And now the e89
e89 Z4 from a MX-5 point of view
The Z4 is a luxury roadster. There is a ton of room, especially on the passenger side. The Z4 is a fantastic car to be a passenger in and not too bad to drive either. The e89 interior is asymmetrical. It is subtle and you might not notice it on a test drive. Our Z4 is Right Hand Drive. The LHD interior is different.
Our Z4 is the most comfortable car we've ever owned. It is absolutely worth getting the sport seats. The extra adjustments and support they offer is worth it. In my mind, they save the car. I have wide feet and had some trouble getting comfortable with the clutch and dead pedal. With the standard seats my left leg kept hitting the steering wheel. But that may be due to the RHD pedal box.
I love the heated steering wheel. You can't get that on the Mazda. It is also possible to put the top down in sub zero weather, something I could never do on the Mazda. I'm able to drive comfortably with the top down even on very cold days.
The new 4 cylinder motor in the sDrive20i and sDrive28i is very good.
The e89 is a big heavy car and it drives like a big heavy car. On the track the more powerful Z4 is faster than the MX-5, but it won't be as much fun going around. The Z4 doesn't have the steering feel or the immediacy of response the Mazda has. If I was buying a car to auto cross on weekends, it would be a Mazda or a Caterham. But that isn't what we were looking for and neither is your wife. We wanted a car we could enjoy on the twisty back roads of Anglesey and also take on 4+ hour road trips. The Z4 is about perfect for that.
With the e89, I look forward to driving 2 hours each way to Liverpool to go shopping. If we had an MX-5 or even worse still had the MINI we'd be looking at train time tables.
The interior on the e89 is in an entirely different league than the Mazda. It would be like comparing Wall Mart with Nordstrom.
Compared to the Mazda, the e89 is a complex car to operate. If your wife isn't used to driving a BMW, there is a learning curve but everything does make sense once you've learned it.
Like every other BMW we've owned 60mph, 80mph and 100mph all feel the same. The car is built for the Autobahn. 80 in the Z4 is quieter than the Mazda is at 55. I wouldn't attempt 100mph in the Mazda, even on an empty unlimited section of the autobahn.
I've had better dealer service from BMW compared to Mazda.
BMW has a better new car warranty and 4 years of service is included in the purchase price.
I can get a much bigger discount on the Z4.
The Z4 is eligible for European Delivery and Performance Center re-delivery. We would have done both if we still lived in the US.
If you combine ED discount, the current sales program and work with a forum sponsor, you could probably lease a new Z4 for not that much more than an MX-5. No really. Our Z4 is costing us less than a VW Golf.
We hate the electric parking brake. For some idiot reason, BMW deleted hill start assist from the sDrive20i and sDrive28i. Hill starts with the EPB are possible, but annoying. Parallel parking on a hill is difficult. My suggestion is to either get a 35i or an automatic.
The top mechanism won't operate if the car is on a steep grade. Car has to be on fairly level ground.
The top takes up a lot of space in the trunk. It is very hard to get anything in or out of the trunk with the top down.
Everyday driving in a Z4 is harder than the Mazda. The Z4 isn't easy to park. Visibility isn't great and you can't see the edges of the car. Here on Anglesey some of the narrow roads are a challenge.
UK interior doesn't have useable cup holders.
The base audio is not very good. (US market only got the base radio for some years. Current models have Business audio as standard)
Fuel economy is disappointing. I wasn't expecting a miracle, but still feel like BMW misled us. Might not mind if we were still paying Atlanta prices.
The e89 is a complex car. Ours hasn't been much trouble but there are known issues with the early ones. If we decide to keep ours we are getting an extended warranty.
The models and equipment (standard and optional) illustrated in this post reflect my misunderstanding of vehicles supplied by BMW AG to the German market. In other EU member states, the truthyness of my posts may vary. Please ignore this post. Subject to change.
Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-20-2012 at 04:32 AM.