By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
Some luxury-branded roadsters are all about power, handling and feel, while most place a greater emphasis on style, comfort and open-air fun. The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, Porsche Boxster and Audi TT each lean towards a particular side of the performance scale, but no competitor can appeal to both camps more so than the 2014 BMW Z4. The retractable hardtop makes convincing yourself into purchasing a convertible less of an exercise, and the driver-oriented cockpit is surprisingly roomy for the long of limb, a rarity in this class. Add in a pair of turbocharged engines, and the 2014 Z4 has the makings of a true world-class roadster.
If you're in the market for a premium 2-seat roadster, the Z4's dynamic personality, luxurious accommodations and reasonable price point make it a fine candidate to consider.
Hardcore driving enthusiasts will likely favor the purely visceral driving experience of the Porsche Boxster. In terms of versatility, those who intend to use their roadster for year-round transportation might express a preference for the all-wheel-drive Audi TT Roadster.
The BMW Z4 sees only a handful of minor enhancements to its interior and exterior styling for the 2014 model year.
Driving Impressions No matter the road or driving condition, the 2014 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 the 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 predictably quickens acceleration times and, consequently, one's pulse. No matter your engine or transmission choice, the Z4 is an exceptionally satisfying car to drive. 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.
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.
ADAPTIVE M SUSPENSION
The Z4's optional adaptive suspension delivers the best of all worlds, as it allows you to adjust the damping force of the shock absorbers by way of three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Sport and Sport+.
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
Outside, the 2014 Z4 is defined by a long hood, muscular rear fenders, and BMW's signature "twin kidney" grille. 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 fixed-roof position, the Z4 passes as a voluptuous little coupe. Aside from nomenclature markings and the placement of the twin exhaust tips, the three trim levels are distinguished by slightly different front fascias, highlighted by a polished grille on 6-cylinder models.
As its near-$49K price tag suggests, the base Z4 sDrive28i comes generously equipped. Standard goodies include 8-way power seats, Comfort Access keyless entry and start, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and adaptive xenon headlights that swivel in conjunction with the steering wheel for increased visibility around dark corners. Safety comes in the form of six airbags, embedded emergency services with automatic collision notification, and adaptive brake lights that emit a larger, brighter light as brake forces increase. Every 2014 Z4 includes BMW Ultimate Service, which consists of complimentary roadside assistance for 4 years/unlimited miles and scheduled maintenance for four years/50,000 miles.
Creature comforts available on the 2014 BMW Z4 are limited only by the size of your wallet. Most features that come highly recommended are bundled into packages. The M Sport Package ranks highest on our list of must-have add-ons, as it incorporates such features as the aforementioned adaptive suspension, a thick-rimmed steering wheel, aerodynamically-tuned body pieces, and sport seats. If your tastes run more along the lines of in-car gadgetry, the Technology Package should satisfy even the most discerning technophile with its iPhone application integration, Google Local Search function, and navigation with real-time traffic.
The 2014 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 model. All Z4s are rear-wheel drive and use premium fuel.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
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
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 twin-turbocharged inline-6
335 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
The 2014 BMW Z4 line opens at just under $49,000. The mid-tier sDrive35i model will set you back an additional $8,000, while the top-of-the-line sDrive35is is priced just shy of $66,000. At right around $75,000, a fully-optioned BMW Z4 undercuts a loaded Porsche Boxster by roughly $10,000, though comparably-equipped versions of Mercedes-Benz SLK, Audi TT Roadster, and Nissan 370Z convertible are considerably less expensive. Before heading to the dealership, take a peek at KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page to see what others in your area are paying for their BMW Z4s. When it comes time to sell, the 2014 Z4 is expected to hold its value better than the Audi TT, M-B SLK and Nissan 370Z, but trail the Porsche Boxster by a few percentage points.
By Trip on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Poor Quality
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."
5 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By JP on Sunday, February 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
10 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By JohnV on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun, performance, comfort, mpg, hardtop, design"
Cons: "trunk lighting - that's it!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 3rd Z4, and the best one we have owned. Our 2009 & 2011 last generation Z4's were great cars but never quite felt like they were "finished". The ride, performance and handling were all BMW but the finesse of the interior was not quite there. Fast forward to the 2013 Z4; its got the performance, ride and handling that you expect with an interior that is larger, more comfortable, has all the creature comforts you expect and best of all it can be used year round now that is has an amazing hardtop. We just got back from a trip from central NJ to Boston this weekend and averaged 71.7 mph while getting 32.2 mpg. That's with a 4 cylinder and automatic. Don't worry, that little four cylinder has better performance than the last Z4 we had with a 6 cylinder. I very highly recommend this car to anyone looking for a car that is the whole package. It doesn't hurt that you don't see many of these on the road. If you want exclusivity without the crazy price that exclusivity sometimes demands, this is the one!"
13 people out of 23 found this review helpful