2008 BMW Z4

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Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
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What Changed for 2008:
  • Space Gray Metallic replaces Silver Gray Metallic

  • Sport package on Z4 3.0i Roadster now includes 18-inch wheels

  • Optional HD Radio is priced lower
The BMW Z4 Roadster replaced the 2-seat convertible BMW Z3 in 2003. Like its predecessor, the Z4 was a 2-seat convertible, but it offered a larger and stronger chassis with a more refined suspension, according to BMW. The Z4 is credited with introducing BMW's current \"flame surfacing\" design style. Within two years, a coupe version-the BMW Z4 coupe-was introduced. In 2006, BMW updated the powerplants in the two Z4 models with more powerful and fuel efficient inline 6-cylinder engines and made minor changes to the styling. The 2008 model year sees minor cosmetic changes to the colors and option packages.

Model Lineup
There are three different models in BMW's Z4 lineup: Z4 Roadster 3.0i, Z4 Roadster 3.0si and Z4 coupe 3.0si. All share the same 2-seat, rear-wheel-drive chassis with a 6-cylinder powerplant. The Roadster models feature a soft convertible roof, while the coupe model features a permanent steel roof. The standard roof on the Roadster models is raised and lowered manually; a fully automatic power top is optional. Both convertible tops feature a heated glass rear window.

Standard features on all models include 6-way adjustable sport seats, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, and cruise control. The upgraded Z4 Roadster 3.0si and Z4 coupe 3.0si offer standard automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a THX-certified premium sound system, and several cosmetic improvements. The Premium package includes Xenon headlamps; 8-way power sport seats; BMW Assist; a 4-function onboard computer; automatic climate control; and the automatic power soft top. The Sport package adds Dynamic Driving Control, sport suspension, and larger 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires. Stand-alone options include the Steptronic transmission, heated seats, HD Radio, and a DVD-based navigation system.

The 2008 BMW Z4 features a magnesium/aluminum 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder powerplant. For the Z4 Roadster 3.0i, it is tuned to 215 hp and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. The Z4 Roadster 3.0si and Z4 coupe 3.0si share the same engine with substantial upgrades including a new induction system, variable valve control, and high-output tuning. These changes increase the power rating to 255 hp and 220 lb.-ft. of torque. Two transmissions are offered: a 6-speed manual or 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Normal, Sport and Manual modes. According to BMW, the 3.0i model sprints to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The 3.0si models can reach the same speed in just 5.6 seconds (with a manual transmission). EPA fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway (manual transmission) for all three 2008 models.

The suspension on all Z4 models is fully independent. Forged aluminum lower arms and hollow strut rods save weight and improve handling, BMW says. The suspension in the coupe has been recalibrated to take advantage of the vehicle's increased rigidity. All versions of the Z4 feature 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Standard wheels are 17-inch aluminum alloy, with 18-inch alloy wheels optional.

In addition to 3-point safety belts with pre-tensioners, BMW equips all 2008 Z4 models with a driver and passenger front air bag supplemental restraint system (SRS) with advanced technology dual-threshold and dual-stage deployment. Active knee protection and side-impact air bags are also standard. For additional protection, a battery safety terminal is designed to cut off electrical power in a severe collision. Standard active safety features in every BMW Z4 include anti-lock brakes (ABS), dynamic stability control (DSC) with Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Brake Drying, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), and Dynamic Brake Control. While the 2008 model has not been tested, the 2007 BMW Z4 Roadster was crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It received a 4-star rating for both driver and passenger for frontal impact, and a 3-star rating for front-seat side-impact protection. The Z4 earned a 5-star rating in the rollover test.

The 6-cylinder powerplants in the BMW Z4 employ electric water pumps, which BMW says allow the engine to warm to operating temperatures much quicker. This helps to reduce emissions while increasing the response of the heater in the cabin climate control. The elimination of the drive belt means the engine suffers less parasitic power loss, BMW adds, which saves fuel and allows more power to be sent to the drive wheels. Finally, the elimination of the drive belt and pulley allows the engineers to place a more powerful engine in a smaller engine compartment.

J.D. Power Ratings

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