I bought a 2003 Z4 in January with 90K miles. I bought from a private party so there was no warranty.
The car has had nothing but problems (i.e. side mirror control does not work, idler pulley needed replacing, radio does not set stations, CD player does not eject CDs, needed oil pan, valve cover and oil stand gaskets, several of the sensors including the driver's side air bag sensor do not work).
Worst of all was the indifference from BMW of North America. They first did not respond to my letters, and then a customer service person blew the problems off as mileage related. I asked if the airbag sensor not working meant the air bag was not functional and there was no response.
In terms of cost, labor is about $100/hour at a German auto repair facility. I don't know what the dealer charges. I like the style and drive, but it is costly and the show says this is typical for Z4s. I would only buy again if the car had a full warranty.
The Z4 is made in the USA. Don't touch it. Japanese cars are more reliable, and incredibly boring. Anyone considering buying a Z4 should test drive the E82 125 or 135. They will swing you over to BMW. Reliable, made in Germany and a fun drive. Nothing boring about the E82. E88 if you like a convertible.
My experience has been the complete opposite. I have had European cars since I started driving. Between all my cars, the only actual repair was a clutch. Some of my friends have had Hondas. Which have had their fair share of trouble. Seems to be down to personal experience. Buying a BMW that was built in Germany seems to be the best option from what people have said.
Here are some general replies to the comments I've read.
* If you buy any BMW that has 90K miles, the 90K-105K mark is simply going to cost you between 3 and 5K, including inspection service and all of the typical issues like ball joints.
* There is a fierce BMW community online. If you are buying one, find out what goes wrong when (they are like clockwork - I think the Germans actually engineer the faults just to parade their superiority. I read that my SMG Z4 relay and pump go out around 60,000... and, no joke, my SMG stopped functioning at 60,001 miles).
* I think the Z4 has been a great car. These issues (turn markers, etc) seem really mild to anyone that has owned a Jaguar or a formally-abused BMW (or one with engineering faults). I had a '93 318 with the M42 engine - the profile gasket went out after the warranty dropped and the car cost $7,500 to repair. The Z4 has never had a serious issue except the SMG pump (which you probably wouldn't have).
* Every time I go to the repair facility, I see a fleet of broken 7 series cars, 6er's, and older 5's. I have not yet seen another Z car and the only 3s I see are around 2001-02 and earlier. It is anecdotal evidence, but I think it speaks loudly as to which models are preferable.
* If you want a BMW (and are in the US), go to CarMax and get the MaxCare warranty which will give you 36K over the deal warranty. If you get a car with 60K, then you can dump the car in 3 years when the MaxCare warranty is up.
* If you are looking at a used one, don't freak if the front or back bumpers have been resprayed. These things are incredibly prone to road wear, as the OP suggested.
* Knocking the car simply because it is manufactured in America is a poor criticism; the car is engineered in Germany and largely built by robots. What makes you think that American robots are somehow lazier than German robots?
* If you get one, get the 3.0Si. The 2.5 is underpowered, for sure, and after having the 3.0 for a while, it feels a tad underpowered as well unless you have it in Sport mode and have the electronics turned off (which I wouldn't do in heavy rain, the car has slipped on me before).
I have had recent problems with my 2004 BMW Z4 Roadster 3.0i with only 50K miles. The BMW extended warranty will expire in three weeks. Coolant indicator came on and I added coolant as recommended by the BMW dealer service department. The next day after driving for 30 miles and stopping, I smelled burning rubber / plastic. I had it towed to the BMW service department. They said that the vehicle had overheated, coolant reservoir was cracked and leaked coolant, which caused over $1600 damage to plastic / rubber engine parts, hoses, etc. The engine temperature gauge never showed that the vehicle was overheating and always showed "normal" operating temperature. Of course, none is covered by the warranty. Would like to know if others have had similar overheating issues and "normal" temperature gauge readings.
Dr. EGB, Titusville, FL.
My 2004 BMW Z4 2.5i convertible roadster is the best car I have ever driven. The manual transmission is very forgiving.
I did add tail pipe kit, because the factory stock exhaust sucks. But actually this I6 is quite peppy, and I have enjoyed the fact that every time I drive it, people come up and tell me how beautiful it is.
I am a big fan of Alfa Romeo 9c, but this car for the money, is the best money I have ever spent!
Everyone has a dream car, and ever since I saw the Z4 streaking down the highway, I was sold. I really can't afford a brand spanking new one, and have been monitoring the used car market for one that would be more affordable. After reading some of these posts, I am now a bit leery of doing that, especially with the negative comments regarding costs of repairs. This would be a summer recreational vehicle, stored in the winter, but just the thought of spending thousands on repairs scares me. That is why I got out of boating!
Today, I bought a 2003 Z4 2.5i Roadster and some of the comments here scare me. I am not a wealthy man, but always wanted to own a sports car.
I always thought that BMW had a good reputation?
I've owned a Z4 3.0 from 2003 for the last six months, and have been really impressed with it.
I must admit the steering could be less fidgety on bad roads, but I have normal tyres and simply take it out of sports mode if the surface is not smooth enough. It is also worth checking the tracking on a regular basis.
Having said that, I'm getting 30 mpg, and the SAT NAV, stereo, and heated seats are all great features in what essentially is a quick sports car.
I bought my 2004 BMW 2.5 Z4 5 years ago. It had been working fine up until tonight. Just had regular maintenance work completed on it such as oil changes and things like that.
Today, my check coolant light came on and I ignored it, just driving down the street for 15 minutes to and from work. I tried to drive it again on the way to dinner 10 minutes away and my car proceeded to overheat. I added coolant in it and drove for about 5 minutes. The car hit unsafe levels into the red temperature zone and I could hear the internal fan working on overdrive.
I will need to tow it tomorrow to a body shop but from reading the posts I must have a busted coolant reservoir. I'm nervous that I may have damaged other parts of the car but I will follow up with another post after.