2019 Chevrolet Corvette vs. 2020 BMW Z4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corvette has standard tall side airbags which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Z4 doesn't offer side airbag protection for the head.

Both the Corvette and the Z4 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Corvette 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than BMW covers the Z4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Z4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 9 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Corvette’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th, 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 Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Corvette has more powerful engines than the Z4:

Horsepower

Torque

Corvette 6.2 V8

455 HP

460 lbs.-ft.

Corvette Z51 6.2 V8

460 HP

465 lbs.-ft.

Corvette Z06 6.2 supercharged V8

650 HP

650 lbs.-ft.

Corvette ZR1 6.2 supercharged V8

755 HP

715 lbs.-ft.

Z4 sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

255 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Z4 M40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

382 HP

368 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Corvette Z06 is faster than the Z4 sDrive30i (automatics tested):

Corvette

Z4

Zero to 30 MPH

1.3 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3 sec

5.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

6.8 sec

13.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

3.2 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

1.7 sec

3.3 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

2.2 sec

3.8 sec

Quarter Mile

11.1 sec

13.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

127 MPH

102 MPH

Top Speed

185 MPH

155 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Corvette (except ZR1)’s fuel efficiency. The Z4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Corvette uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Z4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Corvette has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Z4 (18.5 vs. 13.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Corvette has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Z4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Corvette offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Z4 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Corvette ZR1’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Z4:

Corvette ZR1

Z4 sDrive30i

Z4 M40i

Front Rotors

15.5 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

15.3 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The Corvette Z06/Grand Sport offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Z4 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Corvette stops much shorter than the Z4:

Corvette

Z4

70 to 0 MPH

127 feet

146 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

111 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

121 feet

122 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corvette has larger standard tires than the Z4 (F:245/35R19 & R:285/30R20 vs. F:225/45R18 & R:255/40R18). The Corvette Z06/Grand Sport/ZR1’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Z4 (F:285/30R19 & R:335/25R20 vs. F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19).

The Corvette’s standard 245/35R19 front and 285/30R20 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 Z4’s standard 45 series front and 40 series rear tires. The Corvette Z06/Grand Sport/ZR1’s 285/30R19 front and 335/25R20 rear tires have a lower 30 series front and 25 series rear profile than the Z4’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Corvette has standard 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Z4. The Z4’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

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

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corvette’s wheelbase is 9.5 inches longer than on the Z4 (106.7 inches vs. 97.2 inches).

The Corvette Z06 Convertible handles at 1.14 G’s, while the Z4 sDrive30i pulls only 1.00 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the Chevrolet Corvette amounts to more than styling. The Corvette has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Z4 (.29 to .31). A more efficient exterior helps the Corvette go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the Corvette get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Corvette has .8 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more front shoulder room than the Z4.

Ergonomics

The Corvette’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Z4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Corvette’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Z4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Consumer Reports rated the Corvette’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Z4’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Corvette has standard extendable sun visors. The Z4 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Corvette keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Z4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

The Chevrolet Corvette comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the BMW Z4 isn’t available as a coupe.

Recommendations

The Corvette was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 15 of the last 22 years. The Z4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Corvette was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2014 Car of the Year. The Z4 has never been chosen.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Corvette as the 2014 North American Car of the Year. The Z4 has never been chosen.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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