Models covered:

(2 dr roadster-coupe, 2.0, 3.0 petrol) By Jonathan Crouch


BMW knows a thing or two about roadsters and this improved second generation Z4 proved to be one of its best. It may not be the sharpest car in its class from this era to drive, but on the right day, in the right mood on the right road, you may not care, providing you’re a fan of metal-folding roofs. The engines are efficient and willing, the looks are still stunning and the feeling you get behind the wheel still makes you feel twenty years younger.

What You Get

Four wheels, two seats and a big engine. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Like any classic roadster, more than half the length is given over to the engine, which is one reason why there’s only space enough for a couple of passengers. You’d certainly expect the inclusion of a two-piece electro-hydraulic metal-folding roof to have altered this Z4’s appearance a good deal more than it has but there are no awkward looks, no tell-tale bulky rear end. BMW’s design team could work miracles though and in return for the security of a hard top, you’ve to accept a couple of significant drawbacks. First, the speed of operation: the top takes around 20s to raise or 21s to lower. At least you can operate it at speeds of up to 20mph though.

What To Look For

The overwhelming majority of Z4 buyers in our ownership survey seemed to be extremely happy with their cars. However, inevitably, there were a few issues. One buyer complained of a faulty rear diff, a faulty dual mass flywheel and noisy hydraulic lifters. Another found that a broken roof bracket prevented roof operation. And yet another had initial problems with paint finish and various rattles. There were also scattered reports of minor electrical faults. Look out for all these things on your test drive.


BMW has been building roadsters for over 80 years – and that showed with this improved second generation Z4. It was model that matured extremely well, slowly and methodically developing into an all-rounder that’s now tough to beat as a used buy if you’re looking for a car of this kind from this era. What it all means is that though the Z4 might not be the first car you look at when choosing a sports roadster, look at it you must. It’s just too good not to.