2014 BMW Z4 new car reviews

The Z roadster has been around for nearly two decades now—can you believe it? It strives to be the upscale option for those who want wind-in-the-hair style and a sporting demeanor. Its natural competitor is the Porsche Boxster, which starts just a few thousand dollars higher.

The particular version we got was optioned quite a bit higher—but mostly in looks. We got BMW’s new 2.0-liter turbo mill, not the brand's familiar inline 6. It's worth a 10-mpg advantage (34 highway), but gives up nearly 100 horsepower to the top of the alphabet-soup spec sDrive35is. All the extra dollars in this build went to the M Sport package, which is $3650-worth of door sills and badges in a car that has no actual M equivalent.

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Other staff views

Alan Cesar Alan Cesar
SuperDork

How disappointing. The engine has a decent—albeit too muffled—sound, and there's a happy hiss from the blowoff valve, but the thrust just isn't there. There's also a lot of road noise from the front end, and overall, this car is just not enough for what you'll pay.

It feels too obvious to say this, but it must be said: The new Miata is a much, much better value. You can save $20,000 and get a top that goes up and down with a flick of the wrist, an engine that loves to rev, a chassis that begs to be tossed. The BMW is better appointed inside, but it's not substantially better: It feels heavy, slow, and it's pretty boring to drive. Our $50,000+ test car didn't even have a nav screen.

I shake my head at this car. For this much cash outlay, a powerful German automaker should be able to make something better than its struggling Japanese competitor. But though they're in completely different price classes, the MX-5 simply knocks this Bimmer out.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

From the outside this new Z4 looks the business. The recent redesign gives the car a meatier more aggressive look-- even with our car's screaming yellow paintwork. It's now less Miata-esque and more along the lines of the big Mercedes 500SL. This is a premium car, with an interior to match. The materials are all top notch, the seats are supportive and comfortable, and this new Z4 is generally a pleasant place to spend time.

Unfortunately, while BMW's new turbo-four cylinder engine has received praise elsewhere, it fails in this application. The power is just adequate, the sound a muted drone, and this new Z4 exhibits none of the eagerness to rev that previous ( Inline Six) versions had. While the blown four does what it is asked, it never cracks a smile.

This sexy new Z4 is a great boulevard cruiser, and a nice car to be seen in. For me, an MX-5 hardtop is much more fun, $20K less, and does nearly everything as well as this ho-hum driving BMW. If you love the look---- you may want to ante up for the turbo-6 cylinder version.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
7/19/13 7:39 a.m.

The Z4 has always been a bit of an odd duck to me in the BMW lineup Being a 2-seat roadster, it should be the most sporting of all BMW's, the one with the most driver involvement. But it never is.

The X5 is the BMW of SUV's, and comes in M flavor if you wish. But the Z4 is the Buick of roadsters, and no M package is available.

BMW: The Ultimate Profit Machine.

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
8/5/13 11:50 a.m.

Interesting. I too like the looks, but could never see myself in one. My dad bought a new 3 series a few months back with this engine, and is due to replace my mom's car in Sept. with another BMW. But his comment was that it will not be with this motor. While it gets decent fuel mileage, he believes it takes away from any driving enjoyment, and used the term "soulless" when describing his experiences with it. The next will definitely be the 6cyl.

200mph
200mph New Reader
11/3/13 4:42 p.m.

(headslap) You coulda had a turbo 6! . Yes, the 4 cylinder is the econo engine; my 35is version is a far different car to drive. Its not the "pure" sports car my M Roadster was, but I'm no kid anymore either. I chose it over the Boxster and I'm not disappointed except for... the damn run-flats. I had hoped with the folding hardtop the Zed 4 would be quieter inside than a softtop, but I can't tell over all the tire noise!

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar SuperDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The Z roadster has been around for nearly two decades now—can you believe it? It strives to be the upscale option for those who want wind-in-the-hair style and a sporting demeanor. Its natural competitor is the Porsche Boxster, which starts just a few thousand dollars higher.

The particular version we got was optioned quite a bit higher—but mostly in looks. We got BMW’s new 2.0-liter turbo mill, not the brand's familiar inline 6. It's worth a 10-mpg advantage (34 highway), but gives up nearly 100 horsepower to the top of the alphabet-soup spec sDrive35is. All the extra dollars in this build went to the M Sport package, which is $3650-worth of door sills and badges in a car that has no actual M equivalent.

Like what you read here? You can get a whole magazine full of these types of articles delivered to your home or shop 8 times a year. Subscribe now or visit the Grassroots Motorsports online store for back issues.

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