Reviews > Car Reviews > BMW > BMW Z4 (2003-09) Road Test

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BMW Z4 (2003-09)

Overall Rating

4 stars

The Z4 is a far better drive than the Z3; it's also more distinctive. No girlie roadster, it falls short of being an out-and-sports car, and isn't as sharp as Boxster.

  • Sportier, more refined and more responsive than Z3
  • Quite practical in everyday use; good electric hood
  • Minimal depreciation offsets highish running costs
  • Styling is too contrived for some tastes
  • Lacks the prestige or poise of Boxster
  • High prices; little likelihood of a used bargain
Road Test

More muscular and macho-looking than the Z3 it replaced, the Z4 is also more of a proper sports roadster with its classic front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and 2.5- or 3.0-litre engines. Sports suspension and wider wheels add to the fun, as does the opportunity to switch to a traction control programme that intervenes later in a tailslide, and the Dynamic Drive Control button to adjust throttle response and steering feel. The Z4 still isn't as exciting to drive as a Boxster, though, as its steering just isn't as precise or communicative. Better-built and better-finished than the Z3, the Z4 feels solid and substantial, and it is much more rigid in structure. The fabric hood folds away neatly and quickly. There are rollover hoops in the event of an accident, but the Z4 scored only four stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests despite an array of modern safety features.

Need To Know

JD Power stars: 4

Best Models: 3.0i

Worst Models: 2.5i

Replacement: 2009

BMW Z4 (2003-09)
Star Ratings


5 stars


3 stars

Quality & Reliability

5 stars


5 stars


3 stars

Running Costs

3 stars

Value for Money

3 stars

Stereo/Sat Nav

4 stars
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