Mar 23, 2003
Reviewed By Bengt Halvorson
Price as Tested $39,690

Curvaceous body sets the proportions right, with design cues borrowed from the top-model Z8 roadster; silky straight-six engine; plenty of power, even with the base 2.5-liter and Steptronic five-speed automatic; still the best steering in the business; hasn’t grown much in size or weight, but rides like a more substantial vehicle; very little wind noise or turbulence; adequate cubby holes and storage places; surprisingly roomy trunk (improved over Z3).


Uncomfortable seats and low, rather poor driving position is unexpected in a BMW; new gauge cluster harder to read at a glance—foregoes functionality in favor of fashion; slabby dash design with plasticky wood trim looks more at home in a near-luxury sedan than this sports car; top seemed rather thin in a cold-weather rainstorm; sound system inadequate with the top down.


No longer the basic sports car that the Z3 started out as, the Z4 feels more upscale and mature, and some of the appointments inside make it feel more luxury touring coupe and less sports car. The gauges and controls seem less driver-friendly than those in past BMWs, and the styling remains controversial. But its refinements set it apart from the two-seat competition, it has a more mature personality, and is a quantum leap ahead in the execution of details.

Fun to Drive
4.0 rating
Fun to Look at
5.0 rating
Overall Experience
3.0 rating