 pounds to make it more sporty. I had a large pizza last night, car wonít know the difference.

This Z4 may not be a pure bred sports car but itís a darn close imitation to one, and at least this driver canít tell the difference.

Talking about pizza, good thing this car is spacious. Not Tardis-like, but you know, quite nice for a roadster like this. Plenty of little useful storage spaces, but none are particularly suited for larger items. For example, I have Ďwrap aroundí Gatorz sunglasses. They do fit in the space under the elbow rest. But not really comfortably. They also fit into the side pockets in the doors, but itís a bit of a hassle getting them out with one hand while driving. Drove with a water bottle in the rear cup holder, and having one side of the armrest open. This worked quite well and I didnít notice any difference in terms of elbowroom or operating iDrive. Still, the hooks in the trunk for holding shopping bags, the net in the passenger well, the elastic band thing in the trunk to hold my umbrella securely Ö all well thought out and maximum use of available space is made.

The E89 looks good. This G29 looks good. They are different cars, but I like both. Itís a bit like asking me to pick who I love more Ė my father or my mother or my wife. I canít pick; heck, I am not supposed to pick, and you arenít supposed asking me to make that choice. They are different cars and I like them each for what they are.

I have to admit I was drawn to the E89 partially because it looked different from other BMWís, inside and out. This new Z4 interior looks very similar to other BMW interiors. As much as people complain about the exterior with the different headlights and different grill, it still looks very much like a BMW in real life and I am glad BMW were brave enough to experiment with their design language a little bit. Maybe the fact that the interior tech and mechanics are the same across multiple models will reduce the various electrical glitches some E89ís had. Or at least there will be enough experience out there to fix them since they may apply to multiple models. So, I see this ruthless standardization as a positive.

Besides, the new BMW operating system for the infotainment is great. I am a bit of a SciFi geek and just love the spaceship cockpit feel of the car. Hello BMW works well with my foreign accent (let it connect online to Nuance to improve accuracy of speech recognition). The speeding warning is annoying as heck, but itís so easy and effortless and subtle to exceed the speed limit, I am leaving it on for the time being. Yep, even in Eco Pro. Especially in Eco Pro where the speed limit sneaks up on you and goes Ďboo, got chaí. I set the warning to be displayed both in the dash and the head up display. Yes, sorry, officer, you are right, thank you, nice car and the color is called Ď0 to ticket in less than 4 seconds before I could lift my foot off the accelerator Ė redí.

Observing the break in period is almost as though as waiting for the car while tracking the ship on its way over the Atlantic. No kick down yet, but got the RPMís up there once or twice. Donít think the car even noticed it was so well composed and effortless Ė amazing.

The user profiles are a bit flaky. My wife drives the car to church on Sunday. No, I am not making this up. I am sure there is an M-Town Ďletís go to church on Sundayí commercial idea in there somewhere. BMWís marketing department, contact me if you read this. I am sure we can get to a reasonable arrangement for my idea. Maybe black mirror caps? Anyway, when itís my turn again to drive the car, it recognizes me and greets me, but may not change the ambient lighting back to my color. Or set one of my exterior mirrors back to my programmed position. Changing profile inside the car or pressing one of the seat memory buttons doesnít do it either at that point. Only exit and re-enter, sometimes with locking/unlocking, once or twice, will do the trick. Havenít found a pattern to it. On the list to check with the BMW Genius at my dealership.

Talking about profiles: looks like one can only pick a profile picture from a bunch of avatars that come with the car. Why canít I import my own picture? Or use the dash cam that monitors whether I am paying attention to make a selfie?

And here are more whyís: Why canít the car use my iPhone to send and receive messages? It forces me to use CarPlay. Whose integration, by the way is really well done. Best I have experienced so far. Not only that it is wireless, but if you let the car automatically start CarPlay, itís there in the background, just a touch away from the main home screen. iDrive is still the primary interface Ė unless CarPlay was active on the screen when you left the car. And iDrive is soooo good, I found myself using CarPlay only for some of the apps and, well, messaging. Which sucks. I am hoping I am doing something wrong, itís on my list of things to check with the BMW Genius.

Most favorite feature so far: The engine sound when pressing the start/stop engine button. I even got into the habit to fasten my seat belt before I start the car so the annoying seatbelt reminder ding ding ding doesnít interfere with the enjoyment of the engine sound at start up. BMW should market that as a safety feature. I have also listened to the initial engine startup standing outside the car Ė still sounded great, so I know it isnít the speakers producing some artificial lambo sound. If the auto start/stop at traffic lights would produce that sound every time the engine re-ignites after the light turns green, Eco Pro would be my new favorite drive mode. Maybe a new subscription model for BMW?

Still, found myself using Eco Pro more often than I thought I would. Love the gamification: how long did I coast without using the accelerator on my way to work? How long was I able to take advantage of the auto start/stop this time? There is still plenty of power provided in the M40i in Eco Pro for suburbia Chicagoland traffic.

The engine noises while driving are fantastic. At first I was a bit worried, they seemed to be more subdued than in my E89, but after the first couple hundred miles, they seem to be more and more pronounced, even in Comfort mode.

The drive mode ĎComfortí should really be labeled ĎNormalí. I suppose itís comfortable for a sports car. Before anyone out there panics Ė itís as comfortable as it needs to be. Itís no Lexus or Mercedes. Ah, hello, itís not supposed to be. I am less afraid of pot holes in this car than I was in my E89. Not sure why. Maybe because the G29 doesnít have run flats and doesnít make this horrible clunk noise when driving over some. I do feel them. Maybe the tires are wider and it can just drive over them? (Donít know if thatís true or not.) Forgive me for not deliberately seeking out pot holes and study their impact on the car. Itís way more fun to slalom around them!

The windshield wipers have a small stutter just before they return back down to the starting position. I read about this in a German forum, apparently, that goes away after a little while. That just looks very cheap on the Z4. I may mention it to the BMW Genius.

Drove through the car wash. Pre manual hose down with pressure washer, touchless car wash, hand towel dry afterwards. No problem.

Conclusion: Very well done, BMW. The car is a blast to drive. Freude am Fahren and such. Go get one.
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      05-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #2
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Thanks for taking the time for such a comprehensive write up. My car is on the ship and I will take delivery some time mid June.

I read a lot about tech issues with iDrive 7. Hopefully things will get worked out over time.

I was able to test drive a M40 few weeks back and loved the sound in sport mode. Burbles seemed more present than in my M235 with MPE.

Enjoy the car! I will follow through when I call on mine in a few weeks!
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      05-13-2019, 06:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CeEl View Post
The user profiles are a bit flaky. My wife drives the car to church on Sunday. No, I am not making this up. I am sure there is an M-Town Ďletís go to church on Sundayí commercial idea in there somewhere. BMWís marketing department, contact me if you read this. I am sure we can get to a reasonable arrangement for my idea. Maybe black mirror caps? Anyway, when itís my turn again to drive the car, it recognizes me and greets me, but may not change the ambient lighting back to my color. Or set one of my exterior mirrors back to my programmed position. Changing profile inside the car or pressing one of the seat memory buttons doesnít do it either at that point. Only exit and re-enter, sometimes with locking/unlocking, once or twice, will do the trick. Havenít found a pattern to it. On the list to check with the BMW Genius at my dealership.
I have a 2016 M4 and my wife has a 2018 M3, but we both also drive our 2006 Z4 M Roadster, which is why I'm lurking here. We also both drive each other's M3 and M4 and we each have a profile in each car.

The key with profiles is, each person has to have their own fob and you MUST lock the car after you exit the car. Locking the car is like telling it "This driver is done now." If you don't lock the car after you've driven it, when your wife goes to drive the car with her fob, your profile is still active and she hasn't unlocked the car with her fob to tell it "New driver!" However, if the car is locked, the next fob that unlocks the driver's door will cause the profile associated with that fob to be active, regardless if it's you or your wife. If each of you unlocks the car with your fob and then locks it again after driving, the profiles will work.

A profile is also only selected if the car is unlocked at the driver's door. For example, my wife always carries the fobs to both her M3 and my M4 in her purse. She can approach the passenger door of my M4 and unlock the car but if I was last one driving the M4 my profile is still selected because the car wasn't unlocked at the driver's door.

The best way to figure this out is to test it out in the garage with both fobs. One of you should unlock the car, set everything the way they want, then exit, lock the car, and walk away. Then the other person unlocks the car, sets everything the way they want, locks the car and walks away. Once you've done this, as long as you keep locking the car after driving, you shouldn't have any problems with the profiles. Also, make sure that each person labels their profiles in iDrive so they can be selected from the iDrive if necessary. That way, if one of you forgets to lock the car after driving, and the next driver's profile isn't activated, you can pull up the correct profile from iDrive and activate that profile.

Another way to use profiles is when you drop off the car at the dealer for scheduled service (or if you valet the car), you can select the Guest profile before getting out of the car. That way the person that drives the car can set the seats any way they want, and it won't affect your profile. When you get the car back, select your profile from iDrive, which will cause everything to be returned to your settings.

This is what we've learned about profiles over the last 3 years with my car and not quite a year with her car.
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Ours: 2006 Z4 Roadster | Interlagos Blue | Black Extended Nappa Leather | Carbon Leather Trim | Purchased 7/19/12

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      05-13-2019, 09:11 PM   #4
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Thank you Ö

I suppose what I don't understand is why it recognizes me, displays a welcome me, moves the driver seat to my position, and one of the mirrors to my position. But does not change the ambient light and does not change the other mirror? That just seems flaky to me.

But you are correct, we don't always lock the car, especially not when in the garage.

I also noticed that if the car is locked, and she opens it from passenger side (she has her key with her at all times) before I had a chance to unlock it, the car will think it's her and switch to her profile. I can select my profile in iDrive and it will switch everything to my settings - except for the ambient light.
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      05-14-2019, 06:34 AM   #5
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How is the handling compared to the e89? That's the biggest thing that scares me. Along with the electronics. I have the new X5 with the same cockpit and every time I start it, it like playing roulette with what will work correctly. The steering on that is so slushy compared to others. I took my e85 Z4 out for the first drive of the season and my arms are almost direct from having to work a little to steer. Felt way more connected to the road. Worried that new Z steering/handling will be slushy as well, even in sport.

As for using phone for TXT's. If you don't want to use CarPlay. Under comm, select the phone then unselect Connect via CarPlay (or something like that).
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      05-14-2019, 08:54 AM   #6
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I like this "normal guy kind of review"
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      05-16-2019, 12:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CeEl View Post
I used to drive the previous Z4 35i. It was a lease and I had to return it (reluctantly, even extended the lease for a couple months) several years ago. The new one was supposed to come out Ďreally sooní, so I didnít get a new one, decided to wait for the G29. And waited. And waited. And waited. Test drove two 30i and ordered the M40i in San Francisco Red and white interior. Waited long enough for the car that I had saved up the difference, so I splurged. To be honest, here in the US, I would have been very happy with a 30i as well. But itís a fun car, and I was afraid of second guessing myself after purchase.


Conclusion: Very well done, BMW. The car is a blast to drive. Freude am Fahren and such. Go get one.
Nice review, thanks! So I picked up my M40i tonight and I have only one gripe after night one. The Harmon Kardon stereo sounds about half as good as my M235, whatís your opinion on the stereo? Other then that itís all smiles. I agree the 1200 mile break in period is going to be hell not trying the launch control or doing full kick downs. Guess comfort mode through the Northwest Chicago suburbs are going to be in my future for the next few weeks.
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      05-16-2019, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pchood View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeEl View Post
[SIZE="3"]I used to drive the previous Z4 35i. It was a lease and I had to return it (reluctantly, even extended the lease for a couple months) several years ago. The new one was supposed to come out ‘really soon’, so I didn’t get a new one, decided to wait for the G29. And waited. And waited. And waited. Test drove two 30i and ordered the M40i in San Francisco Red and white interior. Waited long enough for the car that I had saved up the difference, so I splurged. To be honest, here in the US, I would have been very happy with a 30i as well. But it’s a fun car, and I was afraid of second guessing myself after purchase.


[SIZE="4"]Conclusion: Very well done, BMW. The car is a blast to drive. Freude am Fahren and such. Go get one.[/SIZE][/SIZE]
Nice review, thanks! So I picked up my M40i tonight and I have only one gripe after night one. The Harmon Kardon stereo sounds about half as good as my M235, what’s your opinion on the stereo? Other then that it’s all smiles. I agree the 1200 mile break in period is going to be hell not trying the launch control or doing full kick downs. Guess comfort mode through the Northwest Chicago suburbs are going to be in my future for the next few weeks.
Thanks!

Frankly, was driving mostly with sound off to get a good feel of engine and other noises from the car. I did create my presets list last Weekend and uploaded some of my music to the hard drive.

I have noticed that SiriusXM is missing volume (as in presence, if that makes sense?). HD Radio or music I uploaded sounds a lot better.
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      05-16-2019, 12:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK421BMW View Post
How is the handling compared to the e89? That's the biggest thing that scares me. Along with the electronics. I have the new X5 with the same cockpit and every time I start it, it like playing roulette with what will work correctly. The steering on that is so slushy compared to others. I took my e85 Z4 out for the first drive of the season and my arms are almost direct from having to work a little to steer. Felt way more connected to the road. Worried that new Z steering/handling will be slushy as well, even in sport.

As for using phone for TXT's. If you don't want to use CarPlay. Under comm, select the phone then unselect Connect via CarPlay (or something like that).
Thank you!

If I select to use iDrive or just plain disable CarPlay even on the phone, the car just lets me know that the currently connected mobile device doesn't support messaging.

Exact same iPhone works in our other cars just fine.
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      05-16-2019, 12:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK421BMW View Post
How is the handling compared to the e89? That's the biggest thing that scares me. Along with the electronics. I have the new X5 with the same cockpit and every time I start it, it like playing roulette with what will work correctly. The steering on that is so slushy compared to others. I took my e85 Z4 out for the first drive of the season and my arms are almost direct from having to work a little to steer. Felt way more connected to the road. Worried that new Z steering/handling will be slushy as well, even in sport.

As for using phone for TXT's. If you don't want to use CarPlay. Under comm, select the phone then unselect Connect via CarPlay (or something like that).
The handling and steering are great. Car feels more connected and 'immediate' than the E89. Again please keep in mind: road trips, no track use. I definitely notice the difference in steering between Z4 and our other cars or rentals.

Also, the hood seems to be shorter, so turning doesn't feel like the car is pivoting around you, but rather you are turning with the car as part of the car. It's all more direct.
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