You know exactly what you’re getting with the BMW Z4. It’s an old-school style roadster, with the engine way up front under a long bonnet, rear-wheel drive, and the driver and passenger sitting almost on top of the rear axle. It’s the modern interpretation of a 1940s roadster and is all the better for it.
No matter which generation of BMW Z4 you’ve got your eye on, your eye will be very pleased indeed, because it’s rather a stunner. The traditional BMW double-kidney grille, with the numberplate below and a sculpted chin spoiler, completes the aggressive look on M Sport models. SE versions look slightly less forceful. The wide headlights feature the traditional BMW ‘halo rings’ around each bulb.
Front wings on either version feature various scoops and vents and lead you back along a pronounced side sill with a noticeable upsweep towards the rear wheel arch.
The windscreen, meanwhile, is small and steeply sloping, and the two doors are heavily sculpted and neither too big nor too small.
Current-shape cars have a fabric roof to save weight, whereas the previous generation had a folding hard-top roof, which offers greater security. Both cars have pronounced rear haunches that lead on to a cut-off rear end.
No matter which generation of BMW Z4 you’ve got your eye on, your eye will be very pleased indeed.
What’s it like to drive?
There are a range of four- and six-cylinder engines available in the Z4, and the motors are undeniably well capable of hustling the Z4 along with reasonable vigour.
If you want journeys in your Z4 to be a bit more of an event, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine is undoubtedly the one to choose. Not only does this give the Z4 a more than decent turn of pace, but it does so with a howl that’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Of course, all that would be for nothing if the Z4 handled like Bambi on ice at the first sign of a corner. It doesn’t. The steering on all versions is quick, and the nose responds rapidly to any turn of the wheel. Better still, the fact that you’re sitting almost over the rear wheels means you can put your foot down safe in the knowledge that traction will be superb.
It makes a great long-distance machine, too, with the sort of all-day long-legged ability and ride comfort that makes great distances feel like nothing at all. And of course, you can put the roof down at any point, to be able to enjoy the full surround-sound experience.
The steering on all versions is quick, and the nose responds rapidly to any turn of the wheel.
The Z4 features two superbly supportive sports seats, plus well-equipped cabins designed around the driver, with a high central tunnel and a centre console that’s slightly angled towards the driver. It also feels wonderfully well put together thanks to high-end materials.
You’ll find controls for the electric windows and mirrors on the door, and the knob for the headlights down by the driver’s right knee.
It also has a large touchscreen atop the dashboard, and below this are the digital ventilation controls. Thanks to the wonder of technology, there are controls for the roof and heated seats, and the gear lever is the control set-up for the iDrive infotainment system.
You don’t buy a two-seat convertible if you need something practical, but nevertheless, the BMW Z4 is pretty usable on a day-to-day basis.
There’s a huge amount of legroom available and better still, the seat goes far enough forward to cater for those who aren’t quite as tall. The steering also offers plenty of adjustment, both in and up and up and down.
The cabin is decently wide, so you won’t feel like you’re rubbing shoulders with your passenger, a feeling accentuated by the large central tunnel.
There are also a few cubbies dotted around the cabin, and the door pockets are a fair size. Luggage space isn’t huge but it’s enough to store a few holdall bags for a weekend away.
Running costs and reliability
No BMW Z4 will be cheap to run. Nor should it break the bank. If you go for a four-cylinder engine you can expect it to do an average economy figure of around 41mpg, while the six-cylinder engines are more likely to be around the 32mpg mark. Obviously, these figures will plummet when you enjoy the available performance.
What we love
What’s not to love about a BMW Z4? It has the sort of looks which make you smile as you’re walking towards it, and make you smile even more when you see all the admiring glances it attracts on the road.
Add in the fact that it has seriously rapid performance in a straight line, and the handling to make the most of that pace on a twisty road, and it cements its case.
It also has an interior that makes every journey feel special, and you can simply press a button and enjoy the al fresco motoring lifestyle just a few seconds later.
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A BMW Z4 is a great car because it does everything well. It’s a superb long-distance cruiser, and it’s special to drive when the roof is down. It sounds superb, it goes brilliantly, and it won’t cost a ridiculous amount to run. And of course, it looks absolutely stunning.
This review was