Exterior Design: Which is the best looking roadster?

BMW Z4 | December 17th, 2008 by 37
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An inevitable question arises about the best looking roadster as soon as the new 2009 BMW Z4 was unveiled. The supremacy of the SLK seems …

An inevitable question arises about the best looking roadster as soon as the new 2009 BMW Z4 was unveiled. The supremacy of the SLK seems to be attacked by BMW’s latest roadster, a car that has already received many applause and positive reviews. 

But in the best looking roadster category, we also have the Audi TT-S along with the classic Porsche Boxster S. This comparison will strictly focus on the exterior design for now, we will ignore the performance and interior for now, but we will be back with comparisons on that as well.

With my best efforts, I tried to equally find the best looking photos out there on the web, so we can keep this fight fair and square. Even though this voting might sound a little biased since we’re on a BMW blog, I assure that there were times when a BMW car did NOT win in our poll. 

Comparison: 2009 BMW Z4 vs. Mercedes SLK vs. Audi TT-S vs. Porsche Boxster S

boxsters05 03 150x112audi tt s 567 1024x768 150x112

Continued on the next page

[poll id=”33″]

37 responses to “Exterior Design: Which is the best looking roadster?”

  1. Artmic says:

    BMW’s Z4 rocks, it looks sexy.
    Now if you asked me which one i’d buy, i’d say i’d get the Porsche for driving. There is something about Porsche that is cooler than BMW.

  2. E92-TORONTO says:

    Exterior Design

    1: Z4
    2: SLK
    4: AUDI TT (POS CAR)

  3. roffle waffle says:

    1. z4 (in dark color)
    2. slk (close second, but boring rear end)
    3. tt
    4. porsche

  4. Elio says:

    1. TT – the new S looks lovely.

    2. Boxster – I really like the new facelift but I can’t forgive the rear.

    = Z4 – Looks great in the blue, horrid in that champagne colour. I’ll have to give a definitive answer when I see one in the flesh.

    4. SLK – Horrible, fussy looking car. Hated the mk.1, hate the mk.2 even more.

  5. Kevin says:

    I love Audi exteriors, but I couldn’t consider one with the new, fugly, LED daytime lamps.

  6. Gragop says:

    1. Z4 – it looks good and will have very serious performance with the twin turbo under the hood.
    2. Boxster – it’s the soul-successor to the 550(sort of) and it’s mid-engined and despite being reknowned for being a hairdressers car it’s got the performance to back up it’s namesake.
    3. TTS – The new TT I drove was fast and pretty but boring and safe. They’re no drama or excitement in how that car executes its duties.
    4. SLK – I’d never buy this nor do I think it looks attractive – I also have little faith in this being a true performer.

  7. weasel says:

    Put this poll on a audi blog, and audi will win. Same with the merc or porsche.

  8. Gragop says:


    haha yeah, I thought the same thing when I submitted my vote for the Z4. I did think the boxster would fare a little better in the poll than it has.

  9. roffle waffle says:

    @Gragop: we’re not talking about performance, we’re talking about design…

  10. Gragop says:

    @roffle waffle:


    1. Z4 looks pretty damn good.
    2. Porsche – Looks good but not at good as the Z4.
    3. TTS has a cool motorsporty feel to the exterior but it’s also overdone and still doesn’t hide the very “safe” exterior design of the TT.
    4. SLK is dogshit

  11. Brookside says:

    1. Z4…no doubt. It looks forceful, dynamic and has a certain risk to its design. Looks very aggressive from all angles I’ve seen. Really as close to a perfect design as anything out of the Bangle era. The interior especially is a big step for BMW.
    2. Porsche…just a great looking car that continues and updates Porsche’s legacy design.
    3. SLK…I don’t like it because it encapsulates every pretentious tendency of Mercedes’ design….it looks cheap nouveau rich at a high price tag. A suckers car.
    4. TTS…Awful from every angle. In person it has no presence- no affect- it simply sits there taking up space. Truly an awful looking automobile.

  12. Gil says:

    The Z4 of course. Isn’t this a BMW forum? :)

  13. L1ndja says:

    Z4 looks best!

  14. Lee says:

    1: Boxster S
    2: BMW Z4
    Somewhere down the list: Audi TT and Merc SLK.

  15. Lee says:

    Forgot to explain, because (as well ALL know) my opinion means the world to all of you.

    I like the new Z4. I like it a lot, in fact. For a roadster, though, I just prefer the cleaner lines of the Boxster. It’s a classic design that I think will stand up better to the test of time.

    The SLK is absolutely FUGLY. Looks like one of the cars from an old PC game I played years ago called Mega Race: just too over designed and oddly proportioned. The TT… They do look better than the previous design. I’ll give them that. Still looks like a Barbie car, though. Too soft, too round and just too damn tall and short. It still has a bit too much of a VW Beetle shape to it for my taste.

  16. Horatiu B. says:

    @weasel: Let’s try….I can tell you that if I have made this poll a month ago, the race would have been close, even on here.

  17. Gragop says:

    Can I throw a hat in the ring for a 1986 Chrysler Le Baron?

  18. Lee says:

    No, but I’ll allow you to submit the Maserati TC for voting.

  19. Lee says:

    (If you’re going to “throw a hat in the ring” for a turd, it might as well be a turd with a high-end badge on the front of it.)

  20. Gragop says:


    Hell with it, i was calculating out mileage on clients who drive 911’s and Maser’s at the end of the day, guess I was feeling punchy about it.

    If I was going to throw a hat in the ring for an expensive convertible turd it would be the Lexus SC430…or Chevy SSR – $45K for that thing? REALLY?!

  21. Lee says:

    The SC430 is quite the turd. Most useless back seat EVER (even worse than the purse-holder that Porsche calls a back seat on the 911). And that lovely highlighter-yellow wood trim… yum. The SSR had so much potential, but Chevy decided to build it and screwed everything up. Had they shoved an LS7 under the hood instead of the anemic 5.3L LM7, it might have been kinda cool.

  22. bunker says:

    1. Z4
    2. Boxster (although it is CLOSE for me)
    3. TT

    10. SLK. The front end of that car is atrocious.

  23. Artmic says:

    That SLK is ugly, the front looks retarded.
    Then again, most Mercedes cars look ugly these days, they ruined the SL model, the new one sucks crap.
    The new E that is coming out looks ugly, the SLK looks ugly, the CLK is a boring looking car, the only nice cars that Mercedes has at the moment is the C, S and CL class. The rest can disappear.

  24. George says:

    I think the TT has the most boring design…

  25. jkp says:

    The Z4 is, frankly, ugly to my eyes, whatever its performance merits. Audi for the win here.

  26. Lee says:

    You must be a hair dresser…

  27. Gragop says:

    The TT reminds me of a front-engined VW Beetle

  28. Lee says:

    The TT, base model 2.0T, comes in FWD as standard. I know this is supposed to be a vote based on looks alone, but it’s kind of like the most recent OJ trial; you’re not supposed to take other factors into the verdict (OJ’s history and the TT’s standard FWD configuration), but there’s no way I can’t. Fact of the matter is that no roadster should ever be available with anything but RWD. Not even AWD, but especially not FWD.

  29. E92-TORONTO says:


  30. Gragop says:


    The OJ case is actually a pretty good comparison to why the TT with FWD sucks. The DSG transmission is pretty slick and I like the idea of all-wheel-drive but for my taste, the way it feels and the connection the driver has to the car, or lack thereof, with AWD.

  31. Lance says:

    Z4 is the best…looks like a beast! But that colour does not do the car justice. I love the Blue colour, makes the design details stand out so much better.

    SLK is starting to look old although the front bumper makes the car look very spoty, but the overall design is too girlish.

    Porsche still has that classic look, nothing special there.,

    TT is just plain bland and does not match up to competition. Not eve worth mentioning. TTS is no special either. A sports car is suppose to handle well, but not if it’s an Audi “sports car”. all they do is some artifical stuff and they put an S badge there, only for the fools.

  32. Lee says:

    The problem with Audis (well, my problem with Audis) is that they tend to assume that you can’t drive. They tend to understeer pretty badly, which from a safety standpoint is much better than having oversteering tendencies. The problem is, though, that some of us not only enjoy being able to oversteer the vehicle if desired but have grown used to it with our largely RWD culture in the US. Personally, I grew up in the sticks with RWD pickup trucks on dirt roads. Being able to control a vehicle with RWD and little-to-no weight above the rear axle was an absolute necessity.

    With that said, Audi isn’t alone in their thinking. Most cars now are designed to understeer (BMW included) slightly under most conditions. With a RWD vehicle you at least have a way around that using your right foot.


    Yup. I occasionally make sense. Sometimes.

  33. Chadwick says:

    Most of the people chiming in with half-baked opinions have probably never even seen all of these cars in the flesh or test driven any of them to make any legitimate critique.

    1. SLK. I bought my 09 last august because it was definitely the best looking out of all of them, with plenty of power to back it up. I would also have to say that overall it is more rare than all of the others.

    2. Z4. The new facelift is the only reason why I’m putting it in second place. It looked absolutely terrible before. BMW is way too noveau riche looking for my taste though and there will be way too many of them on the road pretty soon to even look like anything special. BMWs are the most common entry-level “luxury” cars on the road. Almost too many to even be considered a luxury car anymore.

    3. Porsche Boxster. I need not say more. It’s a good car, but it appears visually as being too scrunched.

    4. TT. Never been a huge fan of the convertible version.

  34. Chadwick says:

    One more comment. If you’re basing the looks of the SLK off of the picture here, then I’m not surprised anyone would think it’s ugly. White is the worst color for this particular car to begin with and they aren’t showing the AMG version which has a very different looking front. You have to see it in person, and in palladium silver (grayish silver).

    I’ve seen all of the cars in person, and the SLK looks the best.

  35. Lance says:

    @Chadwick: I can tell you now that the reason why you bought the SLK is becasue you didn’t have the choice of the new Z4, which is a much better design than the SLK. In fact the SLK’s design is a bit soft compared to the Z4 and they are mostly driven by women.

    I would also like to question your purchase decision based on whether the car is rare or not. Clearly there is a reason why a car is not rare. Most people do lots of research before purchasing a car and the Z4 is not no.1 selling for nothing on average. I can safely say that your little Merc does not handle as well, doesn’t drive as nicely nor as technologically advanced as the new Z4, and the interior: the SLK is miles behind! In terms of performance, your Merc’s performance and efficiency is also inferior to that of the new Z4.

    Lastly, you comment on the car not being special because it is most likely to be popular… well, I tend to disagree with you in that aspect. If the car is special, which I have no doubt it is in your mind, that speciality cannot be taken away just because it is popular due to its speciality or superiority. In fact, the more special a car is, the more popular it should be. This leads me to think that you are considering the fact that you made a wrong decision in purchasing the SLK.

    P.S. Whether a car is a luxury car or not does not depend on how many of them are on the roads. It depends on its build quality and specs. The fact that most people choose BMW does not mean that Merc is at a higher luxury level than BMW. It is just that Merc is not the preferred choice of the mojority in this market as they perceive Merc to be inferior to BMW and Lexus.

  36. SLK Owner says:

    Some of you must have alot of time on your hands. As for me a my SLK has class, looks and has all the power one really needs. Handling is fantastic and as for price, well lets just say that a 2007 model with under 20,000 miles for 28,500 was just the ticket. Driving is fun again.

  37. SLK Owner says:

    One last thing. Lets keep in mind that to own and drive a roadster, a German made one is to be fortunate and whether a BMW or the Mercedes, we should consider ourselves fortunate.

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