Used BMW Z4 2019-present review

Category: Sports car

Comfortable and plush, a used BMW Z4 makes a great long-distance sports car, and the M40i is a stand-out performer.

BMW Z4 driving
  • BMW Z4 driving
  • BMW Z4 interior
  • BMW Z4 infotainment
  • BMW Z4
  • BMW Z4 rear
  • BMW Z4 seats
  • BMW Z4 infotainment
  • BMW Z4
  • BMW Z4 rear
  • BMW Z4 driving
  • BMW Z4 interior
  • BMW Z4 infotainment
  • BMW Z4
  • BMW Z4 rear
  • BMW Z4 seats
  • BMW Z4 infotainment
  • BMW Z4
  • BMW Z4 rear
Used BMW Z4 2019-present review
Star rating

What's the used BMW Z4 sports like?

The BMW Z4 is a breath of rarified fresh air. It’s a convertible two-seat sports car with rear-wheel drive and few recent rivals to speak of.

What about the Mercedes SLC, you say? Axed in 2020, we’re afraid. With that in mind, the Z4 deserves a look, especially now there are quite a few used examples out there.


Comfortable and plush, a used BMW Z4 proves a great long-distance sports car with the M40i being a stand-out performer.

  • Strong six-cylinder M40i
  • Comfortable
  • Luxurious interior
  • Four-cylinders are lacklustre
  • Subpar sports car handling
  • Inconsistent brake feel

Under the bonnet, you get one of two 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines or a 3.0-litre six-cylinder. All three are petrol. With the 2.0-litre options, you have the choice of either 194bhp (badged 20i) or 255bhp (30i). The 3.0-litre – badged M40i – gets a hefty 335bhp.

If you're a sports car enthusiast, we’d definitely recommend the M40i. It’s a much stronger and more exhilarating engine than both the 2.0-litres. The four-cylinders are better suited to buyers looking for the looks, luxury and style of the Z4, but are not particularly seeking a thrilling driving experience.

There are two trim levels. Entry-level cars will be Sport models, and equipment levels are generous straight off the bat. Buyers can expect 18in alloy wheels, two-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, heated M Sport seats, front and rear parking sensors and automatic LED headlights and wipers.

The top trim, M Sport, adds a sharper-looking body kit, gloss black accents and an M Sport leather steering wheel, plus firmer M Sport suspension and beefier M Sport brakes (on the 30i).

It's worth noting that the more powerful M40i version is treated to some extras on top of those two trims. They include lightweight 19in alloy wheels, electrically adjustable seats with lumbar support and driver memory settings, but the real highlights are its Adaptive M suspension and M Sport differential. These last two help to make the M40i feel more involving to drive than lesser models.

Speaking of the Z4’s driving experience, how is it? Well, as we’ve touched on, the 20i and 30i probably won’t do it for enthusiasts. Both 2.0-litres are quite lacklustre in acceleration and sound. The eight-speed automatic gearbox they're paired with isn’t all that sporty (there's no manual option) and the grabby brakes aren't helpful in stop-start traffic or for fast road driving.

The M40i is a hoot, though. The 335bhp 3.0-litre straight six responds excellently, pulling hard from low in the rev range. It sounds much more invigorating than the four-cylinder engines, with a smooth, free-revving nature that suits the M40i’s more focused demeanour.

What’s more, the M40i’s eight-speed auto is impressively snappy. Beefier and more feelsome M Sport brakes give you more confidence when taking on country roads, while the bespoke, electronically controlled limited-slip differential helps put down the power successfully on the way out of corners.

Interior-wise, the Z4 is stellar. As with BMWs of the Eighties and Nineties, the whole dashboard is angled towards you, creating a driver-focused environment that's backed up by a purposeful, low-slung seating position. Everything is impeccably finished, from the stitching on the leather seats to the sections of chrome and piano-black trims.

The good news continues with the infotainment. BMW’s iDrive system is without a doubt the best on the market. It’s responsive, intuitive to use and easy to operate on the move thanks to the rotary controller on the centre console. All versions come with sat-nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring (Android Auto isn't available).

Passenger space is good for a car the size of the BMW Z4 but it’s the boot that impresses the most. Not only is it larger than that of the Audi TT Roadster and Porsche 718 Boxster, but its size remains unchanged whether the roof is open or closed. That means it'll take your golf clubs easily, or, as our tests proved, five carry-on suitcases (the same number as the VW Golf).

If you're interested in finding a used Z4, or any of the other sports cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

BMW Z4 interior

Ownership cost

What used BMW Z4 sports will I get for my budget?

Used prices for the BMW Z4 begin at around £24,000. That’ll get you a 2019 model in 20i form featuring the Sport trim. Most M Sport cars start at around the same price, if not slightly higher. A 30i should only cost you a couple thousand more than a 20i, with M40i versions rising to around £30,000. Expect cheapest 2020 and 2021 cars to set you back upwards of £26,000, and 2022 and 2023 cars from £28,000.

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How much does it cost to run a BMW Z4 sports?


While the 2.0-litre Z4s lack blistering performance, the benefit is decent fuel economy figures (for a sports car). The 20i is claimed to achieve a 40.4mpg average in M Sport trim, while the figure for the 30i is 39.8mpg. The M40i is, naturally, not as kind to your wallet, though the difference isn't extreme. It claims a 35.8mpg average.

Road Tax

Z4 owners will have to pay £180 a year under current VED regulations, and – if the Z4 in question cost over £40,000 when new – an extra £390 per year for years two to five after the car was registered. To find out more about road tax costs, click here.

Insurance and servicing

Insurance groups are generally high, though not ridiculously high, meaning Z4 models shouldn’t be too difficult to insure. For servicing, BMW offers plans for the Z4 involving payments of £25 per month over 36 months.

BMW Z4 infotainment

Our recommendations

Which used BMW Z4 sports should I buy?

Again, if you are attracted to the Z4 as a desirable package – and we don’t blame you if you are – but are not too concerned about the ‘sport’ part of the sports car equation, the 20i and 30i should prove excellent choices. However, for those wanting a fun, engaging, thrilling drive, opting for the M40i is essentially a must.

Of course, it’s more expensive, but the price hike is far from unjustifiable. You’re treated to a substantial increase in performance, handling capability and overall enjoyment, which we’d argue are the cruxes of what makes a sports car so appealing.

Our favourite BMW Z4: M40i



What alternatives should I consider to a used BMW Z4 sports?

As we mentioned at the start, one of the Z4's closest rivals is the Mercedes SLC. It’s another front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seat sports car with a premium badge. It too lacks a sense of driving excitement (that also applies to even the quickest SLC, the SLC 43), and the Z4’s fastest variant, the M40i, has a bit more going for it as a fun sports car.

On the other hand, if you want fun, as well as an extremely polished, precise driving experience, the Porsche 718 Boxster stands tall beside the Z4 and SLC. It’s about as sharp and rewarding as these cars come, although to get a sound like the M40i’s six-cylinder roar you’ll have to pay top dollar and get either the GTS 4.0 or Spyder variant. With their flat-six engines, both cost pretty much double what the M40i tends to go for.

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If you're interested in finding a used Z4, or any of the other sports cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

BMW Z4 rear