BMW Z4 (2003-2008)

Great to drive, fast and beautifully built, the Z4 was offered with a selection of strong engines and a choice of coupé or roadster bodystyles. While there are cheaper sportscars out there, none offers the range of talents available from the Z4 - although Porsche's Boxster is arguably a better all-rounder. However, the BMW is more affordable to buy and run and more practical too. BMW dealers are also among the best around, so while you pay for the privilege of running a Z4, few cars are as satisfying to own.

Key Dates

3/03: The Z4 supersedes the Z3.

4/05: A new entry-level model is unveiled, the 2.0-litre.

1/06: A high-power 3.0-litre engine arrives, the 265bhp 3.0si. Also, the Z4M debuts, with a 343bhp 3.2-litre engine.

3/06: A coupé edition of the Z4 appears, with a choice of 265bhp 3.0 or 343bhp 3.2-litre petrol engines.

8/06: A high-power 2.5-litre engine joins the range, the 218bhp 2.5si.

3/08: The Edition Exclusive and Edition Sport specials arrive, limited to 300 apiece and available only with the 2.0-litre petrol engine.

5/09: An all-new Z4 coupé-cabriolet arrives.

BMW Z4 (2003-2008) Checklist

  • Standard wheels get kerbed easily; aftermarket items are even more damage-prone.
  • If the engine runs erratically it could be because the ECU needs reprogramming or an ignition coil may need to be replaced.
  • If the automatic wipers fail, a new windscreen is needed.
  • Oil consumption can be high, so make sure the engine isn't running on empty.

We Like

  • Dynamics
  • Build quality
  • Ergonomics

We Don't Like

  • High purchase costs
  • Marmite styling