2008 BMW Z4 Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2008 BMW Z4 Convertible

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW Z4 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 215 hp @ 6250 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 BMW Z4

  • Available as both a roadster and a coupe, the 2008 BMW Z4 offers premium-brand cachet and an exhilarating driving experience. It all comes at a remarkably reasonable price -- provided you go light on the options.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Engaging driving dynamics, refined powertrains, excellent build quality, spacious interior for a roadster.

  • Cons

    Options are pricey, sport package's ride quality might be overly stiff for some drivers.

  • What's New for 2008

    Changes are light for the 2008 BMW Z4 roadster and coupe. The 3.0i Sport Package now includes 18-inch wheels rather than 17s, while the price of optional HD radio has been lowered.

Full 2008 BMW Z4 Review

What's New for 2008

Changes are light for the 2008 BMW Z4 roadster and coupe. The 3.0i Sport Package now includes 18-inch wheels rather than 17s, while the price of optional HD radio has been lowered.


BMW reinvented the European roadster 12 years ago with the Z3, an instant classic driven by hairdressers and James Bond alike. It not only beat its Mercedes and Porsche competitors to the market, it beat their prices as well. While the 2008 BMW Z4 isn't quite the classic its predecessor was, it maintains that price advantage while being a much more adept driver's car, boasting a high level of handling and performance.

The Z4 is available in roadster and coupe body styles, the latter being a recent addition to the series for driving enthusiasts who appreciate the fixed-roof model's added rigidity or for folks who just want something different. While the unloved Z3 Coupe looked like it had been cooked up in Herr Frankenstein's lab, the Z4 Coupe's fastback profile lends it a compact, sinewy appearance that some feel is better sorted than that of the roadster.

Still, it's hard to beat top-down motoring, and for that, the Z4 delivers in droves. After all, the only thing more fun than a convertible is a BMW convertible. Just roll back the fast-retracting roof (available with manual or power operation) and settle into the supportive, roomy driver seat for some high-speed fun in the sun. Even if the weather turns chilly, flip on the optional heated seats, and in fine roadster tradition, don a tweed cap and wool scarf.

It's not very often a BMW is considered a budget buy, but the Z4 is. While the Porsche Boxster/Cayman and Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class enjoy about the same prestige, they cost thousands more than the Bimmer. Of course, the SLK's retractable hardtop provides many of the benefits offered by both the Z4 coupe and roadster, while the Porsches have a lead in the arena of handling excellence. Still, if you're looking for a two-seater that delivers outstanding performance and the glamour of a high-end nameplate at a reasonable price, the 2008 BMW Z4 is the best candidate to consider.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 BMW Z4 is available as a two-seat roadster or coupe. The roadster has a traditional, manually operated convertible soft top with a defroster-equipped glass rear window. Two trim levels, 3.0i and 3.0si, are available. The 3.0i (roadster only) comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers with heated wiper jets, heated outside mirrors, full power accessories, manually operated six-way adjustable seats, vinyl "leatherette" upholstery, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The 3.0si version adds leather upholstery, a center armrest, aluminum interior trim, a premium audio system, a trip computer and automatic climate control. Most of these features are available on the 3.0i as options.

The optional Premium Package includes a one-touch power operation feature for the convertible's top, auto-dimming mirrors, xenon headlights, power seats, memory for the driver seat and Bluetooth. Other options for the BMW Z4 include sport seats, heated seats, upgraded leather upholstery, a navigation system, satellite radio and HD radio. The Sport Package includes upgraded wheels and tires, a sport-tuned suspension and BMW's Dynamic Driving Control feature that quickens throttle response and reduces power-steering assist.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-drive Z4 is available with one of two engines. The 3.0i features a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 215 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0si boasts a high-output version of the same engine making 255 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. Each trim comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is an available option. According to BMW, a manual-equipped 3.0si can achieve 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. For both trims and body styles, 2008 fuel economy estimates are 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for manual-equipped cars.


Every BMW Z4 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, run-flat tires, rollover protection (for the convertible), stability control, side airbags and active knee protection. In government crash tests, the Z4 roadster earned four out of five stars for frontal-impact protection. It received three stars for side impact safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

Simplicity is the prevailing aesthetic within the 2008 BMW Z4's cabin. This is a driver's car, and as such, the cockpit's furnishings offer little to shift your focus from the road. The cabin offers a broad dash, pleasant gauges, firm sport seats and not much else. There's lots of standard metallic trim, though, and wood trim is available for those seeking a more classic look.

Drop-top drivers will find the manual or power-operated convertible tops intuitive and a snap to operate. Unlike the Z3's roof cover that literally required several snaps to operate, the Z4's roof conveniently serves as its own tonneau cover. Also, lowering the top doesn't result in compromises with regard to storage space in the trunk. With the top down, the roadster's 9-cubic-foot trunk capacity remains almost unchanged. For comparison, the Mercedes SLK offers 10 cubic feet of cargo space with its hardtop up, but considerably less in top-down configuration. The coupe can feel a little confined, but even those a few inches north of 6 feet should have just enough headroom.

Driving Impressions

In nearly all performance aspects, the 2008 BMW Z4 shines. Acceleration, braking and handling are all excellent. The Z4 is in its element on lightly trafficked roads where one can push the car toward its limits and enjoy the engine's sonorous exhaust note. From an everyday driver standpoint, the Z4 is still mostly agreeable. Wind and road noise on the roadster can be bothersome at highway speeds, however, and some drivers might find the ride quality produced by the optional Sport Package's suspension to be a bit too stiff.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My 2008 z4 convertible

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

Very dependable. Lots of cool features. Comfortable and very easy to drive. Fast when need be. Hugs the road.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Fun fun fun

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0si 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

This car is nothing but fun to drive, the steering is a little startling on grooved or rough pavement, Sports Package). Takes off in any gear even on the interstate. MPG is amazing for a performance car of this caliber. If you can afford one, go and buy one. Best to get a CPO as opposed to buying a new one, save some serious cash. Mine had only 19K on it. Make sure you get the SI model as opposed to the i the difference in horsepower is worth it. Watch out for cement bumpers, get too close and you will mess up that one piece front bumper. Also watch out for pot holes, not much clearance on the underside.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Certified fun

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to own a Z4 and the day finally came. I purchased a CPO car so that I would have warranty coverage just in case. I couldn't have gotten a better deal or a better car. The performance is top notch. I smile every time I get in or out. I got the Steptronic manual with the Sport package and the paddle shifters on the steering wheel. I love the power top and heated seats. This thing is the most fun you can have for 31K.

I love it sooooo much

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I am a mother of four kids whose oldest one just got her license - so we are a three car family. But who needs three big cars? Not us! I work full time and drive frequently for work - and this car brings a thrill to even the most mundane errand. I finally got a toy for myself, and I have no regrets whatsoever. The mileage is good and it is incredibly fun to drive - I am the envy of all my friends. I think it is a BEAUTIFUL SEXY car and I will be in tears when the lease is up. Might just have to get another one!

Own one and you'll understand!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

This is my first Z4, I have always had Porsches, my last one was a Cayman S. Let me tell you about my Z4 in a nut shell... it's impressive design and agility gave me what I needed to get off my Cayman and look into my "now present and future" BMW relationship. The car handles like its on rails, it brakes like no other car I've driven before and to top it all on wet surfaces you can not even tell that you are driving in the rain, it just feels like a 997 Turbo handling in a smaller car. I will definitely get another BMW after my lease is up on this baby. I will recommend to anyone that is looking for performance, safety and value at the same time. A real head-turner! Enjoy it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I call it my little

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I just recently purchased this car. And oh what a car it is. The handling on the Z4 is amazing, not to mention it's one sexy car. Options that are musts are the leather for easier clean-up with a convertible, the premium package with the auto top, as well as the heated seats so that you can take advantage of the top down on cooler nights. Don't waste your money on the upgraded speaker system. The one it has is amazing! My husband is 6'3" and has plenty of headroom. However it is a little cumbersome to get out of compared to a normal car. But hey, you are driving a sports machine who cares right!

Talk About The 2008 Z4

2008 BMW Z4 Discussions See all Started By

2008 BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe...

owners of “3-Series sedans, wagons, convertibles and coupes from the 2007 through 2011 model years, 1-Series coupes and convertibles from 2008 through 2012, or the Z4 sports car from 2009 thr...

Hello all. I am very much interested in the current BMW Z4 Lease Special (36 months @ $369 w/ $2500 down) but I have a few questions:...

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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