All I heard while the Z4 M coupe was parked in my driveway was, "That is NOT a family car!" No one's trying to make you believe otherwise, people. What was parked in my driveway was a beautiful machine that delivers pure joy and satisfaction to whomever occupies the driver's seat. Saying this vehicle is fun is like saying a plastic packet of honey in the hands of a 5-year-old is a mess. Understatement of the century.
The weird thing is that it's kind of a tough car to love in spite of all the driving joy. It's hard to get into and out of, tall people have a hard time getting comfortable in it, and I had so much trouble seeing out of it I felt like the whole car was a blind spot. Perhaps the most difficult thing is that, because it's an honest-to-goodness two-seater, I had to hire a baby sitter to go out in it with my husband.
The funniest thing about the Z4 is how it humors me by putting Latch connectors in the passenger seat. Hah! That little sport seat is so contoured that the only thing that fit properly was a narrow booster with a back on it. Of course, in that particular seat my son is closer to hitting his head on the roof than I like, and while the passenger-side airbag turns off when you're using the Z4 to transport a little one, no one ever really feels good about doing that, do they? And there's nowhere else to put my little guy.
Honestly, there's nowhere to put much of anything in this hot BMW sports car. Storage is a joke, but I understand why. Anyone who would buy this car doesn't want to carry around a whole slew of gear, and no one who would buy it has to. The only thing those people want to carry in the trunk is the owner's manual (because it doesn't fit anywhere else). I get the sense the cupholders are only there to humor me as well. They flip out from under some air ducts and have a flimsy, claw-like grip with a springy bottom on them. It's like the car is saying, "Uh, you want me to do what with these things?" I thought it was going to ask me if I were serious when I actually put a drink in there.
All those gripes aside, the stolen moments alone in my little test car delighted me, as few and far between as they were. A roundabout became an adventure, a highway became a challenge. Trips to the store went by much too quickly. This enjoyment shed some light on the whole midlife-crisis stereotype: If I were at the point in my life where my kids had gone off to college, and I had no more tuition to pay, no more bags to lug around, no more PEOPLE to lug around, I'd buy one of these, too. If I had to justify the situation by labeling it a crisis, well, so be it.
If driving a non-family car is your idea of fun, or if you're ready to burst out of your parental stage of life, the Z4 M coupe is a great manifestation of that desire. If you're not quite there yet, I'd look for something with a couple seats in back. You know, just in case you want to have fun before then.
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LET'S TALK NUMBERS
Latch Connectors: 1
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 2
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Puny
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Not At All
Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Groove On
Base price: $50,100
Price as tested: $50,100
Engine: 330-hp, 3.2-liter I-6
Fuel: 16/24 mpg
Ground Clearance: n/a
Turning Radius: 17.2'
Cargo space: 8.6 - 10.6 cu. ft.
NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Driver's side: Not Rated
Passenger's side: Not Rated
Front occupant: Not Rated
Rear occupant: Not Rated
Rollover resistance: Not Rated
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