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2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is: First Look

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  • Competes with: Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi S5
  • Looks like: BMW’s new Z4 got better, with a worse name
  • Drivetrain: 335-hp, twin-turbo six-cylinder with seven-speed double-clutch transmission
  • Hits dealerships: May 2010

For 2011, BMW is adding a new trim level to its recently redesigned Z4 convertible hardtop roadster. A new 335-horsepower model with an adjustable sport suspension, which is borrowed from the company’s M lineup of performance cars, now sits atop the range. BMW has dubbed this model the Z4 sDrive35is. There’s also a Z4 sDrive30i and a Z4 sDrive35i, which has the same engine as the new 35is but puts out less power and doesn’t have the performance and body modifications of this new entry.

The sDrive35is gets a specially tuned exhaust, the M suspension that lowers the car 10 millimeters or a third of an inch, unique 18- or optional 19-inch wheels, matte aluminum trim and special silver side mirrors no matter the car’s exterior color.

The only reason we can tell this Z4 isn’t given an M designation is that the engine isn’t as powerful as the current Ms in the lineup, which bottoms out with the 414-hp M3. Even with the “paltry” power ratings, the Z4 sDrive35is is predicted to go from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the 2010 Z4 sDrive 35i starts at $51,650; expect the “is” to cost more than that. More photos below.

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