The Z4 isn’t cheap to buy, but you pay about the same as you would for an equivalent Audi TT Roadster or Mercedes-Benz SLK, and less than you would for a comparable Porsche Boxster. Surprisingly big showroom discounts are available and these help to offset resale values that are very good but not as strong as a Boxster or SLK’s.
Official fuel economy and CO2 emissions are identical for all four-cylinder Z4s, if not a match for four-cylinder Audi TT Roadster models.
There's a big hike in price for six-cylinder 35i and 35is models, which are nowhere near as efficient.
Inclusive packages that cover all services for five years or 50,000 miles are very reasonably priced. You can pay more for a package that also covers maintenance costs for the same period.
BMW Z4 equipment
Lots of kit as standard
All models except the 18i come with plenty of standard equipment, including dual-zone climate control, leather seats, automatic xenon headlights, DAB, Bluetooth, and a USB socket for your MP3 player.
The 18i looks poorly equipped, with cloth seats and manual air-con, lights and wipers, although it does get a DAB radio and Bluetooth along with the rest of the range. The electrically folding hard-top is also included as standard.
BMW Z4 reliability
A poor showing for BMW in the latest reliability survey
The Z4 uses parts that feature in other BMWs, and the brand’s reliability record is generally average. The Z4’s roof mechanism is one of the slickest and smoothest we’ve seen, although it does add an extra degree of complexity – and a potential cause of problems – compared with a fixed or even a folding fabric roof. In the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey the Z4 came 83rd out of 109 cars and BMW as a brand finished mid-table. In our most recent reliability survey BMW finished joint 28th out of 37 manufacturers.
A three-year/unlimited mileage warranty comes as standard; anti-perforation cover is 12 years. Extended warranties are available through BMW.
BMW Z4 safety & security
Lots to protect you and your belongings
The Z4 comes with all the safety you’d expect, including front and side airbags, although the nature of the car means there are no curtain airbags. There are fixed roll-over hoops behind the head restraints. Independent safety experts Euro NCAP haven’t tested the Z4.
Standard security equipment for all models includes deadlocks, locking wheel nuts and an alarm.
This is the standard trim level for the Z4 in 18i and 20i guise, and the amount of kit you get depends on the engine. For the 18i it means you get the basics, including alloy wheels, air-conditioning, xenon headlights, Bluetooth and a USB input. Additions for the 20i include climate control, leather upholstery, automatic headlights and wipers – this is our favourite Z4 engine and trim combination. Sat-nav and parking sensors – which you may expect to come as standard – are pricey options for both models.
This is the sportier of the two main trim levels for the Z4 and, as with sDrive, what you get depends on the engine. For all versions it means bespoke interior and exterior trim, including large alloy wheels. It also brings firmer M Sport suspension, which gives a very stiff ride, although you can de-specify this for no extra cost; we’d recommend doing so.
In 18i guise M Sport includes the basics, such as air-conditioning, leather upholstery, xenon headlights, Bluetooth and a USB input. For 20i and 28i models it adds climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, while 35i versions also get electric seat adjustment and metallic paint.
In most respects M Sport trim is equivalent to what you get with most rivals, but sat-nav and parking sensors are pricey options.
The range-topping Z4 35is comes in a stand-alone trim that includes all the luxury and cosmetic kit you get with M Sport, so it’s pretty comprehensive. Unfortunately BMW doesn’t give you the option of de-selecting M Sport suspension for this model, while sat-nav and parking sensors still cost extra. At this price they should be included and this model’s already high cost makes it one to avoid, in our opinion.