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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
One of the biggest disappointments on last year's BMW Z4 was the poor overall safety rating that the car received in independent crash tests. For the BMW Z4, 2009 should mark a turning point; although crash-test data isn't available yet, the BMW Z4 is completely redesigned and gets a stronger, larger frame that should provide significantly more crash protection.
Both NHTSA and the IIHS can take some time to complete their rigorous series of impact tests on new models, especially when the vehicles in question run into the $60,000 range fully loaded. Stay tuned to TheCarConnection.com for the latest crash-test data as it becomes available.
TheCarConnection.com's research shows that the BMW Z4's other safety credentials are first-rate. Cars.com reviewers state that "front and seat-mounted side-impact airbags are standard" on the BMW Z4 2009 lineup, "as are four-wheel antilock brakes, with larger discs on the sDrive35i." Edmunds adds that "stability control and traction control are standard on the 2009 Z4" and points out that the folding hardtop roof "incorporates a support system that helps protect occupants in case of a rollover accident." In the event of a top-down rollover, steel roll hoops behind each seat keep both the passenger's and driver's heads from striking the ground. In addition to these standard safety features, Motor Trend notes that the 2009 BMW Z4 incorporates a "Brake Drying function, Brake Standby and Brake StartOff," all of which are controlled by "BMW's Dynamic Stability Control, which can be completely disabled, a development enthusiasts will surely appreciate."
BMW engineers have made a few other safety changes for the 2009 BMW Z4, the most noteworthy of which is the much-improved overall driver visibility. Jalopnik reports that the driver's "vision is excellent with no oversize blind spots," in large part "thanks to tiny rear 3/4 windows that retract into the car's body instead of the doors." The professional reviewers at Motor Trend break out their rulers and calculators to determine that "all-around visibility is up 14 percent over the outgoing model, with 40-percent larger side windows and 52-percent more see-through area out the glass rear window."
We'll need crash-test data to make the pronouncement official, but all signs point toward a much safer driving experience for the 2009 BMW Z4.