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E89 Z4 (2009 - current)

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  #1  
Old 11-19-2012, 10:25 AM
desertpilot desertpilot is offline
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Former Miata owners? (Or anybody who considered a Miata during their Z4 purchase)

Anybody move up from a Miata to an E89?

My wife currently has an 03 Miata softtop that she loves, but might be feeling a little jealousy over the F30 335 that we recently got on ED.

Just for giggles, I was poking around on the internets for Z4s and it looks like a 2009-2010 E89 is obtainable in the low 30k range. But the flip side here is that I could buy her a brand new Miata power hardtop for the same amount. She's not really a "car" person that much so I'm not sure how much more she would truly appreciate it.

So anyhow, I'm coming here for the passion on the Z4 side. Is there a good case to go for the E89 in her situation? I'm a complete Z4 newbie, so aside from knowing the Z4 has much greater power, I have no idea how they really compare (handling, comfort, interior noise, anything else).

What do you guys think?
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:40 PM
jcm12 jcm12 is offline
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They dont compare.
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:57 PM
desertpilot desertpilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm12 View Post
They dont compare.
Errrmmm, ok. Thanks for your detailed response? Or not.
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:00 PM
jcm12 jcm12 is offline
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You should buy her a Miata.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:56 PM
desertpilot desertpilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm12 View Post
You should buy her a Miata.
Anybody actually a former Miata owner or consider one, or otherwise willing to post something >1 line with some thought behind it?

Let me elaborate. I upgraded my 2003 Mazda 6 sedan to an F30 because I wanted a car capable of seating 5, with sports car power and handling, a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, leather seating, and most of the nifty new features on modern cars. Do some digging and you'll find that's a really difficult combination, pretty much limited to luxury sedans nowadays as most non "muscle" sports cars have gone front-drive or AWD for the mainstream and have started dropping the manual transmission option from the highest-end trims.

The roadster debacle is a little different though. The Miata and the Z4 are somewhat similar on a sheet of paper. Both rear-drive, both available with manuals, both power hardtops, both available with leather and the creature comforts. Even the low end 28 Z4 is more powerful, but I'm willing to bet the Miata outhandles the Z4.

I'll go drive them...but I hoped to hear from someone who had already been there. I can't possibly be the only person who has been through this thought process.
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:17 PM
RufusKing RufusKing is offline
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When did this become a <gulp> Meeeeeaaaaatttttaaaaa forum?
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:36 PM
desertpilot desertpilot is offline
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Originally Posted by RufusKing View Post
When did this become a <gulp> Meeeeeaaaaatttttaaaaa forum?
WTF? 2/2 on idiot replies?

It's people like you guys that give BMW owners a bad name. Come on guys...I expect more.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:19 PM
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Compare your 3 to the Mazda, are those feature, the seating of 5 and the seat covers, etc., the only difference that is apparent to you? If so, get her a Miata.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:06 PM
RufusKing RufusKing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamdog View Post
Compare your 3 to the Mazda, are those feature, the seating of 5 and the seat covers, etc., the only difference that is apparent to you? If so, get her a Miata.
Lets break down what everyone is saying here. If you cannot tell the difference between a Miata and the E89 Z4 then you do deserve a little embarrasment. None of the people on this forum will ever be impartial to other brands because we expect and demand quality engineering. Let take some facts.

The Miata is fine for what it is, but it is not a Z4. They are two toally different animals. In order to get a Miata to do the same things as a Z4 at the speeds that you can get out of a Zed you have to spend almost the same amount of money upgrading your suspension, tires, brakes, engine, tranny just to name a few. If you want a track car I say go for it. but if you want a REAL track car then buy the Zed4.

Take corning for instance, in my brother in laws miata, yes he does have one I can post a pic of it if you want, I get wheel slip on sharp corners. The car is very loose on entrance and on exit of most corners at higher speeds but the Zed is surefooted and has a much tighter feel in the corner. The Zed will likely push in the corner instead of be loose like the miata.

As far as engine is concerned I am not going to even go there... there is no competition stock vs stock.

Braking well the miata hs the Zed there. It is much lighter.

then there is the overall appearance of the vehicle. The Z4 is simply much better looking.

so as I see it the score is

Zed wins in cornering, power, and appearance while the miata wins in braking.

Now as far as what you are asking for on a Z4 site, you are asking for a tall order which is to get an unbiased opinion about a vehicle like the Z4 vs the miata. if you dont like the opinions here then well i know there are miata sites for you to attend.

We are simply happy owners of Z4s. I hope the best for you.
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2012, 10:46 PM
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Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpilot View Post
Anybody move up from a Miata to an E89?
Yes.
We owned a 3rd generation MX-5 Miata back in the US and own an UK spec e89 now. We had a MINI Cooper between the MX-5 and the Z4.

Your wife's '03 NB Miata is a different car from a new one. The current NC MX-5 Miata has been around since model year 2006. Mazda appears to have delayed the 4th generation ND. Lastest rumor is 2014.


The e89 and NC are very different cars.

The NC MX-5 and your wife's NB Miata are close to pure sports cars. An MX-5 is a car you wear, not a car you get into. There isn't much room but on the NC everything is in exactly the right place. The MX-5 is a simple car. There aren't many controls and they are all right at your fingers.

Pedals are perfectly placed to heal and toe.
Hand brake is perfect. No hill start assist on the MX-5 but hand brake or heal toe starts are very easy.

The 6 speed manual transmission is very slick and much better than any BMW. I could shift mine with a single finger. It was more like flipping a toggle switch. 1st and 2nd are very low ratios on the 6MT. Makes for very easy in-town driving although autocross racers don't like the ratios. While 167HP may not sound like much, the MX-5 only weighs about 2500 lbs. 0-60 is about 6.6 seconds. That is about the same as our Z4 sDrive20i but a US spec 30i would be one second faster.

Weight makes all the difference. Not only is the car light, but Mazda did a very good job of distributing weight. As much as possible, heavy parts are low and towards the center of the car. The MX-5 is fun to drive. Handling is very quick and the car does well right up to the limit. Our 2006 didn't have stability control. For 2012 DSC and Traction Control is standard on all trim levels. Without stability control the MX-5 is unpredictable past the limit. I've been told simple suspension mods will improve handling at the limit. If you drive like an idiot it is easy to loose control. That won't happen in any sort of on-street driving, even in a panic. I'm talking about taking the car out on a track and doing something stupid.

The radio is easy to use and doesn't sound half bad.

The soft top mechanism is a masterpiece of design simplicity. It is very easy to use. I could raise and lower the manual top from inside the car. The top does not take up any space in the trunk. Same with the power hard top. it does not take up space in the trunk.

The ride is very stiff. Stiffer than our MINI Cooper. Very very stiff. The MX-5 will beat you up on long trips. You can get enough into the trunk for a road trip it but only if you use duffel bags or fitted luggage.

If your wife fits in her Miata now, she will like the seats in a new MX-5. A lot.



Did I mention how much fun it is do drive?? The MX-5 is fun to drive. I don't think I can say that enough.

Statistically one of the most reliable roadsters ever built. Absolutely first rate build quality and fit and finish. Our '06 was very early production and had 2 issues. Both were handled by recalls and won't happen to a 2012.

Negative Points:

The uninsulated soft top is noisy at speed. Rain makes the noise worse.
The low temperature limit for the soft top is fairly high. As I recall the owners manual said not to raise or lower the top below 45 degrees. Annoying on those sunny winter days when I wanted to lower the top.
The car gets scary past about 80MPH. I only went above 80 a couple of times.
Not the best car to be a passenger in.
Impossible to custom order -- Had to take what rolls into dealer stock.
Most options are tied to trim bundles. There is very limited choice of what goes with what.
Interior can get hot with the top down. Most trims and colors come with black seats. Top down airflow isn't great. I ran the AC a lot.
The interior, while well done, is obviously budget. The carpet felt cheap. The floor mats were a total joke and wore out in less than 2 years.

Mazda dealer experience is not as good as BMW. I had a hard time finding a decent salesperson but finally did. Service wasn't as good either, but that could be down to the individual dealership.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-20-2012 at 04:24 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2012, 02:38 AM
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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.





Cons


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.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-20-2012 at 04:32 AM.
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2012, 06:43 AM
desertpilot desertpilot is offline
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This guy right here. THIS is what I was asking for.

Andrew*Debbie, thank you so much. I had about given up on the Z forum members. Your posts singlehandedly cover every aspect of the comparison, and this is the sort of stuff I'd go talk to my wife about when deciding on the purchase.

To those who answered first, sorry if I was a little crude, but considering that I'd be willing to think about a 3-4 year old Z4 over a brand-spanking-new Miata, I obviously already know the Z4 is the superior car. I was simply looking for someone who'd been there to tell me what they thought, maybe even a little from the technical side (as I'm an engineer).

After I posted this, I did quite a bit more digging and found some interesting threads on other BMW forums where I'm not a member:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1627913
http://e89.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=403472

A lot of the same arguments and info, but interesting discussions nonetheless.
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  #13  
Old 11-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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You're welcome.



Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpilot View Post
maybe even a little from the technical side (as I'm an engineer).

First time I'd seen so much aluminium on an inexpensive car.




The Z4 has impressive engineering too, but starting from an entirely different set of design goals.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-20-2012 at 08:07 AM.
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  #14  
Old 11-21-2012, 11:22 AM
MC-X3 MC-X3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpilot View Post
Anybody move up from a Miata to an E89?

My wife currently has an 03 Miata softtop that she loves, but might be feeling a little jealousy over the F30 335 that we recently got on ED.

Just for giggles, I was poking around on the internets for Z4s and it looks like a 2009-2010 E89 is obtainable in the low 30k range. But the flip side here is that I could buy her a brand new Miata power hardtop for the same amount. She's not really a "car" person that much so I'm not sure how much more she would truly appreciate it.

So anyhow, I'm coming here for the passion on the Z4 side. Is there a good case to go for the E89 in her situation? I'm a complete Z4 newbie, so aside from knowing the Z4 has much greater power, I have no idea how they really compare (handling, comfort, interior noise, anything else).

What do you guys think?
I would be feeling a little jealous too.

We had a Miata ages ago, mid 90's and sold it after only a few years (too small for my wife's primary/only car). Anyway, that car and another we test drove in 2002, was prettty skittish at highway speeds on our rutted freeways here in Washington state. At that time we purchased a used Z3 and the differences were amazing. Being heavier the Z was much more plated on the highway and more stable in the corners at typical street speeds.

We recently purchased an '09 E89. We ended up getting a 35i as we like the extra power and the sound better. and yes, the heated steering wheel is great. At the time we also drove a 2000 M roadster (Z3). In comparison the M is a much more raw roadster experience. Sorry, can't compare to the latest Miatas.

In summary, the Z4 handling is very good, just not quite as nimble as the lighter roadsters. It is more comfortable and night and day quieter. So it really comes down to what your wife prefers in a car.

Go test drive some cars and you should experience many of the differences that have been stated in this thread.
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  #15  
Old 12-03-2012, 01:04 PM
ssarah ssarah is offline
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When Mazda first designed the Miata in the late 80's, their target market was women. They built the car as a sweet, small roadsters for 20 and 30 somethings to zip around in.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2013, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpilot View Post
Anybody move up from a Miata to an E89?
Indirectly

Used to own a Miata in Germany (sold it in 2001 when I moved to the US), got a 2003 a couple of years later (in the US), traded it in about 3 years later because I needed a "family car" ... but got a 2012 Z4 last year. Just love 2 seaters, convertibles and especially roadsters!

I drove the Miata about 110 miles/hour on the autobahn (top down) during nice, dry conditions. It handles nice and given that all it had was just a mechanical rear differential & anti-lock brakes, much more of a driver's car than today's cars (yeah, yeah, flame me, but you know it's true with all the electronic nannies).

But -- I am guessing all that is lost on your wife since she isn't a "car nut".

Therefore, the Z4 would be a very nice upgrade and I am sure she would appreciate appreciate it -- if she enjoys driving fast, and if she doesn't mind the attention a Z4 comes with. My wife loves to drive the car -- but she wouldn't go alone on a longer trip to another state to visit family -- car draws too much attention.

The Z4 -- with the right tires -- is a much better all year round car than the Miata (may not matter depending on where you live).

As others have said -- the Z4 just drives so much nicer, it's a much more comfortable car and he engine has a great growl to it ... it's also prettier than the latest Miata MX-5 models (my opinion). No matter how much fun the Miata was -- the Z4 is at least as much fun, just different and yes, it does play in a different class.
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  #17  
Old 01-09-2013, 01:51 PM
GrilledCheese GrilledCheese is offline
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Here's my quick take: the Miata (and the Pontiac Solstice) have excellent value. For about $25K, you can get one hell of a sports car for the dollar. If that's your budget, either car will serve you well. However, if you got the wallet for it, the Z4 is the way to go, an upgrade on both cars worth the extra dollars.
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  #18  
Old 02-04-2013, 09:44 AM
morfinx morfinx is offline
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I've only driven a Miata a couple of times, but my impression is that it's much more cramped inside compared to the Z4. The materials also don't feel nearly as high grade as in the Z. But one thing to consider is the maintenance cost of the Z4 once it's out of the warranty. My suggestion is to get the extended warranty (for a maximum of 3 additional years) before the stock warranty expires. Shop around different dealerships, you can find the Gold (if you don't have iDrive) for around $3000, and the Platinum (covers iDrive and other electronics) for a few hundred more.
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  #19  
Old 03-09-2013, 05:10 PM
JimCameron JimCameron is offline
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I am a former Miata owner, 1999 Base, 5 speed. Great vehicle. A blast to drive, and I paid $18.5 for a new one in 2000. Since then my sports cars have included a Z4 2003 3.0, a C6 Corvette 2006, and my new to me 2009 Z4 3.0 6speed. If she is set on another sports car, and since she is not a car person, I would probably say go with a new Miata. You have the original factory warranty, lots of dealers, and probably lower cost of repairs out of warranty. The Miata is a less sophisticated vehicle, less refined, doesn't enjoy the level of build quality and it's hp tops out at about 165. The E89 hp figures start at around 250.

Before buying my current E89, I test drove a 2013 Miata Club edition with the PRHT and the paddle shifting auto. It is a long way from the level of an E89, but it still is a terrific vehicle. I found the auto to be substantially quicker and crisper than paddle shift auto 6speed that was in my 2006 Corvette. Of course the Miata transmission only had to deal with 165hp and attendant torque, where the Vette is 400hp/high torque. Still the Miata remains a fun car and a decent dollar return for fun.

BUT! I just bought a 2009 E89 in excellent condition with remaining factory warranty and service until the end of the year, and........9000miles, for the same price as the Miata.

For me a New Miata isn't anywhere near the Used E89 I just bought, but I've been a pretty devoted sports car for a long time.

Have you considered a CPO 328i for your wife? Great, great vehicle, and some great deals.
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  #20  
Old 04-25-2013, 04:49 AM
Z4Jacques Z4Jacques is offline
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Former Miata owners? (Or anybody who considered a Miata during their Z4 purcha

I just traded my 2006 GS Miata for a 2009 E89 Z4; latest comments here are right on the button
The MX5 Miata is more of a "true" roadster in the sense of the old MGs (used to own 2 of those) but WAY less sophisticated than the z4

After just a week of owning the Z4, I really feel I do not "connect" as much with the car than I did in the Miata, but then again did not have the chance to properly try it on country roads (just moved to Toronto...)
On the highway the Z4 is way better, more powerful and comfortable; but I have the lingering filling that to just zip around the Miata is simply more fun
On the other hand the high revs of the engine ie 3500 RPM at 110 kmh get tiring on the highway while you don't feel much speed at 130 kmh in the Z4
Unless your wife is a "real" driver she would likely feel the Z4 a big improvement although she may actually find it big at first; also the latest mx5 is a big improvement on her current one
My ex girlfriend got the itch for a convertible after riding in my Miata, but she would not care for it (especially on longer trips) after she got her own Mustang convertible


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  #21  
Old 04-25-2013, 07:18 AM
jparnes1 jparnes1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z4Jacques View Post
I just traded my 2006 GS Miata for a 2009 E89 Z4; latest comments here are right on the button
The MX5 Miata is more of a "true" roadster in the sense of the old MGs (used to own 2 of those) but WAY less sophisticated than the z4

After just a week of owning the Z4, I really feel I do not "connect" as much with the car than I did in the Miata, but then again did not have the chance to properly try it on country roads (just moved to Toronto...)
On the highway the Z4 is way better, more powerful and comfortable; but I have the lingering filling that to just zip around the Miata is simply more fun
On the other hand the high revs of the engine ie 3500 RPM at 110 kmh get tiring on the highway while you don't feel much speed at 130 kmh in the Z4
Unless your wife is a "real" driver she would likely feel the Z4 a big improvement although she may actually find it big at first; also the latest mx5 is a big improvement on her current one
My ex girlfriend got the itch for a convertible after riding in my Miata, but she would not care for it (especially on longer trips) after she got her own Mustang convertible


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I wonder if you lack of "connectedness" results from a change of cars from one that had hydraulic steering to electric steering. Could it be the road feel that you miss?
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:58 PM
Z4Jacques Z4Jacques is offline
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Location: Mississauga ON Canada
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 2009 Z4 Sdrive3.5i
Former Miata owners? (Or anybody who considered a Miata during their Z4 purcha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z4Jacques

I just traded my 2006 GS Miata for a 2009 E89 Z4; latest comments here are right on the button

The MX5 Miata is more of a "true" roadster in the sense of the old MGs (used to own 2 of those) but WAY less sophisticated than the z4



After just a week of owning the Z4, I really feel I do not "connect" as much with the car than I did in the Miata, but then again did not have the chance to properly try it on country roads (just moved to Toronto...)

On the highway the Z4 is way better, more powerful and comfortable; but I have the lingering filling that to just zip around the Miata is simply more fun

On the other hand the high revs of the engine ie 3500 RPM at 110 kmh get tiring on the highway while you don't feel much speed at 130 kmh in the Z4

Unless your wife is a "real" driver she would likely feel the Z4 a big improvement although she may actually find it big at first; also the latest mx5 is a big improvement on her current one

My ex girlfriend got the itch for a convertible after riding in my Miata, but she would not care for it (especially on longer trips) after she got her own Mustang convertible





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I wonder if you lack of "connectedness" results from a change of cars from one that had hydraulic steering to electric steering. Could it be the road feel that you miss?

(The above is an answer to my comment - not sure I took the right step to reproduce)

The electric steering is a factor for sure, but overall it also has to do with the fact the Z4 is a lot more refined than the Miata; for example you hardly feel any "speed" sensation even at 140 kmh!

This is not to say the Z4 is not a great driver's car, it undoubtedly is, you feel it's handling and cornering power and the acceleration and sound is extremely pleasurable!

While I did not really tried it on bona fife country roads, the car seems to have more understeer than the perfectly balanced Miata...nothing considered the power available

The electric power steering does not seem to give much warning before the front wheels lose traction, yes, but my comment was more to the effect that the decidedly more "raw" nature of the Miata keeps you more closely in contact with the road; a comparison would be the difference between a "real" tent and a "trailer tent" when camping

Anybody who drove Miatas and/or MGs and Triumphs will understand


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