The Z4 M shared an engine with the E46 M3, yet never quite delivered on the promise of the sharper, more precise sports car that should have come from something smaller and slimmer. It was tricky when pushed, spiky when provoked and not exactly in keeping with the M car style. Entertaining by some accounts, yes, though in the same way a rollercoaster without restraints might be: your heart rate is raised and the experience is memorable, but it was as much about survival as anything else.
So why not save a bit of cash - like so many naturally aspirated M cars, the Z4 is climbing up the appreciation curve - and plump for a Z4 3.0si instead? Here was a car described as "undoubtedly engineered for people who want to drive, not just pose", offering more than 260hp from a lovely BMW straight six (remember those?) through a six-speed manual gearbox and the rear wheels. It wasn't as frenzied as a Z4 M, sure, but then it wasn't as scary either.
next Z4 will likely maintain the coupe-convertible cruiser thing introduced with the previous car, every engine will be turbocharged at the very least and people will look at you weirdly for wanting a manual. Right now the closest equivalent would be a 228i; far more staid in appearance, and powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. Hmm. Finally, don't forget that this was the only era of Z-car in which BMW offered non-M coupes, making it even rarer (European markets received Z3 coupes).
This 3.0si is lovely. Well, it looks to be. Black with CSL replica wheels, it still has presence and style that belie its age. It has covered just 50,000 miles in its 10 years of existence and the advert is full of encouraging details: it's an approved used BMW, it's always been serviced at BMW, it's still under a BMW warranty and the Goodyear tyres are near-as-dammit brand new. So if you're after a Z4 Coupe this looks like one of the best.
Nissan 350Zs, for example, are available for less money and with fewer miles than the Z4. If power is a priority you then a Monaro is in budget, or you could want an Audi TT. You probably don't, but you could. In fact the most appealing alternative to the Z4 could be another BMW - that aforementioned E46 M3. Cars are still available in budget, although if the looks of the Z4 appeal then the slightly plain M3 might seem a bit boring.
Plenty of reasons to go for it, and seemingly not too many against the Z4, then. Although that's just our view - what about yours? Are your ownership and buying stories good, or bad? Over to you...
SPECIFICATION - BMW Z4 30si
Engine: 2,996cc, inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 265@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 232@2,750rpm
First registered: 2006
Recorded mileage: 53,000miles
Price new: £31,400
Yours for: £13,000
See the original advert here