BMW Z4 interior
The BMW Z4 feels exceptionally well put together and comes with some of the fanciest tech of any car on sale but it doesn’t look all that different from a 3 Series inside
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 TTS 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 3 Series M Sport.
That being said, almost everything you touch feels very plush indeed. The plastics on the dashboard and doors feel soft and yielding but there are a few hard surfaces down by the sides of the centre console.
The brushed metal-effect trims on the dashboard, doors and centre console all feel pretty lovely though, and you can have the standard piano-black trims running down the centre of the cabin replaced by some aluminium inserts with a cool kaleidoscopic print if you prefer.
Every BMW Z4 comes with leather upholstery as standard on the seats, the centre armrest and on the doors in your choice of black, brown, white or red trim. All models come with a leather steering wheel too, but M Sport versions get a chunkier item which feels a little ungainly – almost like you’re driving with gloves on.
The BMW Z4’s infotainment system is so clever you needn’t ever use the touchscreen – great when you’re driving, or for impressing your passengers.
The BMW Z4 has one of the best infotainment systems in the business, and not just for a sports car. It even comes with some features you won’t find on the super techy 5 Series saloon.
You get a 10-inch touchscreen display on the dashboard and a 12-inch display in front of the steering wheel which replaces old-fashioned analogue dials – just like in many other high-spec BMW M Sport models.
The digital driver’s display can show a combination of instrument graphics and high-resolution sat-nav maps. It’s all very easy to read and you can customise the display using dedicated buttons on the steering wheel. It feels very futuristic, but the maps themselves aren’t quite as flashy as the Google maps imagery you can get in the Audi TT Roadster.
At least the satellite navigation system itself is a doddle to program. You can enter an address using the touchscreen keyboard, by writing letters of a postcode onto the rotary controller or by using the BMW’s new Personal Assistant feature. You can think of this as Siri for your car – it understands commands in plain English and lets you enter an address just by saying it aloud.
This feature also allows you to set the cabin temperature, alter the stereo volume and change the radio station (among other things) by using the key phrase ‘Hey BMW’ followed by your request. You can even change this phrase to give your car a pet name – if you feel like it.
Other passenger-impressing features of the BMW Z4’s infotainment system include gesture controls which let you crank up the stereo volume and answer or dismiss phone calls with a satisfying swipe of your hand.
Speaking of phone calls, you get Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring as standard. This lets you use a selection of apps from your phone through the Z4’s touchscreen, but the standard system is so good you needn’t bother. Unlike in most cars, this feature is only free for the first year, after which you have to pay for an Apple CarPlay subscription. Annoyingly, Android Auto is not even an option.
You can always use the standard Bluetooth connection to make calls and play music through the Z4’s stereo instead. You can also upgrade the car’s standard unit to a beefier 12-speaker Harman Kardon unit as part of the Technology Pack. It isn’t cheap, but it brings with it a head-up-display and a self-parking system.