The new Z4 Roadster is undoubtedly a good looking car. The styling is unmistakably BMW, with the characteristic front grille. But a lot of the features are actually quite subtle for a two-seater roadster.
BMW are renowned for their build-quality and the interior of the new Z4 is proof of this. Everything is sturdy and well made. The surfaces are tactile with soft-touch plastics, leathers and high quality materials. There are nice touches like the stitching on the side panels and dashboard. The steering wheel is pleasing to grip.
Everything is adjustable from the height of the steering wheel to the depth of the heated sports seats. The seats are individually electrically controlled and cocoon the driver and passenger amazingly well. Everything about the interior of the Z4 feels like the cockpit of a true racing car.
The infotainment system is clear, simple to navigate and useful. You can control things with the touch-screen, a physical dial or voice commands. The computer can even recognise whether the command is coming from the drivers’ or passengers’ seat and can react accordingly.
If you’re looking for something practical you probably won’t be looking at this section of the market. The Z4 will never be especially high ranking on a scale of practicality. You most likely won’t be using it for bringing the kids to their GAA practice or picking up the extended family from the airport. But for a car in this class it actually has a few practical features that you might not expect. The passenger seat has isofix points and fitting a toddler or baby seat is pretty straightforward. Even the bulky rear-facing seats are no problem.
You can raise the soft-top roof at speeds of up to 31mph, great news when for you’re pootering along a country lane and the heavens open. When not driving, you can operate the roof remotely with the key-fob.
With the BMW app, you can remotely set the seat temperature for those mornings when you’d rather get into an already toasty car.
At the end of the day, a two seater roadster is never going to win in a haulage competition against any of the new breed of SUVs or an estate. But if you’re wondering how much luggage the Z4 can lug, read on.
The boot is about as big as a small hatchback and you can easily fit a set of golf clubs in it. A folding push-chair? No problem. Luggage for a weekend away? You bet. That full length antique dining table you’ve had your eye on? You’ll have to draw the line there. But that’s no surprise. You’d be hard pushed to find more luggage capacity in any other cars in this class. If you’re really worried about how much you can carry you may as well go the whole hog and check out your nearest Scania dealership. Nothing’s going to beat a lorry when it comes to carriage capacity.
The Z4 comes with a choice of 3 engines, all petrol. The sdrive 20i is a 2 litre engine, turbo charged generating almost 200 bhp, it will get to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds. The sdrive 30i is also 2 litre, generating an extra 60 bhp. But the one you’ll want, if you can handle the extra price tag, is the m40i. This 3 litre, 6 cylinder power unit can generate 335 bhp, will arrive at 100km/h 2 whole seconds faster than its baby sibling, and has a top speed of 155 mph.
The Z4 wants you to drive it on open roads. You want to drive it on open roads. But in the real world, you’ll occasionally be stuck in traffic in or around town. Most sports cars can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to speed bumps or maneuvering in tight spaces. But the Z4 is actually not bad at all when it comes to urban driving. It has to be said, if you opt for the M sport trim the suspension can feel a little firm around town, but otherwise the ride is comfortable.
With a turning circle not too dissimilar from a small hatchback and parking sensors on all models parking the Z4 is as easy as you could want. If the roof is up, and let’s face it in Ireland, the roof is going to be up more than it’s going to be down, it can be a bit tricky to see out the rear window. But the rear parking camera that comes with the optional technology package makes parking a breeze.
For a sportier car, the Z4 has decent fuel efficiency, round about the 40mpg mark. CO2 emissions place this roadster into the €570 annual tax bracket.
Pricing starts at €50,895 for the sDrive 20i Sport, but if you test-drive the M40i you’ll definitely be justifying the price increase. The top-of-the-line models start at €73,525.