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The Z4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Beetle doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The Z4 has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Beetle doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The Z4’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Beetle doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Z4 has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Beetle doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
The Z4’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Beetle doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Z4 and the Beetle have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Z4 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Beetle.
The Z4’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Beetle’s (12 vs. 10 years).
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the Z4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Beetle.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Z4 has a standard 800-amp battery (900 M40i). The Beetle’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
The battery on the Z4 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Z4’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Beetle’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Z4 sDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 81 more horsepower (255 vs. 174) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Z4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 208 more horsepower (382 vs. 174) and 185 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the Z4’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Beetle doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW Z4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Beetle.
For better stopping power the Z4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Beetle:
The Z4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Beetle are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Z4 has larger standard tires than the Beetle (F:225/45R18 & R:255/40R18 vs. 215/55R17). The Z4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Beetle (F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. 235/45R18).
The Z4’s standard 225/45R18 front and 255/40R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Beetle S’ standard 60 series tires. The Z4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Beetle’s optional 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Z4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Beetle S. The Z4’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Beetle.
The Z4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Beetle’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
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 Beetle’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Z4 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Beetle.
The design of the BMW Z4 amounts to more than styling. The Z4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Beetle (.37) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Z4 get better fuel mileage.
The Z4 has a much larger trunk than the Beetle Convertible (9.9 vs. 7.1 cubic feet).
With its convertible body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the Z4 offers cargo security. The Beetle’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.
The Z4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Beetle uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the Z4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Beetle. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 29% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.
The Z4 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Beetle doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When two different drivers share the Z4, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Beetle doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Z4 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Beetle doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the Z4 the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Beetle can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
In case of a sudden change of weather, the Z4 offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The Beetle doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.
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 Beetle S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
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 Beetle only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.
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 Beetle doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Z4 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Beetle doesn’t offer cornering lights.
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 Beetle’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Z4 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Beetle offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
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 Beetle doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Z4 has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Beetle SE/SEL.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Z4 offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Beetle doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The Z4’s standard steering wheel mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Beetle’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.
The Z4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Beetle doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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