This new BMW Z4 is a much better driving car than its predecessor. It’s significantly sharper than before, more composed and so much more fun to drive. It’s BMW’s way of getting back to its sporty roadster roots. Against most of its competition, we’d reckon it’d have the goods on them. However, the Porsche 718 Boxster isn’t just any other competition. No other roadster on Earth draws so much hyperbole from the mouths of its drivers. So does the all-new, much-improved Z4 have what it takes to tackle the legend? Car and Driver finds out.

In this new test from C&D, the BMW Z4 sDrive30i and Porsche 718 Boxster go head-to-head on some serpentine California lakeside roads, exactly the place they should be dueling. Forget around-town stuff. Sporty roadsters are meant to be driven hard on roads that not all navigation systems can find, in weather that warms your bones. On these twisty backroads, the BMW Z4 will be tested because they’re the sorts of roads that the Boxster has been dominating for decades.

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On paper, though, it seems like the Z4 has a real advantage. Its 2.0 liter turbocharged four-pot is a bit down on power (255 hp to the Porsche’s 300) but its torque curve is excellent, stops in the same distance as the Porsche and it has a better skidpad figure. Plus, it’s significantly cheaper while being far better equipped. On paper, the Porsche is facing an uphill battle.

Not on the road, though. The BMW Z4 is a great car to drive quickly on twisty backroads. Its steering is ultra-quick and precise, its chassis is very well sorted and its engine provides more than enough grunt to be fast. In fact, C&D seemed to have liked it quite a bit. Especially its ability to calm down and become grand tourer, with just the flip of a (many) switch(s). In isolation, C&D says, the Z4 would have gotten a much better review. But they didn’t drive it in isolation.

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Instead, the BMW Z4 had the unenviable task of taking on the best small roadster in the business. Where the Z4’s steering is good, the Porsche 718 Boxster’s is brilliant. It chassis is more communicative, its suspension is both more compliant and more composed, its engine makes more power and a better noise and the interior, while more spartan, is the epitome of proper driver ergonomics.

Check out C&D’s article because it’s definitely worth a read and one of the more fair comparisons we’ve read in a long while. But it’s clear which car wins the test.

[Source: Car and Driver]