The BMW Z4's ancestry extends all the way back to 1989, when the Z1 inaugurated a line of roadsters that has endured for decades. Most recently, however, the Z4 shares its origins with the latest Supra, which was co-developed by Toyota and built on the same platform. The Z4 is more comfortable on a highway than a track, but its engines still offer plenty of charm.
In either trim, the Z4 is an enjoyable drive. Both powertrains are strong and smooth, and there's little wind turbulence with the top down. On a scenic cruise down the coast, the Z4 feels right at home.
Closer to the limit, the Z4 is less predictable than rivals like the Porsche Boxster. Even the formidable M40i is difficult to balance, and its powerful engine is offset by extra weight. It's all fine for zipping around town, but the cracks start to show on curvy back roads.
On the plus side, passenger and cargo space are strong for the class. The interior is well put together, though we wish you could use a cupholder without losing the center armrest. Efficiency is another highlight—it reinforces the Z4's position as a pleasant daily driver, if not a standout performer.
The 2022 Z4 sticks to the same two engine choices as last year. A 2.0-liter turbo-four making 255 hp and 294 lb-ft powers the base sDrive30i. The M40i upgrades to a 3.0-liter turbo I-6 with 382 hp and 368 lb-ft. Both send power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In our testing, the two Z4 trims lived up to their claimed 0-60 times of 5.2 seconds and 3.9 seconds, respectively. The EPA rates the sDrive30i at 25/32 mpg city/highway and the M40i at 22/29 mpg.
The biggest difference between the BMW Z4 and the Toyota Supra is the roof, but the choice isn't as easy as that. Although the two cars offer similar performance, interior and exterior designs are radically different. The Supra's angular, wide-hipped body is much more likely to attract attention, while the Z4's graceful curves fade into the background. On the inside, the Supra covers its dash in carbon fiber, while the BMW sticks to buttoned-up business formal.
The final differentiator is price—the Supra starts about $7,000 cheaper, and the gap is bigger with the upgraded powertrain. Based on value, we declared the Supra our winner in a 2020 comparison test.
BMW fits every Z4 with automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beams. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and parking sensors are all bundled into the Driving Assistance package. Adding it costs $700 but requires the Convenience package, bringing the total cost to $1,250.
For a two-seat convertible, the Z4 offers good cargo capacity and over 42 inches of legroom. Headroom, of course, is unlimited.
Two screens dominate the Z4's dash: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment. The system has two USB ports with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto baked in. A head-up display and a premium surround sound system are available as extras.
The M40i is a keen performer, but at almost $65,000, its value proposition isn't as strong as a Boxster's. The base sDrive30i is our choice, as it's over $10,000 cheaper than a Boxster and not much slower. As a bonus, the base Z4 is one of the most efficient sports cars in its class, managing up to 28 mpg combined.
|$0||1.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - BMW announces APR rates on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$1500||BMW announces a Military Program for customers who Retail Finance/Select through BMW Financial Services that is good towards a purchase of select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$250||BMW announces a Military Program for customers who Lease/OwnersChoice through BMW Financial Services that is good towards a lease of select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$500||BMW announces a Military Program for customers who Lease/OwnersChoice/Retail Finance/Select Finance through BMW Financial Services that is good towards a purchase or lease of select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$2000||BMW announces a Military Program for cash customers. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|