BMW Z4 versus Toyota Supra

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BMW Z4 versus Toyota Supra 
Rampaging Roadsters
When it comes to motorized adventures, few things are as exhilarating as being behind the wheel of a two-seater. The wind in your hair and sound of a powerful motor up front in a rear wheel drive sports car is the very definition of the roadster. Powering effortlessly along curvy mountain roads conjures images of British sports cars of the 1960's such as the Lotus Seven, the Austin-Healy 3000 and the MGA. Fast forward to today and we find ourselves yearning for the same sort of white knuckle thrills that can only be delivered by the go-cart-like suspension and eager throttle found in a roadster.
 
Luckily, today we have two excellent examples of what happens when a roadster meets 2021 in the striking form of the BMW 40i Z4 and its brother beneath the skin, the Toyota Supra. You may have heard that the Toyota is actually a BMW in sheep's clothing. It's true that the Supra has a BMW engine and transmission and that the chassis for these cars was co-designed by the two manufacturers. But once the basic structures were figured out, BMW and Toyota went their own separate directions.
 
It seems the two automakers agreed to split the costs of developing their latest roadsters in a way that made perfect sense to each of them. For Toyota, it came down to the fact that BMW had a splendid inline six motor which is exactly what the Supra needed. For BMW, splitting the costs of developing its new Z4 made it possible to bring it to market without breaking the bank.
 
While both roadsters have a BMW inline B-58, six-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, the Z4 has 382 horsepower while the Supra has 335 and four less pound feet of torque. But of the two stunning sports cars, which is the better value and which is more fun?

The Roar

To start with, the Z4 is obviously the more expensive car thanks to that BMW badge on the hood and the car's use of more high quality components. The sDrive M40i model's MSRP is $63,700 compared to the Supra 3.0, which goes for $50,990. As you might imagine, both of these cars are a ton of fun to drive. The engine and automatic transmission are flawless. Both cars have the outstanding ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. The straight line experience is fantastic. They both rev really hard all the way to 6,500 RPM and the torque is just incredible.
 
Roadsters have always been about making wonderful engine sounds as you roar along and both the BMW and the Toyota do not disappoint in the sound department. When you put these cars in Sport Mode, the exhaust pops and crackles like a bowl of Rice Krispies on steroids.
 


When it comes to styling, both cars will get a lot of attention from spectators. They are magnificent looking. However, the Supra has a number of fake side vents that look a bit cheap. The muscular look of the Z4 exudes class and refinement, while the Supra looks more like it was inspired by a Japanese Manga video game.

Inside the cars, the Supra is very drab, dark and filled with plastic bits, rather like a Camaro. The bulky steering wheel looks as though it came straight off of a Prius. Not very sporty.
Though the engines, chassis and transmissions of these two cars are nearly identical, in a real world shoot out of zero to 60 mph times, the Supra was actually a second faster at 4.4 seconds than the BMW at 4.5 seconds. This may come down to the fact that the Supra is a hardtop coupe while the Z4 is a convertible and coupes are always just a tad quicker thanks to the aerodynamics of a swoopy body. Both cars are an absolute joy to throw around in the twisties. Weighing in at around 3,400 pounds, these sleek sports cars drive a lot lighter than you'd expect.
 
Speaking of the sounds these cars make, at 70 mph with the windows down, the hardtop Supra displays quite a lot of buffeting, while the convertible Z4 was serene and fairly quiet. The car horns are completely different, with the Supra sounding high and shrill like a Toyota, while the BMW sounds much more expensive with a two-tone business-like blast. Despite the hardtop, the Supra is noisy over rough pavement, with lots of tire noise and a fair amount of creaks from the dashboard area.
BMW Interior
Inside the Z4, it's all new BMW details, quality leather seats, a beautiful steering wheel and rich premium accoutrements in bright color combinations. The only negative would be that the interior looks almost exactly like all other BMW models. The climate control, console and shifter, all looks exactly like every other new BMW. But maybe that's a good thing. Everything is solid and high quality.
 
The seats are very comfortable. But is it worth $13,000 more than the Supra? What else are you paying extra for in the BMW? Well, the Z4 convertible soft top deploys completely in ten seconds, so there you go:

In Real World Driving

Both cars get around 24 mpg though both publish numbers of 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The BMW feels heavier and more sure in corners. It feels smoother and more reserved. In short, it comes across more like a grand touring car that is built for cruising from coast-to-coast. It is a true BMW, the ultimate driving machine.
 
The Supra feels more like a light, nimble, tire smoking sports car. What it lacks in refinement, it makes up for in sheer driving thrills and aggressive looks. The steering is spot on and the acceleration is truly superb. Everything about the Supra is a bit crisper than the Z4. While the BMW is a gentleman's roadster, the Supra is more of a nasty hot rod that you'd like to grab by the scruff of the neck and flick into corners.
The two cars have been tuned differently so that they each exude exactly what the manufacturers wanted from them. Though they share many components, they truly are very different cars. The convertible Z4 has very little trunk space, not that you'd care if you drive one of these, and the Supra has more space in the back thanks to the hardtop's open trunk area. Lets look at pricing:
BMW Z4 M40i Pricing

MSRP from $49,700
255 hp or 382 hp
25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Engine: 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder or 3.0 liter, 6-cylinder
sDrive30i = $49,700
sDrive M40i = $63,700
Toyota Supra Pricing

MSRP from $42,990
2.0 = $42,990
3.0 = $50,990
3.0 Premium = $54,490
255 hp or 382 hp
25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
Engine: 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder or 3.0 liter, 6-cylinder
 
Last Words
When it comes right down to it, these are two brothers from different mothers that share the same platform and powertrain but their exterior designs and interior appointments could not be more different. They are each very appealing in their own unique way, but is the Z4 worth the extra cash?
 
Check out our dealer locator here at lithia.com and visit your local Lithia Auto Dealers to test drive both cars. Then you be the judge.