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2013 BMW Z4

Overview
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2013 BMW Z4 Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

The Z4 is BMW's version of the classic roadster. That is, its engine is in front, its drive wheels are in the rear, and its seats are limited to just you and perhaps one lucky passenger. Yet the Z4 is still a BMW through and through, which means you get not only an athletic drive experience, but the luxurious accommodations you'd expect from this German automaker. You can also make the argument that having a Z4 is like getting two cars in one. It's an open-air roadster, of course, and thanks to its standard retractable hardtop, the Z4 is also a sleek coupe. Like other BMWs, the Z4 is offered with a variety of engine choices and options that are only limited by the size of your checkbook.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a roadster that's thrilling to drive and offers the security and sleek lines of a coupe with the roof raised, the Z4 with its BMW road-going dynamics and standard retractable hardtop make a tempting choice. That it is rated up to 34 mpg on the highway doesn't hurt, either.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The slightly shorter Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster has a starting price of more than $4,000 less than that of the Z4, and can also be had with more power in AMG form with a V8 engine. Those seeking more passenger room and practicality, meanwhile, may want to look at convertible versions of the BMW 1 or 3 Series, or the Audi A5 Cabriolet.

What's New for 2013

After last year's introduction of a powerful yet fuel-efficient 4-cylinder turbocharged engine in base models, the Z4 carries over unchanged for 2013 ahead of a mild refresh planned for the 2014 model year Z4.

Driving the Z4

Driving Impressions No matter the road or even the driving condition, the 2013 BMW Z4 feels like a true reinvention of the classic sports car. What you might give up in everyday...

practicality – or the limits of what you can store in the Z4's trunk – you gain in driving satisfaction. Even in base form with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Z4 is plenty fast with a 0-60 mph time of about 5.5 seconds. Stepping up to the 6-cylinder models only quickens this car's acceleration times and, consequently, one's pulse. No matter your engine or transmission choice, the Z4 is an exceptionally satisfying car to pilot with excellent braking and steering feel. That it can transform from a sleek and cozy coupe to a wind-in-the-hair chariot in 20 seconds feels like icing on the cake.

FOLDING HARDTOP
What's better than having an open-air convertible for sunny days? Having a buttoned-down coupe for the rainy ones. With the Z4's power folding hardtop, you essentially get two cars in one that's ready for any condition and climate.

TURBOCHARGED FOUR
The engine in base Z4 models certainly doesn't feel "base." With 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, there's plenty of scoot in the sDrive28i trim. The smaller engine also results in fuel economy above 30-mpg in highway driving.

2013 BMW Z4 Details
Interior

The bane of some roadsters is that while their headroom is measured in miles, the rest of the cabin's dimensions are not so fortunate. Driver and passenger are treated better in the Z4's cockpit, which feels more open and accessible. Base models are dressed in leatherette, while upper trims come standard with the real thing. Storage space behind the seats is a convenient spot for a purse or small bag. With a pass-through slot from the trunk compartment, you can bring your big club to the driving range. If there's one misstep, it's the fighter stick transmission in automatic-transmission models that can be confounding at first.

Exterior

The Z4 is defined by a long hood, muscular rear fenders, and BMW's signature "twin kidney" grille up front. While just about every convertible looks good with the top down, the Z4 is one of the few whose aesthetics are equally as impressive top-up. Credit this to the Z4's retracting hardtop. When in the roof position, the Z4 passes as a voluptuous little coupe. Aside from nomenclature markings and the placement of the twin exhaust tips, the three trims are distinguished by slightly different front fascias highlighted by a polished grille in 6-cylinder models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even a base Z4, dubbed the sDrive28i, comes well-equipped. Among the standard features are 8-way power seats, bright xenon headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. One particularly cool – and important – safety feature are adaptive brake lights that emit a larger, brighter light the harder you press the brake pedal. The aim is to give a stronger visual cue to drivers behind you who may not realize you're braking hard. On the audio front, there is an AM/FM/CD/HD Radio with auxiliary input and iPod adapter. Top-line models receive premium audio system as standard, along with leather, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and 18-inch wheels. All 2013 Z4 models have BMW Ultimate Service that includes complimentary maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles and roadside assistance for 4 years/unlimited miles.

Optional Equipment

From a heated steering wheel to high-intensity headlight washers, upgrades are beyond plentiful for the 2013 Z4. Among the more popular ones that can be had in packages are navigation, 10-way power seats, and a premium sound system. For those who want to up the performance ante, the M Sport Package that's standard on sDrive35is models can be fitted on the two lower trims and includes an adaptive suspension, increased top-speed limiter, performance run-flat tires, and anthracite headliner. Keep in mind that option packages can easily add several thousand dollars to the Z4's price tag – choosing metallic paint alone adds over $500.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Z4 is available in three potencies. Choices are a 240-horsepower 4-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder tuned to either 300 or 335 horsepower. All use BMW's TwinPower turbo technology and direct injection for immediate and gratifying throttle response. Transmission choices are a 6-speed manual, an 8-speed automatic, or a 7-speed double-clutch automatic, with the latter being the only option in top-end sDrive35is models. All Z4s are rear-wheel drive and use premium fuel.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Z4 sDrive28i)
240 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg (manual), 22/33 mpg (automatic)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (Z4 sDrive35i)
300 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,400-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (manual), 17/24 mpg (automatic)

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (Z4 sDrive35is)
335 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg (automatic)

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2013 BMW Z4 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 25 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.7/10

Serious mechanical problems . . .

By on Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Mechanical Problems

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Beautiful body design."

Cons: "Lots of mechanical and electrical problems."

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

"Lifters replaced TWICE since purchased, fuel pump replaced, brakes repaired several times, starter replaced, climate control panel replaced, OEM tires very loud and hunt on the road, adaptive headlights repaired, lots of squeaks and rattles. I will never, ever buy another BMW Z4. I must say the BMW dealerships have been very helpful trying to get things repaired properly . . . too bad, I do like the design of the body but mechanically and electrically it has lots of problems."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

love this car!

By on Friday, January 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "beuty.gas milge.hard top.awsme inter(wood).lge nav"

Cons: "none"

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

"I leased this car, now plan to buy it...excellnt car,fun to drive reliable, and gas mileage....36miles to gallon coming back from vegas! Fit and finish great..navi great with big screen! And all of this with the best part....when you put the top down..gorgeous....poetry in motion!! Who cares about cupholders!"

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

BMW, what were they thinking?

By on Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Looks and Driving Fun"

Cons: "No spare tire, outdated technology package"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I fully enjoy the look and drive of this car. It is amazingly fun to drive and it turns heads in the looks department. Several things annoy and disappoint me, however. I do not feel comfortable taking this car on short (300 mile) trips, no spare tire. Yes, it has run flat tires (difficult to replace) but after you get to a rest stop on a turnpike, then what? Wait and wait for a flat bed truck to tow you to where ever for a tire? Very time consuming and it stops a fun trip dead in it's tracks. Next, the navigation screen is not clear and crisp (as it is on my Acura) and does not change automatically when you cross into another time zone (as it does with my Acura). Then, no back=up camera, that's just sad. Additionally, the upgraded sound system is not good. I traded a 370Z on this car and it had a better (Bose) system. So many easy to correct errors and I fault myself for not doing my homework to find these things out before I bought this $70,000 car. I will just enjoy the car around town on nice days with the top down. My next car will not be a Z4."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great car, very fun to drive, strong acceleration

By on Sunday, December 01, 2013

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great looks, fun to drive"

Cons: "Interior noise with top up, Tire life"

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

BMW Z4 3.5

"I ordered this car from Germany because manual transmissions are very difficult to find. It took about 2 months to receive it after I put down my deposit. The service from the dealer has been exceptional. My only complaint is a rattle in the roof panel when the top is up which the dealer has not been able to resolve."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

BMW Z4 3.5

BMW Z4 - The most beautiful Deathtrap on the road

By on Monday, September 16, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Beautiful Vehicle"

Cons: "Not a safe car to drive"

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

"I have a 2011 BMW Z4 ( Vin# wbalm5c51be378952 ) with around 16,000 miles on it that has been constantly in the shop for a variety of electrical, mechanical and structural issues. These issues range from the driver’s side of the hood unlatching again and again after multiple services to the car, continually not starting and stalling out when driving at slow speeds. Each issue has been serviced multiple times and as of yet none of the issues have been resolved. Further, these issues have persisted in spite of countless service visits. The vehicle has stalled in stop and go traffic and while making left turns and my friends and family refuse to ride in it for safety reasons. It has now come to a point where I am actually fearful to drive the car. I have been formally reprimanded at work for getting there late due to my car not starting or needing to be taken into service. I keep it in a garage that is both air conditioned and heated. I am a high school counselor and work just 5 miles from my house and usually just drive it to work and to visit my parents on the weekend. I take the car for all of it’s services and only put super-unleaded gas in it. I really can’t think of how I can treat the car better or care for it more. I am sad I own this car and even sadder about the lack of ability BMW has to fix even the simplest mechanical problems..."

13 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Good car ruined by run flat tires.

By on Saturday, February 23, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Looks great"

Cons: "Noisy tires"

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

"Noisy run flat tires take fun out of driving. Do NOT buy this car with run flats. BMW does not care or try to make it right. Will never buy another BMW. Back to Lexus!"

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?