2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2019 Ford Mustang

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 Mustang doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

Both the Z4 and the Mustang 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, 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 Mustang’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The Z4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mustang’s (12 vs. 5 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. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Mustang.

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 Mustang’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Z4

Auto

sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

Mustang Convertible

Manual

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Performance 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

14 city/21 hwy

Auto

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Performance 2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

5.0 DOHC V8

15 city/24 hwy

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

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Z4

Mustang

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

The Z4 stops much shorter than the Mustang:

Z4

Mustang

70 to 0 MPH

146 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the Z4 has larger standard rear tires than the Mustang (255/40R18 vs. 235/55R17).

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 Mustang’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Z4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Mustang.

Suspension and Handling

The Z4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the Mustang’s (54.7% to 45.3%). This gives the Z4 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Mustang’s (36 feet vs. 36.5 feet). The Z4’s turning circle is 5.7 feet tighter than the Mustang GT Fastback Performance Pack 2’s (36 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

Chassis

The BMW Z4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Ford Mustang.

The Z4 is 1 foot, 5.8 inches shorter than the Mustang, making the Z4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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

Servicing Ease

The Z4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mustang 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.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Mustang Premium, 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.

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 Mustang doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Mustang can only close 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 Mustang doesn’t offer a remote top, 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 Mustang’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 Mustang doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Z4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Mustang Premium.

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

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 Mustang.

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

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

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