Used 2008 BMW Z4 M Convertible

Style:
2008 BMW Z4 M
List price range
New
Used

Pros

  • Thrilling engine, sharp-edged steering and handling responses, impressive build quality.

Cons

  • Ride quality can be overly harsh or twitchy, no automatic transmission available.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Combining muscle-car mentality with European sensibility, the 2008 BMW M is one of the most engaging sports cars under $55,000.

vehicle overview

For Hitchcock, dialing "M" meant murder. BMW has been known to dial M as well. But in this case, any screaming you hear will be due to overloaded tires or passengers with wild eyes and death grips on the door handles.

The 2008 BMW M is a performance derivative of the Z4. Though its name is atypical -- cars rolling out of BMW's well-known M division typically have a number associated with them -- the M Coupe and Roadster are fully worthy of your attention.

The M Coupe or M Roadster (enthusiasts also call this car the "Z4M") have many performance-enhancing components from the previous-generation M3. It all starts with a 330-horsepower 3.2-liter inline-6. Smooth and high-revving, this is a BMW M engine in the most classical sense, especially as other M cars now have V8s or V10s. Contrasted with the Z4's optional 255-horsepower engine, the M's power plant delivers considerably more thrust to the rear wheels through an exclusive six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential.

The M cars sport many other tweaks to the base Z4 as well, including a wider front track, a stronger rear subframe, hydraulic power steering for better feel (the Z4's is electric), 18-inch wheels and 225/45 front and 255/40 rear performance tires. The springs and dampers are sport-tuned, and the brakes are the same as those used for the old M3's Competition Package. Even the stability control system has been altered to be less intrusive.

Where the 2008 BMW M really shines, however, is when you get past mere specifications and slide behind the wheel. Owing to their light weight, sharp reflexes and aggressively quick acceleration, both coupe and convertible offer competent drivers a thrilling experience. With just two seats, a modest trunk and no automatic transmission, the M Coupe and Roadster are perfectly suited as go-fast weekend playthings.

If you're looking for a daily driver, however, there are other competitors that also offer up plenty of smiles and may serve you better. The Porsche Boxster S or Cayman S are more expensive, but they're also quintessential sports cars with more polished and balanced driving dynamics that are less likely to get you into trouble should your driving be a little overeager. Meanwhile, this year's notably improved Chevrolet Corvette is much more versatile and offers the visceral punch of 100 extra horsepower and far greater torque.

So there's the brawny Chevy on one end of the sports car spectrum and the nimble Porsches on the other. The BMW resides happily in the middle, combining muscle car-like attitude with Continental-style design and build quality. Sound appealing? All you need to do is dial M.

trim levels & features

The 2008 BMW M sports car is available as a hatchback coupe or roadster with a power-operated soft convertible top. The M is distinguished from its lesser Z4 sibling through subtle but purposeful styling enhancements including a more aggressive front fascia with larger air inlets, a pair of "precision" ridges in its aluminum hood and a set of quad exhaust outlets flanking a rear air diffuser.

As a line-topping vehicle, the single-trim M includes many Z4 options as standard equipment. These include 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, leather sport seats and a 10-speaker audio system with CD/MP3 player. If you want cruise control and elastic storage nets, though, be prepared to ante up for the optional Premium Package. With this package you'll also get auto-dimming mirrors, eight-way power seats with driver memory settings, BMW Assist, Bluetooth connectivity and a THX-certified premium audio system. Other options include higher-grade full interior leather trim, heated seats, wood or carbon and leather accents, and a navigation system.

2008 Highlights

The BMW M Coupe and Roadster carry over essentially unchanged for 2008.

performance & mpg

The BMW M Coupe and Roadster feature a high-revving 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine that cranks out 330 hp and 262 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission transfers its power through a special mechanical limited-slip rear differential, resulting in 0-60-mph sprints in 4.9 seconds. Fuel economy for 2008, should you care, is not particularly good even for this class of car, checking in at 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

safety

The M is equipped with antilock disc brakes with automatic brake disc drying, stability control, traction control, side-impact airbags and rollover protection for the roadster. In government crash testing, the companion BMW Z4 roadster and coupe both earned four out of five stars for front occupant protection during frontal impacts. The convertible also received a three-star rating for side-impact protection.

driving

From the driver seat, the view over the M's elongated hood -- made necessary because of the also-lengthy straight-6 power plant resting underneath -- gives the impression you're sitting in what should be the backseat, directly ahead of the car's driving wheels. Which is essentially true, and entirely understandable given BMW's desire for evenly balanced weight distribution in one of its premier sports cars.

Once underway, the engine spins willingly to its 8,000-rpm redline and, considering its size, delivers a surprisingly broad torque band that hurtles the car forward at any speed. The car's sharp responses -- the quick steering, instantaneous throttle and direct brakes -- won't reward a casual driving style, however. Many drivers might find the ride quality harsh and the car's lack of stability to be unsettling when driving hard on broken pavement.

interior

The 2008 BMW M's intimate two-place cockpit features a pair of aggressively bolstered sport seats, well-placed controls, a thick M-edition steering wheel and materials befitting a luxury brand. Gone, however, are the flashy color combinations of the preceding M Roadster and Coupe -- aside from available red leather, the inside is pure staid class. For those who appreciate as much info flowing to them at all times, a 9,000-rpm Motorsport-spec tachometer with a variable redline is standard, reaching a heady 8,000 rpm when the oil reaches operating temperature. The speedometer tops out at 180 mph, but the vehicle's actual maximum speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. The roadster's trunk capacity remains virtually unchanged at approximately 9 cubic feet when the top is lowered. The coupe's enclosed hatchback design is a bit more practical with just under 13 cubic feet of space, although some may find the fixed roof a somewhat claustrophobic environment. It's no worse than the Cayman, however.


Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 BMW Z4 M.

A true roadster...
Trevor, 12/6/2009
Just as advertised, this is a true roadster. Great styling outside and in, power, balance, great to drive fast both straight and around the curves. Take note however, as a second car, it's fun, but not recommended as a primary mode of transport. It is a sports car. The M version has a stiff suspension and low MPG... a car to be driven for pleasure, top down, in fine weather. To leave garaged until one feels the urge for fun.. If one were to drive it every day, it would soon lose the fun value. Stiff suspension, firm seats. This car is designed for racetrack performance, not for around town comfort and convenience. Fit and finish is as you would expect from the brand. MMMM... did I mention fun?
Go-cart
Kert Zilstra, 5/19/2017
Adrenaline rush! This is a go cart on steroids. All about fun. The handling is exceptional and the acceleration exhilarating! I can not provide enough adjectives to describe the driving experience! I am an old fifty seven year old and when I get into my z roadster floor the accelerator and fly down the winding road I feel 20 years younger!!
You need to own this car
Jim, 5/6/2018
I bought this car five years ago with 20,000 miles on it. It is just about to turn 100,000 miles. I’ve never owned a car that I’ve enjoyed more than this one. After I bought it I put an ESS supercharger on, wider tires, and coil over shocks. The rest of the car is stock. It has been absolutely reliable never once leaving me stuck or stranded or failing to start . I’ve gone through brakes tires two headlights and assorted other minor things. The engine has never been a part nor has the transmission it has been an absolute jewel to own. I can’t say enough good than about the engine. 330 horses stock and the supercharger takes it to around 430. The car can fly. At 100,000 miles I starting to think about replacing it but can’t find anything I like better. All this and i can put a full set of golf clubs in the trunk with the top u or down. I’ve owned a Jag xk120, 58 vet,several Porsches, a Dino Ferrari and several other BMW’s in addition to a lot of motorcycles. This is the best.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 23 hwy
Seats 2
6-speed manual
Gas
330 hp @ 7900 rpm
See all Used 2008 BMW Z4 M Convertible features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 BMW Z4 M
Used 2008 BMW Z4 M Convertible Overview

The Used 2008 BMW Z4 M Convertible is offered in the following styles: , and 2dr Convertible (3.2L 6cyl 6M).

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