Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 BMW Z4

2019 BMW Z4

Take a look at BMW’s Z series, which stretches all the way back to 1989 with the Z1, and you’ll see a few common design themes across the entire lineup. But you’ll see a more obvious design lineage when you look at just the Z3 and last two Z4s. The 2019 BMW Z4 diverges slightly from that lineage, as it ushers in a new design language that’s distinct from its predecessors and even other modern BMWs. But is the brand’s roadster on the right track with this new look? Read on and decide for yourself.

When the production 2019 BMW Z4 debuted in Monterey this week, we only got to see it in M40i First Edition spec. We won’t see the lower 30i trim until closer to its spring 2019 debut, but we don’t imagine too much will change styling-wise.

Looking at both cars from the side with the top up, you’ll notice one big difference: the Z4 has abandoned the power retractable hardtop of the previous model and gone back to a soft top. As such, the look is very different. For a soft top, the new Z4’s cloth roof does a reasonably good job of mimicking a coupe roofline. But it just can’t compete with the sensuous curves of the last-gen Z4’s folding hardtop.

There’s no mistaking which car is the new model when looking at them from behind. The 2019 Z4 gets slim taillights that slant inward as they stretch across the trunk lid, but they also appear to slope off of the car’s rear end.

The 2019 BMW Z4’s interior is pretty standard fare as modern BMWs come, but there’s a new digital gauge cluster and wide touchscreen display to up the roadster’s tech game. Meanwhile, the old Z4’s cabin looks its age, with a last-gen infotainment screen and a radio display with red graphics, a trait that used to be a BMW trademark.

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