BMW TOOK QUITE A GAMBLE WITH THE DESIGN OF ITS Z4, BUT IT WAS ONE THAT PAID OFF. YOU CAN PROFIT FROM IT, TOO… IF YOU CHOOSE WISELY
AFTER THE relatively svelte Z3, the first-generation Z4 – unveiled in 2002, with sales beginning in 2003 – looked radical. Gone was the conventional design and in came ‘flame surfacing’ with a mix of curves and angled shut lines, courtesy of designer Anders Warming, overseen by Chris Bangle. The Z4’s bodyshell was more than twice as stiff as its predecessor’s to reduce scuttle shake, and the handling was aided by sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. These days, you can buy one of these cars from just $10,000 – here’s how to ensure it’s a good ’un.
Engines ranged from underpowered fours (overseas) to naturally aspirated and turbo straight sixes with power levels from as low as 110kW all the way up to 252kW for the Z4M.
All Z4s got a manual gearbox as standard, generally with six speeds, but sometimes with five. Some engines were also available with an auto, again, usually with five or six gears. Most Z4s have some options fitted, but few have a lot of them. Those worth seeking out include heated seats and xenon lights. Bluetooth and cruise control can also be useful, while sports seats are more comfortable than the regular chairs; sports seats are easy to source and fit, though.
BODYWORK Corrosion shouldn’t be an issue on any Z4. If there are any signs of rust it’s almost certainly because of poorly repaired crash damage, so inspect the panel gaps closely; they should be tight and even throughout.
The expansive bonnet is made of aluminium and can get dented by stones. The cheapest fix will be to buy a used bonnet and (if necessary) get it repainted.
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