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Kelley Blue Book: The 2022 BMW Z4: The luxurious drop-top 2-seater offers plenty of driving thrills

Pros

50/50 weight distribution

Fuel-efficient

Nice interior

Enjoyable driving dynamics

Cons

No coupe option

Automatic-only

Better performance can be found elsewhere

What’s new?

No notable changes

Price: The 2022 BMW Z4 has a starting MSRP of $49,900 for the 30i model. The higher-performance M40i model starts at $63,700.

The BMW Z4 is a bit of a departure from the German brand’s usual fare yet still carries the distinct personality of a BMW
BMW,
-2.52%
.
As a 2-door roadster, it’s a bit different from the sport sedans and SUVs the brand is more famous for. It combines a luxurious interior with engaging driving dynamics in a way that few can match, and its eye-catching styling carries the spirit of past BMW Z models while looking thoroughly modern. It’s also more practical than you might expect, with good interior space, a roomy trunk, and good fuel economy for a roadster.

The 2022 BMW Z4

BMW

The Z4 is a nice luxury sports car that’s fun to drive, but you can find better performance from similarly priced competitors. The Porsche 718 Boxster is generally a better performer, and the Jaguar F-Type offers a strong supercharged V8. So if performance is your top priority, you might be better off with one of these rivals. That said, both of those competitors have a higher starting price, making them competitive with the Z4 M40i but quite a bit more expensive than the Z4 30i.

If you like the idea of a fun BMW roadster, the Z4 is a delightful and luxurious drop-top 2-seater.

2022 BMW Z4 pricing

The 2022 BMW Z4 sDrive30i has a starting MSRP of $49,900. The higher-performance M40i model starts at $63,700. A destination fee of $995 applies to all Z4 models.

The base price of the 30i model is above the mechanically similar Toyota
TM,
+4.93%

Supra and a fully-loaded Mazda
MZDAY,
+4.31%

MX-5 Miata but below the Porsche
POAHY,
+11.61%

718 Boxster and the convertible variants of the Chevrolet Corvette and Jaguar F-Type. The Z4 is priced very similarly to the Audi TT Roadster. When you upgrade to the M40i, then it’s more in line with other luxury sports cars in terms of price and performance.

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for their new Z4.

Driving the 2022 BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 is a luxury sports car that is just that — luxurious and sporty. It’s a 2-seater that is comfortable and easy to drive around town and on the highway. When it’s time to have some fun, it’s up to the challenge. This front-engine, rear-wheel-drive roadster has a 50/50 weight distribution. That translates to excellent driving dynamics that can get even better with options.

Every Z4 is fun to drive, but serious enthusiasts will want to make some upgrades. The base engine is a turbocharged 4-cylinder that moves the Z4 around with adequate hustle, but things get a lot more interesting with the turbo 6-cylinder engine in the M40i model.

On top of the engine upgrade, the M40i has improved brakes, suspension, and an M Sport differential. These factors combine to make a more rewarding driving experience that’s more on-par with other luxury sports cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Jaguar F-Type.

As engaging as the Z4 is to drive, we can’t help but wish there was a manual transmission option. The 8-speed automatic delivers smooth, quick shifts, but it can’t replace the feeling of rowing your own gears in a lightweight roadster.

If you like the idea of a more luxurious alternative to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, then the base Z4 30i delivers drop-top fun with a premium interior. If you want a more serious sports car, then the M40i is a worthwhile upgrade.

Also see: The 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL: A beautiful, athletic V-8 roadster built for performance

Interior comfort

For being a compact roadster, the BMW Z4 is pretty roomy. Tall drivers and passengers fit just fine, which is a claim that not every car in this class can make. On top of the generous seating space, the trunk is quite spacious as well.

The interior of the Z4 captures the BMW brand identity nicely. It’s simple yet elegant. There are few frills, and nothing looks out of place. The interior is oriented to the driver but doesn’t forget to provide a pleasurable experience to the passenger. The materials are upscale, and there’s plenty of technology that’s tastefully applied to the interior.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen is big but not intimidating. It’s operated via a rotary control knob that has a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used a system like that before. Once you’re used to it, it’s pretty user-friendly.

There’s another 10.25-inch screen in front of the driver in place of a traditional analog gauge cluster. This display changes based on which drive mode you’re in to show you the information that’s most relevant to you. This screen is also handy when you’re using the navigation system.

Exterior styling

The BMW Z4 has the traditional kidney grille associated with the brand, but other than that, it doesn’t look quite like any other car in the current BMW lineup. Instead, it has sleek styling that speaks to the car’s personality as a premium sports car. The lines are well sculpted without being too dramatic, and the Z4’s design accentuates its long, low, and wide stance.

With the most recent redesign of the Z4, it ditched the heavier and more complicated retractable hardtop for a simple, more traditional soft top. Don’t worry; you won’t have to put up with an old-school trash bag-style rear window. Instead, you get a glass panel with a heating element.

The Z4 is a cool-looking car, but we wish there were a hardtop coupe option like in previous generations of the Z car. The closest thing to that would be the Toyota Supra, which was made in collaboration with this BMW.

Also on MarketWatch: Thinking of buying an antique home? Here’s what you need to know

Favorite features

M Sport Package
The M Sport Package is optional on the base Z4 30i. It adds an appearance package that makes it look more like the M40i, plus adds M sport suspension, an M steering wheel, and the option of upgrading to the more advanced Dynamic Handling package.

Driving dynamics control
A rocker switch allows you to change drive modes on the fly, changing the personality of the Z4. Select from Eco Pro, Sport, Sport+, Comfort, and Individual modes to adjust suspension, steering, and power delivery to improve your drive.

Standard features

The base model of the BMW Z4 is the sDrive30i model. It comes standard with a 255-horsepower turbocharged inline-4 linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. A few excellent standard features include a 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment system, a digital gauge cluster, power-operated convertible top, dual-zone automatic climate control, faux leather upholstery, a wind deflector, and push-button start.

If you’re looking for a performance upgrade, consider the sportier Z4 sDrive M40i. It turns up the heat with a 382-horsepower turbocharged inline-6 engine plus M Sport brakes with blue calipers, an M Sport differential, and adaptive M suspension. Other upgrades include aluminum tetragon interior trim, an M steering wheel, an aerodynamic body kit, and Shadowline exterior trim.

Factory options

Various option packages and individual options can upgrade the style, comfort, and performance of the Z4. Leather upholstery is a $1,700 option for both trims, or you can get Alcantara/leather for $1,500. A $700 Driver Assistance package is a smart addition to either trim and adds parking sensors, an Active Driving Assistant, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning.

There’s a Premium package that costs $2,900 on the 30i and $1,900 on the M40i. It adds a head-up display, remote start, ambient interior lighting, adaptive LED headlights, and a parking assistant. However, it costs more on the 30i model because it adds some things that are already standard on the M40i, like keyless entry, lumbar support, and heated front seats.

Available on the 30i model are the M Sport Package ($1,500) and the Dynamic Handling package ($2,450). If you get just the M Sport Package, it’s mostly an appearance package that makes it look more like the M40i, plus M Sport suspension. If you opt for the Dynamic Handling package, it replaces the M Sport suspension with the more advanced adaptive M suspension plus an M Sport differential and M Sport brakes. In terms of performance, this essentially turns the 30i into the M40i but with a 4-cylinder engine.

Individual options include various paint and wheel options, Harman Kardon premium audio, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, ambient lighting, and more.

Check out: The 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata: It’s all about the fun of driving

Engine and transmission

The base engine in the BMW Z4 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 producing 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This engine is plenty strong, and you won’t get bored behind the wheel, but some driving enthusiasts may crave more. That’s where the M40i model comes in with a turbocharged inline-6 making 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are fuel-efficient for a luxury sports car.

Every BMW Z4 delivers power to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. A manual transmission is not available.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
255 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/32 mpg

3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6
382 horsepower @ 5,000-6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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