2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Corvette

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 Corvette 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 Corvette doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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 Corvette 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 Corvette doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 Corvette 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 Corvette 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 Corvette doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Z4 and the Corvette 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 and available rear parking sensors.

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 Corvette’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 Corvette’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 Corvette.

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 the engines in the Corvette.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Z4

Auto

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Corvette

Manual

6.2 OHV V8

16 city/25 hwy

Z06 6.2 supercharged V8

15 city/22 hwy

ZR1 6.2 supercharged V8

13 city/19 hwy

Auto

6.2 OHV V8

15 city/25 hwy

Z06 6.2 supercharged V8

14 city/23 hwy

ZR1 6.2 supercharged V8

12 city/20 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Z4’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Corvette 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 Corvette (1). This means the Z4 produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Corvette 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 Corvette.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Z4

Corvette

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The Z4 stops shorter than the Corvette:

Z4

Corvette

70 to 0 MPH

146 feet

149 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the Z4 uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Corvette, which uses transverse leafs springs. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Corvette’s (36 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis

The Z4 is 6.2 inches shorter than the Corvette, making the Z4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Z4

Corvette

At idle

48 dB

55 dB

Full-Throttle

82 dB

90 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

73 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 Corvette’s liftover is 41.2 inches.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Corvette, 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 Corvette 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 Corvette’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 Corvette’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 Corvette 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 Corvette doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Z4’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Corvette’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

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 Corvette doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Corvette 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 Corvette doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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