This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW Z4 Roadster review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

BMW Z4 performance varies considerably across the range. A mix of four- and six-cylinder petrol engines are available, with differing levels of power output.

The range kicks off with the sDrive 18i, released in 2013. This is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 153bhp. It’s the most affordable Z4 but is a little slower than the rest of the range, with a top speed of 137mph.

Despite a fairly brisk 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds, the 18i’s engine feels a little flat and it’ll run out of puff quite easily on steep hills. It sounds a bit ordinary for a sports car too, although the higher the revs climb the more purposeful it sounds.

There’s more power on offer in the next model up, the sDrive20i, which has the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine but with 182bhp. While it’s still not the most powerful engine in the line-up, it's a real gem with good pace and a free-revving nature. A 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds ensures it's quick enough for most, while fuel economy of 41mpg makes it affordable to run.

If you're after more power there's an sDrive28i, which is also a 2.0-litre but with a healthy 242bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds. Impressively it's equally as efficient and economical as the 20i model.

Top of the range is the excellent sDrive35i - a 3.0-litre engine that's fitted with twin turbochargers and delivers 306bhp. This propels it from 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds, making it faster than a Porsche Boxster, while economy is a respectable 31mpg.

It's a hugely enjoyable engine to exploit with superb response out of slow corners and masses of low-down pulling power to make overtaking simple. It's not easy to drive as smoothly as the 2.0-litre models, but the twin exhausts have been tuned to give it a more sporty sound when accelerating.

The standard gearbox on all cars is a six-speed manual while an optional six-speed automatic is available with steering wheel-mounted gear change paddles. The 35i model goes one better with a seven-speed double clutch automatic, again with paddleshifts on the steering wheel.

In March 2010 an even more powerful version was introduced in the form of the sDrive35is. This has close to 340bhp plus extra pulling power, yet has similar fuel economy and emissions.

The extra power drops the 0-62mph time to just 4.8 seconds and it comes with the double clutch automatic gearbox as standard. This includes a sophisticated launch control system for maximum acceleration from a standstill.

Thanks to responsive steering and minimal roll in corners, the Z4 is great fun to drive on open and twisting roads.

Like all BMWs, it is rear-wheel drive, but even with the more powerful engines, it's never unpredictable - instead feeling composed and reassuring. There are huge amounts of grip and the electronic stability control rarely has to intervene, even in very wet conditions.

Compared to the previous Z4, the ride is more forgiving over rough and bumpy roads, aided further by the Drive Dynamic Control system. Standard on all models, this allows the driver to alter the throttle and steering response as well as the gear change times (on automatics) between normal, sport or sport+ settings.

Adaptive M Sport suspension comes as standard on the top sDrive35is model which has a lower ride height than the standard model plus a variable damper control allowing you to alter the ride.