2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2020 Mercedes SLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

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 SLC 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.

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 SLC doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Z4 and the SLC 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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The Z4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the SLC’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. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the SLC.

Reliability

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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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 4 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The Z4 sDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 14 more horsepower (255 vs. 241) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 273) than the SLC’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Z4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 141 more horsepower (382 vs. 241) and 95 lbs.-ft. more torque (368 vs. 273) than the SLC’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Z4 sDrive30i gets better fuel mileage than the SLC 300 (24 city/32 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

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

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW Z4 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Mercedes SLC (3). This means the Z4 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the SLC every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Z4 sDrive30i

Z4 M40i

SLC

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.7 inches

12.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.8 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 SLC are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Z4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the SLC (F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. F:225/45R17 & R:245/40R17).

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 SLC’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Z4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the SLC 300. The Z4’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the SLC.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Z4’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the SLC (97.2 inches vs. 95.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Z4 is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the SLC.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the SLC’s (36 feet vs. 36.8 feet).

Passenger Space

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The Z4 has 3.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the SLC (52 vs. 48.8).

The Z4 has .9 inches more front headroom and 2.1 inches more front shoulder room than the SLC.

Cargo Capacity

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The Z4 has a much larger trunk with its top down than the SLC with its top down (9.9 vs. 6.5 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Z4 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The SLC doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 SLC doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 SLC doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 SLC.

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 SLC 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 SLC doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW Z4, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW Z4 outsold the Mercedes SLC by 60% during 2019.

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