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(2002 - 2008)  Rating


The BMW Z4 is fun to drive and is a serious threat to Porsche

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
2.2i 170 hp 7.3 l/100km Petrol 7.7 s 225 km/h
2.5i 192 hp 7.7 l/100km Petrol 7.0 s 235 km/h
3.0i 231 hp 9.5 l/100km Petrol 6.2 s 244 km/h
3.0si 265 hp 8.9 l/100km Petrol 5.7 s 250 km/h

Body type Roadster
Number of doors 2
Number of seats 2
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Rear
Length 4 091 mm
Width 1 781 mm
Height 1 299 mm
Wheelbase 2 495 mm
Ground clearance 110 mm
Weight (normal) 1 325 kg
Weight (max) 1 550 kg
Boot space (min) 240 l
Boot space (max) 260 l
Fuel capacity 55 l


   The BMW Z4 was produced between 2002. It was available as a roadster or coupe.

   The Z4 is a quite powerful car. It's power is supplied by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre putting out 150 hp, or three six-cylinder engines familiar from the 3 and 5 Series. The larger engines power outputs range from 170 hp (2.2i) to 231 hp (3.0i). All pull well, so the choice is between quick or outright fast.

   This car has good handling and a decent ride. Sharp handling, ample grip and strong body control put the BMW Z4 right up there among the best-handling cars in this class. Informative steering adds to the fun, while the stiff body resists shudder over poor surfaces well. The trade-off for the Z4's taut feel is a firm ride, so you're made aware of lumps and bumps around town.

   The Z4 engines are civilized, but have some wind noise. The six-cylinder engines in the Z4 are superbly refined, with an appealing snarl under hard acceleration. There is a little wind noise when you have the roof up, but it's not a problem, and wind deflectors prevent too much disturbance with it down.

    The Z4 is quite expensive but residuals should be strong. This car is reasonably priced compared with rivals such as the Mercedes SLK and Porsche Boxster, and the entry-level models make it even more accessible. Running costs for the six-cylinder versions are relatively high, but the Z4 holds on to its value well. A revised Z4 with new engines is due early in 2006.

   BMW Z4 is solidly built and should last well.

The Z4's classy-looking cabin is well built from first-class materials and looks as though it should stand the test of time, while the engines shouldn't give any problems.

   The Z4 has good passive and active safety kit. All BMW Z4s come with aids to guard against an accident happening, with anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability system to curb unruly behavior through corners. Twin front and side airbags are standard, while metal hoops behind the seats protect occupants if the car should roll. Like any soft-top, the fabric roof is more vulnerable than a hard-top to thieves; all models have an alarm and immobilizer fitted to help deter them.

   Car features a simple, driver-focused arrangement. It has a low-slung driving position that provides a sporty feel. The simple dash layout is aimed at ease of use and works well, while the seats provide plenty of support and the steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach. Full electronic seat adjustment is available in the 3.0-liter model. The top drops in just 10 seconds at the touch of a button. The glass rear screen gives much better visibility than a plastic window.

   The Z4 is intended for two people only, but there's decent room for both occupants. That said, the door trim can impinge on the driver's leg space. At the rear there is a reasonably practical boot that is able to accommodate enough luggage for you to enjoy a weekend away.

   All models come with plenty of equipment. Twin front and side airbags are standard, as is air-conditioning, an electric roof, alloy wheels, a single CD player and sports steering wheel. Electronic driver aids cover traction and stability control. These can be partially disarmed or totally disengaged by keener drivers. The 3.0 has leather upholstery as standard.


   Advantages: The Z4 is distinctively styled and offers the kind of rewarding drive and quality construction that we have come to expect from BMW. It features an electric roof as standard. The BMW Z4 was one of the best roadsters of the year 2004.

   Disadvantages: Those unique looks won't appeal to everyone. Big engines and high prices exclude some owners of the old Z3.

   Verdict: Great fun to drive and a serious threat to Porsche.

   Also consider: Audi TT, Mercedes SLK, Porsche Boxter.

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