Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW Z4 VS 2016 Alfa Romeo Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 BMW Z4

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2016 Alfa Romeo

Safety Comparison

The Z4 offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 4C doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Z4 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Z4 and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and daytime running lights.

The BMW Z4 weighs 776 to 1084 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Lighter cars are also affected more by crosswinds.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 4 times as many BMW dealers as there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Z4’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Z4’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The 4C’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the 4C’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Z4 has a standard 170-amp alternator. The 4C’s 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine Comparison

The Z4 sDrive28i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (240 vs. 237) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The Z4 sDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 63 more horsepower (300 vs. 237) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The Z4 sDrive35is’ standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (335 vs. 237) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Z4 sDrive35i is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

4.3 sec

4.6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107.9 MPH

105.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

Regenerative brakes improve the Z4’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4C doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Z4 sDrive28i Manual’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4C doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Z4 has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (14.5 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Z4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:

Z4 sDrive28i

Z4 sDrive35i


Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

12.8 inches

11.5 inches

The Z4 stops much shorter than the 4C:



60 to 0 MPH

102 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Z4 has larger standard tires than the 4C (225/45R17 vs. 205/45R17). The Z4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4C (F:225/40R18 & R:255/35R18 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18).

The Z4’s optional 225/35R19 front and 255/30R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4C’s optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Z4 offers optional 19-inch wheels. The 4C’s largest wheels are only 18-inches in the front and 19-inches in the rear.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Z4 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 4C doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Z4 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Z4 has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Z4’s wheelbase is 4.6 inches longer than on the 4C (98.3 inches vs. 93.7 inches).

The Z4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.4% to 50.6%) than the 4C’s (41% to 59%). This gives the Z4 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is 5.4 feet tighter than the 4C’s (35.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the BMW Z4 amounts to more than styling. The Z4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .34 Cd. That is lower than the 4C (.335 to .341). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Z4 get better fuel mileage.

The Z4’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The 4C doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Z4 has 1.1 inches more front headroom and 3.5 inches more front shoulder room than the 4C.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Z4 has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 4C Spider (6.4 vs. 3.7 cubic feet). The Z4 has a much larger trunk with its top up than the 4C Spider (10.9 vs. 3.7 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

When two different drivers share the Z4, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle and climate settings. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Z4’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

The Z4’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

If the windows are left down on the Z4 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Comfort Access standard on the Z4 allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Z4 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Z4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 4C’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Z4 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Z4 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Z4 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Z4 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The 4C doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Z4’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the Z4 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The 4C’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Z4’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The Z4 offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Z4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Z4’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Z4’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Z4’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the Z4 has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.

Optional BMW Apps for the Z4 xDrive35i/xDrive35is allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The 4C doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Z4 xDrive35i/xDrive35is. The Z4’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With optional voice command, the Z4 xDrive35i/xDrive35is offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Recommendations Comparison

Intellichoice recognized the BMW Z4 as a “Best Value of the Year” for the 2015 model year.

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