BMW’s entry in the hardtop roadster segment, the Z4 delivers the ideal combination of performance, looks, and standard comfort features. This two seater is not only classically stylish and heavy on extras that aren’t, well, extra, it’s also the perfect solution for sun-loving driving enthusiasts who want something just a little more substantial than something like the Miata.
The hard-top and rollover protection system come standard, as does an audio entertainment system with MP3 capability, and a zippy little turbocharged 4-cylinder. The optional Sport or Sport M packages are geared more toward performance than luxury features, offering paddle shifters and other perks like a DCT gearbox.
Changes for 2012
The biggest, and arguably most thrilling, change for the 2012 model year is the switch to the turbocharged 4. It’s lighter, with better torque and better balance, making it a big improvement to BMW’s flagship roadster.
What We Like
Have we mentioned we really, really enjoy the changeover to the turbocharged 4-cylinder? The Dynamic Stability Control and the ergonomic steering wheel add to the athletic experience. Solid handling and a visceral feel round out the driving nirvana in this retro yet…not…classic convertible.
What Concerns Us
There’s not much we don’t like but if we had to choose, it would be the near-complete lack of practicality. But, it is a sports car, and a convertible at that, and it is a Beamer which makes almost any grievance forgivable.
Under the hood of the Z4 sDrive28i you’ll find a 2.0L twin turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder with 260 lb.-ft. of torque, 240 HP, and 22/34 mpg for the manual and 24/33 mpg for the automatic.
The Z4 sDrive35i boasts a 3.0L twin turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder with 300 lb.-ft. torque, 300 HP, and 19/26 mpg manual, 17/24 mpg DCT automatic. The performance-minded Z4 sDrive35is sports a 3.0L turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder with 332 lb.-ft. of torque, 335 HP, and 17/24 mpg in the DCT automatic.
In July 2012 BMW issued a recall on the Z4 due to a potential steering electronics failure which could result in loss of power to the steering assistance system. This could affect the effort required to steer the car, increasing the risk of a collision. The company notified owners and sent out a bulletin saying they would repair the problem at no cost.
In January 2014 a recall was issued due to improper brake lubrication. This could cause brake vacuum pump failure which could increase the chances of a crash. The company again notified owners along with a statement offering to fix the problem for free.
There are no available common complaints on this model.