2003 BMW Z4 Road Test Specs | Edmunds

2003 BMW Z4 - Road Test Specs

2003 BMW Z4 Convertible

(2.5L 6-cyl. 5-speed Manual)


Model year2003
Style2.5i 2dr Roadster (2.5L 6cyl 5M)
Base MSRP$33,795
As-tested MSRP$40,745


Drive typeRWD
Engine typeinline 6
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2.5
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)184 @ 6000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)175 @ 3500
Transmission type5-speed manual


Suspension, frontStruts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension, rearMulti-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering typeSpeed sensitive rack-and-pinion
Tire brandBridgestone
Tire modelPotenza RE050A
Tire size, frontP225/45R17
Tire size, rearP225/45R17
Brakes, frontFront ventilated disc/rear solid disc

Track Test Results

0-45 mph (sec.)4.2
0-60 mph (sec.)6.7
0-75 mph (sec.)9.8
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.05 @ 91.28
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27.97
60-0 mph (ft.)111.19
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)67.1
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)33.1
Sound level @ idle (dB)55
@ Full throttle (dB)78
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)76

Test Driver Ratings & Comments

Acceleration commentsI never feel 100 percent confident in BMW clutches. They require a very careful launch technique and if you don't get it just right they just slip and smell. Our test model's clutch proved a little better than recent BMWs I've tested, and by launching the car at 2,500 rpm with DSC switched off, I was able to get just the right amount of wheel spin and forward thrust without burning the clutch. It's obvious BMW wanted to make the most of out of its smaller-engined Z4, so the gearing in this car is short. That put me well into fourth gear before crossing the 1/4-mile lights (most performance cars can get there in third). However, a 15-flat in the quarter mile is quite impressive for a 2.5-liter engine, so the thinking behind this drivetrain obviously gets the job done even if the car is taching at 3,000 rpm in top gear at 60 mph. Good thing the engine is so smooth that, even at redline, it seems to be loafing along.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsWhat can you say about a car that starts with a 113-foot braking distance from 60 mph, and then gets shorter on each of the two follow-up runs? Our Z4 was down to 111 feet by the third run, begging the question, "So, if we just keep making runs will it eventually stop from 60 mph in zero feet?" It takes a heavy foot to put the car into ABS mode, but vibration and noise from the antilock braking system is minimal. The pedal's feel never changed from the first to the third run, and the numbers confirm that fade was not an issue (quite the contrary, in fact). The Z4 may have its issues, but slowing down or stopping isn't one of them.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsYou sit low in the car, with a long hood stretching out in front of you. This makes it feel almost exotic in nature, and sure enough the car managed some of the highest slalom speeds we've ever achieved. Steering is go-cart quick, and the body basically doesn't lean at all. However, that long hood and low seating position make placing the car tricky. Avoiding cones was as much an act of faith as an act of skill. The car's excellent DSC system allowed a certain amount of vehicle rotation when engaged, but turning it off (while leaving DTC on) was ideal. It gave me the latitude to rotate the Z4 as much as I ever needed while still intervening before things got hairy. And let's not forget that turbine smooth engine and low gearing that provided gobs of torque for accelerating in mid slalom. Basically, the car seemed to be designed specifically to perform well in our slalom test. And it did. — Karl Brauer

Testing Conditions

Elevation (ft.)85
Temperature (°F)62
Wind (mph, direction)2 mph

Fuel Consumption

EPA fuel economy (mpg)Auto 21/28 Manual 20/28
Edmunds observed (mpg)21
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)14.5

Dimensions & Capacities

Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)2932
Length (in.)161.1
Width (in.)70.1
Height (in.)50.1
Wheelbase (in.)98.2
Legroom, front (in.)42
Headroom, front (in.)37.3
Seating capacity2


Bumper-to-bumper4 years / 50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years / 50,000 miles
Corrosion6 years / Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years / 50,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/ 50,000 miles


Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard
Head airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakesStandard
Electronic brake enhancementsbraking assist
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionStandard
Emergency assistance systemNot available
NHTSA crash test, driverGood
NHTSA crash test, passengerGood
NHTSA crash test, side frontAverage
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot Tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceExcellent

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