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2011 BMW Z4

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2011 BMW Z4 Review

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BMW's purest sports car in the traditional sense, the Z4 returns in 2011 wearing the flowing liquid lines and power-folding hardtop introduced in 2009. It is the only two-seater currently in the BMW lineup and, unlike the previous generation Z4, it's obtainable only as a convertible, with no coupe option available. It is offered in three trim levels: sDrive30i, the turbocharged sDrive35i and the top-level sports trim, the sDrive35is.

You'll Like This Car If...

You seek the traditional precision and excitement of a BMW driving experience in a purely sporting platform. As with other BMW hardtop convertibles, the Z4 offers the option of going top-down with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, with the option of deploying the power hardtop should the weather turn sour or the sun become too intense.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a true coupe experience with a fixed roof, you might be better off going with the BMW 1 Series. The Z4 is also the only two-seater in the BMW range, so there are only two seats and trunk storage is somewhat limited, particularly when the top is stowed.

What's New for 2011

From summer 2011, a special equipment package will be offered, called Design Pure Balance, with leather interior upholstery in a new color, Cohiba Brown, contrasting white stitching, additional black leather features, Fineline Anthracite wood and sport seats. A special paint finish, Mineral White metallic, is also available in connection with the package.

Driving the Z4
Driving Impressions

Nothing drives quite like a BMW and, given the Z4's inherent sportiness, it's especially true of this car regardless of trim level. The top-level sDrive35is delivers a level of driving...

... exhilaration offered by no other BMW not badged with an "M." The driver's seating position is ideal and goes a long way toward influencing the overall driving experience. Steering feel is good and its actuation precise, if not quite on the level of a Porsche Boxster. We've still not sampled the naturally aspirated six-cylinder, but either one of the turbocharged engines offers all the power and torque you could want at virtually any speed, and particularly in the sDrive35is. The DCT transmission is quite good and offers the best of both worlds – smooth cruising and instant manual access to gears – although it's still not as fun as shifting with a true manual clutch and gear lever.

Adaptive M Suspension
Available as part of the Sport or M Sport packages, the adaptive suspension offers three settings (Normal, Sport, Sport+) that allow the user to stiffen or soften the shock absorbers through Electronic Damper Control (EDC). EDC allows the choice of a less jarring, more comfortable ride, or a stiffer, more hardcore option for spirited driving.

Double Clutch Transmission
Even though such systems are not quite as entertaining as pumping a clutch pedal and rowing through a set of gears with one hand, BMW's DCT transmission, like Porsche's PDK, offers gear selection speed that simply cannot be matched by a person. Unlike older sequential systems, fully automatic operation is virtually seamless. It truly offers the best of both worlds.

2011 BMW Z4 Details
Interior

Of all BMWs, the Z4 interior could conceivably be called a cockpit in the way it wraps around the driver and passenger, offering an intimate interfacing experience with the car and its controls. The seating position is very good in that special BMW way, and even more sporting than those of the 1 Series or 3 Series coupes. The controls, such as radio and climate controls, are simple and intuitive. Additionally, all functions, including access to navigation on cars so equipped, may be controlled through the iDrive system, which was much maligned when it was first introduced but has been improved remarkably over the years in terms of user-friendliness.

Exterior

The updated exterior of the new-generation Z4 has generally received rave reviews, its lines at once softer and more flowing than the outgoing generation, yet just as dynamic and, in some views, more mature. It retains the classic Z4 proportions, however, with a long, bulging hood, a wide, imposing front fascia and an abbreviated rear end that give the car a distinct visual sense of motion, even while it's sitting still. Some would say the folding power hard top is a major improvement over the soft top, offering coupe-like interior acoustics even at highway speeds.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Whichever trim level and corresponding engine you choose, one thing is certain: The car will come equipped with BMW's famous and long-standing inline six-cylinder engine. The engine in the sDrive30i is naturally-aspirated, while those in the sDrive35i and sDrive35is feature BMW's twin-scroll turbocharging technology, which enhances power while maintaining overall efficiency. The sDrive30i and sDrive35i have a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, while the sDrive35is has BMW's seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) as standard. The front suspension is by double-pivot struts and the rear is a multi-link design. A much-improved iDrive information interface lets you access the audio and communications systems, and the Z4's safety systems include all-season traction control, a rollover safety system and run-flat tires.

Optional Equipment

The sDrive30i can be equipped with a six-speed sport automatic transmission, while the sDrive35i can have the DCT gearbox, allowing the convenience of automatic operation or lightning-quick manual-gear selection. Bundled option packages include a Citrus Yellow Package, with painted yellow interior accents and sport seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara; M Sport Package, with adaptive M Suspension, sport seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and a top-speed limiter that allows more speed; Premium Sound, with a hi-fi audio system, USB adapter and Satellite radio; and Premium Package, with special upholstery options, Bluetooth capability and special ambiance lighting. Stand-alone options include comfort access keyless entry, iPod/USB connectivity, Park Distance Control and navigation.

Under the Hood

The BMW Z4 sDrive30i is powered by a 3.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine, BMW's signature power unit for decades on end, which delivers 255 horsepower in this application. However, the turbocharged unit in the sDrive35i is considered to be one of the best forced-induction engines ever designed, delivering 300 horsepower with no perceptible turbo lag. And the version found in the sDrive35is offers even more: 335 horsepower at 5900 rpm and 332 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1500 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the sDrive30i and sDrive35i, with a sport automatic optional on the former and the Double Clutch Transmission optional on the latter. The sDrive35is receives the Double Clutch Transmission as standard equipment.

3.0-liter in-line six (Z4 sDrive30i)
255 horsepower @6600 rpm
220 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28

3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six (Z4 sDrive35i)
300 horsepower @5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 17/24 (DCT)

3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six (Z4 sDrive35is)
335 horsepower @5900 rpm
332 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24

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2011 BMW Z4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 33 Ratings for the 2009 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.8/10

Excellent car!

By on Sunday, July 5, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Looks, hard top convertible, handling"

Cons: "Cup holder position (for those who use it)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Z435i bmer on December of 2010 with 5000 miles on it. It's got the sports package, navigation, and is blk on blk. I have it as a second car, not as a commuter. The car's only issue has been a small leak in one of the folding top joints, which was quickly and successfully repaired by the dealer back in 2012. It drives like new, and even after five years, people comment on it."

34 people out of 65 found this review helpful

What a sport car should be!

By on Thursday, July 2, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "I truly enjoy driving this car."

Cons: "No complaints and no use for the cup holder!!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

Fresh from the dealership

"Since the mid-sixties I have owned several roasters up to the present including a 1997 Z3 5 speed soft top that ran trouble free all the years I drove it. In 2011 I traded it for a new BMW (E93) 335is coupe/convertible needing extra room for the wife and two Jack Russell Terriers. In the interim I missed having an open air roaster hence the Z4 35is factory direct in Glacier Silver that now has 2600 miles. The Z4 drives and handles superbly retaining all the qualities of an open air roaster. So if you’re not into stiff suspensions and road tire nose so common to roasters this is not the car for you. Don't get me wrong these are great cars, well built and my BMW dealer stands behind it. But it's still a roadster and not a car for those who are more interested in technology and ride comfort unwilling to compromise for the open road this vehicle excels at, it’s made to be driven. This is what a sports car should be."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Fresh from the dealership

Fnastatic, beautiful , fun to drive

By on Thursday, April 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "None. Limited trunk space but it's to be expected"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Most fun I've had with any car I've owned including a number of Porsches and BMW M3's. Hard top gives you great security unlike a soft-top convertible. The ability to adjust the driving dynamics means the car is a great highway cruiser and instantly switch to a very competent, fast sports car that will easily keep up with other high end sports cars. There are very few of these on the road so it gets a lot of looks. Lot of people give it a thumbs up or say that it's a great ride. Expensive when bought new but a great deal when purchased on a used basis. Life doesn't get any better than cruising thru Napa or Sonoma County on a warm day with the top down."

24 people out of 43 found this review helpful

Beautiful design and fun to drive

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful design"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this new in 2009, have 42K miles and after six years there has been no problem. There was no issue with the fuel pump but had to be replaced because of the recall, as well as the battery cable. This is a conv so there will always be noisy in the cabin with the top up. Drive 95% of the time with the top down. Replace the run flat with Michelin PSS, this really changed how the car runs and handles for so much better. Highly recommended."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great Car, but BMW will not stand behind it

By on Sunday, February 22, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Poor Quality

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great driving experience on good roads"

Cons: "Terrible build quality and BMW support"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I bought this car a few years back and put about 45,000 miles on it. This is a sports car. You feel every inch of the road and when the road is good, this is a great thing. When the roads are rough, this is a bad, very bad thing. The interior of the car is well laid out and comfortable, but I would not say it is luxurious. The seats are great for long drives and overall feel of the car is high end. The real issue with the car is that because it is a sports car, it gets banged around a great deal over rough roads. In the last year, one strut cracked, a wheel cracked, the top stopped working, the muffler started to rattle and the climate control began to buzz. This is all with less than 50k miles. It was monumental struggle to get BMW to cover the wheel (which had already been recalled in the UK)and strut under warranty and they flat out refused to cover the top, muffler and climate control saying they were all normal wear products. The convertible top? Anyway, sold it this week and bought a Mercedes SL550."

26 people out of 46 found this review helpful

The 2010 Z4 Sdrive35i is one to keep

By on Sunday, February 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Design, handling, it is a hard top convertible"

Cons: "Not very good on gas when driven aggressively"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased my '10 Z4 with 5K miles on in 2010; it has the sports package, leather, navigation, and 7speeds. I have it as a second vehicle. I love the way this car handles, its design is timeless, and after 5 years it turns heads. Not to mention that it is not a high volume seller, and so it is also rather exclusive. I have had a couple of minor issues with it: one of the headlights had to be replaced and the roof leaked once during a heavy storm. Both problems were quickly and successfully resolved by the dealer. I love convertibles, but hate the vulnerability and rather short life of the soft tops. Hard top mechanisms have proved to be reliable so far."

17 people out of 32 found this review helpful

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