Leaner and yet more voluptuous, the newest BMW Z4 introduced in the 2009 model year and carried over for 2010 is a bit more conservative than previous car.
Autoblog characterizes the new 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. Automobile contends it "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." The hood 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, its 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. Cars.com says, "particularly given BMW's penchant for taut, short-overhang profiles," the long overhangs are more noticeable in back, where the Z4 needs the length for stowing its retractable hardtop. Motor Trend reports "BMW has signaled a clear departure from previous Bangle-era cues," and this Z4 is more attractive and "less controversial," remarks Cars.com, "in part because the prior soft-top Z4 was among the most risqué designs of its day."
Like the sheetmetal, the cabin has a far richer, more sophisticated feel; it's the most upscale of all its competition. Automobile declares, "the interior appears to have moved decidedly more upscale." The rakish design divides some controls in a strong, graphic trim panel, and cants them slightly toward the driver. Autoblog reports "the speedometer and tachometer take center stage, with fuel and oil temperature gauges set immediately below." Motor Trend admires the "fresh new interior" and dash that "now features large, sweeping, hockey stick-style curves and asymmetrical vents." There's more metallic trim and choices of contrasting leather trim, all giving the Z4 a fair whiff of nostalgia among its modern controls. 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. Overall, the look inside is a little more cluttered but much more useful.