Great Alternatives to the BMW Z4
The new Z4 is certainly a great car, but is it the best you can get for the money?by Dim Angelov, on
The BMW Z4 is a bit like the black sheep of the family. It’s part of the BMW lineup but it’s sort of there because it has to be. The fact that the new Toyota Supra is based on it, does not help either, as its Japanese twin managed to steal the show, with its controversial use of a BMW engine and platform. This does not mean that the new Z4 is a bad car, on the contrary. But we think that all alternatives should be considered. Our list has something for everybody, including a surprise.
Let’s start with the most obvious alternative. We are not going to talk about, how the new Supra stirred up the automotive world, by being based on the Z4. That said, Toyota is adamant that they’ve still done their own reliability testing and their unique setup. The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six produces the exact same figures as in the BMW Z4 – 382 horsepower (285 kW) and 368 pound-feet (500 Nm). Power goes to the rear via an eight-speed ZF automatic. Even earlier versions of the Supra, which were advertised as having 30 horsepower less than the Z4 turned out to be quicker than the Bavarian roadster. This goes to show the extra length Toyota has gone to make this a proper Supra. It’s also less expensive than the Z4, with prices for the 3.0-liter version starting at $50,990, compared to the Z4’s $63,700.
|0-60 mph||3.9 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 MPH|
|Price||$42,990 - $54,795|
If you favor comfort over performance, the Jaguar F-type might be a worthy alternative. Its biggest selling point is the interior, which feels a bit more special than the Z4 and Supra. With the F-type, you also feel the biggest difference in ride quality, when switching from sport to comfort mode. You also have options, when it comes to body type. While the Z4 is offered as a soft-top convertible only, the F-type can also be had as a hardtop. You can still get the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 with 380 horsepower (279 kW) and 339 pound-feet (460 Nm). While performance is still decent, it cannot match the Z4 and Supra, which can hit 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, as opposed to 4.6 seconds for the “Jag”. It still sounds nice though. You need to pay a bit more though as the V-6 starts from $81,800. If you want the V-8, prices can go upwards of $100,000.
|0-60 mph||5.4 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 MPH|
|Price||$61,600 - $103,200|
This next one may have the engine in the middle, but it’s still a rear-wheel-drive compact performance car. Whether it’s the hardtop Cayman or the Boxter, Porsche’s entry-level sports car is the sharpest and lightest in this price range. Many hardcore fans have been let down by the choice of engine, but you can’t argue with the performance. The 718 S uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four, producing 350 horsepower (257 kW) and 310 pound-feet (420 Nm). There’s a lot to like about the 718. It has one of the best chassis in the segment, it’s the lightest of the bunch at 3,053 pounds (1,385 kg) and you got options in terms of body type and the gearbox. That flat-four can be mated either to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed PDK. The 60 mph (97 km/h) sprint happens in just 4.0 seconds. With a starting price of $67,350, it’s just slightly more expensive than the Z4.
|Porsche 718 Cayman||Porsche 718 Boxster|
|Engine||2.0-liter Turbo-Four||2.0-liter Turbo-Four|
|Horsepower||300 HP||300 HP|
|Torque||280 LB-FT||280 LB-FT|
|0-60 mph||4.7 Seconds||4.7 Seconds|
|Top Speed||170 MPH||170 MPH|
|Price||$59,900 - $86,600||$62,000 - $98,600|
Granted, the MX5 is far from the performance figures of the Z4, or anything else on this list, for that matter. However, it’s also significantly less expensive. The 2.0-liter roadster starts at $26,830 and the hardtop RF version, from $33,045. It may only have a 2.0-liter normally-aspirated inline-four, but with a curb weight of just 2,271 pounds (1,030 kg), the 181 horsepower (131 kW), and 151 pound-feet (205 Nm) are good for a sprint to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. For the slightly heavier RF model, the discipline is executed in around 5.8 seconds. On the other hand, the RF boasts a better weight balance, because of the extra weight in the back that comes with the electric folding hardtop.
|0-60 mph||5.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||135 MPH|
|Price||$26,830 - $34,525|
This one is a bit of an odd one and at first glance, shouldn’t be here. Performance-wise the first production mid-engine Corvette is in a whole different performance category. However, it’s also in the same price range as the new Z4. Yes, the C8 starts at $59.995. The 6.2-liter pushrod V-8 that’s powering the American sports car, produces 495 horsepower (369 kW) and 470 pound-feet (637 Nm). All this goes to the rear wheels through an eight-speed double-clutch automatic. The result is 2.9 seconds to 62 mph (100 km/h) and a top speed of 194 mph (312 km/h). It also manages to pull a very supercar-like 1.04 g of lateral acceleration, which is about the same as a McLaren MP4/12C. In addition to the supercar-like performance figures, you can also choose between the Stingray (hardtop) and the convertible.
|0-60 mph||2.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||184 MPH|
|Price||$59,995 - $71,945|