Since the debut of the new BMW Z4, it’s been compared to a lot of genuine sports cars. It’s taken on the Porsche Cayman, its Toyota Supra sibling and even BMW’s own M2. Most of the time, it’s considered to be the softer car in the comparison, the less exciting but more comfortable car. So does that make it more of a mini-grand touring car than a proper sports car? Evo Magazine recently asked the same question.
To be honest, it’s a good question. Understanding what a car is allows its driver to appreciate it more. Take the BMW M850i for instance. Many enthusiasts complain that it’s sporty enough or sharp enough. But when you realize it’s not meant to be, and it’s more of a GT car, then it starts to make much more sense. Does the same go for the BMW Z4? Does it need to be considered more of a sports car?
After reading the Evo Magaine review, and having personally driven both the Z4 sDrive30i and M40i, I’m going to say no. However, I will say that your expectations need to be tempered a bit prior to driving it. The new BMW Z4 is a sports car, not a GT car. It’s small, darty and quick. However, it can be a bit misleading at times because it’s so refined. The suspension, even in stiffer setups, is comfortable and compliant. The ride, even with the top down, is silky smooth, without a hint of cowl shake or chassis flex, which is remarkable for a convertible.
So sometimes it gives the impression that it’s more of a GT car than a sports car. But push it hard and you’ll find a car that likes to play. I recently drove a BMW Z4 M40i on an autocross course and was really impressed with how fun it was. The front end is very sharp and it likes to rotate. There’s also a ton of grip. Is it as fun to drive as a Porsche Boxster? No, it isn’t. But the Z4 is the more comfortable, refined car and it has the better engines. So it certainly has its place and it doesn’t need to be labeled a GT car to be appreciated. It’s just a more civilized sports car. A gentleman’s sports car, if you will.