2020 Porsche 718 Boxster vs. 2020 BMW Z4

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 2020/05/28

The 718 Boxster has standard head airbag curtains that act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Z4 doesn't offer side airbag protection for the head.

Both the 718 Boxster and the Z4 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 crash mitigating brakes and blind spot warning systems.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 718 Boxster’s reliability 23 points higher than the Z4.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche 15th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 7th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. BMW is ranked 17th.

Engine

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The 718 Boxster has more powerful engines than the Z4:

Horsepower

718 Boxster 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

300 HP

718 Boxster S 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder

350 HP

718 Spyder 4.0 GT3 6-cylinder

414 HP

Z4 sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

255 HP

Z4 M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

382 HP

As tested in Consumer Reports the Porsche 718 Boxster 2.0 is faster than the Z4 sDrive30i (automatics tested):

718 Boxster

Z4

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

6.1 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

3.5 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

110 MPH

101 MPH

The flat cylinder configuration of the boxer engine in the 718 Boxster lowers its center of gravity, enhancing handling stability. The Z4 doesn’t offer a boxer engine configuration.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the 718 Boxster Spyder’s fuel efficiency. The Z4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 718 Boxster’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Z4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The 718 Boxster’s optional fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Z4 (16.9 vs. 13.7 gallons).

Transmission

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The 718 Boxster offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Z4 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The 718 Boxster offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Z4 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 718 Boxster’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Z4:

Boxster opt.

Spyder

Spyder opt.

Z4 sDrive30i

Z4 M40i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

15 inches

15.4 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The 718 Boxster offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Z4 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The 718 Boxster stops shorter than the Z4:

718 Boxster

Z4

70 to 0 MPH

143 feet

148 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

101 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

119 feet

122 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 718 Boxster has larger standard tires than the Z4 (F:235/45R18 & R:265/45R18 vs. F:225/45R18 & R:255/40R18).

The 718 Boxster’s optional 305/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Z4’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 718 Boxster offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Z4’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The 718 Boxster S handles at 1.10 G’s, while the Z4 sDrive30i pulls only 1.02 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 718 Boxster S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Z4 sDrive30i (23.1 seconds @ .89 average G’s vs. 24.5 seconds @ .79 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Porsche 718 Boxster may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the BMW Z4.

Passenger Space

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The 718 Boxster has .4 inches more front headroom and .8 inches more front legroom than the Z4.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 718 Boxster’s available trunk can be opened just by holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Z4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 46% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The 718 Boxster’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Z4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The 718 Boxster’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Z4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 718 Boxster offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Z4 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 718 Boxster keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Z4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

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The Porsche 718 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the BMW Z4 isn’t available as a coupe.

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 2020/05/28

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Porsche 718 Boxster and the BMW Z4, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and the Porsche 718 Boxster won out over the BMW Z4 sDrive30i.

The Boxster was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 15 of the last 16 years. The Z4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 718 Boxster was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 10 of the last 20 years. The Z4 has never been an “All Star.”

The Porsche 718 outsold the BMW Z4 by 32% during 2019.

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

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