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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
At first, I started looking at some Z4 3.0i's since I can find ones for a reasonable price and they look to be a really fun ride (confirmed by a recent test drive). I love the lines of the car. Other convertibles look unexciting in comparison. I was hoping to pay no more than $12K total.

Then I stumbled upon this 2006 Z4 M with 6 spd manual transmission and only 39,000 miles. Features power windows, power seats, power door locks, keyless entry, custom wheels, and tinted windows. It looks really sexy in blue. He's asking $21,000. KBB has it at about $19,500 for very good condition. It does have a scrape on the lower front bumper and some glazing over on the head light lenses. This guy is the 2nd owner and has had it since 2013.

Unfortunately, its out of state, so its not like I can just pop over and test drive it. I know the Z4 M's are harder to come by, so it might be an opportunity that I should not pass up. My wife says go for it, if it is really what I want (man I love her), but I really did not want to spend anywhere near that much. Thus my hesitation. So, is it worth the plunge?





The bumper scrape is on the lower driver's side edge. You can sort of see it in this photo.

 

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No comparison between a 3.0i and ///M model. Just get it, or you'll regret it if you end up with a 3.0i. Besides, the wife has spoken!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, I'm having my doubts.

With the Z4M compared to the 3.0i, I'm concerned with these things:

1) The ride comfort. My understanding is that the ride in the Z4M is rougher. While I will be the one driving this car, I do want my wife to be able to enjoy riding in it, if at all possible. She has had neck issues, so she will certainly not tolerate feeling every bump in the road. I'd love to be able to take her on weekend trips up into the mountains.

2) Maintenance costs. From what I have been reading, the Z4M seems much more costly to maintain. I might be considering a BMW, but my pockets only go so deep. I can, and have done, some car maintenance myself, but I would have to defer much to a mechanic with the right tools and knowledge.

The raw horsepower of the Z4M, being more sought after, and the sexiness of the car certainly has its appeal. But I am wondering if a 3.0i would make more sense lifestyle-wise and budget-wise for me.
 

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From the doubts expressed, the 3.0i might be better (practically speaking), but as others have said, you'll always wonder 'what if...' as the Z4M is a completely different beast as far as power and 'raw' enjoyment goes.
The ride will be much better if you get rid of run-flats (you didn't mention if the Z4M has them or not).
Are you able to look for a 3.0si instead? More powerful (than the 3.0i), better specced - a great car by any measure.
All Z4's have power windows, power door locks, keyless entry (remote key fob) - you should look for 'extra' specced items like cruise control, PDC (park distance sensors), xenon headlights (looks like the M has them), uprated stereo, Aux input, and so on.
Does the Z4M have a comprehensive service history - Inspection Service I and II done when required? Without a service history it could be a ticking time bomb. Maintenance should have been done on a time as well as distance basis, not just distance (e.g. don't put any faith in BMW claims of 15,000km between oil changes).
Read this guide - some helpful tips on what to look for:
http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21281
Good luck with whatever choice you make, they're a great car to own and drive, if looked after.
 

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My wife says go for it, if it is really what I want (man I love her), but I really did not want to spend anywhere near that much. Thus my hesitation. So, is it worth the plunge?
Umm.. what kind of "Go for it" did she give you? :D

The Z4M is not only more expensive to buy, it is more expensive to maintain.

Are you comfortable with the extra cost? If not, don't do it. Don't overextend yourself. If you are comfortable with the cost, find a local dealer selling one and take it out for a test drive. That way you will know if the M will be worth it for you.
 

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The maintenance cost on the M was a factor in my decision. While the car is an absolute monster to drive, it's also tougher to manage in traffic and just around town. The M was designed to be driven with your hair on fire, so something more reasonable requires finesse. I really didn't have much of an issue with that part my my wife really struggled. It's well outside of how she drives, so wasn't fun for her in the least.

I wasn't going to compromise on the stick, so the Si was the clear winner. Tons of low end, can roll off in second in traffic if you need to without stalling. You can drive it with your hair on fire or like a total geezer and keep the extra cash saved on maintenance for travel.

So far as the suspension is concerned, it depends. Some come with the M suspension, so depending on where you are, they can rattle you just as hard as the M. It still comes down to if you like that or not. I love mine, but I live in Phoenix where the roads are nice. I 100% hate driving it in Tucson though. They don't believe in road repairs, so I spend most of my time being pounded to death!




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In my opinion 21k for a 2006 M is very risky. You're starstruck right now. That'll wear off quickly after a few weeks. The dealership will LOVE hearing from you once the car starts needing maintenance/repairs. They'll see dollar signs before you even tow it into the dealership. They'll make lots of money off of you.

If I were you, I'd offer 15k and be ready to walk away if the seller acts butthurt/declines/refuses to counteroffer.

Take 6k and open a dedicated savings account for the Z. You'll need at least that much just for maintenance. When (not if) it needs repairs, have an additional
6k ready in savings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for bringing me down to earth. I guess I was "starstruck" when I first saw the car. Sexy lines and in my favorite color. I was almost ready to make the long drive down to see it.

I do drive more toward the "geezer" end of the spectrum than the "hair on fire" end, so the 3.0i is looking to be the better fit in that respect. If there was a Z4M for sale in the Denver area I would definitely give it a test drive, but I haven't seen one even in the state of Colorado. There are slim pickings on any Z4's in this area, unfortunately.
 

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From the doubts expressed, the 3.0i might be better (practically speaking), but as others have said, you'll always wonder 'what if...' as the Z4M is a completely different beast as far as power and 'raw' enjoyment goes.
The ride will be much better if you get rid of run-flats (you didn't mention if the Z4M has them or not).
Are you able to look for a 3.0si instead? More powerful (than the 3.0i), better specced - a great car by any measure.
All Z4's have power windows, power door locks, keyless entry (remote key fob) - you should look for 'extra' specced items like cruise control, PDC (park distance sensors), xenon headlights (looks like the M has them), uprated stereo, Aux input, and so on.
Does the Z4M have a comprehensive service history - Inspection Service I and II done when required? Without a service history it could be a ticking time bomb. Maintenance should have been done on a time as well as distance basis, not just distance (e.g. don't put any faith in BMW claims of 15,000km between oil changes).
Read this guide - some helpful tips on what to look for:
http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21281
Good luck with whatever choice you make, they're a great car to own and drive, if looked after.
The M car's didn't come with run flats, they came with "regular" tires and a can of "fix a flat" they called a "mobility kit".

The M suspension is a bit firmer than the non M Z4's but it's not like one's soft and the other is rock hard. My 3.0si came with the M Sport suspension which is firmer than the standard but slightly softer than the M, and I've replaced the struts/shocks with Koni Sports set firmer than the M. It's a firm but not rough ride. Non of the suspensions in the Z4 line are going to filter out rough roads, they'll still rattle your teeth occasionally.

I agree with Enzed, that the 3.0si would be a good choice. The horsepower/torque curves on the 3.0 liter N52 and 3.2 liter S54 engines are very close up to about 6K rpm and the S54 develops the extra 80 horsepower between there and 8K rpms. Performance wise I've only experienced the M having an advantage on the track where it can really use the extra horsepower and rpms. I've seen little to no difference between the 3.0si and M for autocross, but the 3.0i struggles a bit against either.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
All I can say it that, that is one nice looking BMW! Get it!!


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One part of me certainly says just go ahead and get it. I'd love it until that first big maintenance bill.

I took my wife for a test drive today in one of the few locally available Z4's (2003 2.5i in red with the M sport suspension and run flat tires) to see how she would tolerate the ride. We didn't take it on the highway, just the roads around town. It wasn't the greatest on her neck, so I'm not so sure she would be riding with me around town. Though out on the highway, things would be easier on her. Getting rid of the run flats would help too.
 

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Having owned a 2007 3.0si w/sport suspension w/ runflats and a 2007 ///M, the 3.0si felt harsher and more jarring probably due to the runflats. Also the hydraulic steering on the //M feels so much more connected than the vague feeling electronic steering on the 3.0.

I will say that, if you don't tack on allot of miles, the ///M will mostly likely retain way more of it's value than a non-M in the years to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I haven't totally ruled out this car. Not so starstruck now, but still really liking the car. It may be worth my time to travel down to check it out in person.

I've checked valuations on KBB, Edmunds and NADA and the numbers are all over the place. I assume that is because there are not very many sales of these for them to examine.

KBB - $19,600
Edmunds - $13,700
NADA - $21,100
 

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I've checked valuations on KBB, Edmunds and NADA and the numbers are all over the place. I assume that is because there are not very many sales of these for them to examine.

KBB - $19,600
Edmunds - $13,700
NADA - $21,100
I think those numbers are on the low side, the market is closer toward the mid $20k mark for a really nice low mileage example, so I think this car is a good price.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Convertible/BMW/M+Roadster/Brookeville+MD-20833?zip=20833&keywordPhrases=M&showcaseOwnerId=3944403&startYear=2003&numRecords=25&vehicleStyleCodes=CONVERT&firstRecord=0&endYear=2008&modelCodeList=BMWROAD%2CBMWOTH&makeCodeList=BMW&searchRadius=0
 

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My recommendation.....Have a "come to Jesus" discussion with yourself. What are your expectations, tolerance for repair expense, initial cost, type of usage, etc. You previously said your Z would be a garage queen (like mine). When I went through the process of deciding which car was right for me, I eliminated some models and settled on what suited me best. My 2005 3.0i with sport mode and automatic trans. has way more that enough power and spunk to "set my hair on fire". Frankly, I am not experienced enough, and never will be, to appreciate the added power and handling of an M. The engine I have is on the low end of cost of repair (for BMWs) and the M is just the opposite. I am a "senior" and have owned many cars and consider myself a good driver. There are times when I have an opportunity to drive aggressively and have found that my limited skills will never come close to the abilities the Z has to offer.....
 

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I have a 2007 Z4M that I purchase last year for a little over $25k with just over 38k miles and the seller threw in a brand new set of rear tires(Conti summers). Mine has the carbon/leather trim, premium package and nav system, so your price seems pretty decent. I disagree with the whole need to drive it like your "hair is on fire". This car will happily chug along at 2-3/10ths. It's extremely tractable through a wide range of engine RPM. That said, it's incredible when you do open it up, and it's nice to have that option when the situation allows. Mine is pretty much a toy/garage queen only, and I can afford the maintenance, so I was able to justify the potential for higher costs. And the steering feel of the M is much nicer than the non M variants IMHO.
 

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I have a 2007 Z4M that I purchase last year for a little over $25k with just over 38k miles and the seller threw in a brand new set of rear tires(Conti summers). Mine has the carbon/leather trim, premium package and nav system, so your price seems pretty decent. I disagree with the whole need to drive it like your "hair is on fire". This car will happily chug along at 2-3/10ths. It's extremely tractable through a wide range of engine RPM. That said, it's incredible when you do open it up, and it's nice to have that option when the situation allows. Mine is pretty much a toy/garage queen only, and I can afford the maintenance, so I was able to justify the potential for higher costs. And the steering feel of the M is much nicer than the non M variants IMHO.
I totally agree. I bought my 2006 Z4M last year with 25M miles - Interlagos Blue/Black/carbon and use it as my daily driver, though being retired this doesn't amount to very much. I don't use it in the winter, as we are down in Florida. Maintenance costs will of course depend on the condition of the car at time of purchase and how it is driven. A well maintained and non track driven car shouldn't cost much more than the Z4, with the notable exception of the valve clearance adjustments, which should be done every 25-30M miles. A dealer will charge A LOT for this, but a decent indy BMW specialist would be a lot less and it is not a terribly difficult diy if you are mechanically inclined.
I don't find the suspension to be uncomfortable - I picked the car up in Montreal and we drove it 5 hours back to Toronto, which was no more exacting than the trip there in my 335is.
This looks on paper like a nice car and is priced competitively. I suggest you check it out.
These are true enthusiast's cars and not a lot were made. Keep the mileage reasonable and it will hold it's value much better than a Z4.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Well, I'm going out to check out this car. I may buy it, or after driving it, decide that it is not my cup of tea. I have also seen cars that look great in photos, but not so much in person. So, we shall see.

While there, I will also be checking out a 2009 sDrive30i. I am curious to see the hardtop convertible in person. One of my uncles has a 2014 that he loves, and is recommending that I get one. He had a Z3 for 17 years previous to that one.

Anyways, I can at least write off the trip as a business expense since I have an associate out there that I can meet with.
 

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Well, I'm going out to check out this car. I may buy it, or after driving it, decide that it is not my cup of tea. I have also seen cars that look great in photos, but not so much in person. So, we shall see.



While there, I will also be checking out a 2009 sDrive30i. I am curious to see the hardtop convertible in person. One of my uncles has a 2014 that he loves, and is recommending that I get one. He had a Z3 for 17 years previous to that one.



Anyways, I can at least write off the trip as a business expense since I have an associate out there that I can meet with.


I smell an M in someone's future. LOL! Seriously, from all that's been said, it would seem, you'll be broke with the M and bored out of your mind with a 3.0i. That just isn't the case. Even the 3.0 auto is a darned nice car and really fun to drive. Some don't enjoy shifting and BMW has answered that with an auto that is among the best. It always knows where it is and grabs the right gear without much lag.

The M is a high performance engine, so like most cars with HO engines, it can be a more prone to misbehaving if things aren't perfect. That said, it is one of the sweetest engines I've ever driven.

If you like tinkering with stuff, the M may be a great option. The 3.0i is also a great tinkering machine with tons of available upgrades. The 3.0si, not so much. There's hardly anything available for it outside of stock, so just a few things to consider.

Good luck on your search and I'm sure you'll be happy with whichever model you choose.


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