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MSRP: $49,700 - 49,700

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 BMW Z4 Review

The redesigned 2019 BMW Z4 is better than its previous generation, with sportier performance and a larger cabin that welcomes tall travelers. Its low standing in our luxury sports car rankings is more of a reflection of just how competitive this class is.

Pros & Cons

  • Energetic turbocharged engines
  • Fuel-efficient base engine
  • Spacious seating accommodates a wide range of body sizes
  • Some rivals have more athletic handling

Is the BMW Z4 a Good Car?

Yes, the BMW Z4 is a good sports car. The Z4 is ideal for summertime cruising, thanks to its smooth ride, roomy seats, and convertible soft top. It’s also good at tackling winding roads. The Z4 feels responsive and stable through tight turns, and its four- and six-cylinder engine options are quite potent. Other Z4 highlights include good fuel economy, quality cabin materials, and user-friendly features. Overall, you’ll find no major shortcomings in this drop-top BMW.

Should I Buy the BMW Z4?

The redesigned Z4 is a great pick in this class, but it’s not the only one. If you’re looking for a sports car with truly exceptional handling and grip, you’ll want to check out similarly priced alternatives like the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-Type, and BMW’s own M2.

Another option worth mulling over is the all-new Toyota Supra coupe. BMW partnered up with Toyota to develop these two sports cars. They share a number of core components, but each has its own distinctive styling and driving dynamics.

Compare the Z4 and Supra »

Should I Buy a New or Used BMW Z4?

The Z4 was on hiatus over the last few years. If you want to buy a used Z4, you'll need to shop from the last generation, which was built from 2009 to 2016. You can likely save money with one of these older models; just know that you'll be missing out on some considerable performance enhancements and technology updates. Additionally, the Z4 grows in length and width for its 2019 redesign, granting occupants more cabin space. At the same time, its wheelbase is narrower, giving it a nimbler demeanor.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2015 Z4 and 2016 Z4 reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2019 Z4»

We Did the Research for You: 8 Reviews Analyzed

Our BMW Z4 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 8 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the BMW Z4 Cost?

Prices for the BMW sDrive30i start just under $50,000, and the sDrive M40i retails for $63,700. The Z4's base price is higher than those of the Mercedes-Benz SLC or Audi TT, but it's not quite as lofty as the Porsche Boxster.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

BMW Z4 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: BMW Z4 or Mercedes-Benz SLC?

When it comes to price, fuel efficiency, horsepower ratings, and trunk space, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is a close match to the BMW Z4. Mercedes frequently stands out with some of the finest interior quality in the class, but that isn't the case with the SLC. Some materials feel lower quality than this price point calls for, and the seats aren't as supportive or spacious as the Z4's. In this head-to-head, the BMW is the winner.

Which Is Better: BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster?

The Porsche Boxster is a favorite among driving enthusiast because of its superb handling and lineup of powerful engines. Be prepared to spend a hefty sum to acquire this level of performance, though. Prices start just under $60,000, which is more than $9,000 higher than the Z4's starting price. That said, the Boxster doesn't come with as many standard features as the Z4, and adding on options quickly elevates the price even further. That said, if you want more robust performance and can afford it, go for the Porsche.  

Which Is Better: Toyota Supra or BMW Z4?

BMW and Toyota co-developed the Z4 and GR Supra. That said, these aren’t copies of one another, but both of these two-seaters are great cars. Both have distinctive styling inside and out. While the Supra is a coupe, the Z4 is a convertible. Overall, the Toyota Supra comes across as the better sports car and the better value. The Supra has a similar starting price to the Z4, but it comes standard with the punchier six-cylinder engine, which costs about $14,000 extra with the BMW. The Supra feels sharper and more responsive as well, and it's equipped with many more standard safety features, like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The Supra also has a longer powertrain warranty than the BMW.

Compare the Z4, SLC, and Boxster »

Z4 Interior

How Many People Does the Z4 Seat?

Claustrophobic is a word that's often used to describe the cabin of a low-slung sports car, but it isn't applicable with this BMW. The redesigned Z4 is a two-seat sports car, but it's larger in all directions than its predecessor. That translates to more space for the driver and front passenger, and whether the top is up or down, tall travelers will feel right at home. It takes about 10 seconds for the motor to put the soft top up or down. 

Z4 and Car Seats

We don't recommend installing a car seat in the front seat of any car. If you want a sporty car that is also tyke-friendly, we recommend shopping for a luxury small car such as the BMW 3 Series.

Z4 Interior Quality

The Z4's interior gets a round of applause from professional reviewers, and it's much better than the less-than-luxe cabin of the last Z4 generation. The quality of materials is appropriate for the price. Glossy piano black trim and synthetic leather upholstery are standard; upgrades include Vernasca leather seats and aluminum inlays with a tetragon pattern. 

Z4 Cargo Space

The Z4 has 9.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is not bad for a small roadster. Plus, trunk space doesn't shrink when the top is down, so you don't have to worry about reshuffling luggage every time the sun comes out.

Z4 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Z4 comes with a pair of modern digital screens: a 12.3-inch driver's display behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch infotainment display in the center stack. Powering the infotainment system is the latest iDrive 7.0 interface. It's not as complicated as some rival systems, and it gives you the ability to adjust settings using the touch screen, voice commands, or the knob controller.

Apple CarPlay is standard, but it comes only as a subscription service – after the first year, you'll have to pay a fee to use it. The good news is that this is wireless CarPlay. Instead of cluttering up the interior with cords, it connects to your phone using Bluetooth. Android Auto is not available. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay?

Read more about interior »

Z4 Performance

Z4 Engine: Lively Twin-Turbo Engines

The Z4 comes standard with a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With this power plant, this roadster can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. That's not too shabby, and critics say the engine never feels underpowered or hesitant. For an extra $14,000, you can hit 60 mph in less than four seconds with the M40i. Propelling this version of the Z4 is a 382-horespower turbocharged straight-six-cylinder engine. Drivers looking to row their own gears will be disappointed to know that an eight-speed automatic transmission is the only choice. This gearbox is enjoyable, however, as it sorts out the gears in a responsive, polished manner. 

Z4 Gas Mileage: Surprisingly Good

The Z4 sDrive30i has one of the best fuel economy ratings in our luxury sports car rankings, earning an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Gas mileage estimates are not yet available for the M40i.

Z4 Ride and Handling: Playful and Pleasant

The rear-wheel-drive Z4 is comfortable and stable, with strong brakes and a suspension that keeps the ride smoother than many rivals. You don't feel quite as connected to the road in a Z4 as much as you do in a Porsche Boxster, but the Z4 is athletic enough to add some excitement to most public roads. The M Sport performance enhancements spice up the M40i even further. One of the Z4's standout qualities are the noticeable differences between the drive modes. Cruise-worthy Comfort mode is on one end of the spectrum. On the other end is Sport mode, which sharpens the handling and throttle response.

Read more about performance »

Z4 Reliability

Is the BMW Z4 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the Z4 a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is slightly above average.

BMW Z4 Warranty

The Z4 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Z4 Safety

Z4 Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released crash test evaluations for the 2019 Z4. It is typical for luxury sports cars to not undergo full crash testing.

Z4 Safety Features

The Z4 comes standard with a rearview camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Optional safety features include active park assist, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, a head-up display, automatic high beams, adaptive LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors. The optional Active Driving Assistant includes daytime pedestrian monitoring, frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which BMW Z4 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 BMW Z4 comes in two trim levels: the sDrive30i and the sDrive M40i. Performance components make up the bulk of the differences between these two models, with the M40i boasting a higher-horsepower engine and M Sport handling upgrades.

BMW offers a wide selection of options on both, including Vernasca leather seats, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, and the Active Driving Assistant. The engine in the sDrive30i is no slouch, so don't fret if you can't fork over an extra $14,000 for the M40i.  

BMW Z4 sDrive30i

Prices for the base Z4 sDrive30i start at $49,700. The M Sport design, which adds athletic exterior styling enhancements, costs an additional $2,950. Standard Z4 components include synthetic leather upholstery (called SensaTec), 14-way power adjustable sport seats, and 18-inch wheels. The infotainment system comes with the iDrive 7.0 interface, a 10.25-inch touch-screen display, a navigation system, Bluetooth, and two USB ports.

BMW Z4 sDrive M40i

Performance enhancements on the Z4 sDrive M40i include a more powerful engine, along with M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential, an M Chassis and suspension system, and an aerodynamic kit. Other notable additions include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and proximity keyless entry. Prices start at $63,700.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local BMW dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our BMW deals page.

See 2019 BMW Z4 specs and trims »

The Final Call

Bimmer enthusiasts – especially those familiar with the preceding Z3 and Z4 – will be delighted by the redesigned 2019 Z4. Its metamorphosis gives it more space for occupants and nimbler handling than its predecessors, as well as a set of eager turbocharged engines. Though it gains some sportiness, the Z4 is still more of a cruising car at heart. Those setting off on an interstate tour will appreciate its smooth ride and decently sized trunk. If you're after something with a little more punch, a Porsche may be a better luxury sports car for you.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "I can assure you, the Z4 M40i is neither too slow, nor too soft, nor underpowered at all …  it's one of the most well-rounded, let's-go-anywhere two-seaters I've ever driven, and a brilliant sports car, even if it excels at nothing in particular." -- Automobile Magazine
  • I think it's accurate to say that the Z4 drives well. I'd even go so far as to say that it's very good for the first 90 percent of its capability. It's that last 10 percent that eats at me, though, and unfortunately, it's those moments that make or break a sports car. A great sports car asks to be pushed and pushes the driver in kind. That's why people want sports cars - and perhaps more important, why they buy them." -- Cars.com
  • The Z4 has evolved into a more refined, composed convertible that begs to be driven faster and farther. But that's the rub, too. By removing the slip and slide aspect that elevates cars like the flickable Mazda Miata MX-5, the Z4 also removes some of the thrill from the equation. Mature, secure, and surprisingly capable, the new Z4 is more cerebral than visceral. It's a safe play in a shrinking ragtop market with fewer players than ever." -- Autoblog
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