Used BMW Z4 2003 - 2009 review

Category: Sports car

The BMW Z4 is an affordable two-seater convertible that's great to look at and thrilling to drive.

BMW Z4 (03 - 09)
  • BMW Z4 (03 - 09)
  • BMW Z4 (03 - 09)
Used BMW Z4 2003 - 2009 review
Star rating

What's the used BMW Z4 sports like?

Sharp handling, outstanding grip and excellent body control mean that the BMW Z4 is 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.


The BMW Z4 is an affordable two-seater convertible that's great to look at and thrilling to drive.

  • It's classy, fun
  • reliable and has a strong image
  • The ride is firm, especially on Sports models

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.

Ownership cost

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

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

It'll cost plenty to buy and run. Insurance costs are high, spare parts 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 BMW 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.

Our recommendations

Which used BMW Z4 sports should I buy?

The bigger-engined versions of the BMW Z4 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.

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