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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For It's classy, able, reliable and has a strong image

Against The ride is firm, especially on Sports models

Verdict It's good to look at and thrilling to drive

Go for… 2.0i

Avoid… 3.0i Sport

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BMW Z4 Open full review with expert trade views

Sharp handling, outstanding grip and excellent body control make this every inch a driver's car - one of the best of its type, in fact. The only real trade-off for this performance and precision is a stiff ride, particularly on the Sport versions.

The entry model has a spirited 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, or you can opt for one of the larger six-cylinder units. These make the car seriously quick and give a heady snarl as the revs rise. However, their extra oomph adds a fair bit to ownership costs, so the 2.0-litre makes the best all-rounder.

Big demand for used Z4s keeps prices high and means that good ones sell rapidly for close to the asking price. No wonder - it's a civilised car that's well equipped and comfortable for two. It's practical and sensible enough to be usable every day all year round, but even with the roof down, you can drive quickly with a reasonable degree of hush in the cabin.

Trade view

John Owen

Leather and big rims a must, then the open road is yours

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The bigger-engined versions may look tempting, but the basic 2.0i is the easiest to live with and kindest on the wallet.

It only has four cylinders to the six you'll find in the 2.5, 3.0 and 3.2, but it is quick and flexible, hitting 60mph in just 8.2sec. However, it comes only with a manual gearbox, so if you want an auto, you'll have to move up to the 2.5 or 3.0.

Trim-wise, you can choose between standard, SE and Sport. All are well equipped, but SE is the one most first owners pick, so it's the easiest to find, and we'd go for that rather than the Sport, which has an overly stiff ride.

BMW offers a big choice of options and many first owners indulged. Parking sensors, sat-nav and stereo upgrades are desirable and add value, but watch for any kitted with big alloy wheels and ultra-low-profile tyres because they'll ride harshly.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Demand seasonally slack, early models are good value, especially 2.0 SE

James Ruppert
Used car guru

It'll cost plenty to buy and run. Insurance costs, for example, start at group 17 for the 2.0 and run to 18 or 19 for the bigger engines and 20 for the 3.2 M model.

Spares are pricey and a good set of replacement tyres can cost four figures; the rear set last under 10,000 miles if the car is driven hard.

Servicing, however, costs no more than for a 3 Series saloon and, like all BMWs, the interval between pit-stops is worked out by the car, according to how you drive it.

Fuel economy is surprisingly high, at up to 37mpg overall for the 2.0, dropping to 34.4mpg for the 2.5 and 32.8mpg for the 3.0. The 3.2 returns 23mpg, which is respectable given its 338bhp output.

There's consolation in the gradual pace at which Z4s lose value as they age. Three-year-old 2.0s still fetch two-thirds of what they cost new, bettering the more expensive versions. The 3.2 M loses half its value over the same time-span.

Trade view

John Owen

Leather and big rims a must, then the open road is yours

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

It's well made and should last the distance. The hood is very expensive to replace but should be fine for at least 10 years if it's looked after. Watch for mould stains, damage from bird droppings and vandalism.

Check that the seats and interior are perfect, because even small repairs can hit your wallet hard. Also ensure that garage invoices back up the service records, because it is relatively easy for a crook to reset the car's service indicator.

A few owners report failures of ECUs, causing misfires and breakdowns. However, all we've heard of have been replaced under warranty.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Demand seasonally slack, early models are good value, especially 2.0 SE

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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