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2016 BMW Z4 Review
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By: Edmunds.com On: 09-01-2015 Model(s): The 2016 BMW Z4 returns essentially unchanged, with the exception of formerly optional sport seats being added to the standard equipment list. 2016 BMW Z4
Author Experience: Expert review

The 2016 BMW Z4 returns essentially unchanged, with the exception of formerly optional sport seats being added to the standard equipment list.

When we say there's nothing like motoring along in a convertible with the top down and the wind blowing through your hair, people either knowingly nod their head in agreement or look back with a puzzled stare that seems to say: "Why would I want my hair fussed?" If you find yourself in that first group, we think you'll find a lot to like about the 2016 BMW Z4 roadster.

That's because the German automaker has hit what seems to be a sweet spot in the compact convertible segment. The upscale Z4, with its retractable hardtop roof, lands more or less squarely in the middle of the roadster continuum, which ranges from nimble but cramped traditional sports cars to larger, grand-touring drop tops with big engines and big price tags.

The Z4 comes in three basic flavors based on engine size, starting with the entry-level sDrive28i model, which is powered by a 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. If it wasn't for its rather uncouth sound at idle, you'd otherwise never suspect its energetic acceleration was produced by something with fewer than six cylinders. But for those who crave that extra dose of excitement (not to mention a more pleasing engine note), BMW stands ready to oblige with the sDrive35i and sDrive35is, propelled by an inline six-cylinder engine that puts out 300 hp and 335 hp, respectively.

The Z4 does have some downsides, including modest roof-down trunk space and a substantial price, especially when you start adding options. In light of that latter point, we'd suggest that you take a long look at the new, substantially improved and massively cheaper 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. It adds some Z4-like, long-hood proportions to the tried-and-true Miata formula that has made it one of the most fun-to-drive cars for decades now.

Of course, there's also the 2016 Porsche Boxster, which is the driver's choice among German roadsters, and the 2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK, which offers grand-touring driving dynamics similar to the Z4. There are also some sporty four-seat convertibles available, such as the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series and 4 Series. You're not going to go wrong here with any of these picks, but for the good kind of hair fussing, the 2016 BMW Z4 certainly deserves a place on your test-drive list.

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