35 kW more for BMW Z4, Toyota GR Supra


BMW has quietly upgraded its flagship Z4 roadster’s turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-6 to produce a peak power output of 285 kW (up from 250 kW) and Toyota will do the same in due course with its GR Supra, which, of course, shares its powertrain with the Bimmer…

You can always do with a smidge more power, can’t you? Late last year, it was widely reported that BMW would introduce a higher-output version of the engine in its top-of-the-range M40i derivative of the Z4 range. It was expected to be phased into the global market during the 1st quarter of 2020 and upon a recent visit to BMW SA’s website, we noticed that according to the latest product brochure, the M40i now produces 285 kW (an extra 35 kW), while the motor's peak torque figure (500 Nm) remains unchanged.

The performance characteristics of the motor are a little different, however. Maximum power is now available in a narrower band (5 800-6 500 rpm instead of 5 000-6 500 rpm, but the peak torque range is notably wider: from 1 800-5 000 rpm instead of 1 600-4 500 rpm.

The M40i version of the BMW Z4 is now more powerful, but the manual 'box option of the 2.0-litre version is not on cards for ZA.

As a result, the Z4 M40i – equipped exclusively with an 8-speed automatic transmission ­– is claimed to shave 0.4 of a second off its 0-100 kph time (from 4.5 seconds to 4.1 seconds), but as far as we can ascertain, the listed asking price of the Z4 flagship (just over R1 million, excluding delivery and before options) remains virtually unchanged.

What’s good for the goose…

By now it’s common knowledge that the Toyota GR Supra, which was recently named the winner of the Performance Car category of the 2019/20 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank, is mechanically similar to the BMW roadster – the models were developed in tandem by Toyota and BMW.

Toyota Australia has been the first to show its hand – this week the firm confirmed that the GR Supra coupe would receive that 35-kW upgrade as well, although the lack of stock availability in that market means that upgraded versions will only be made available towards the latter half of 2020 and probably at a slight price premium.

The visceral Toyota GR Supra was recently crowned the 2019/20 Performance Car category winner in the #CarsAwards.

Apart from an improvement in the claimed 0-100 kph time of the GR Supra (4.3 seconds is officially claimed for the SA-spec model, so we expect a faster time of closer to the 4-second mark), the 2020 model features a number of upgrades compared with the current version.

Toyota has fitted lightweight aluminium chassis braces in the GR Supra’s engine bay to increase lateral rigidity and tweaked the coupe’s  (adaptive) suspension tuning. Furthermore, there have been recalibrations of the electric power steering, electronic stability control and active differential to sharpen up the sportscar’s handling.

We’ll confirm the expected local introduction date of the upgraded GR Supra as soon as more information becomes available…

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