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BMW to offer turbocharged 4-cylinder Z4 in the US

BMW is using the on-going New York International Auto Show to feature the latest installment of their sporty Z4 roadster – the Z4 sDrive28i Roadster – which will feature the first turbocharged 4-cylinder engine offering in the US in decades.

The heart of the BMW Z4 sDrive28i Roadster is BMW’s new TwinPower Turbo 2.0L inline 4-cylinder, producing 240 horsepower at 3,500 rpm and 260lb-ft of torque at just 1,250 rpm. This is a decrease of 15 horsepower compared to the naturally aspirated 3.0L inline six offered in the sDrive30i but the 4-cylinder option reaches its peak power at a lower engine rpm, along with offering 40 more lf-ft of torque than the 3.0L inline 6.

Thanks to the use of BMW’s Valvetronic intake management, direct injection and a high tech twin-scroll turbocharger, this 2.0L turbocharged engine is expected to yield fuel economy numbers 20% better than the inline 6 from the sDrive30i. BMW doesn’t offer exact figures, but with some 4th grade math, we can expect the fuel economy of the Z4 sDrive28i Roadster to be in the area of 22mpg around town and 34 on the open road when coupled with their new 8-speed automatic transmission.

I have had the pleasure of spending some time in a 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive30i on a Firebird Raceway and even with 255hp and 220lb-ft of torque, the entry-level Z4 was a great deal of fun to drive. The car is light and nimble, easily being tossed into the corners at high speed but the base model 3.0L engine provided plenty of power to get your blood pumping – even breaking traction of the high performance Bridgestone tires that I was testing. Adding the new 2.0L turbocharged engine, even with less horsepower, should go a long way in making the entry-level Z4 Roadster even better thanks to the earlier power band and the hefty increase in torque.

The BMW Z4 is among the quickest affordable roadsters on the market and the remarkable handling capacities will help make this new entry-level turbocharged 4-cylinder a popular choice for those looking for more handling then all-out high performance. BMW has not offered a price thus far, but with the sDrive30i starting around $47,000 (the 300 and 335hp models start at $53,000 and $62,500), the 4-cylinder option makes this base model Z4 an even greater bargain…as luxury roadsters go.

Other NYIAS News:
The 2012 Chrysler 300 S introduces America to the 8-speed transmission
The new 2012 Shelby GTS Mustang debuts at the New York Auto Show
Volkswagen Beetle R confirmed for the US
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 debuts in NYC
The 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 debuts in New York

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