2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2019 Buick Cascada

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

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 Cascada 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 Cascada has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature that could reduce stopping distances.

The Z4 has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Cascada doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Z4’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cascada doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Z4’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cascada doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 Cascada doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Z4 and the Cascada have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Z4’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Cascada’s (12 vs. 6 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. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Cascada.

Reliability

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 Cascada’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 11 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

The Z4 sDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 55 more horsepower (255 vs. 200) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4-cyl. The Z4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. produces 182 more horsepower (382 vs. 200) and 147 lbs.-ft. more torque (368 vs. 221) than the Cascada’s 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Z4 sDrive30i is faster than the Buick Cascada:

Z4

Cascada

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

8.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.2 sec

25 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

8.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.3 sec

4.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

102 MPH

85 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Z4 gets better fuel mileage than the Cascada:

MPG

Z4

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Cascada

1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Z4’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Cascada doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Transmission

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 Cascada.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Z4 sDrive30i

Z4 M40i

Cascada

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.5 inches

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 Cascada are solid, not vented.

The Z4 stops much shorter than the Cascada:

Z4

Cascada

70 to 0 MPH

146 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Z4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cascada (F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. 245/40R20).

The Z4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cascada’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the BMW Z4 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Cascada has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Z4 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Z4 flat and controlled during cornering. The Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Cascada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Z4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the Cascada’s (58.2% to 41.8%). This gives the Z4 more stable handling and braking.

The Z4 sDrive30i handles at 1.00 G’s, while the Cascada Premium pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Cascada’s (36 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The BMW Z4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 700 pounds less than the Buick Cascada.

The Z4 is 1 foot, 2.2 inches shorter than the Cascada, making the Z4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Z4 sDrive30i is quieter than the Cascada Premium (70 vs. 71 dB).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Z4 easier. The Z4’s trunk lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Cascada’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

With its convertible body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the Z4 offers cargo security. The Cascada’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Z4. The Cascada doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The Z4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Cascada 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 Cascada. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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 Cascada 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 Cascada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Comfort Go standard on the Z4 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse. The Buick Cascada doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

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 Cascada’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Cascada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Cascada’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 Cascada has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Z4’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Cascada doesn’t offer a filtration system.

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 Cascada doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW Z4 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Cascada doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Z4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cascada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos