BMW Z4 roadster
Price £29,695 - £47,915
- Powerful engine range
- Comfortable to drive
- Great build quality
- Expensive to buy
- No diesel option
- Limited practicality
At a glance
"With its responsive engine range and good looks, the BMW Z4 is an upmarket and desirable sports car that's very comfortable to drive."
The BMW Z4 is a classic two-seater convertible roadster that goes head-to-head with other desirable drop-tops such as the Porsche Boxster, Mercedes SLK, Audi TT Roadster and Mazda MX-5. With a long bonnet, short boot and power-folding hardtop metal roof, it certainly looks the part. It's good to drive, too, while also being quiet and refined when the roof is up. A further bonus of the metal roof is that it's more secure than a fabric one when the car is parked up.
Petrol power is your only choice in the Z4 – unlike the Audi TT, there's no low-emissions, high-mpg diesel option. The range starts with the 156bhp sDrive18i, which gets from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. Other options include the 184bhp sDrive20i, the 245bhp sDrive28i, the 306bhp sDrive35i and the range-topping 340bhp sDrive35is, which takes just 4.8 seconds to do 0-62mph.
The Z4 isn’t as fun to drive as the superb-handling Porsche Boxster, but it does make more sense as an everyday vehicle. The aforementioned metal hardtop makes it quieter and more relaxing to drive when the weather's bad or you have a long journey to do, while its boot – although not large by any means – is above-average for the roadster class.
Standard equipment is generally pretty good, with 17-inch alloys, air-conditioning, an MP3 player port, Bluetooth, sat nav, DAB digital radio, a leather steering wheel and bright xenon headlights standard across the range. Higher-spec models add things like leather trim, sporty bodykits, sports suspension and a dual-clutch gearbox.
Prices start around the £28,000 mark, rising to a heady £46,000 for the very fast range-topping model. Generally speaking, the pricier models will lose a greater percentage of their initial value on the used market in three or four years’ time. This is one of the reasons we recommend the mid-range sDrive28i model over the more powerful versions, as it's reasonably quick, relatively affordable and fairly cheap to run.
The BMW Z4 has plenty of economical petrol engines, but no diesel option
Plenty of powerful engines, but the BMW Z4 still doesn’t feel very sporty
Easy to live with, the BMW Z4 is a comfortable motorway cruiser
The clever roof eats into BMW Z4 boot space when folded down
Strong reliability and lots of safety features mean the BMW Z4 should be dependable