Buying Advice BMW Z4 (E85) 2003 – 2008 Common Issues Engines Inspection


Hello everyone, we are back with another car buyers review, today we take a look at the BMW Z4. We focus on the first generation with the internal code E85 that was built between 2003 and 2008. I like the Z4 styling wise better than the Z3, but I like the Z8 the best when it comes to styling. You now already have a clue what car will be reviewed in August. Let’s get this buyers review started.

If you are in the market for a nice looking, well put together roadster that you can use in the weekends on trips, look no further. Sure you could go for a A4 convertible or a well speced SLK Mercedes, the BMW should be the choice for you if you want to enjoy yourself in hairpin corners, it should be the ultimate driving machine. Is it?

Well, compared to the Z3, the Z4 has a much stiffer chassis, so it is more of a drivers car, maybe not for long distances but it will reward you when you drive the car hard. It is also a bit bigger compared to the Z3. The car was built as a roadster and as a coupe, the coupe was launched in 2006.

The engine line up concists maily out of 6 cylinder engines, there was however 1 4 cylinder 2 liter for sale. Power output ranges from 148 hp in the 4 cylinder up to 338 hp in the M roadster or coupe with the fantastic s54 engine wich is basically the same engine that was put in the E46 M3 at the time. It does not get better than that. Well, this is not a salespitch, or at least, let try to stay neutral.

Lets talk reliability

Overall the Z4 is quite reliable, it is well put together and the engines that are used are masterpieces. Offcource they need there timely maintenance, something that I mention quite often. Filters and oil changes are the bare minimum, especially when you use its performance quite often. As always the service history is vital, if you can, buy a device to scan the ECU for error codes, the device is cheap and can tell you al lot about potential problems. Z4’s can be pricy but there are also a few high milage onces for sales throughout Europe. It depends on your budget, that being said, I would not buy a Z4 on a budget. Than this car is not for you, original parts can be expensive, you could save money with aftermarket parts but quality is not always the same. Last general thing to mention, it is quite easy to reset or to adjust the odo meter on the Z4, keep that in mind. Quick overview of things that could go wrong on the Z4;

Some articles claim that there where ECU problems that could cause misfires of the engine, but this issue was addressed by BMW and Z4’s have had a recall, just check if the car you are willing to buy had this recall.

The BMW M54 engine which is the naturally aspirated inline 6 from BMW is among one of the most reliable the engineers at BMW made, but they need maintenance. Check the common wear and tear parts like timing belt, water pump, transmission. The ZF gearboxes are maintenance free according to BMW, but as always, it will not hurt the flush them every 100.000 KM to stay ahead of potential problems.

Although BMW is not a brand that is known for electrical problems, cars like these are full of electrical gadgets, including traction control, ABS, tire pressure sensors etc. Make sure they work, test all buttons, take a test driving and during the drive listen carefully to the engine, to noises coming from the drive train, suspension parts etc.

The Z4 is overall quite a reliable car, maintenance is key to longevity, as a last tip, check the type of tires the previous owner or dealer fitted to the car. Sometimes people place budget tires in an effort to safe money. First of all, these impact the driving dynamics of the car negatively, secondly and maybe even more important, do not buy cars from people that try to safe money every chance they got, it will represent the overall state of the vehicle. Especially with a car like the Z4, better buy one with more miles coming off an enthusiast. But that is my humble opinion. Thanks for watching the buyers review of the BMW Z4, I hope this review was useful and if so, subscribe to my channel for future video’s.

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