The BMW Z4 was not so much a replacement for the BMW Z3, but an evolution of the 2 door 2 seater convertible, designed by Anders Warming. Warmings design for the BMW Z4 was deemed controversial, as were many other car designs from BMW at the time.

It follows a distinguished line of BMW roadsters, including the BMW 507, the Z1, Z3 and the Z8. Production started in 2002 in the US with both a Roadster and a Coupe variant.

The Z4 addressed many of the criticisms of its Z3 predecessor. The rear suspension uses a multi-link setup rather than the Z3′s trailing arm suspension base on the BMW E30 3-series. It is also a larger car, and given a much stiffer chassis.

To counter being a larger car than the Z3, lighter materials were used in the construction to save weight. Aluminium hood and suspension components and a magnesium roof frame. The spare wheel was removed and the car fitted with run flat tyres, not only to reduce weight but increase the size of the luggage compartment.

The aerodynamics were improved (0.35 drag coefficient) which increase the comfort of the passenger compartment with the roof down. A ‘sport’ package added stiffened lowered suspension, larger alloy wheels and tuned electronic steering, throttle and shift parameters. Along with the manual and steptronic gearbox options, an SMG version was also an option.

A reasonable selection of engines were available, from the 4 cylinder 2.0 up to the 6cylinder 3.0 variants.

Of course, no BMW roadster model range would be complete without a Motorsport Division version, so in 2006 the Z4M Roadster and Coupe models were born. These boasted the 338hp S54B32 3.2l 6cyl engine from the E56 M3.

BMW Z4 E85 Roadster

BMW Z4 M E86 Coupe