Pitch it down a twisty road and the 2023 BMW Z4 convertible will make even novice drivers giggle. Two smooth-running turbocharged engines are offered—a 255-hp four and a 382-hp turbo-six—and the larger engine is ferocious. While the Z4’s handling isn’t as crisp as the mechanically-similar Toyota Supra coupe’s—the two share their engines and chassis—or rivals’ such as the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman, the Z4’s ride comfort and posh cabin make it easy to enjoy. Having the soft top folded gives you a free-feeling driving experience, but with the top in place, the Z4’s cabin is hushed enough to be comfortable for a long highway drive. All models come with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive, so if you’re looking for a manual transmission or all-wheel drive, the Z4 may not be for you.
What’s New for 2023?
BMW has made the M Sport package standard on the four-cylinder sDrive30i model for 2023. The performance-enhancing package includes an M Sport suspension for better handling and it dials up the car’s appearance inside and out with an aerodynamic body kit and M Sport steering wheel. A new 19-inch wheel design is available that sports a matte black finish with a diamond-polished edge. The new wheels look sharp when paired with the newly optional M Shadowline lighting package, which adds black inserts in the Z4’s headlamp assemblies. Three new colors are also available: Thundernight Metallic, Portimao Blue Metallic, and Skyscraper Grey Metallic. We had hoped that a six-speed manual would be added to the lineup since the Z4’s twin, the Toyota Supra, received such an option this year, but the BMW continues to be automatic-only.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
At its base price, the Z4 Drive30i is a reasonable value. It costs considerably less than its main rival, the Porsche 718 Boxster, and it offers more than enough performance for most buyers. We’d also suggest the Dynamic Handling package, which adds larger M Sport brakes and its M Sport differential for additional traction. Your new Z4 sDrive30i still won’t accelerate like the much more powerful M40i, but it’ll be quick enough to be fun.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every 2023 Z4 has an eight-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual modes. Paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel are also standard. The BMW Z4 is not available with a traditional manual transmission, but the eight-speed is one of the best automatics around with sharp responses, snappy shifts, and smooth operation. The sDrive30i is powered by the brand’s excellent turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes plenty of torque and 255 horsepower. In our testing, this model accelerated to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. That’s peppy, but still a bit slower than a 718 Boxster. For more grunt, the M40i model gets a 382-hp turbocharged inline-six. It’s incredibly smooth and refined, and it turns up the juice considerably with a zero-to-60-mph time of just 3.8 seconds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Given its strong performance, it may surprise you that the Z4 is one of the most fuel-efficient sports cars in its class. The fuel economy of the Z4 sDrive30i is rated by the EPA to be 25 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway. With its much higher level of horsepower, the fuel economy of the Z4 M40i is slightly lower at 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel economy route, both models far exceeded their ratings and delivered an impressive 38 mpg. For more information about the Z4’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
As is the case with current BMWs, the Z4 has a very high-quality interior. In fact, it may have the best interior in this class. It features luxe materials, exceptional panel fitment, and excellent control placement. Its seats are comfortable with sizable bolsters to hold you in place when you’re enjoying the Z4’s dynamics. There is also more room inside than you might expect, even for those taller than six feet. Its well-insulated cloth roof seals tightly. When the top is up, the BMW’s interior is impressively quiet, with so little wind or road noise it almost feels like a coupe. With the push of a button, it folds away in a few seconds. A wind blocker is standard to keep buffeting to a minimum with the top down, and works well even at high speeds. Interior stowage is also generous. There are several storage bins around the Z4’s cabin, including one in the center console and a felt-lined cubby to the left of the steering wheel. There’s also a netted shelf behind the seats and two big cupholders up front. At 10 cubic feet, the trunk of the Z4 isn’t huge, but it’ll swallow luggage for two for a quick weekend road trip.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A large 10.3-inch touchscreen is standard along with navigation and complimentary Apple CarPlay integration; Android Auto capability is not available. The latest iteration of BMW’s iDrive system is easy to use, with sharp graphics. The system can also be controlled intuitively with a knob and buttons on the Z4’s console or with voice commands. A USB port and Bluetooth streaming audio are also standard, although you have to pay extra for SiriusXM satellite radio.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Forward-collision warning and daytime pedestrian detection with city braking are standard, as is BMW’s lane-departure warning system. Other driver-assistance tech is available as options on both Z4 models. That list of available systems includes active cruise control, active blind-spot detection, rear-collision protection, and rear cross-traffic alert. For more information about the Z4’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision detection with pedestrian detection
- Available adaptive cruise control
- Available blind-spot monitoring
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW’s warranty is average for the segment; however, its complimentary scheduled maintenance coverage is a standout. Such a program is not offered by the Nissan Z, and Chevrolet only covers the first maintenance visit for Corvette owners.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles