Imagine a sports car that's sophisticated enough to show up to business meetings in, proficient enough to dominate in your club's emulous track days, and has enough luxury to make cruising around a dream experience. Well, imagine no more, as the 2021 BMW Z4 Roadster is this car, comprising a sporty yet authoritative demeanor, two dynamite and refined engines, and all the contemporary creature comforts, conveniences and safety features one would expect from a premium vehicle. In the focused Z4 line is the sDrive30i, which comes standard-fit with a 255-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 turbo engine, while the sDrive M40i gets a 382-hp 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder motor. The 2021 Z4 Roadster has the dynamic performance chops to put it up against the likes of the Porsche 718 Boxster and the modern and luxurious makeup to stand alongside the tech-laden Audi TT.
Although mechanically unchanged, BMW has made numerous small changes to the BMW Z4's standard equipment and optional packages. For 2021, the BMW Z4 gets new standard equipment like SiriusXM with 360L and a one-year all-access subscription, along with Android Auto integration. Pricing on some packages has been changed, such as the Driving Assistance Package (+$200 relative to 2020, now including park distance control), the M Sport Package on the sDrive30i ($300 less), and the Executive Package ($300 less on the sDrive30i but $1,400 more on the M40i). Wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot capability are among the additions to the Exec Pack. There are a few changes regarding standalone options, too, with the adaptive M suspension being removed for the base model, but parking assistant being a new addition for the M40i.
See trim levels and configurations:
Humming beneath the hood of the sDrive30i Roadster is a 2.0-liter inline-4 turbocharged gas motor that, with the cooperation of an 8-speed automatic transmission, cedes up to 255 hp and 295 lb-ft to a rear-wheel drivetrain. The Z4 Roadster convertible's performance with this setup is surprisingly lively and adept, and the turbo-four, despite its diminutive layout, emits a genuinely exciting exhaust note. It's the 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder in the sDrive M40i Roadster that really impresses, however. The unit musters up to 382 hp and 368 lb-ft for an exhilarating 3.9-second 0 to 60 mph sprint time. Naturally, it is significantly less fuel efficient, but when has that ever mattered?
There are still a multitude of premium 2-door roadsters in the USA that are stunning, capable, and contemporary, despite the current SUV and crossover trend. That means the Z4 Roadster convertible has a lot of competition, including the renowned Porsche 718 Boxster. However, none have the proud legacy of the BMW Roadster, making it one of a kind within the segment. It's an eye-catching drop-top, too, and contemporary both outside and in. Each of the engines in the line offer plenty of power and throttle responses are precise and refined. Together with the Z4's masterfully modulated chassis and racing-traditional RWD setup, this delivers a truly phenomenal driving experience. It comes fairly well-outfitted with modern and luxurious creature comforts and conveniences, but at the 2021 BMW Z4 Roadster's price of $49,700, we feel it could be presented with a few more driver assists. After all, the current fourth-gen Z4, which includes the 2021 BMW Z4 Roadster, hasn't undergone review for its crashworthiness. Most high-end cars don't get a safety rating, though and the Z4 drop-top actually has a pretty decent reliability expectation for a luxury convertible. The Z4 Roadster is undoubtedly a special car and while it may not be the nonpareil of its class, it isn't easily outclassed.
Deciding on which 2021 Z4 Roadster to go for will come down to whether you want to embrace its performance or luxury side more - either way, you'll be getting a phenomenal car. The sDrive30i has the turbo-four and is about $14,000 cheaper than the sDrive M40i, but that price gap can easily be bridged by optioning in all of the available packages and add-ons. If you're willing to close that gap, you'll be choosing either the M40i with its exhilarating inline-6 engine and mid-spec level of features, or the sDrive30i with its more balanced engine and top-spec-level of features. With the extraordinary driving experience the sDrive M40i offers, however, it's the soft-top Z4 we'd recommend every time.
The most popular competitors of 2021 BMW Z4 Roadster: