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2016 BMW Z4

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2016 BMW Z4 Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The 2016 BMW Z4 combines the power, handling and feel of a sports car with the style, comfort and open-air fun of a luxury roadster. This hardtop drop-top splits the difference between the luxury-oriented Mercedes-Benz SLK and Audi TT and the more overtly sporty Porsche Boxster, appealing to sports-car and touring enthusiasts alike. The BMW Z4 uses a retractable hardtop, making it more secure than cloth-topped rivals. Inside, the cockpit is designed to be roomy enough even for tall drivers, a rarity in this class. Not only do both the 4-cylinder (sDrive28i) and 6-cylinder (sDrive35i and sDrive35is) models offer plenty of turbocharged power, the 4-cylinder's 34 mpg is good enough to call it a fuel-sipper.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you can't decide between a sports car and a luxury cruiser, then the 2016 BMW Z4 could be just what you need. With a dynamic personality and luxurious accommodations, the Z4 is even reasonably priced.

You May Not Like This Car If...

As good as it is, Z4 drivers will find themselves behind dedicated sports cars like the Porsche Boxster or Chevrolet Corvette every time. By the same token, there's more luxury in a Mercedes-Benz SLK, and the all-wheel-drive Audi TT is great in low-traction areas.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.2
  • 7.2
  • 6.8
  • 7.4
  • 6.2
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#7

out of 16

Fuel Economy

#10

out of 16

Horsepower
View all rankings
2016 BMW Z4 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2016

The 2016 BMW Z4 is essentially carryover from last year's model, with the exception of sport seats being standard across the board. Expect an all-new roadster from BMW in the next year or so.

Driving the Z4
2016 BMW Z4 Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The 2016 BMW Z4 is one of those rare cars that feels just as much at home when driving down a winding mountain road or leisurely cruising by the ocean....

... It's not practical, of course, with a trunk that's small even by roadster standards, but a new Z4 delivers when it comes to driving satisfaction. Don't think the base sDrive28i is less of a sports car just because it has a 4-cylinder: with a 0-60-mph time of about 5.5 seconds it's unlikely you'll feel shortchanged, and with up to 34 mpg, you don't even need to feel guilty about it. If you need more power, the 6-cylinder Z4 sDrive3i and sDrive35is models predictably quicken acceleration times. The hardtop opens or closes in 20 seconds, limiting wind-in-the-hair driving only to the weather and your personal tolerance for sun exposure.

FOLDING HARDTOP
While we've seen some manufacturers moving back to soft-top convertible mechanisms, we still like the quiet you get with a hardtop convertible like in the 2016 BMW Z4. The quick folding mechanism means open-top fun is only 20 seconds away.

ADAPTIVE M SUSPENSION
While sports cars often have a stiff around-town ride, the adaptive suspension system available on the BMW Z4 allows drivers to select among Normal, Sport and Sport+ modes for smooth sailing, or sporty handling.

2016 BMW Z4 Details
2016 BMW Z4 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Two-seat roadsters conjure an image of a too-tight cockpit, but get into a new BMW Z4 and you'll be surprised by how much room there is. There's good legroom, even for tall drivers, and enough room for elbows and shoulders as well; top up, there's no lack of headroom. All materials feel upscale inside, and even the Leatherette on the seats feels convincing; leather is available, of course. A handy storage compartment behind the seats is big enough for a purse or small bag, and a pass-through to the trunk allows larger items like a golf bag.

Exterior
2016 BMW Z4 photo

The hardtop on a 2016 Z4 goes a long way toward making the car look beautiful, top up or down. Either way, the top doesn't distract from the classic proportions of this roadster: a long hood, short trunk, muscular fenders, all fronted by that signature BMW grille. Top up, and you're looking at a sexy sports coupe. Top down, and it transforms into the perfect car to be seen in on your weekend getaway. The three different models are distinguished by badges, exhaust tips, and slightly different noses, with the chrome grille on the 6-cylinder models the clearest difference.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2016 Z4 starts a bit above $50,000, so it's pretty well equipped. The base Z4 sDrive28i comes standard with 8-way-power seats, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, and adaptive xenon headlights that swivel in conjunction with the steering wheel. Safety comes in the form of six airbags, embedded emergency services with automatic collision notification, and BMW's clever adaptive brake lights, which emit a larger, brighter light as brake forces increase. Every 2016 Z4 includes BMW Ultimate Service, which consists of complimentary roadside assistance for four years/unlimited miles and scheduled maintenance for four years/50,000 miles.

Optional Equipment

Now that sport seats are standard, the prices of four different option packages have been reduced: the Ivory White Burnt Sienna package, the Sport package, the Hyper Orange package, and the M Sport package all cost less this year. It's the last of these that would be the must-have on our 2016 Z4, as it adds the adaptive suspension, a thick-rimmed steering wheel and aerodynamically tuned body pieces. The Technology Package should satisfy your thirst for technology with its iPhone application integration, Google Local Search function, and navigation with real-time traffic.

Under the Hood
2016 BMW Z4 Engine photo

The base engine in the 2016 BMW Z4 sDrive28i is the 240-horsepower 4-cylinder engine you've likely seen us gushing over in other BMW models. The step up is the Z4 sDrive35i and its 3.0-liter 6-cylinder, another gem that puts out 300 horsepower. Then there's the Z4 sDrive35is which has a 335-horsepower version of that 6-cylinder. All three engines combine BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology and direct injection for immediate and gratifying throttle response. Transmission choices are between a 6-speed manual and an 8-speed automatic; a 7-speed double-clutch automatic is the only option in the 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

When we said the 2016 BMW Z4 was affordable, keep in mind that we're talking about luxury brands here; the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a Z4 sDrive28i is right above the $50,000 mark. Step up to the 6-cylinder sDrive35i and you'll pay nearly $58,000, while the top-line sDrive35is comes in at just under $67,000. That's not cheap, but even at around $75,000, a loaded Z4 is about $10,000 less than a loaded Porsche Boxster. On the other hand, comparable versions of Mercedes-Benz SLK and Audi TT Roadster are less expensive, and the Nissan 370Z convertible is considerably less. Be sure to check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their BMW Z4s. Resale values on the 2016 Z4 should be better than the Audi TT, M-B SLK and Nissan 370Z, but trail the Porsche Boxster by a few percentage points.

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