- I sampled BMW’s revived roadster, a 2019 Z4 sDrive30i that has been outfitted with a bunch of M-Sport performance extras.
- The BMW Z4 has always been a very sporty two-door, and the new model is no exception.
- I did like the car in the 30i trim, with its 255-horsepower four-cylinder engine. But even that is a lot of oomph for a roadster.
- BMW builds the Z4 so well that you’re getting your money’s worth, but you could spend tens of thousands of dollars less and get an equally fun set of wheels.
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The world needs roadsters. That’s my belief, anyway. And fortunately, there are several automakers who share my view.
BMW has been in the modern roadster game since the 1990s, but its lineup briefly lacked a two-seat drop-top since the 2016 model year. That gap was filled in 2018 when an all-new Z4 was revealed (it’s a collaboration with Toyota, which sells the car as a Supra).
I’m old enough to remember the arrival of the stylish Z3 back when Bill Clinton was president; that car was meant to rival the Mazda Miata by being a burlier, more sporty front-engine, rear-wheel drive two-seater with a ragtop. The Z3’s lineage lives on in the new Z4, which is yet again matching up against the Miata. And yet again bringing more horsepower to the open-air party.
I generally don’t like a whole lot of HPs in a roadster, which I think of as a car meant to zip around winding roads at 40mph. The Z4 is a helluva lot more car than that. It intends to eat winding roads for breakfast.
How did I feel about getting behind the wheel of that menacing proposition? I felt pretty good — BMW let me borrow a Z4 sDrive30i that had been outfitted with a whole mess of M-Sport high-performance extras. This was the roadster turned up to 11.
It was also — Gulp! — a $64,000 car. That’s rich for a roadster.
Too rich? Read on to find out.
The 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i arrived at our suburban New Jersey test center wearing a fetching "San Francisco Red Metallic" paint job. The as-tested price was $64,000, with thousands of dollars in extras adding to the $50,000 MSRP.
The Z-Series roadsters date to the late 1980s for the Bavarian automaker, but the model that really defined the two-seater for BMW was the original Z3 of 1996.
A major — and welcome — change for the sixth-generation Z-Series was the replacement of the retractable hardtop with a soft-top.
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