BMW Z4 roadster

Price  £29,690 - £47,905

BMW Z4 roadster

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Powerful engine range
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Great build quality
  • Expensive to buy
  • No diesel option
  • Limited practicality

At a glance

The greenest
sDrive20i 2dr £31,790
The cheapest
sDrive18i 2dr £29,690
The fastest
sDrive35is 2dr £47,905
Top of the range
sDrive35is 2dr £47,905

"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.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

The BMW Z4 has plenty of economical petrol engines, but no diesel option

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

Plenty of powerful engines, but the BMW Z4 still doesn’t feel very sporty

Interior & comfort

3.5 / 5

Easy to live with, the BMW Z4 is a comfortable motorway cruiser

Practicality & boot space

2.1 / 5

The clever roof eats into BMW Z4 boot space when folded down

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Strong reliability and lots of safety features mean the BMW Z4 should be dependable

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"The rear-wheel-drive Z4 isn’t as engaging as a Boxster or Audi TT, but it is a surprisingly good cruiser, thank to its supple ride and refinement. Still, the naturally weighted steering, fine balance and decent grip mean the BMW still feels agile and composed through a series of corners."
3.5 / 5
"The Z4 does do the boulevard cruiser thing particularly well. It's a doddle to drive, with an easy consistency to the brakes, steering and throttle; the cabin is snug and attractively laid out."
4.5 / 5
"Compared with the original model, the second-generation BMW Z4 Roadster has become a slightly different animal as the German car maker looks to make the two-seater more appealing to people considering a Mercedes-Benz SLK or Porsche Boxster."
What owners say 
4.2 /5 based on 107 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
19 Mar 2015
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