BMW Z4 (2009-2016) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

The BMW Z4’s complex folding roof brought benefits, but severely compromised luggage space

Two-seater sports cars aren’t bought for their practicality, but even by class standards, the BMW Z4 didn’t fare well in this area. The complex hood system takes 21 seconds to fold down and 20 seconds to erect, which is considerably longer than the Audi TT Roadster’s fabric top.

The BMW does claw back some advantages thanks to its elaborate roof though, as it improves driving refinement with the roof up, as well as increasing security. The car’s comfortable ride – excluding M Sport spec – helps make long distances bearable too, and while boot space was compromised, there are handy luggage nets and a couple of big central cupholders in the cabin itself. 

As the Z4 is strictly a two-seater, there’s no option of slinging bags behind the seats either. 

Size

The BMW Z4 measures 4,244mm bumper-to-bumper, and is 1,790mm wide. This compares to 4,177mm x 1,842mm for the Audi TT and 4,374mm x 1,801mm for the Porsche Boxster.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Even tall occupants should have no problems fitting into the BMW Z4’s comfortable seats – there’s plenty of leg room, and elbow and shoulder room isn’t bad either. With the roof up the car’s headroom is decent, and roof down the sky is the limit!

Boot

Lowering the roof on the BMW Z4 unfortunately has a big impact on available luggage space, with boot capacity shrinking from 310 litres to 180 litres with the hood stowed. It’s still big enough for a couple of large holdalls, but getting them in and out is one of the biggest problems, as the roof mechanism leaves you with a narrow opening when you raise the bootlid.

Such compromises are part and parcel of living with a convertible, but if you load the boot with the hood up and try to unpack with it stowed, the chances are you’ll have to raise it again before you can get your luggage out. An optional ski-hatch allows you to carry longer items, though.

By way of comparison, the Porsche Boxster offers 280 litres of luggage space, the Audi TT offers 250 litres, while the Mercedes SLK has 310 litres reducing to 225 litres with the roof folded. 

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