Z4 (E85/E86) – MY2003-2008

BMW Z4 M Coupe (E86)
BMW Z4 M Coupe (E86)

BMW Z4 (E85/E86)

The E85 Z4 was BMW’s replacement for the Z3. Despite the lukewarm reception to its design upon launch, it has aged well, as have the cars themselves. It shares many components from the 3-Series of the time – in fact, it is essentially an E46 3-series with a different body – which means parts are easy to come by, and the driving experience is far greater than that of the Z3. It is more rigid, but is also lighter than the Z3 despite being larger, and features a more complex suspension setup. Some have criticized the suspension for being too stiff, but if the base car is not stiff enough for you, there is a Sport package. Most of the car’s predominant issues were ironed out over the years, especially when the facelifted versions rolled out in 2006. An electronic folding soft top was optional, and was part of the Premium package as well.

2006 also introduced the Z4 Coupe, known as the E86, and M versions of the two cars which featured the same “S54” engine used in the E46 M3.

Desirable Features

  • Premium package (power roof, power seats w/ memory, autodim rearview and side mirrors, storage nets, automatic climate control, onboard computer)
  • Sport package (Dynamic Driving Control, upgraded wheels, sport suspension)
  • Harman Kardon stereo
  • Power seats
  • Heated seats

Engines

  • M54 (2.5i, 3.0i MY03-05)
  • N52 (3.0i MY06+, 3.0si)
  • S54 (M)

Problems

  • Cracked rear springs
  • Electric power steering can act up at operating temperature, especially in warm environments – this was mostly fixed in MY04 and fully by MY06
  • Clogged roof drains can flood the soft top motor and cause it to fail
  • Crankcase breather valve underneath the manifold can get clogged up and make the car smoke – this is an easy fix but requires removing the manifold
  • TSB – rear differential grinding during slow cornering; simply requires break-in of the differential clutches
  • CEL from defective ignition coils – only affects BRMEI coils, not Bosch coils
  • Avoid cars with the “SMG” automated manual transmission, as they shift very rough