This is one area where the new BMW Z4 truly outclasses its rivals. Increased cabin space – 44mm extra head room, 20mm more shoulder room and 43mm more elbow room – gives a great sense of light and airiness that even the Audi TT and Mercedes-Benz SLK can’t match.

This isn’t just a result of the bigger metal structure. The substantial rear windscreen and addition of two rear side windows are key to making the Z4 a more comfortable place to be, as well as helping to deliver impressive overall visibility. Even the doors have grown in length by 26mm over the previous generation car's to aid a more elegant entry to the cabin. Our only criticism is that shorter drivers may be aware of the high sides and feel the need to raise the seat too high for comfort in order to get a sense of where the elongated bonnet ends.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Analogue dials are clear, but speedo is arranged in increments of 20mph — not ideal for UK speed limits

The quality of materials is also a big improvement. The new iDrive system for cabin controls makes an appearance and still takes some getting used to, but it’s simple to use once you have. Overall, the mix of space, improved visibility, simple controls and beautifully finished cabin does more than any other Z4 attribute to persuade the driver of its new-found touring ability.

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Boot space is good for this class, with 180 litres available with the roof down and 310 litres with it up. Although outright capacity betters that of its direct rival, the SLK, which offers 208 to 300 litres of boot space, access to the bulk of the load space is difficult because of an obstructive safety lid, deep boot and small opening.

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