Love It or Leave It - The 2019 BMW Z4
After years of rumors and proposed names, the BMW Z4 moved onto a new generation with a completely new platform and a brand-new design. Inspired by the bigger 8 Series, the Z4 continues to be BMW’s sexy roadster and boasts massive improvements over the outgoing model. Arguably the biggest news here is that it was co-developed with Toyota, sharing underpinnings with the iconic Supra, which is set to return later in 2018. What do we think about the new Z4? Keep reading to find out.
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To be completely honest, I’m not sure how any self-proclaimed car lover out there wouldn’t be a fan of the new BMW Z4. Granted, the styling is far from perfect, and yeah, it’ll probably be a bit too heavy for its own good, but in the end, this is an important model for the world of sports cars. It proves that quick, aggressive, open-top, rear-wheel drive fun-mobiles are still very much a thing, and in a market filled to the brim with large SUVs and crossovers, that’s a comforting thought.
What’s more, the new Z4 helped bring the Toyota Supra back into the world, and for that, I’m very grateful indeed.
Now, all we need is an in-depth performance test to see if the reality matches the idea. If the new Z4 has the goods expected of a high-end roadster and can prove as much on a track, then I’ll be even happier. If not, well, at least Bimmer didn’t turn it into a crossover…
We waited a long time for the BMW Z4 Roadster to finally become a real car that we can see and touch. It’s rare for a car to have the cache of making us wait as long as the Z4 did and still bowl us over when it finally arrives. But that’s what happened when the Z4 made its highly anticipated debut at Pebble Beach.
There will be skeptics of the car who will say that it doesn’t look as good as the concept. That’s fair. There will also be critics who will say that they expected more out of a car that’s supposed to be a segment game-changer. That’s fair, too.
But I’m not as interested in listening to those critiques as I am in getting to drive the Z4 and see if it lives up to the hype.
BMW is known for having engaging cars to drive, and that’s the first thing I’m going to look for with the Z4.
It’s not a car that you go to groceries in. It’s not a car that you go to soccer practices in. It’s a car that you go out and drive. Simple as that. I’m excited to see what the Z4 has to offer in that department. If the new Z4 is as good as advertised, then all the waiting BMW — and Toyota — made us go through would have been worth it.
I stopped being a BMW fanatic in the mid-1990s when Bimmers started becoming heavier and bigger. The designs stopped being appealing too. However, a couple of models remained appealing to me, including the Z series, starting with the Z3 and then the Z4. While I found the latter to be less interesting than the Z3 from a design standpoint, the new-generation Z4 climbed at the top of my favorite Z-badged Bimmers.
I find this a bit awkward to be honest, as I don’t really like the 8 Series, and the Z4 is heavily based on it. But that’s maybe because the 8 Series feels too massive and heavy, while the Z4 gives the new styling language a sportier dimension.
It's definitely a car I'd enjoy driving, and there's no doubt that it will stomp its competitors in the first few years on the market.
It has the looks and the technology, and it will have the performance once an M model hits dealerships.
On the other hand, Z4 is a modern Bimmer, which means it will be heavier than necessary and it won’t be as exciting to drive as the original Z3. It could also become an automatic-only model, so those of us who still enjoy the three-pedal setup won’t have as much fun.
Let me tell you something right away. As with any previous generation of the BMW Z cars, the newest Z4 G29 is, by itself, a love it or hate it moment. This car, in each of its three generations, had to endure the judgment of the car community like no other. When you think of it, Z cars have always been sort of oddballs in the BMW lineup. It is the same with the latest car, although, I suspect, this one doesn’t drive a lot out of the imaginary autobahn of commonality. But it still does, and that is its most attractive feature in my opinion - character, and courage to act like no other.
You may ask how it acts differently from all other cars when it does not look nor behave extreme in any way?
Well, that is the point.
The new Z4 is built around an all-new chassis developed to support the new Toyota Supra too.
So, it is a sharp car, destined to be dominant on the streets, in the bends, and on the coast (c’mon, it’s perfect for the coast). Plus, I am happy to say that it gained the best possible looks BMW could imagine. It’s aggressive, but composed, rebellious, yet sophisticated. It seems to be a good package overall. One that will address the image issues of its predecessors and deliver better-than-expected performance.
Honestly, be it in black, or grey, I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the Bond movie. You know, a while back, Bond actually drove BMWs. Including the Z3. This one could pull it off, too.
BMW showcased the most powerful version right at the start - the Z4 M40i - one with the 3.0-liter TwinTurbo engine capable of delivering 335 horsepower to the rear wheels. Although I suspect it doesn’t sound well (a hate it moment for sure), this engine will definitely motivate the light, brisk Z4 the right way.
The numbers are clear - it will surge to 62 mph in 4.6 seconds.
Just remember that the Maserati GranTurismo couldn’t do this ten years ago and all of us were smitten by it nevertheless.
Aside from suspecting that the Z4 won’t sound awesome even in its top of the line version, I have some other issues with it too.
Let me list them:
- BMW does not plan to develop a full-fledged M version
- A BMW Z4 Coupe is also unlikely which saddens me a lot as I saw an amateur rendering that looks just glorious
- It may be that it will be overshadowed by the Supra, which will almost be the same car as the Z4, but with a roof, with the iconic Supra name, and even brisker driving dynamics
- It still has a bit of that “hair-dresser car” aura around (not as much as the Z3 or the previous generation, mind you)
- I don’t feel that the headlights actually express the “BMWness” and aggressiveness as I think they should. This is just me. I guess BMW design team, engineers, and marketing gurus figured out that this would work better in the real world. They are smarter
Let me finish with the thing I love about the Z4. It remained somewhat odd and unconventional. Like all other Z cars that ever appeared. I am happy it exists.
The BMW Z4 has stayed with me (in my mind, not in my garage!!) for as long as I can remember. As a young kid, whenever anyone spoke about a fast, convertible roadster, all I could think of was the Z4. The new Z4 has reincarnated itself with a new brother in arms – the Toyota Supra – and this is a bonanza of sorts!
Some folks are not pleased with the latest iteration. To be frank, the car has been subject to such judgments right from its inception; but like they say, ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity.’
The new Z4 kept us waiting for a long time, but the wait was totally worth it.
Yes, the new model has not lived up to the expectations in the looks department, but the car is still absolutely drool-worthy.
The Bavarians have been known to create driver-oriented cars, and on paper, the Z4 is just that. The sight of a RWD car, swirling its derriere and zipping to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds will make you grin from ear-to-ear. I, for one, cannot wait for our team to get behind the wheel of this beauty. Now, all we have to do is sit back and watch it steamroll the competition. Oh wait, when’s the M model of the Z4 coming?
Read our review on the 2019 BMW Z4.
Read our driven review on the previous generation BMW Z4.
Read more BMW news.