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Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - December 19, 2012

Expert Rating

4.5 (Excellent)
19 City / 28 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

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For the 2013 model year, the Z4 has a relatively simple lineup, featuring just three main trim levels: sDrive28i, sDrive35i and sDrive35is. The sDrive28i trim level acts as the Z4’s base level format, and it features the lowest-powered engine of the bunch, but retains all of the basic amenities that a BMW buyer would expect. The sDrive35i gets a rather large bump in both engine size and output, plus it gains a few extra standard amenities, like larger wheels and leather seating. The top trim level, the sDrive35is, receives yet another significant boost in engine output, exclusive wheels, premium headliner and, BMW’s famed M trimming.

See our picks for best coupes in the CarsDirect 2012 Coupe Buying Guide.

In the world of two-seat roadsters, competition is plentiful, but the price ranges vary significantly. A perennial competitor for the BMW Z4 is the Mercedes SLK-Class, which features similar styling as the Z4 and engines ranging from a 201-horsepower, 1.8-liter to a 425-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8. Another model in BMW’s rearview mirror is the 2013 Porsche Boxster, which features a pedigree like no other and power output from 265 horsepower to 315 horsepower. It is a bit of a stretch, but the 2013 Corvette and its massive V-8 engines is yet another option to look at when considering the 2013 BMW Z4. A final competitor would be the Mazda MX-5 Miata with its legendary handling and competent 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The roadster realm is one that is pretty well contested from top to bottom, and there are some rather wide gaps between the entrants. This allows buyers plenty of options to choose from and a wide range of prices too.

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