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The BMW Z4 Is Surprisingly Cheap (and Cool)

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Used 2005 BMW Z4 2.5i Roadster
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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2017

Here's a nice public service announcement from your friends at Autotrader Oversteer: The BMW Z4 isn't as expensive as you might think. In fact, dare I say, you can probably afford a BMW Z4. Here's another public service announcement from your friends at Autotrader Oversteer: The BMW Z4 is a lot less ugly now that it doesn't cost $50,000.

I'll start with the whole cost situation. The BMW Z4, which is a fairly modern rear-wheel-drive 2-seat roadster manufactured by a company that knows a thing or two about driving, first went on sale in 2003. If you go on Autotrader and search for a 2003-2006 model, you'll find the average asking price is just $10,700. Cap your search at just the first two years and that figure falls to $9,700.

Let's be honest: For a sharp-handling, sporty, fun-to-drive BMW roadster, $9,700 is a freaking steal. And it's especially a steal when you consider something else I've started to notice: The Z4 isn't really all that ugly. In fact, dare I say ... it's sort of attractive.

I think there are two reasons for this. Number one, say what you will about the "Chris Bangle" era of BMW designs, but they've aged fairly well -- not in terms of attractiveness, necessarily, but in terms of modernity. If you park a Z4 next to a Z3, you'll be stunned the two cars were made in successive years; it looks like there should be a model in between. The Z3 truly looks like the epitome of a 1990s car, with its soft, lazy curves, while the Z4 has sharp cuts and gouges and still looks modern today -- 14 years later.

The other reason the Z4 no longer looks ugly: because it's ninety-seven hundred bucks. Say what you will about the Z4's styling, it was a much tougher pill to swallow at $50,000, or whatever it cost new, than it is at nine grand. At nine grand, you overlook a few weird lines as long as the car doesn't have a check engine light on.

If you're interested in a Z4, the first generation was sold from 2003 to 2008. From 2003 to 2005, power was only 184 horses in the base model (2.5i) and 225 hp in the 3.0i version; the 2.5i was dropped entirely beginning in 2006, leaving only the 3.0i and a 255-hp 3.0si model. The 2006 model year also saw the introduction of an oddly styled coupe, which commands a higher used value, and the "M" version, with a 330-hp 3.2-liter 6-cylinder. All came with available stick shifts. Who needs a Miata when you could have a BMW?

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Used 2005 BMW Z4 2.5i Roadster
Used 2005 BMW Z4
$8,981
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The BMW Z4 Is Surprisingly Cheap (and Cool) - Autotrader