I don't yet own a BMW but am planning to buy a Z4 2006 model which has done approx 30,000-40,000 in miles.
I am from Sydney, Australia and new to the forums.
I am not an expert on cars (and BMW) like most of you here so had a couple of questions which I've listed below. Hopefully some of you will have insights on these.
* What is distinct and special about a BMW and its key features as a car such as its engine, parts and the way its built?
* Are there only the two models for the Z4 2006 - i.e. 3.0i and 3.0si? Are there others and what is hte main difference...
* Reliability of a BMW Z4 is particularly important to me - I've driven a basic Mazda 323 in the past and have never had any problems with it. I simply take it to the dealer once a year and get a standard service done.
* If I buy this year, I'm looking to keep the Z4 for 5-6 years - i.e. from 2012 until 2017. Assuming I drive approx 10,000 miles per year, would it comfortably last from now till 2017?
* How much extra will petrol cost when owning a Z4 2006 model, and do I need special fuel?
* Is there anything different about the manufacturing and sale of a BMW Z4 2006 model in Sydney, Australia that I should be aware of and careful about? Not sure if there are any differences in the cars in different countries....
* What would be the rough yearly cost of owning a BMW Z4 if I buy a used 2006 model this year and owned it for 5 years?
* Are there any drawbacks or issues on owning a BMW Z4 2006 models? While I am sure you are all BMW enthusiasts, is there anything in particular I should watch out for when I own one?
* When I get the BMW Z4 2006-model inspected, what in particular should be inspected and verified? Just want to ensure I aviod any issues given I'm new to it...
* Finally, any general comments or suggestions on owning a BMW Z4 from anyone who may own one?
Thank you and appreciate any comments you can provide.
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13 responses to BMW Z4 - 2006 Model
July 15, 2012, 12:54 pm
You might enjoy this review from edmunds:
BMWs have a justified reputation for being fun to drive and for low noise-vibration-harshness (NVH). An M3 is a somewhat boxy car until recently available with 4 doors that will stay on a track with corvettes and porsches. You are looking at a 2 seat bimmer, and I drive one with not much of a back seat (a 128i convertible) but I still think of bimmers as sedans that handle like sports cars.
The edmunds article appears to agree with your judgement about models - two 3 liter inline sixes that vary about 40hp in output. I have essentially the same engine in my 2009 128i and I think it is a very good model.
One of the things better about the normally aspirated sixes is reliability. BMW in general is not rated at the low frequency of repair of most japanese cars. The turbo inline 6 is lower from what I've seen than the normally aspirated six. You could get a good one or bad one of any brand but I think on average, there will be more issues with a BMW than a japanese brand. I've owned one Mazda and other than more frequent clutch replacement than I think is reasonable, it has been reliable. My BMW hasn't been bad but the radio sometimes acts up and it's had to be to the dealer for several recalls. The other bad thing is BMW service is relatively expensive. You would need to find a good independent BMW shop for a six year old car out of warranty. But reasonably you have to count on more maintenance expense for a BMW.
Many BMW owners get over 200,000 miles out of theirs. But you have to keep in mind that to get that far, you will be paying for at least fairly normal maintenance items (suspension pieces will not last that long, for instance) and paying higher prices than for a "lessor" car.
For more specifics on a Z4, I would visit the Z4 forum both here and on bimmer post.
July 15, 2012, 9:51 pm
Thanks Jim - that is very helpful.
You mentioned that "The turbo inline 6 is lower from what I've seen than the normally aspirated six. " <-- do you mean that it is likely that there will be less maintenance issues for a Z4 in comparison to other BMW's? and what is the main difference between the turbo inline 6 in comparison to a 'normally aspirated' 6?
Do you also see any problems with purchasing an 'automatic' transmission model of the Z4 I'm not really familiar with driving manuals so wondering if I should be aware of any problems with getting an automatic Z4.
Regarding the question about reliability, if we say that a BMW generally has more issues in comparison to Japanese cars (such as a Mazda), what sorts of issues are these? ARe they things like radios or larger issues like engine reliabiltiy? I want to try to get an understanding of whether these issues are 'expensive' issues or 'cheap' issue to determine the risk....
Finally, wondering if the models described in that Edmunds article would change if you are located in Australia, or is it all the same?
July 16, 2012, 6:28 am
Welcome! Some of your questions will be better answered in the e85 Z4 forum.
I'll answer a few of the more general of your questions here. Z4 specific questions are best ask and answered in the e85 Z4 forum.
What is distinct and special about a BMW and its key features as a car such as its engine, parts and the way its built?
BMWs are a unique blend of performance and luxury. BMW is perhaps best known for the inline six engines. BMW has some signature design elements too. For example, all modern BMWs are all front engined with rear wheel or all wheel drive.
BMWs are built on an assembly line like most other modern cars. In 2007 we toured BMW's South Carolina plant that built the e85 Z4.
I noticed two things that were done differently than some other manufacturers. During final assembly, the cars are on a rotating cradle. The cradle turns so that workers don't have to look up to assemble the bottom of the car. Workers rotate jobs on a regular basis. Instead of doing one task all day long, plant workers are cross trained and do several different tasks during the day.
* Reliability of a BMW Z4 ...
* If I buy this year, I'm looking to keep the Z4 for 5-6 years - i.e. from 2012 until 2017....
Out of the six BMW built vehicles we've owned only our 2008 MINI has been trouble free. BMW in general have average or slightly worse than average reliability. The e85 Z4 was one of the more reliable BMWs. BUT it is already 6 years old and will be 12 years old when you sell it. It will break.
Will it last? Yes. Will you be able to get parts in 2017? Yes. BMW is unusually good about parts availability for older cars. Will it be trouble free or inexpensive? No. Will you get tired of paying someone to fix it and sell it before 2017? Yes.
Not sure if there are any differences in the cars in different countries....
There are differences for every national market.
July 17, 2012, 4:51 pm
The data I've seen shows more repairs required for the n54 turbo six cylinder and less repairs for the n52 normally aspirated six cylinder. The n54 had a known issue with the high pressure fuel pump. I like to look at "truedelta" for reliability data but there are not enough Z4s reporting to that system to give you good data on what to expect. Better to look at data from the forums.
I think the differences country to country are fairly minor. I think all the Z4s were built in the same plant in 2006. So they could change some parts but that would add cost so they would tend to minimize differences. But I really have no knowledge of how the Austarlian model would differ from the U. S. Some of the forums have country or region specific sections, however.
Another source of information is Mike Miller and his "old school maintenance guide". If you google it, you can find it. Mike asks you to email him and he will send it to you (for free). Mike comments on specific weaknesses of specific engines and transmissions - less so cars. Mike is not a fan of BMW automatics and recommends their manuals. Dealers only seem to stock automatics, however, so there must be significant demand for them. I think automatics require more repairs than manuals in other cars too.
July 17, 2012, 5:04 pm
You absolutely should migrate over to the Z4 forum. Like all cars, there can be specific problems. The most commonly mentioned expensive repair issues seem to be VANOS issues and steering issues. Z4s with a build date before July '06 have the old steering mechanism. I had to have mine replaced. BMW paid half the cost to replace ($1200). I would do a search for VANOS failures and "sticky" steering and you will have filled your day with things to read. BMWs will be more expensive to maintain and repairs will be more expensive than a Mazda. Not saying you will need repairs, but if you do it will be more expensive. You should just be aware and buy the BMW with your eyes wide open. Good luck.
July 17, 2012, 5:08 pm
Welcome to Bimmerfest! I've moved your thread over to the Z4 forum for you now.
July 17, 2012, 7:16 pm
Nv on my comment. Blonde moment
July 18, 2012, 9:57 am
Originally Posted by JimD1
The data I've seen shows more repairs required for the n54 turbo six cylinder and less repairs for the n52 normally aspirated six cylinder.
BMW never sold an e85 Z4 with the N54 turbo motor. 2006 was the first year for N52 powered Z4s.
July 18, 2012, 10:06 am
Originally Posted by ajay1983
* Finally, any general comments or suggestions on owning a BMW Z4 from anyone who may own one?
They are more fun to drive with the top down.
You will feel like an idiot if you drive with the top up on a sunny day and a complete idiot if you drive with the top down in the pouring rain
July 18, 2012, 10:33 am
One common problem on the Z4 seems to be the convertible top motor. The motor sits in a well that is used for drainage. If the drains get plugged (and they usually do) the motor gets flooded and will rust. It has a plastic housing around it but the housing is not sealed. Mine went out at around 4 years. The dealer wanted ~$1400 US to repair the unit. I was able to do the repair myself for around $450.
There are several Z4 forums on the internet and they are all invaluable for resolving issues.
July 19, 2012, 4:15 pm
I bought my first BMW last Nov. I always wanted a miata, then a Z3 till I drove a Z4 at a Susan Comen drive event. That day I decided the miata idea was out the window, and so was the Z3. I have a 2003 Z4 with 76k and only drive it about twice a week. The rest of the time I drive a company vehicle. I'll have to agree with Andrew*Debbie
"Will it be trouble free or inexpensive? No. Will you get tired of paying someone to fix it and sell it before 2017? Yes"
Any car 11 years old, with a significant amount of miles will require repairs and preventive maintenance, specially if you drive it daily and BMWs aren't as cost effective as Mazdas. However, if you are willing to learn and there is a significant number of people in your area that can help you (hopefully BMW fans, Z4 a plus), most of the work can be done by you for the cost of the parts.
My car isn't in showroom condition, but I have learned to fix things, so I'm constantly looking and buying little pieces and parts....I'm happy with my car right now, lucky me it's not my daily driver.
...I could always put about $5k worth of work into it.
I'd buy it, enjoy it and make sure you keep in mind that you can always buy a newer one with less miles, a different color, a different interior...the 2006 doesn't have to be the last Z4 you buy. That's what I tell myself all the time.
September 15, 2012, 9:14 am
I bought my Z4 last week, 38000 km on the meter (not miles, i am in australia) and in great condition.
been testing driving it during the week and getting used to it gradually. so much different to driving a japanese car.