Monday, February 11, 2013

Used Car Review - BMW Z4 (2003-2009)

Ready for summer? Myk Belmonte finds one perfect companion to satisfy the need for wind this coming summer season.

2003-2009 BMW Z4

Criticisms are something that can be taken seriously for the better, or they exist just to hurt other people. The first type is what we call the "constructive criticism", this one aims to improve a person or a product for the better. But the other category of criticism aims to hurt others and what they say does not apply to that person, but rather to themselves. Those who had negative comments about the previous Z3 were taken seriously for the Z4.

Design for the Z4 happened from 1998 to 2000, years that the Z3 was on sale. You might not know this fellow named Anders Warming, he designed this convertible but somewhat with a touch of controversy which we will talk about later. First introduced at the Paris Auto Show 11 years ago and first put on sale in November 2002. The Z4 is more larger than its predecessor, and uses a different suspension set-up for the rear, but aluminum was used to offset the weight. The Z4 E85 is the regular convertible while the coupe version is called the Z4 E86, with the latter being available in 2006, which also coincides with a refreshening for the Z4. 2009 was the last year for this generation, with a newer model being released later that year.

This sexy drop top was offered to the Filipinos in 2003, courtesy of the previous distributor BMW Philippines. With the rest of the world, a refresh was done in 2006 together with the launch of the Coupe and and its corresponding M version and dropped in the line-up in anticipation of the E89 Z4 in 2009.

Value and Costs
The topless (not what you see in FHM) fun can be yours for just between P1,700,000-P2,800,000. And if possible, get yourself a certified pre-owned unit from a BMW dealership near you. They do have the assurance of being inspected and a warranty is provided.

Convertibles are fun to have and the ownership can be a nightmare if the unit purchased is not well maintained. If you want one, make sure you know where to buy the parts and importantly, the top goes down seamlessly and the material used in the non-metal ones are intact.

Exterior and Interior
Having some cues of previous Bimmer convertibles, the Z4 has some retro lines, a wide body, and some short overhangs. For the Coupe version, it simply has some swag and aggressive looks. The convertible utilizes a canvas top while the coupe has a metal top. Going to the controversial side, Warming designed the vehicle with some cues from BMWs that are designed by Chris Bangle.

Straightforward and simple inside, the driver does not experience any awkward seating positions which afflicted various convertibles. Gauges are positioned where they must be, in front of the driver. Controls are scattered everywhere against the Z3, and thankfully, no iDrive. Two people would perfectly fit inside, and its not cramped than the model it replaced.

Three inline six engines are available for local Z4's. Offered from 2003-2006 is the base M54B25 2,494cc that has 192hp at 6,000rpm and 245Nm at 3,500rpm. The standard engine (and you'll encounter this one more often while hunting) is the N52B30 2,996cc which has 265hp at 6,600rpm and 315Nm at 2,500-4,000rpm. M versions meanwhile get the S54B32 3,246cc which possess 340hp at 7,900rpm and 365Nm at 4,900rpm. Forget about picking the 2.5 engine since it lacks the punch associated with Bimmers. For cruising purposes, the 3.0 version is more than enough, it has the speed at 2,000rpm but push it harder, reach 3,000rpm and above and hear the sound of the burble reminiscent of the M3. The 3.2 engine will give you the satisfaction for speed.

Driving Impressions
Thanks to the different suspension set-up that was forgone from the Z3 (it does not have that severely harsh ride, but a bit hushed), the Z4 is a joy to drive. The standard stability control would ensure the driving experience would be safe and the electric power steering responds to your needs. The ride can be harsh, but you get the grin on your face once you drive it.

For sheer driving pleasure but with the top down at affordable prices, nothing beats the BMW Z4. Thanks to the accessibility of certified pre-owned units, having one parked in your garage is now closer to reality. My say? Stop dreaming and start driving,

The Good:
  • Solid handling
  • Coupe version more rigid due to metal roof
  • Slick manual 
The Bad:
  • Harsh ride
  • Impractical when the top is up
  • Fun for two persons only (obviously)
The Pick: 3.0 variants take the cake

Engines: 2,494cc M54B25, 2,996cc N52B30, and 3,246cc S54B32 I6 gasoline
Power: 192hp @ 6,000rpm (2.5), 265hp @ 6,600rpm (3.0), 340hp @ 7,900rpm (3.2)
Torque: 245Nm @ 3,500rpm (2.5),  315Nm @ 2,500-4,000rpm (3.0), 365Nm @ 4,900rpm
Fuel Consumption: 4-7km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P3,000,000-P5,000,000
Price (Now): P1,700,000-P2,800,000
Rivals: Audi TT, Mercedes Benz SLK, Porsche Boxster
On Sale: 2003-2009

Prestige Cars BMW - (02) 892-8127
Autohaus BMW - (02) 638-0734
Autozentrum BMW - (02) 772-6021

Photos courtesy of
Black Z4 unit and photo courtesy of Aldre Garcia

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