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Thanks to a powerful engine, communicative steering and sharp handling, the M editions of BMW's Z3/Z4-based roadsters and coupes have long been among our favorite tools for tackling serpentine roads. The BMW Z4 M was the most recent of the breed and without a doubt the most well-balanced and well-engineered.
The Z4 M was only produced for a couple years, as BMW phased it out with the debut of the newest, second-generation Z4. Not too many Z4 Ms were sold, so it should make for a rare and appealing sports car purchase.
Most Recent BMW Z4 M
The most recent BMW Z4 M was produced from 2006-'08. This Z4-based sports car was available as a convertible two-seat roadster or a two-seat hatchback.
Power came from a 3.2-liter inline-6 that delivered 330 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. BMW's M division stuck with a "back to basics" approach, forgoing some of the Z4's features like the SMG automanual transmissions and active steering in favor of a slick-shifting six-speed manual and hydraulic steering system.
There were other performance-minded upgrades as well, such as a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential and more powerful brakes. Inside, there was a meaty, small-diameter steering wheel, sport seats and special gauges. The coupe's fastback roof line concealed 10.7 cubic feet of cargo space under its hatch. The roadster held a decent 7.1 cubic feet with its soft top lowered.
In reviews of the BMW Z4 M, we found that its modus operandi was immediacy: quick steering, instant brakes, direct throttle response and a caffeinated ride. It felt like the Z4 the BMW engineers and test-drivers had originally intended to build before the focus groups electrified its steering, softened its edges and slowed its reflexes to make it less taxing to drive. In fact, if you're looking for a BMW roadster that delivers blistering automotive thrills, a used Z4 M is a better choice than the succeeding regular Z4. The coupe is much the same story, with a slightly stiffer structure provided by its fixed roof. However, some might find the car's ride quality to be overly stiff for daily use.