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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:24 AM
Twmontgomery09 Twmontgomery09 is offline
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Location: Lexington, Ky
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2005 Z4 Longevity?

Hey there folks!

I have always loved the Z series BMWs ever since I was a kid. Now that I am 25, I would really like to own one for myself!

I would love to get one with low mileage, but at this point in my life my budget is tight!

However, I have seen a couple BMWs with higher mileage that are within my price range!

Namely, I am looking at a 2005 Z4 2.5 with 159K miles.

It appears that it has been well taken care of, but I am VERY nervous about buying a car with that many miles on it. I would like to be able to get at least another 100k good miles out of it.

Is that a realistic goal with one of these cars? Could any experts give me some examples of common expenses associated with a Z4 above 150K miles?

Thanks in advance!!

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Old 10-23-2012, 01:18 PM
pokeybritches pokeybritches is offline
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Location: Alexandria, VA
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Mein Auto: G-Power & ESS Z4Ms, VF Z4
More miles means a greater chance of something going wrong... essentially miles = risk. The Z4 is still a $40-50k car, even if it can be bought for much less than that now. When something breaks, you'll be buying a part for a $40-50k car.

How has the car been maintained? "Good/well" isn't specific. Was the oil changed every 7500 miles or less, or was the full service interval used? What about the "lifetime" fluids? How was the car driven? Was it warmed up? Was it ever tracked? Did it spend most of its life driving 5 miles to/from work at 2500 rpm (BMW engines hate this), or are the miles highway? Did it spend a lot of time sitting? What parts have been replaced already? Was the owner mechanically competent? If something went wrong, is he/she the type of person to keep driving the car without repairing the issue?

That said, what in particular are you concerned about? The engine and some chassis components are shared with the E46 3 series. Searching the E46 forums will return a lot of data points. The car can last 250k miles with good maintenance and luck, but will it? I don't think anyone here will be able to tell you that. If you're barely able to afford the entry price, you're taking a big risk. If you have a means to pay for repairs that you just wouldn't like to pursue because it's not ideal, but the safety net is there (like asking your parents for money or a backup savings account / slush fund), then I say go for it.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:48 PM
Uber-Fritz Uber-Fritz is offline
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Location: Victoria BC
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Mein Auto: 2006 Z4 3.0i
Budget for maintenance

At that kind of mileage, you also have to look at things that are not in the drivetrain. Solid mechanicals are the first step, but these are sophisticated machines with a lot of expensive peripheral bits that can need repair. Take the convertible top. It is a lovely bit of engineering, but if it goes south on you it will cost a fortune to fix. You either need to learn how to do some of the repairs yourself, or budget realistically to pay someone to do it. Before I got my Z, I drove a series of old British and Italian sports cars. They were easy to fix so owning them while I was young and poor wasnt an issue. Keeping a Z on the road yourself requires a fully equipped garage, a lot of special tools and a very steep learning curve. If you are not realistic about the cost of ownership, you are going to end up with a sleek looking ornament in your driveway. My thoughts anyway....
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:52 PM
pokeybritches pokeybritches is offline
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Mein Auto: G-Power & ESS Z4Ms, VF Z4
^ I fully agree that you need to be able to turn a wrench, or at least willing to learn. I would say that the Z4 is a fairly easy car to do basic maintenance on. It's straight forward, and the inline 6 engine makes things like spark plug / coil changes very simple. Basic maintenance can be done with normal hand tools; you'll be able to buy anything you need from Autozone.

I've spent far less on maintenance on my car than my coworkers who drive Hondas, because I do what I can myself while they take their cars to the dealership. I've never had formal training. I read what I can on the Z4-specific forums, cross-reference the E46 forums (since we share parts), do a general google search, and hop on youtube. I don't proceed until I know exaclty what I'm doing. You'll save yourself thousands of dollars if you're smart.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:30 AM
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Zedfor Zedfor is offline
Location: Steinhaus, VA
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Posts: 269
Mein Auto: 2003 Z4, 2007 X3
It's all about care and feeding. A neglected car with an abusive driver can be done at 36,000 miles. One that is care for and and driven well will last as long as you want it to.
If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.
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