The BMW Z4; Future Classic?
A short article looking at the original BMW E85 Z4
In the late 90s and early 00s BMW was on top of their game. Some of the best M cars were produced during these years. The E46 M3, the E39 M5, the E36 M3 and the E60 M5 despite some of it's "minor" engine problems. Even the non M cars were fantastic for example the E46 330ci and what we have here, the E85 Z4.
All the Tech Specs
The BMW E85 Z4 was available from 2002-2008 in various specifications. Your choices are: A 2.0L Inline 4, a 2.5L Inline 6, a 3.0L Inline 6 or the Z4M with the 3.2L Inline 6. The most desirable engine would be the 3.2L Inline 6 with 338bhp. However, you can still have a lot of fun with some of the more modest engines. The best non M version to own would be the 3.0L which has a respectable 228bhp and a 0-60 of 5.9 seconds, which even by today's standard is pretty quick but in 2002 this was amazing. The Z4 pictured is a 2.5L with 192bhp and a 0-60 of 7 seconds.
Why the E85 Z4?
When you think about future classic BMW's the 3 series instantly springs to mind. A much loved and instantly recognizable car. No matter what generation 3 series BMW has always provided something for everyone. So you ask, why the Z4 then?
Well to answer that we need to identify what makes a classic BMW?
- A manual Gearbox
-Rear Wheel Drive (Of Course)
-A naturally aspirated engine
-Iconic Looks (With nice Kidneys)
The BMW Z4 has all of these (If you buy the proper manual one), especially iconic looks. This car looks beautiful even 18 years later. It has the unmistakable BMW kidneys at the front with swooping lines from the headlights to the door handles. One of my favorite design features is how the designer incorporated a Z on the side of the vehicle which also makes a 4 as well.
Not only does it have the looks, it also has the driving experience. The driving experience is amazing in the Z4, you can have the roof down and listen to that amazing inline 6 sound track just resonate with you whilst every turn allows the rear end to get nice and lively. Not only this, but the E85 Z4 are at their lowest prices yet and you can pick up a nice example for less than £5000.
To add to the list of positives, the reliability isn't that bad for an old "Bimmer". However, the 2.0L inline 4 has quite a few known problems and should be avoided if possible.
The E85 Z4 is a 2 seater version of some of the best E46 3 series around so what's not to love?
OK, So the Z4 isn't perfect i must admit. Some of the negatives to list are:
- The running cost's aren't ideal
- The roof motors were put in the worst place ever
- The run flat Tyre's aren't the best
First of all there's the impracticality. There are only 2 seats and not much storage to speak of, But if you're buying a 2 seater roadster you probably wasn't expecting Transit van type of storage. The running cost's can be high depending what age you are and what roads you drive on. For example, the tax is £330/year to start off with the the fuel consumption around town can be as low as 22 mpg! To add insult to injury if you're a young driver the insurance can be out of this world. I am a 20 year old with 1 year's NCB and i was quoted £5000 for one year!
In addition, the roof motors were placed below the water drains from the soft top. So as you can imagine over time the roof motors will get damaged and will need replacing eventually, This is a matter of when not if unfortunately. However, on the bright side a common modification is to have the roof motors relocated so it won't happen again. Finally, the Z4 does not come with a spare Tyre so has run flat Tyre's in case you do manage to get a flat Tyre, which inherently isn't a bad thing. However, because of this feature it drastically affects the riding experience causing the steering to "follow" the road a bit more.
The BMW E85 Z4 is a great car with some awesome features. It can be a lot of fun as a weekend toy, a garage investment or a daily driver (if you're crazy enough). I wouldn't be surprised if in 10-20 years time this car will be looked on as a quirky classic BMW Porsche alternative.
Thanks for reading!