2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Camaro

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Camaro 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 Camaro offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Camaro 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 lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Camaro doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Z4 offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Camaro 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 Camaro doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Z4 and the Camaro 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 blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Z4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Camaro’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Z4’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Camaro’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

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. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Camaro.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Z4 have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Camaro.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Z4 has a standard 800-amp battery (900 M40i). The Camaro’s 700-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 15 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Z4 sDrive30i is faster than the Chevrolet Camaro V6 (automatics tested):

Z4

Camaro

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

5.2 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Z4

Auto

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Camaro

Manual

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/30 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

16 city/27 hwy

6.2 OHV V8

16 city/24 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

14 city/20 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/31 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/29 hwy

6.2 OHV V8

16 city/27 hwy

6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/21 hwy

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

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW Z4 higher (3 to 7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Camaro (1 to 5). This means the Z4 produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Camaro every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The BMW Z4 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Camaro.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Z4

Camaro

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.4 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 standard on the Camaro LS/LT are solid, not vented.

The Z4 stops much shorter than the Camaro:

Z4

Camaro

70 to 0 MPH

146 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the Z4 has larger standard rear tires than the Camaro (255/40R18 vs. 245/50R18).

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 Camaro’s standard 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Z4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the Camaro’s (51.9% to 48.1%). This gives the Z4 more stable handling and braking.

The Z4 sDrive30i handles at 1.00 G’s, while the Camaro SS Convertible pulls only .96 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Camaro’s (36 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The Z4’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Camaro ZL1’s (36 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Z4 is 1 foot, 5.6 inches shorter than the Camaro, making the Z4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Z4 has standard flush composite headlights. The Camaro has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Z4 sDrive30i is quieter than the Camaro SS Convertible:

Z4

Camaro

At idle

48 dB

48 dB

Full-Throttle

82 dB

85 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

73 dB

Cargo Capacity

The Z4 has a much larger trunk than the Camaro Convertible (9.9 vs. 7.3 cubic feet).

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

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Camaro, the Z4 has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

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 Camaro 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 Camaro’s top can only be opened by remote, 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 Camaro’s 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 Camaro 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 Camaro doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Z4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Camaro.

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 costs extra on the Camaro.

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 Camaro doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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

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

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