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STYLING | 8 out of 10
It looks less controversial
Artfully sculpted, the clean-sheet Z4 Roadster looks remarkably similar to the Z8
The dash now features large, sweeping, hockey stick-style curves
BMW's eye-catching billboard advertisements for the 2009 BMW Z4 have started popping up across the country, and the sales emphasis is clear—the roadster's all-new design treatment takes center stage. TheCarConnection.com's research shows that reviewers are impressed by the new look, although the BMW Z4 still sports a few visual idiosyncrasies.
Beginning with the basics, the BMW Z4 2009 lineup is still a two-door roadster, but unlike last year's coupe/convertible lineup, the 2009 BMW Z4 changes things up with a "power-retractable hardtop" that Edmunds says "adds a whole new dimension to the car." All 2009 BMW Z4s feature the new roof, and according to Edmunds "two versions are offered—base sDrive30i and the more powerful sDrive35i." There is little to distinguish the two models visually, and the styling for both is "less controversial," remarks Cars.com, "in part because the prior soft-top Z4 was among the most risqué designs of its day." Automobile Magazine raves that the BMW Z4 2009 "looks as if it's finally passed through its awkward adolescence and has filled out into a curvaceous hardtop roadster" with lines that "look similar to those of the BMW 1-series, though some cues carry over from the new 7-series as well." Autoblog characterizes the BMW Z4 as "artfully sculpted," noting it "looks remarkably similar to the Z8," a limited-production BMW from earlier this decade that has become a much-sought-after collector's item. Motor Trend reports that, on all its models, "BMW has signaled a clear departure from previous Bangle-era cues," and the BMW Z4 is no exception.
The only awkward styling element, according to Cars.com, is the "front overhang," which is "longer than usual, particularly given BMW's penchant for taut, short-overhang profiles."
Aside from that common quibble, reviewers tend to focus on the new hardtop, which Cars.com notes is a "two-piece aluminum hardtop [that] power-retracts in just 20 seconds; many hardtop convertibles take 25 seconds or more." Those extra 5 seconds may not sound like much, but the short drop-top time makes for an easy transition at stoplights.
Moving inside the BMW Z4's cabin, reviewers quickly point out that the new styling elements are just as dramatic as the changes to the exterior. Motor Trend reviewers first notice that the 2009 BMW Z4 gets "a fresh new interior trimmed in Satin Silver matte, Brushed Aluminum or Ash Grain Wood" with a dash that "now features large, sweeping, hockey stick-style curves and asymmetrical vents." In front of the driver, Autoblog reports that "the speedometer and tachometer take center stage, with fuel and oil temperature gauges set immediately below." When outfitted with the optional navigation system and iDrive combination, the BMW Z4 gets an "8.8-in. screen [that] pops up out of the dash as needed to control the audio and navigation functions," says Motor Trend.
With fresh styling both inside and out, the 2009 BMW Z4 is a far cry from the Chris Bangle-designed roadster of yesteryear.