New Z4 Roadster: BMW’s Latest Step Towards Automotive Greatness

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 BMW Z4 M40i Roadster First Edition at Monterey.

MotorTrend isn’t convinced BMW’s roadster is headed in the right direction. We’re a little more optimistic.

Beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder, but more often than not it’s a sliding scale. Some cars are ugly, some are OK, some look good, some look great, and some will take your breath away. A recent MotorTrend article sees things a little more black and white with their headline: “Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 BMW Z4.” We don’t see it either as refreshing or revolting though, but more of an evolution of BMW’s roadster lineage.

The MotorTrend article points out that the new Z4 departs from that lineage with new design language that’s “distinct from its predecessors.” We can see where that is, and the article does a great job of pointing out things such as the stacked headlight arrangement that’s currently only used on the Z4, the 3D mesh pattern on the grill versus every other BMW’s vertical slats, as well as the shorter looking front end and the more pedestrian friendly blunt nose. There’s also the switch from a retractable hardtop to a folding soft-top, which is noticeable when the top is up that the new one doesn’t have the quite so well-designed coupe look.

 BMW Z4 M40i Roadster on the road.

BMW Z4: Much More Than Just Looks

However, we’re not sure defining a roadster on how it looks with the roof up really gets the point of a roadster, and the weight saving on a soft-top is, no doubt, a considered trade-off from BMW. The unique headlight and taillights for the BMW Z4 as well as the new kidney grill style makes sense to us as the roadster is a unique and special flavor of BMW. It’s not a car BMW needs to make, and will never be a best-seller but it’s clearly a car the company wants to make. In that sense, the roadster’s uniqueness in its divergence from the core business of making drivers sedans and crossovers deserves to have its own design touches.

The stacked headlights make sure the lines flow from the slab nose, but a set of side by side lights wouldn’t have complimented the sleek and edgy style that’s going on with the new BMW Z4. The same goes for the tail lights. And the overall cohesiveness of the current generation of BMW design elements give the Z4 room to make the roadsters own design features work. Within the design language, BMW has produced something distinctive within it’s own distinctive style.


As for the question of how it will hold up over time, BMW has a track record that we will happily argue eclipses any other manufacturer’s on the road. In fact, we would dare to say the new era of Z4 is reflective of the new era of car design in general and, as a result of that, will age even better than the previous generations.

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