2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs. 2019 BMW Z4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The MX-5 Miata 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 MX-5 Miata 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Mazda’s powertrain warranty covers the MX-5 Miata 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 over 69 percent more Mazda dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MX-5 Miata’s warranty.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MX-5 Miata gets better fuel mileage than the Z4:

 

 

 

MPG

MX-5 Miata

 

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/34 hwy

 

Auto

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

Z4

 

Auto

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Mazda MX-5 Miata uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Z4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The MX-5 Miata offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Z4 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the MX-5 Miata’s turning circle is 5.2 feet tighter than the Z4’s (30.8 feet vs. 36 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda MX-5 Miata may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 950 to 1050 pounds less than the BMW Z4.

The MX-5 Miata is 1 foot, 4.6 inches shorter than the Z4, making the MX-5 Miata easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MX-5 Miata is 5.1 inches narrower than the Z4, making the MX-5 Miata easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The MX-5 Miata's optional power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Z4 doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Ergonomics

The MX-5 Miata’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the Z4’s standard power windows.

The MX-5 Miata’s front power windows lower 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 Z4’s passenger windows don’t open automatically.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda MX-5 Miata, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 16 of the last 28 years. The Z4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The MX-5 Miata was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 8 of the last 25 years. The Z4 has never been an “All Star.”

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

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