The BMW Z4 is a genuine sportscar not simply a convertible because it has a long bonnet
and the occupants sit close to the rear wheels. The Z4 first reached us Downunder in
2004, but in this used car checkout we will begin with the introduction of the second
generation from September 2009.
The 2009 model was tamed slightly to be easier to live with on a daily basis. Until then it
was sold to drivers willing to accept a harsh ride and ultra-fast steering in return for brilliant
handling, and unwilling to accept any compromises whist achieving this.
However, the gen-two Z4 has even better road grip as well as steering that all-but reads
the driver’s mind. Point it at the right road, give it a bootfull and you will soon to smile with
the joy the car produces.
Some nervousness still exists, particularly on irregular surfaces where it is bumpy, but it
The styling of the second-generation BMW Z4 is instantly recognisable, with the same long
bonnet, short tail and ‘flame’ side surfaces.
This time around the Z4 used a folding hardtop which looks like a fixed-head coupe when
the top is up.
BMW Z4s began with a 2.5 or 3.0-litre naturally-aspirated straight sixes until the company
started to produce small-capacity turbo-petrol engines.
Some sixes remained alongside the turbo-petrol fours until 2012, when they were replaced
by big-boost turbo fours.
A very special model is the Z4 35i. This was the last of the famed twin-turbo 3.0-litre
straight-six units. It’s likely to become a classic and may increase significantly in value.
Manuals have six forward gears. Autos have six, seven or eight ratios.
The BMW dealer network is well established in Australia and is known for its high quality of
technical training. This high-tech diagnoses and servicing are just one reason it makes a
lot of sense to buy a used Z3 or Z4 that has always been serviced by an official BMW
Spare parts aren’t outrageously expensive for a car in this class, but may prove to be a
factor in your decision as to whether to buy an older Z4 rather than a cheaper convertible
from a lower-cost maker.
Insurance may be expensive if the driver is young and/or inexperienced. Surprisingly there
is seldom a big increase in premiums for the high-performance models.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Carry out your own pre-purchase inspection to the best of your ability. Once it has passed
your tests call your BMW dealer. Technicians connect the Z4 to a large computer in
Germany which not only advises on current problems but also on intermittent troubles
which are currently present.
Make sure the engine starts virtually instantly, idles smoothly within a second or so of
startup and pulls without hesitation even when completely cold.
Lift the carpets for signs of dampness or even corrosion if the car has been caught out in
the rain and left wet for far too long.
Power the top up and down and make sure it’s smooth and quiet in operation. Also
examine it for any sign of damage in the mechanism, if it has an oily feel, it may have just
been given a squirt with some sort of lubricant to prepare it for sale.
Previous crash repairs may be signalled by paint overspray, panels with a slight waviness
in their finish and for colours that don’t match exactly from one panel to the next. Also look
for tiny spots of paint overspray on non-painted areas.
Budget on spending $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2009 BMW Z4 3.0si; $14,000 to $20,000 for
a 2010 sDrive 30i; $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2011 sDrive 20i; $19,000 to $27,000 for a
2012 sDrive 28i; $26,000 to $35,000 for a 2014 sDrive 20i; $34,000 to $45,000 for a 2015
sDrive 20i; $41,000 to $54,000 for a 2016 sDrive 28i; $48,000 to $63,000 for a 2018
sDrive 28i; $61,00 to $82,000 for a 2017 sDrive 35is; and $73,000 to $95,000 for a 2019
CAR BUYING TIP
Sportscars that have been used on track days will have had considerably more wear and
tear on many components than would expect from the reading on the odometer.
RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: