The 2020 BMW Z4 Roadster is a premium 2-seater open-topped sports car. Thank you, BMW. Driving enthusiasts have another reason to feel optimistic about a future that will inevitably see many more crossovers. But 4-wheeled fun won’t be going away completely.
This is now the second year of the second-generation Z4. There was a brief gap between the two models, so it’s a relief that the Z4 has reappeared at all.
Whereas the previous version had a retractable hard top, the new Z4 comes with a power-folding fabric roof, which saves a bit of weight and allows for sleeker styling. While every beholder has a different eye, the new Z4 nevertheless seems to have a more pleasing, well-proportioned and cohesive design than its predecessor.
Under the skin, meanwhile, is a structure that BMW claims is the stiffest it’s ever built for an open-topped car. The advantages are that the suspension can be tuned to a finer degree and the annoying body flex plaguing many other convertibles is absent here.
Combine this impressive foundation with BMW’s superb technology and choice of fine engines, and the 2020 Z4 becomes a credible alternative to the Porsche 718 Boxster.
What’s New for 2020?
The 2020 Z4 M40i joins the range as the most powerful variant so far. See the 2020 BMW Z4 models for sale near you
What We Like
- Contemporary styling
- Well-tuned chassis
- Great engines
What We Don’t
- No Android Auto smartphone integration
The 2020 Z4 sDrive30i has a turbocharged 2.0-liter/4-cylinder engine developing 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is the only setup, employing an 8-speed automatic transmission. There’s no manual option, but the Z4 has paddle shifters mounted beneath the steering wheel and a launch-control mode.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving.
The new-for-2020 Z4 M40i goes to another level with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine generating 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Fuel consumption is estimated at 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 BMW Z4 2-seater convertible sports car comes in sDrive 30i and M40i versions.
The Z4 sDrive30i Roadster ($50,695) has a comprehensive inventory of standard equipment that includes 18-in alloy wheels, a black soft top with a heated glass rear window, LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, push-button start, selectable drive modes, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, variable-ratio steering, 14-way power-adjustable M Sport seats with memory settings, simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, self-dimming rearview and driver’s-side mirrors, ambient cabin lighting, a universal garage door opener, forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, rollover protection, a 10.25-in digital driver information display, a 10.25-in infotainment touchscreen, navigation with real-time traffic updates, Bluetooth phone/audio, AM/FM/HD radio, a CD/MP3 player, 20 GB of multimedia storage, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (12 months’ subscription).
The Z4 M40i ($64,695) has the more powerful engine, M Sport differential/brakes/suspension/seats/steering wheel, satellite radio, heated seats/steering wheel and BMW’s Connected Package Professional — which includes parking updates, concierge services and an on-board digital assistant similar to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.
A Convenience pack brings a self-parking system, keyless entry/ignition and satellite radio. The Premium package includes the Convenience features and adds a head-up display, heated front seats (where applicable), wireless charging and Wi-Fi. The Executive package has everything mentioned so far plus adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams and a 12-speaker/408-watt Harman Kardon audio system.
A Driving Assistance package brings blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning. A Track Handling package (standard in the Z4 M40i) consists of uprated M Sport brakes, M Sport limited-slip rear differential and an adaptive M-tuned suspension.
Other options include front/rear parking sensors, 19-in alloy wheels, active cruise control, remote start, real leather upholstery and a heated steering wheel.
Trunk space amounts to a reasonably roomy 9.9 cu ft, regardless of whether the roof is up or down, and there’s also a luggage pass-through.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the Z4 at this time. Don’t be put off by this, though, as the car has plenty of airbags and other safety equipment.
Behind the Wheel
Engage launch mode and the Z4 sDrive30i will sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in a respectable 5.2 seconds. This entertaining acceleration rate is complemented by a composed suspension that brings the kind of precision sports car buyers desire, but with enough suppleness to keep a passenger happy. In the Z4 M40i, that same sprint takes just 3.9 seconds.
Both seats have plenty of adjustment capabilities for finding the ideal position, and they provide ample cushioning and support. Even with the fabric roof down, the cabin remains unflustered, thanks in part to a standard-issue wind deflector. Should the weather start to rain on the Z4’s parade, the roof can close in 10 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider — It’s not half as civilized as the Z4, but it’s much more visceral.
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster — This is a mid-engined beauty with sublime handling talents. The range kicks off with 300 hp. The starting price, however, is around $10,000 more than the 2020 Z4.
It’s really a question of how much power a buyer wants and the size of their budget. All we would add is that the Driver Assistance package is worth having, and the Executive package is tempting as well. Find a BMW Z4 for sale