BMW Z4 (2009-2016) review - Interior, design and technology

Tweaks kept the Z4 looking fresh, but the interior was starting to feel dated

While the original 'flame surfaced' BMW Z4 divided opinion, the last model has a much sleeker shape. The long bonnet and stubby boot gave it classic sports car proportions, while the metal folding roof ensured it looked just as smart with the top up or down. You could even specify it in a contrasting colour, if you wanted to make sure everyone knows you're driving a convertible.

The Z4 was facelifted for the second time in 2013, with new circular LED running lights, subtle chrome trim for the grilles and side indicators, plus a slim white ‘eyebrow’ line that was added to the top of the main headlight cluster. The changes were subtle but did just enough to keep the Z4 looking fresh. It’s just a shame, then, that BMW didn't do more to the interior.

The snug wraparound dash design was stylish and made using high-quality materials, but some dated looking switchgear meant it felt older than rivals such as the hi-tech Audi TT and Porsche Boxster.

Standard equipment depended on the engine you went for, but all versions got climate control, alloy wheels, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and xenon headlamps. Leather seat trim was standard on 20i models and above, while the M Sport versions got bigger 18-inch alloys, sport seats, M Sport chassis and suspension settings and an aerodynamic bodykit.

The options list included a Comfort Pack, which came with cruise control, parking sensors, extra storage and a wind deflector, while the Media package added Internet connectivity and a Design Pure Traction styling pack added black and orange contrasting trim to the interior.  

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Z4’s sat-nav and infotainment system is operated by the familiar iDrive wheel on the console between the seats – existing BMW owners will feel comfortable with it straight away, and newcomers to the system soon will.

The audio package comprised a BMW Professional radio with single CD player and MP3 playback, and you could beef up the output with two levels of speaker upgrades, or even add a TV tuner.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    sDrive 20i Sport 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £37,300

Most Economical

  • Name
    sDrive 20i M Sport 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £39,050

Fastest

  • Name
    sDrive M40i 2dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £49,495

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