2012 BMW Z4 Review
It’s hard to beat the fun factor of a two-seat convertible like the 2012 BMW Z4. This luxury convertible won’t give you the practicality of comparably-priced sedans, but test drivers say that if you’re looking for a car that offers capable performance, a high-quality interior and enough trunk space for the occasional weekend getaway, the Z4 is more than up to the task.
For 2012, a new, smaller engine now sits in the base Z4’s engine bay, and while that may seem like a downgrade, reviewers agree that the change is a win. Thanks to a turbocharger, the new engine offers comparable power with the outgoing 2011 model and delivers better fuel economy.
In general, many auto writers agree that the base model also strikes the best balance of price and performance. Although you can get a more powerful engine in the upper trims like the Z4 sDrive35is, a few critics aren’t convinced that the performance gain is worth the price increase. Cars.com says, “There's no question this version of the Z4 is a star performer on the street and the track, but that kind of money can buy a Porsche Boxster S, and that fact might give some buyers pause.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross the Z4 off your list. For a roadster, the Z4 is actually somewhat practical, thanks to great fuel economy and features like its retractable hardtop. The base model also costs less than the Boxster, while free scheduled maintenance also adds value. So from that perspective, the 2012 BMW Z4 remains a smart buy among luxury sports cars.
Other Sports Cars to Consider
Reviewers say that if you’re looking for better performance, you should cross-shop the Z4 against the Porsche Boxster. The Boxster costs a little more than the Z4, but its performance dynamics are more in tune with the road, which makes for tighter handling. Just note that the Z4 comes with a retractable hardtop, while the Boxster is a soft-top model.
The Z4 can get expensive with options, so if you’d like to save a few thousand and get a convertible that’s more powerful, consider the Nissan 370Z Roadster. While the 370Z offers great performance at a lower price, there are some tradeoffs. The 370Z Roadster offers far less cargo space and a less refined interior.
2012 BMW Z4: The Details
The 2012 BMW Z4 comes in three trims. The Z4 sDrive28i is the new base model for 2012, which comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The more powerful Z4 sDrive35i and sport-tuned Z4 sDrive35is roll into 2012 basically unchanged. See the full 2012 BMW Z4 specs.
- "While the Z4 sDrive 28i (yes, that is a mouthful) is a fun car to drive, it's not an all-out sports car." -- AutoWeek
- "Z4 is a capable 2-seat sports car for enthusiasts. Sweet turbocharged 6-cylinder engines, a classy interior, and a rewarding driving experience are among the Z4's compelling traits." -- Consumer Guide
- "Sleek styling, a high-class interior and plenty of performance combine to make the 2012 BMW Z4 a highly desirable roadster. Its new base engine for this year makes it even better." -- Edmunds
- "The Z4-rescued from its stylistic weirdness two years ago with a much-needed redesign-is a hugely entertaining car, a silver-footed roadster with surprising amounts of grip, balance and responsiveness, all plugged into the driver's intuition by BMW's familiar patch cords." -- Wall Street Journal
- “In short, the 2012 Z4 is simply an extension of your own personality and capability. If you bring your [racecar driver] Lewis Hamilton, it's game on. But the Z4 will work equally well if you bring your [sun-worshiper] George Hamilton.” -- Kelley Blue Book