BMW Z4 roadster - Interior & comfort
Z4 has a well designed, high-quality interior, but it lacks a sense of occasion
If the Z4's driving dynamics suggest it isn’t a true rival for the Porsche Boxster or Alpine A110, its interior does even more to widen the gap. While both its rivals, but especially the Alpine, have a pared down, minimalist feel inside that emphasises their sports car spirit, the Z4 is far more like a sporty saloon or coupe inside. In fact, the dashboard has an overwhelming similarity to that of the BMW 3 Series.
In many ways, that's far from a criticism. The 3 Series dashboard is one of the best in the business. It's tidy in layout and easy to use, and its build quality is beyond reproach. BMW's latest iDrive infotainment system is superb, too – intuitive in layout and with bright, attractive graphics. Also excellent are the seats. They're superbly supportive when you're vigorously tackling a country lane, yet comfortable on a long motorway journey.
Many will say, though, that while the Z4 scores well for quality, ease of use and interior features, it doesn't have that unique, tailor-made feeling that other sports cars do. That leads to it feeling a little unconvincing – as if it's not really a sports car at all.
The Z4's standard equipment list looks rather more coupe than sports car, too. Two trim levels are offered; Sport and M Sport. Both look suitably aggressive on the outside, with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting all round and gloss-black details. The M Sport has more pronounced contouring to the bumpers and side skirts, a three-section front air intake and a different design of alloys.
Inside, both have sports seats in leather as standard, as well as ambient lighting for the dashboard and centre console edges, with colour and brightness adjustable via the infotainment system. The latter is BMW's latest LiveCockpit system, with sat nav and Bluetooth compatibility, and music from a 205 watt ten-speaker stereo.
Early buyers could choose the Z4 M40i First Edition, which was even more lavishly equipped. Finished in special Frozen Orange metallic paint with a contrasting anthracite roof, the First Edition boasts extra gloss exterior accents that include the mirror housings, and special bi-colour 19-inch alloy wheels. Adaptive LED headlamps are standard. Inside, the seats are electrically adjustable with a memory feature, there's a head-up display and an upgraded Harman Kardon stereo.
Key options include adaptive LED headlamps whose beams can alter to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic when driving on full beam, a 12-speaker, 464 watt Harman Kardon stereo and a head-up dashboard display.
While autonomous emergency braking is standard, other driver-assistance technology is reserved for the options list. You'll need to pay extra for lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control or parking assistance.