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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
Two-seat interior offers noticeably more headroom and legroom than before
A roomier, more comfortable interior
Car and Driver
Better materials and greater attention to detail
With a fully loaded price approaching $70,000, the 2009 BMW Z4 faces some stiff competition in terms of luxury and refinement. Fortunately, the 2009 BMW Z4 features top-notch materials and construction, but it loses points in this category for the folding hardtop's consumption of much of the available cargo space.
The first thing that most previous Z4 owners will notice about the new BMW Z4 2009 model is the extra room inside the cabin. Cars.com reviewers find that the "two-seat interior offers noticeably more headroom and legroom than before," with Motor Trend measuring "0.2 in. more headroom, 0.79 in. more shoulder room and 1.69 in. more elbowroom." It may not sound like much, but Car and Driver says that the "roomier, more comfortable interior" helps make the BMW Z4 "an everyday-capable roadster." The 2009 BMW Z4's interior size is generous enough that one Autoblog reviewer claims his "six-foot two-inch frame fit comfortably" inside the cockpit, which offers legroom that is "nearly identical to the Porsche Boxster, but the Z4 offers a bit more shoulder room." One other point worth noting about the seats comes from Car and Driver, where reviewers are pleased to discover that "the standard leather seats are treated with the hot-pants-friendly Sun Reflective Technology (also applied to the steering wheel), which keeps the surfaces cool to cut back on any skin scorching on a hot day."
BMW's designers deserve some credit for trying to bestow the 2009 BMW Z4 with sufficient trunk space despite the presence of the trunk-eating folding hardtop, but there's only so much they can do. Cars.com observes that, compared to the previous BMW Z4, there are "more storage options—albeit few compared to a conventional luxury sedan or coupe." Edmunds adds that interior storage includes a "small storage area behind the seats that works well for purses or backpacks as well as a moderately sized pass-through" into the trunk, but the trunk's room drops from "a respectable 11 cubic feet with the top up" to just "6 with the top down." Jalopnik calls the six cubic feet "still-very-useful," but it would be hard to take a long weekend trip for two if you want to enjoy the weather with the top down and still fit all your stuff in the Z4.
The criticism of the cargo space that TheCarConnection.com finds is unfortunate, although not unexpected, but it is moderated by the effusive praise that reviewers heap on the BMW Z4 2009's interior. Edmunds raves that the "cabin is...more elegant than it used to be, with better materials and greater attention to detail." Jalopnik reviewers agree and note that "the fit and finish and quality of materials is far beyond that of the old Z4" and is now "on par with the 3- and 5-Series." Automobile Magazine continues the trend by declaring that, "overall, the interior appears to have moved decidedly more upscale." Although the base interior is worthy of the BMW Z4's price tag, Motor Trend reports that, "for maximum luxury, you can choose the Exclusive Ivory White Leather Package, which also gets you sport seats and Anthracite wood trim."
In a bid to improve the overall level of refinement on the BMW Z4 2009 lineup, BMW's engineers have focused on reducing the overall sound levels inside the car, with great success. Jalopnik claims that, with the top up, "the roof lends the Z4 all the refinement of a coupe—conversation is easy even close to the vehicle's top speed—without the traditional downsides of a folding hard top." Car and Driver reviewers also "believe BMW's claim that the aluminum roof is quieter than a softtop," while Autoblog reports that, "even with all of the windows down, and without a wind blocker between the seats, air management is acceptable."
A lack of storage space is the biggest gripe reviewers have with the 2009 BMW Z4, but this isn't the sort of car you take camping anyway.