2015 BMW Z4 sDrive28i new car reviews

The Z4 has started to grow into a slightly sleeker, but still bulky, look. Most notably in the nose.
While not exactly luxurious, the cockpit is rather comfortable.

The Z4 tends to be a love-it or hate-it type of car. While rather nimble, it's appearance can come across as bulky. Our test car was armed with the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Despite the rather small heart, it makes a pretty healthy 240 horsepower.

Our car was also more than $10,000 over a base model's price. What do we get for that extra coin? Most notably, the "M Sport Package." Honestly, other than the "Adaptive M Suspension," that just means there are a lot of "M" emblems all over the interior. On top of that, we were also granted the "Cold Weather Package," "Premium Sound Package" and "Technology Package."

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

First, no, this isn't an MX-5 alternative. It's an updated BMW roadster that, in all likelihood, is going to appeal to a different consumer. That's a shame, too, as the latest MX-5 in GT trim has moved a tick upmarket.

Anyway, back to the BMW. Plenty of power, comfy interior and amazing looks. It's more of a GT-type convertible than an old-school roadster. With the top up, it's as quiet as a coupe.

Would I get it instead of an MX-5, though? To be honest, I think I'd save my pennies.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Associate Editor

Ooooooh, shiny! I like modern Z4s. Are they light, simple, and pleasant like a Triumph Spitfire? No, not really. They're a different beast. Not like a Z3–they're more like a GT car where the top happens to go down. There's plenty of power, lots of room, an awesome stereo, and it's remarkably civilized with the top up.

We've said it before, but BMW's four-cylinder is awesome. Plus, it makes boost noises (y0). The exhaust is roarty and awesome.

The only thing I didn't like was the transmission. It's an automatic, and it does automatic stuff just fine. But, try to drive aggressively or have fun, and it's just numb, boring, and sloppy. The flappy paddles are just suggestions, and it downshifts as smoothly as an eight-year-old on speed.

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham
Associate Editor

It's a solid car. Or at least it is now. The more computers and nannies that manufacturers shove in cars, the more worried I get about the thought of owning one. If something goes wrong, there's not a ton you can do about it without assistance.

I will say that while this car is pretty fun to drive in sport mode, the comfort mode leaves you wondering what you just spent 60 grand on. It's pretty hesitant to rev, and for a "comfort" suspension setup it's still pretty hard. Lock one of these suckers into sport mode, replace the automatic with a manual, and I'm a fan.

While the interior is a bit cramped, the driver is comfortable, like a swaddled baby.

However, let's not forget that for the kind of money that this car requires, you could bring home a new Corvette. To me it's no competition. Give me the Vette. But for those who crave new BMW status, I suppose it's worth it. Everyone has their own taste in cars and this one carries a very upscale vibe.

To follow up on David's comparison, if given the choice between this Z4 and the new ND-chassis Miata, I would choose the Miata any day of the week.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
wspohn
wspohn HalfDork
9/20/15 9:58 a.m.

Like the look of the cars, but it will be a cold day in Hell before I own an automatic transmission sports car, and that car is about 300 lbs. over weight and about $15,000 too expensive in comparison with the other alternatives. The twin turbo 6 with 335 bhp and a six speed manual would make me twitch though - but then I'd likely go off and buy a Z4M coupe from the previous generation and save half the cost of the new one to put into 'improvements'

asoduk
asoduk Reader
9/20/15 9:38 p.m.

I found the automatic in this car to actually be really nice. When I had one for a weekend test drive it reminded me a lot of the miata with a long hood and nice interior.

My only dislikes were that it was hard not to park like a BMW driver, and the radio display was hard to read with the top down.

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
9/21/15 11:08 a.m.

They've tried to update the Z4, but it's still an old design. For $60k there are plenty of other choices. I keep harping on this, but I hope the steering is better than on my dad's two new BMWs.

I will agree with the 4cyl though. It does not feel like one, and the blend of power and mpg is very impressive.

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