Although the BMW Z4 looks like the quintessential little sports car, it's actually a luxurious roadster for drivers who delight in open-air touring. You also get thoroughly satisfying performance that doesn't intrude on comfort or refinement.
What's New for 2016
The Z4 can now be ordered in Estoril Blue, one of BMW's most striking paint colors.
Choosing Your BMW Z4
You might expect a soft top on a roadster of this size, but the Z4 wears an efficiently packaged power-folding hardtop. It's the most obvious indication that the Z4 takes passenger comfort seriously.
All models carry the prefix sDrive, which signifies rear-wheel drive at BMW. The standard 2-liter four-cylinder turbo makes 240 horsepower and can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a no-cost eight-speed automatic.
The available turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder puts out 300 or 335 horsepower depending the trim level, and comes with a seven-speed automated manual transmission. In top form, the Z4 sprints from zero to 60 mpg in just 4.8 seconds. The standard Driving Dynamics Control system offers Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ driving modes.
The Z4 is available in three trim levels, each with its own engine.
The 35is's suspension and special trim are available on the 28i and 35i as part of the $3,050 M Sport package. A less costly Sport package ($1,900) offers the suspension upgrades only. The lesser models can also get the 35is's premium sound system as a $950 option. BMW offers a choice of color-themed trim packages exclusive to the Z4.
The Cold Weather package ($700) adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and headlight washers to any model. There's also a $2,250 Technology package with navigation, 12GB of audio storage, voice controls and integrated smartphone apps. Front and rear parking sensors can be added for $750.
If you believe nature intended a car like the Z4 to have a manual transmission, the 28i is your only choice. Between the six-cylinder models, we prefer the 35i, which performs almost as well as 35is, but costs significantly less.