2014 BMW Z4 Test Drive Review
2014 BMW Z4 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

2014 BMW Z4 Review

Car Tested: 2014 BMW Z4 sDrive35i

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 93,19,575/-

The 2014 BMW Z4 Roadster is an amazing blend of style, performance and dynamics.

While we are pretty alien to the concept of a convertible in India, there are many car makers who offer relatively affordable options for top-down motoring. Alien because even though we can buy a convertible sports car, there are very few instances of us being able to use the wind in your hair option. Our weather is simply not suited for such kind of driving and even when the weather favours, other factors like pollution intervene. That said, you still can have a whole lot of fun in a convertible sports car and the BMW Z4 puts forward this case with ample strength. Facelifted only recently, the updated BMW Z4 is a car which can turn heads while also putting a big and wide grin on your face as you throttle fast and corner hard. We get behind the wheel of this Bimmer to gauge what the Z4 craze is all about.

Motor Quest: The BMW Z4 was first launched in 2002. It is the replacement of the Z3. The current second generation (E89) model was launched in 2009 with the facelift coming in only last year.

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The BMW Z4 Roadster looks absolutely amazing from every angle you view it from

Exteriors – The BMW Z4 has received various design awards and just look at it and you will know why it’s such a style master piece. BMW says the styling of the Z4 is a modern interpretation of a traditional roadster concept and we can’t help but agree with them. Although unmistakably a BMW with the four round headlights and broad kidney grille, the Z4 has its very own visual elements to make it stand apart amidst the crowd. The long bonnet really characterises the front end and the low belt line neatly flows towards the low slung rear end of this sports car.

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The rear has a very powerful stance with beautiful lines running across this sports car

Top up or down, the BMW Z4 looks vividly exciting and the smooth flowing lines contribute to that feeling. Removing the top or putting it back up is a 19 second chore, which although automated, you do have to keep the button pressed, resulting in it feeling a tad too long for operation. The A-pillars are finished in black with the long wheelbase and delicious 18-inch low profile wheels really highlighting the car’s stance from the side. The rear evokes the most stares, the Z4 having a smooth derriere which is amplified by the neat trunk with robust lines. Twin exhausts (one each on either side) signal the intentions of this Roadster.

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The interiors of the BMW Z4 carry a sporty theme, velvet finish is super cool

Interiors – The sporty theme is naturally carried to the inside as well. Our test car with the Design Pure Traction Trim had orange finishing on the lower half of the dashboard and doors, which goes well in sync with the exteriors of the car. The finish on the doors is soft touch velvet, neat. The dashboard isn’t very familiar BMW, with silver inserts on the centre console and 3-spoke steering wheel adding a sporty pretext to the Z4’s cabin. The instrument cluster is the classic BMW unit, easy to read on the go with clear white dials.

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The roof neatly folds and sits inside the boot, space in the trunk is meagre

Quality of the cabin is excellent, this being a CBU car is made in Germany. With the roof up, the interior does feel a bit cramped but even then there is good amount of space on the inside for two well build adults to travel. Boot space is decent for a car of this category with the roof up but once you fold it down, there is limited trunk capacity available. Features inside are plenty but the steering wheel is a manual adjust, the lack of electric adjust being a shocking omission at this price point. The seats are snug fit and hug you tightly, offering excellent comfort. Our favourite bit is of course the rimless doors which with the roof and windows down, feel amazing to use.

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Straight six motor of this Bimmer is an absolutely delight, sounds amazing too

Performance – Residing under the long and sleek hood of the BMW Z4 is a 3.0-litre straight six motor which has been treated with twin turbochargers, resulting in a power peak of 306 HP while peak torque thrusted out is 400 Nm at just 1300 RPM (all the way till 5000 RPM). This motor is extremely refined but turns into a mad beast as you speed past 4000 RPM, redlining at 7000 RPM with the kind of sound that can make your ears stand up, take notice and applaud the aural symphony (amplified with the roof down). The kind of throttle response you get from the 6-cylinder mill is what makes the Z4 such a delight, it’s just throttle and dart ahead with urgency.

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With 306 horses and 400 Nm torque on tap, the Z4 has ample poke all throughout

What really makes the Z4’s motor stand apart is the way it has tremendous grunt across the complete RPM range. Be it low, mid or top-end, the powerplant is always having a lot of juice to keep you moving. The mid-range is the strongest point though and that makes overtaking such a breeze, no need to drop gears. The 7-speed automatic gearbox works brilliantly and in Sport mode, it keeps the right cog at your disposal every time. 100 km/hr in top gear results in 2000 RPM on the tacho while flat out, the BMW Z4 takes just 5.85 seconds to nudge past the ton as per our VBOX tests. 100 km/hr comes up in second gear itself and the steering mounted paddles are a joy to use with the slick shifting transmission.

2014 BMW Z4 Review
The Z4 is an involving car to drive and handles very well, it’s agile around the twisities

Driving Dynamics – A BMW car is always expected to be the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ and the Z4 does impress with its handling prowess. It darts into corners with eagerness, devoid of much body roll with the steering giving close to razor sharp precision but lacking a bit in feel. There is quite a lot of torque firing up the rear wheels and going a bit aggressive into a corner (with the traction controlled turned on), you can slide around this Bimmer, so it’s not really the most well behaved although it remains glued to the road in a straight line.

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Ride quality is nothing to write home about, the stiff suspension doesn’t help at all

The big grouse though is the ride quality. It’s far from cosseting as almost every irregularity on the road can be felt through. The low profile rubber makes you become extremely cautious over bad tarmac while speed-breakers can catch the Z4’s underbelly off guard. This is simply not the car you would want to drive over bad roads, because as much as it unsettles the occupant, it also tends to rattle a bit (with the roof down as the roof is lying folded in the boot). Braking performance is good, as expected from a BMW car.

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The latest gen BMW Z4 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP but is still a very safe car

Safety – The BMW Z4 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP although the old model (first generation) was given a 4-star rating. Considering the advancement of the vehicle, we expect the current model to get a 5-star rating. The Z4 comes loaded with a lot of safety kit, including front and side airbags for the driver and co-passenger along with active safety features like ABS, CBC, DSC and DTC. The sports convertible also gets roll-over protection system, side-impact protection, three point seat belts with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters.

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BMW’s Z4 sports car packs in a lot of appeal, it’s fun to drive and looks the part

Verdict – The BMW Z4 isn’t an out and out sports car. While it is quite fun to drive, the overall driving experience isn’t as involving as a full blown sports car. This car treads in the entry-level sports car space and it does a fine job at that. The Z4 is quite a style statement, it looks stellar, has ample performance while the interiors are typical BMW, comfortable with a dose of sportiness added in for good measure. At this price point, it’s not really a bargain but a good option for those who want to experience open top motoring with some bit of fun added in the mix.

The BMW Z4 is a sports convertible which is fun in many ways, drives well and catches everyone’s fancy. The Roadster’s straight 6 motor is quite a hoot and is really the star of the package.

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The competition for the BMW Z4 in India is the Mercedes SLK 350 and Porsche Boxter

What’s Cool

* Gorgeous to look at
* Engine sounds sweet and revs freely
* Sharp handling and crisp steering response

What’s Not So Cool

* Not very practical a sports car

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That is one of the most beautiful rear profiles of a car in India currently

2014 BMW Z4 Specifications

* Engine: 2979cc, inline-6, twin-turbo
* Power: 306 HP @ 5800 RPM
* Torque: 400 Nm @ 1300-5000 RPM
* Transmission: 7-speed Automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 5.85 seconds
* Top Speed: 250 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 5 km/l (City), 6 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Tyres: 225/40/18 (Front), 255/35/18 (Rear)
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Ventilated Disc (Rear)
* Safety: 4 Airbags, ABS, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Differential Lock

2014 BMW Z4 Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4239 mm X 1951 mm X 1291 mm
* Wheelbase: 2496 mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1511/1559 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.6 metres (est.)
* Ground clearance: 120 mm (est.)
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1610 kgs

Alternatives: Mercedes SLK 350

Further Reading: Mercedes SLK 350 Review