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In-depth reviews

BMW Z4 review - Interior, design and technology

Sporty exterior design is undermined by a dull interior, but the Z4 impresses under the skin

The latest sports model from BMW is instantly recognisable as a Z car, with design lineage that’s traceable all the way back to the early Z3s – even if that’s just down to the long bonnet and short boot format, with BMW’s famous kidney grille on the nose. The latest model features much more complicated surface treatments in line with BMW’s current design thinking, and feels very contemporary with its LED headlamps, wide grille, aero intakes and heavily contoured flanks.

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The car is built on BMW’s Cluster Architecture Platform, and is some 50kg lighter than its predecessor. Interestingly, the same underbody structure, suspension components and M40i engine also feature under the skin of the latest Toyota Supra coupe – it was developed in conjunction with the BMW through a joint venture. 

Inside, the BMW Z4 design isn’t quite as exciting, because BMW has chosen to install an interior that looks all but identical to a regular 3 Series saloon. While the dash set-up works brilliantly in the saloon – and is hard to fault from a practical perspective in the Z4 – it lacks the sporty feel and flair we’d expect sports car buyers to want. The cockpit just doesn’t feel distinctive or special enough, compared to the cabins of rivals like the Boxster, Alpine A110 or even the Audi TT.

Things get a little more impressive when you start to look at the array of technology that’s available on the Z4. Available active assistance systems include lane-keeping, emergency braking and cruise control, as well as parking assistance. 

Options include the Comfort Package with keyless entry, the M Sport Plus package with a range of sporty trim upgrades, a Visibility Package with automatic headlamp adjustment and a Technology Package with Head-Up Display and an audio system upgrade.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment 

The BMW Live Cockpit Professional system is fitted as standard to the BMW Z4 and comes with a big 10.25-inch display in the centre of the dash, a fully digital instrument pack and BMW connected apps. Operated via the iDrive scroll wheel on the centre console it's an easy system to use, with crisp graphics and lots of functionality. Adding the Connected Package brings Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), BMW Concierge Services and a Remote function that lets you find your car and unlock it via your smartphone.

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