Yesterday I had a 2004 BMW Z4 as my loaner car from the car dealership while my 2001 Z3 was in the shop for repairs and I wanted to share my first impressions after my first time driving the successor to the Z3.
My first reaction to the Z4 was that I didn’t particularly like the angular exterior styling. It was almost as if BMW tried to do too much with the styling and a few tweaks would make the car a lot more palatable to the eyes. Though as much as I didn’t like the styling the interior sealed my dislike for the Z4. All I can say is “What was Chris Bangle thinking?” The interior has a very futuristic look, and I must admit that it’s not bad to look at, but someone evidently forgot that people have to actually USE it. Once I got the seat adjusted where I could comfortably reach the steering wheel and pedals, I found that nearly every button and control on the center console and dash required leaning away from the seat to be reached. The window switches are located along the door at about calf-level where you have to reach around the handle on the door to get to them! I drove the car for about 45 minutes to an hour yesterday and I left thinking that just a little bit of thought into ergonomics would have made the Z4 a much nicer car. The accelleration and handling are about the same as my Z3 though the suspension is a little harsher, but the ergonomics of the cockpit are a total deal breaker in what is supposed to be a “driver’s car.”
It’s really too bad because I think BMW really missed the boat with the Z4. I would think that I would be in the target market for the Z4 since I’m young and male, and I already had a 3 year old Z3 that I’m sure they would be targeting for an upgrade. Unfortunately for BMW, I couldn’t possibly consider the Z4 in its current configuration as a replacement for my Z3.