BMW Z4 Review & Prices

The BMW Z4 is a posh convertible sports car that’s comfortable and looks great, but it’s more of a sunny day cruiser than an out-and-out sports car

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RRP £45,170 - £63,230 Avg. Carwow saving £4,759 off RRP
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Reviewed by Darren Cassey after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Striking design
  • Rapid M40i models
  • Excellent infotainment

What's not so good

  • Base model’s engine isn’t very exciting
  • Alternatives more capable on a twisty road
  • A bit dull inside

Find out more about the BMW Z4

Is the BMW Z4 a good car?

This is the BMW Z4, a convertible sports car that’s a bit more grown up and refined than some of its alternatives. It’s like an older married couple sipping gin and tonic at the wedding bar, while the Porsche 718 Boxster and Audi TT Roadster are like the energetic kids careening around the dancefloor and skidding on their knees.

That’s not to say that BMW Z4 isn’t fun to drive. Particularly in more powerful M40i guise – there’s also a slightly uninspiring sDrive20i model – it’s a brawny performance car with an engine that barks angrily as it catapults you down the road.

But point it at a twisty road and it’s not quite as agile as the Porsche and the Audi, which feel small enough to tackle tight British countryside roads and give you confidence that the tyres have loads of grip in corners. The BMW feels bigger and, while it has loads of clever tech to make it handle well, feels like it’s floating over the road rather than biting into the surface.

If you’re looking for a sporty road car that would be just as happy on a race track, the Z4 doesn’t quite hit the mark. It lacks that giggle-inducing character the 718 Boxster and TT have. But where it excels is, well, just about everywhere else. The suspension is comfortable enough to cruise about town without jolting you around at every hint of a pothole, and despite the fabric roof, it’s quiet enough to have a conversation with your passenger even at motorway speeds.

The BMW Z4 isn’t a hardcore sports car, but it is a comfortable convertible that’s perfect for cruising around on a sunny day

And sure, the interior doesn’t quite have the visual drama of the exterior (which is properly head-turning, particularly in the gorgeous Portimao Blue paint), but it’s all very functional and trimmed to the highest quality. You also get one of the best infotainment systems in the business; it’s closer to a cosy 3 Series than a pared back sports car.

Naturally, the 3 Series comparisons fall apart when it comes to space and practicality, but compared with similar cars you’re not too cramped and there are some useful cubby holes, while the boot is the same capacity as the TT Roadster and bigger than you’ll find in the Porsche. The BMW Z4 is a two-seater, though, so if you want rear seats you could consider the Ford Mustang Convertible or BMW’s own 4 Series Convertible.

Ultimately, the BMW Z4 is a fantastic all-round sports car. It doesn’t quite have the cornering prowess of alternatives, but it has more than enough ability to put a smile on your face. And if you’re looking for a comfortable, posh convertible to make the most of sunny road trips, it’s a fantastic option.

See how much you could save through carwow by checking out our BMW Z4 deals page, or browse used Z4 models. You can also take a look at other used BMWs, and when it’s time to sell your car, carwow can help with that, too.

How much is the BMW Z4?

The BMW Z4 has a RRP range of £45,170 to £63,230. However, with Carwow you can save on average £4,759. Prices start at £42,120 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £464. The price of a used BMW Z4 on Carwow starts at £24,780.

Our most popular versions of the BMW Z4 are:

Model version Carwow price from
sDrive 20i M Sport 2dr Auto £42,120 Compare offers

Despite its upmarket image, the BMW Z4 is competitively priced among alternatives. The Audi TT Roadster has a lower starting price, but the pair are evenly matched among their more powerful, top-spec variants.

The BMW Z4 starts at around £45,000 for the 2.0-litre-engined M Sport model, but it’s more than £10,000 extra for the 3.0-litre M40i, so you certainly have to pay for the extra performance.

Porsche 718 Boxster prices can get astronomical because there are hardcore, track-focused motorsport-inspired versions. But again, looking at like-for-like models, the M40i Z4 costs around £5,000 less than a 718 Boxster S.

The left-field choice is the Ford Mustang Convertible. It sits at the top of the Z4 price range, but you do get a beefy V8 engine that sounds fantastic. The other advantage is two (small) rear seats, but the interior is nowhere near as fancy as the BMW’s.

Performance and drive comfort

 Although the BMW Z4 lacks some of the agility of alternatives in corners, it’s a comfortable, refined cruiser

In town

There are usually some compromises to be made when driving around town in a sports car, and that’s somewhat true of the BMW Z4. You sit low to the ground and the car’s long bonnet and wide rear mean it’s not the easiest thing to place on narrow streets, and rear visibility in particular is hampered with the roof up. At least you get front and rear parking sensors as standard that will warn if you’ve misjudged the car’s extremities.

All that being said, the suspension is comfortable, so potholes and rough road surfaces are ironed out better than most alternatives. That’s the trade off for not being the most dynamic option. The steering is light too, so tight manoeuvres require little effort.

On the motorway

Being more comfort-oriented than some of its sports car peers, the BMW Z4 lends itself well to life cruising on the open road. This is especially the case when you close the fabric roof, with wind noise being kept to a minimum and, despite the big 19-inch wheels on the M40i, not much road noise by sports car standards, either. You won’t have to raise your voice to be heard.

On bright sunny days, the BMW is great to cruise about in with the roof down, though at motorway speeds there is quite a bit of wind buffeting. Fortunately, you get a wind deflector (a piece of material that slots between the headrests to reduce wind buffeting) as standard to keep your hair in-check, and there's also a heated steering wheel upgrade that'll make drop-top driving cosier during winter.

All models get regular cruise control as standard, but you’ll have to pay extra for adaptive cruise as part of the Driving Assistant pack. This also adds lane-keeping assistance, but feels a bit stingy given the Z4’s upmarket image and price.

On a twisty road

If you want the most exciting BMW Z4 you can buy, go for the M40i. It has more power than the sDrive20i as well as better brakes, a sporty differential that helps put power down, and adaptive suspension that lets you switch between a sportier or comfier setup.

In isolation, the M40i is great fun on a twisty road, because it has the power to punch you out of a corner and sounds fantastic doing so. However, you don’t get the reassuring sense through the steering wheel that the tyres are gripping the Tarmac. The Audi TT Roadster and Porsche 718 Boxster do a better job of this, so they feel more direct when turning into a corner and inspire more confidence, which ultimately makes them more capable as well as more fun.

It’s also worth noting that the BMW Z4 is only available with an automatic gearbox. If you want a manual gearbox and don’t need the convertible, consider the Toyota Supra. It’s mechanically similar to the Z4 but has been tuned to be sportier than the BMW, so it’s brilliant in corners.

Space and practicality

Compared with similar sports cars, the BMW Z4 is pretty spacious inside and its boot is a good size, but the lack of rear seats could be off-putting

If space and practicality are important, a two-seater sports car is probably the wrong place to look. But if you’re looking to maximise space from this type of car then the BMW Z4 is a great choice.

You sit low to the ground but there’s a decent amount of space around you so you’re not rubbing shoulders with your passenger, and even tall drivers won’t find their head touching the fabric roof when it’s in place.

There are also some useful cubby holes, with narrow door bins, a small space beneath the dashboard to charge your phone, and the armrest has a couple of cupholders – though it’s slightly annoying that you have to drive around with this open if you want to keep your latte secure. 

Space in the back seats

There are no back seats in the BMW Z4, because it’s strictly a two-seater. This is also the case with the Porsche 718 Boxster and the Audi TT Roadster. If you want a four-seat convertible, there are a few options to consider, including BMW’s own 4 Series Convertible. The Ford Mustang Convertible sits at the top of the Z4’s price range, while the Porsche 911 Cabriolet could be in the mix, but it is around twice the price of the BMW…

Boot space

The BMW Z4 has 281 litres of boot space – regardless of whether the roof is up or down. That’s almost exactly the same size as the Audi TT Roadster’s boot (280 litres)and a bit more than the combined pokey front and rear load bays in a Porsche 718 Boxster (275 litrea).

The boot opening isn’t particularly deep but it’s wide enough to lift in a set of golf clubs without any hassle, or there’s room for a pair of small suitcases with space left over for a few soft bags. You get some tether points and an elasticated strap, as well as a ski hatch fitted between the seats to let you carry long luggage poking through from the boot.

You’ll need to make sure you tie things down carefully when using this, though, or you may find items sliding forwards and hitting the gear selector when you brake hard.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The BMW Z4’s interior is well-made with a great infotainment system, but the design is a bit dull

The BMW Z4 looks smart inside, but it doesn’t feel particularly sporty – especially when you compare it with the flashy cabins in the Audi TT Roadster and Porsche 718 Boxster. Sure, you get body-hugging seats as standard and a raised centre console to make you feel cocooned inside, but the infotainment display, air vents and digital instrument display look no different to those you get in a well-specced 3 Series.

That being said, almost everything you touch feels very plush indeed. Bar a few hard surfaces by the sides of the centre console, the plastics on the dashboard and doors feel soft and the brushed metal-effect trims are pretty lovely, too.

BMW’s infotainment system is one of the best in the business. You get a 10.0-inch touchscreen on the dashboard and a 12.0-inch display in front of the steering wheel, which replaces old-fashioned analogue dials, though this isn’t quite as elaborate as the one in the TT.

Regardless, the infotainment system is a breeze to use, whether you use the touchscreen, voice assistant or rotary dial. It’s quick to respond to inputs and the menus are all logically laid out, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean you can sync easily with your phone.

MPG, emissions and tax

You have a choice of two petrol engines in the BMW Z4, both of which come with rear-wheel drive and have an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles that let you shift manually if you’d prefer.

The entry-level model is the sDrive20i, which uses a 2.0-litre engine and makes 197hp. With a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds it’s fairly quick, but it doesn’t have the performance the Z4’s looks deserve.

What you really want, budget-allowing, is the M40i. This uses a 3.0-litre engine that makes a much healthier 340hp, and brings the 0-62mph time down to 4.5 seconds. At about £12,000 more than the regular model, though, it’s not a cheap option.

The trade off for that extra performance is worse fuel economy. While the 2.0-litre model hits up to 40.9mpg in official tests, the 3.0-litre version tops out at 35.8mpg – though this isn’t drastically worse, the reality is that you’ll be spending more time at the pump with the M40i.

CO2 emissions are also higher in the M40i, hitting up to 184g/km compared with 166g/km in the sDrive20i, meaning you will pay a bit more in first-year road tax and company car tax.

Safety and security

The BMW Z4 scored five-out-of-five stars in Euro NCAP safety testing, and its 97% rating for adult occupant protection and 91% in the vulnerable road user section are particularly noteworthy. Tests have become a bit more strict since it went through in 2019, though.

As standard you get front and rear parking sensors, basic cruise control and a forward collision warning system. M40i models don’t get any extra safety kit, aside from the improved brakes.

If you want more advanced assistance technology, you will have to jump into the pricey option packages. The Driving Assistance pack adds adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, while you can opt for an automatic parking assistant on its own, or as part of the Technology Pack, which also includes a fancy Harman Kardon sound system and head-up display.

Reliability and problems

Because the BMW Z4 is not a high volume car, detailed reliability data is quite tricky to come by. However, the fact there are no obvious warning signs should be somewhat reassuring. BMW has a fairly middling reputation for reliability, but it’s worth noting that as a premium brand and a sporty car, any repairs and maintenance you carry out are likely to cost more than a typical car.

The BMW Z4 gets the same three-year, unlimited mileage warranty as the rest of the company’s range. That’s not bad, with most companies offering a similar timeframe but with limited mileage. All ‘approved used’ models come with a 12-month manufacturer warranty, and you can pay for longer coverage if desired.

Buy or lease the BMW Z4 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £45,170 - £63,230 Avg. Carwow saving £4,759 off RRP
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