2008 BMW Z4 Review


Pros & Cons

  • Engaging driving dynamics, refined powertrains, excellent build quality, spacious interior for a roadster.
  • Options are pricey, sport package's ride quality might be overly stiff for some drivers.
List Price Range
$11,994 - $17,750

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 BMW Z4 models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

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

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Perfect after changing tires
David Kirby,08/08/2009
WOW! I replaced the Bridgestons RF (run flat) tires, with Michelin Pilot Sport ASXL. The ride with the sports suspension, improved significantly, and eliminated the jolting, without compromising the handling. As a bonus, it may enable me to use the car year around in Upstate NY, without having to invest in snow tires, and if I can get even close to the projected 40K miles tread life, I will be even happier.
Fun Fun Fun
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.
Certified Fun
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 call it my little zippy for a reason!
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!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 BMW Z4 features & specs 


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
    Driver3 / 5
    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

Used 2008 BMW Z4 Overview

The Used 2008 BMW Z4 is offered in the following submodels: Z4 Hatchback, Z4 Convertible. Available styles include 3.0i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 3.0si 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), and 3.0si 2dr Hatchback (3.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 BMW Z4?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 BMW Z4 trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 BMW Z4 3.0si is priced between $15,700 and$17,750 with odometer readings between 53240 and83236 miles.
  • The Used 2008 BMW Z4 3.0i is priced between $11,994 and$11,994 with odometer readings between 75905 and75905 miles.

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Which used 2008 BMW Z4s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 BMW Z4 for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2008 Z4s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,994 and mileage as low as 53240 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 BMW Z4.

Can't find a used 2008 BMW Z4s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW Z4 for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $8,942.

Find a used BMW for sale - 2 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $24,800.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW Z4 for sale - 3 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $19,848.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 3 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $8,452.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 BMW Z4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out BMW Z4 lease specials