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2015 BMW Z4

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/11/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 BMW Z4 gains a standard sport leather steering wheel with paddle shifters and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in sDrive35i models. Now available are a new paint color, Sparkling Brown Metallic, and a two-tone interior upholstery package, Ivory White/Burnt Sienna Package that comes with an anthracite headliner and brown wood trim. sDrive35i models are no longer available with a manual transmission.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 BMW Z4 is a rear-drive two-seat hardtop convertible.


Two turbocharged engines are available in the 2015 BMW Z4: a 2.0-liter I-4 with 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque in the Z4 sDrive28i and a 3.0-liter I-6 making 300 hp and 300 lb-ft in the Z4 sDrive35i, and 335 hp and 332 lb-ft in the Z4 sDrive35is. The turbo-four is paired to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic while the turbo-six is paired exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Fuel economy is respectable with the turbo-four at 22/34 mpg city/highway with the manual and 22/33 mpg with the automatic; turbo-six-powered Z4s are rated at 17/24 mpg.

Performance is a strong point in the 2015 Z4 with powerful and well-tuned powertrains that provide excellent acceleration, making passing and merging effortless even at highway speeds. The range topping Z4 sDrive35is, in particular, accelerate with authority due to its overboost function that increases torque to 369 lb-ft for a short period under wide open throttle. All engines feature abundant torque from low revs, making the car easy to drive fast and improves its daily drivability; however, it lacks high-end power. While the car handles well, its ride is extremely rough particularly in rough pavement, detracting from the car’s refinement and overall balance. Additionally, the chassis doesn’t feel connected to the road, which makes the car less engaging to drive.

Inside, the 2015 Z4's driver and passenger will find high-quality leather and supportive seats that make the car feel premium. Customizability is a strong point with many interior and exterior combinations available for the 2015 Z4 including two-tone leather and Alcantara upholstery, wood and aluminum accents, and vibrant exterior paint like Valencia Orange Metallic.

The NHTSA and IIHS have not crash tested the 2015 BMW Z4.

What We Think

The 2015 BMW Z4 has attractive styling and well-appointed interior that we noted in a 2010 comparison test as one that “rivals Audi for top honors” with its high levels of sophistication. Its engines are also noteworthy with good power and plenty of torque for passing and merging in highway traffic. While the turbo-four isn’t the strongest, it provides a nice balance of power and fuel economy; however, we noted in a 2012 First Drive review that the engine “runs out of steam at anything much above 5000 rpm” and becomes unrefined, making a “harsh, almost strained, exhaust note and no extra power.” The car’s ride and handling balance is also not up to BMW standards with a “shocking levels of unrefinement” that makes it unsettled and jarring on rough roads. As a result, the harsh suspension and the difficult to shift manual transmission led to the Z4 placing third in a comparison test against the Audi TTS, Nissan 370Z, and Porsche Boxster S.

You’ll Like

  • Punchy engines
  • Well-appointed and customizable interior
  • Attractive exterior styling

You Won’t Like

  • Harsh ride
  • Uncommunicative chassis
  • Gets expensive quickly

Key Competitors

  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
  • Audi TT
  • Alfa Romeo 4C
  • Porsche Boxster/Cayman
  • Nissan 370Z


3 star


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