The new BMW Z4 has taken on a retractable hardtop, several hundred pounds of weight, and some useful new high-tech equipment, and altogether it's a joy to drive.
But it doesn't feel nearly as edgy as former versions did.
The new Z4 is now heavier than the Mercedes SLK; while the SLK used to feel heft in comparison, they're now on equal footing.
The new Audi TT has a much more aggressive feel, with rear-biased all-wheel drive, than the models they replace, and it arguably comes across more like a full-fledged sports car than the Z4.
Those who want a true sports car should consider the Porsche Boxster, which just this year got an all-new engine lineup.
The Nissan 370Z is another possibility, though the Nissan Z has a loud, sometimes uncomfortable cabin with generous helpings of road and engine noise that don't make it a good traveling companion.
The Z4 weighs about 1,000 pounds more than a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and you can now get two Miatas for less than a base Z4; those who want that lightweight roadster feel might want to keep it basic.
|2009 BMW Z4Browse Used Listings||2009 Mercedes-Benz SLK ClassBrowse Used Listings||2009 Nissan 370ZBrowse Used Listings||2008 Audi TTBrowse Used Listings||2008 Mazda MX-5 MiataBrowse Used Listings||2008 Porsche BoxsterBrowse Used Listings|
|18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||14 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I6||Gas V6||Gas V6||Turbo Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas Flat 6-cyl|
|Two-Seater||2 Seater||Two-Seater||Mini-Compact||Two Seater||Two-Seater|
|2dr Roadster sDrive30i||2dr Roadster 3.0L||2dr Coupe Man||2dr Coupe Auto 2.0T FrontTrak||2dr Convertible Man SV||2dr Roadster|
|Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear-Wheel Drive|
|2 Dr Conv||2 Door Roadster||2 door coupe||2 Door Coupe||2 Door Convertible||2 Door Roadster|
|Manual||Manual w/OD||Manual||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD||Manual|