Like the Audi TT Roadster, the Mazda MX-5 and the Mercedes SLK, the BMW Z4 is great looking sports car that turns heads wherever it goes. This rear-wheel drive sports car replaces the Z3 in the BMW line-up. The first generation of the Z4 was released in 2002. The current generation was released in 2009. The Z4 Roadster has a starting price of €48,400, which makes it circa €150 less expensive than the very attractive Audi TT Roadster. The Mazda MX-5 however comes in at a lot less and is good fun to drive too.
The Z4 is only available with petrol engines and in comparison with nearly every other BMW vehicle that we have looked at it probably gives the highest on-paper fuel consumption rate. Fuel economy may not be the name of the game here but the petrol range is nice enough with offerings between 156 and 245hp in the 2.0 litre engines and between 306 and 340hp in the 3.0 litre engines.
The 2.0 litre 154hp engine is surprisingly strong but the general consensus is that the more enjoyable of the 2.0 litre range is the 181hp offering – due to sheer pace.
The Z4 gives plenty of grip and it feels like it’s close to the road. The steering is accurate and well weighted. However, this vehicle will let you feel every bump that the road has to offer. The car does react better in some driving modes, but even when you compare it with the much less expensive Mazda MX-5, you’d wonder how their ride isn’t as bumpy.
Roadsters by their very nature suffer from massive amounts of road noise. To tackle this BMW has a folding metal roof, which means that things aren’t as loud as soft top roadsters. Other noises that slip into the cabin are slightly more welcome. These are the sounds of the engine doing the right things.
Typical of any BMW the interior is made to a very high standard. All of the materials are of great quality. The metal roof folds away smartly and smoothly and the seats are very comfortable. This would be among the more refined interiors within its segment. There are plenty of soft furnishings on display in here and everything feels good to the touch. The dash is inviting and typical of BMW it is driver focused.
The Z4 comes with High-Beam Assistant which automatically switches the lights from high beam to low beam depending on surrounding and approaching traffic. The car also comes with many driver aids like Park Distance Control. Of course you can also expect to find anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic stability control.
To expect a massive amount of practicality from a roadster is asking a bit too much. The first obvious sign of this is that the car only has two seats. With that said the front is very spacious and there is a nice mix of connectivity items like Bluetooth, SATNAV, USB connectivity, etc. There is a boot in the Z4, but unsurprisingly the space in here is limited.