The hood of the Z4 is long and low, with the short-deck proportions of a classic roadster. The front end's been brought up to speed with the lines of other new BMWs, and the sides have seen their aggressive creases and flares softened. The silhouette flows with far more elegance, seen in smooth, long arcs connecting the hood to the rear fenders. The rear wheel wells are pronounced in their size-and taper toward Porsche Boxster-like tail lamps. The Z4 side view shows a slim bubble when the roof is raised. The only interruption of these otherwise tight proportions is in back, where the long overhangs are more noticeable and the Z4 needs the length for stowing its retractable hardtop.
The Z4's richer, more sophisticated feel extends to the cabin; it's arguably the most upscale of all its competition. The rakish design divides some controls in a strong, graphic trim panel, and cants them slightly toward the driver. The layout is a little more cluttered, but also a little more useful. There's an iDrive controller and an electric parking brake in the center console; the navigation screen, when so equipped, pops up from the top center of the dash. Altogether, the chosen metallic trim and contrasting leather trim gives the Z4 a hint of nostalgia, but it's nothing overt.