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Thread: Any BMW Z4 Owners?

  1. #1
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Any BMW Z4 Owners?

    Morning all,

    I've very close to taking the plunge on buying a Z4; not the new/current one but the last gen with the convertible hard top.

    I thought I'd reach out and see if anyone has one, things to check for on them as it will obviously be second hand, how they are to live with, generally any helpful advise and thoughts anyone could offer.

    Many thanks for any useful input :)

  2. #2
    Master
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    We have had one of the E89s, very much a cruiser vs a more sporty drive like the predecessor E85 which we had 4 of.

    Very comfortable, very capable but didnít really excite us. Cracked alloys are fairly common on the 19Ē 5 spoke design based on RFT and our roads. Drives better without them.

    Not heard of the roof going wrong, by always had a sigh of relief when it worked as imagine they are awfully expensive to fix.

    Thereís a great Z4 UK forum with loads of friendly members & would be surprised if they didnít have a buying guide.

  3. #3
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    We have had one of the E89s, very much a cruiser vs a more sporty drive like the predecessor E85 which we had 4 of.

    Very comfortable, very capable but didnít really excite us. Cracked alloys are fairly common on the 19Ē 5 spoke design based on RFT and our roads. Drives better without them.

    Not heard of the roof going wrong, by always had a sigh of relief when it worked as imagine they are awfully expensive to fix.

    Thereís a great Z4 UK forum with loads of friendly members & would be surprised if they didnít have a buying guide.
    Thanks for that!

    Yeah Iíve been seeing the 5 spoke 19ís tend to have that issue (not surprising given our roads) although annoyingly, those are the ones I initially fancy as I like how wide they look on the rear. I guess if I get one with them Iíll see how it goes and potentially swap if too problematic.

    To be fair itís just to be a recreational use car for weekends etc. Iím not after it for chucking about or Iíd probably pick up an MX5.


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  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    Good advice to visit Z4Forum. I've been a member for years after having several E85s.
    Not only do they have loads of buying info they usually have some well looked after examples for sale too

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  5. #5
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chr1stof View Post
    Thanks for that!

    Yeah Iíve been seeing the 5 spoke 19ís tend to have that issue (not surprising given our roads) although annoyingly, those are the ones I initially fancy as I like how wide they look on the rear. I guess if I get one with them Iíll see how it goes and potentially swap if too problematic.

    To be fair itís just to be a recreational use car for weekends etc. Iím not after it for chucking about or Iíd probably pick up an MX5.


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    Ours didnít crack or buckle but we did ditch the RFTs as soon as the car was home. Rides so much better & yes they look immense!

    If itís not a chuck about then itís a perfect fit for you. Great toy for eating the miles up at weekends, always felt planted & so much comfort from it. Check alignment & panel gap of the clamshell bonnet as they are a bugger to adjust.

  6. #6
    Master DMC102's Avatar
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    I bought my E89 35i DCT on Sales Corner over four years ago and still have it.

    Its been my only car over that period and entirely faultless, other than frequently cracked 19" wheels. The suspension on these cars is very hard and I echo what others have said about ditching the RFTs. I carry a couple of tins of gunk and a 12v inflater in the boot, which is pretty spacious even with the top down.

    The straight six is a peach and great for munching the miles in GT style, with a great turn of speed when you want it (especially in Sport mode) and plenty of effortless torque grunt.

    Not as agile and chuckable as some but a brilliant comfortable cruiser that still turns heads.
    Last edited by DMC102; 21st September 2020 at 08:01.

  7. #7
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    I had an E89 Z4 for a while, it was ok but no Boxster as it was more of a harsh riding GT than a sports car, when I sold it I bough a current shape Mazda MX5 (ND) 2.0 Sport Nav and it was utterly sublime. My top tip is donít buy a Z4 and get an MX5.

  8. #8
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Thanks for the points on Z4 experiences. After one I fancied locally was snapped up before I could get a reply from the seller this morning, Iím wondering whether to just pick up an MX5 NC with the folding hard top and run it through the winter. See if I get the usage I expect and keep an eye out for the right spec of Z4 Iím after.
    As everyone raves so much about the MX5s Iíve been wanting a shot of one regardless of getting the Z4 so maybe itíll be worth considering right now. (Tbh itís probably in part due to my p***** off mood at not being able to get that one earlier today, so maybe Iíll be pro-Z4 again tomorrow)


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  9. #9
    Craftsman ELD1970's Avatar
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    I bought my first MX5 in June, a 2011 NC Sport Tech with the power folding roof...absolutely love it. You only understand the whole MX5 thing after youíve owned one....
    If you can get a 3.5 which was from 2009 onwards as it had many improvements.
    Iíll be upgrading to an ND in a couple of years



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  10. #10
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELD1970 View Post
    I bought my first MX5 in June, a 2011 NC Sport Tech with the power folding roof...absolutely love it. You only understand the whole MX5 thing after youíve owned one....
    If you can get a 3.5 which was from 2009 onwards as it had many improvements.
    Iíll be upgrading to an ND in a couple of years



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    Nice, I like that colour mate.


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  11. #11
    Craftsman ELD1970's Avatar
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    And other owners wave at you...bet you donít get that in Z4


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  12. #12
    Craftsman ELD1970's Avatar
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    Be warned...your wife or girlfriend will keep stealing the car as well!


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  13. #13
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Weíve got one on the driveway in the UK. 23i (2.5) M Sport Highline Edition.

    As others have said, itís a cruiser not a sports car.

    The 326m 19Ē alloys look nice but are about a tough as shortbread and the RFTs tramline.

    Things to look out for are light cluster seals. Check the boot well for water. Best to change the salmon roof connectors. If they fail then you roof is fudge.

    Reverse gear can get a little clunky. The gearbox oil is a sealed unit, but should be changed.

    If you go for a turbo they are very tuneable, but they have piped engine notes permanently coming through the speakers.

    Oh, and donít disconnect the battery and then close the boot. I found out the hard (and expensive) way.

    All in all, a nice car. If I was in the market again, Iíd definitely go for the 35is.






  14. #14
    Master
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    Same colour combo my wife had Jon, looks smart. Ouch on the boot & battery combo, a few people have managed it on the forum over the years!


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  15. #15
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenney View Post
    Weíve got one on the driveway in the UK. 23i (2.5) M Sport Highline Edition.

    As others have said, itís a cruiser not a sports car.

    The 326m 19Ē alloys look nice but are about a tough as shortbread and the RFTs tramline.

    Things to look out for are light cluster seals. Check the boot well for water. Best to change the salmon roof connectors. If they fail then you roof is fudge.

    Reverse gear can get a little clunky. The gearbox oil is a sealed unit, but should be changed.

    If you go for a turbo they are very tuneable, but they have piped engine notes permanently coming through the speakers.

    Oh, and donít disconnect the battery and then close the boot. I found out the hard (and expensive) way.

    All in all, a nice car. If I was in the market again, Iíd definitely go for the 35is.





    You literally have the exact car I want haha, partial to it in silver also but they seem even rarer.

    Thanks for the info. Is the salmon roof connector part of the mechanism or a wired connection?


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  16. #16
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    I’ve had the E89 23i and currently have a 35i for the last couple of years, love it, taken the precaution of replacing the roof solenoids and vanos solenoids as these have been known to fail and it’s given me no problems.

    Just ditch the run flats if you get one

  17. #17
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie169 View Post
    I’ve had the E89 23i and currently have a 35i for the last couple of years, love it, taken the precaution of replacing the roof solenoids and vanos solenoids as these have been known to fail and it’s given me no problems.

    Just ditch the run flats if you get one
    Yeah, the run flats seem to be a bone of contention for everyone Iíve spoken to.
    Did you just have a garage replace the solenoids and is it an aftermarket part?


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  18. #18
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    Bought the BMW solenoids myself and free issued to my garage, great believer in preventive Maintenance, specially with the roof solenoids, if they go whilst opening/ closing the roof you are in big trouble, A as you can’t manually close it and B it causes a lot of expensive damaged as the hydraulic pump keeps working.

    Great cars though but have been lusting after either an Alfa 939 or Caymen recently, any 939 owners here

  19. #19
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chr1stof View Post
    Is the salmon roof connector part of the mechanism or a wired connection?
    Sorry, it's these things. As already mentioned, prevention is better than cure.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CHANGE-BE...-/264466801471

  20. #20
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenney View Post
    Sorry, it's these things. As already mentioned, prevention is better than cure.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CHANGE-BE...-/264466801471
    Thanks, Jon. Iíll keep that in mind and look to get them switched out if and when I pick one up.

    One I had been interested in before is still available but need to wait until the owner is back in a couple of weeks to view so weíll see. Sadly it doesnít have the idrive though.


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  21. #21
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chr1stof View Post
    Sadly it doesnít have the idrive though
    Those that haven't got iDrive will tell you that it's dated and pointless. Those that have it will agree it's dated but far from pointless.

    Some enthusiasts retro fit a 10" Android system in place, and although it contains all the goodies, it is stuck where it is and the cavity is on show. Plenty of how to's on YT.

    If I ever get back to the UK, I'll lose the RFT's and 326Ms and replace with M3 CSL replica 19s.

  22. #22
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    Mine didn't come with Sat Nav or cruise control, like the previous post mentioned you can fit an Android unit, which is what I did, not sure what he means by cavity as there isnt one, the screen just fits upright like in a lot of modern BMWs rather than retracts with the OEM sat nav, advantage is I now have bluetooth, sat nav, (Waze, Sygic, google maps etc) video, google search, music, etc etc, just like on an ipad but with the BMW idrive system to navigate the options, also have front & rear parking visuals :) and the idrive controller for the centre console :)

    The cruise control is another MOD, there is a guy I know who fits and programmes OEM cruise controls to your car, I had mine done about a year ago, he fits the OEM cruise column and shrouds (including indicator, washer stalks etc) to your car then programs it.

    Its superb and ridiculously cheap to do so don't worry if your choice doesn't have cruise control

    Pics below of my car with the android unit

    IMG_5040 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5042 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5171 by Bilko169, on Flickr

  23. #23
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie169 View Post
    Mine didn't come with Sat Nav or cruise control, like the previous post mentioned you can fit an Android unit, which is what I did, not sure what he means by cavity as there isnt one, the screen just fits upright like in a lot of modern BMWs rather than retracts with the OEM sat nav
    Can you post a picture of the reverse side of the head unit please?

    From the couple that I have seen, the compartment lid has been removed and the unit is placed in to the compartment area. There is then a void (cavity) behind the screen. Is yours covered/flush? I may have just seen a couple of bodge jobs?

  24. #24
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    Give me an hour as in a teams meeting lol, it is flush behind as theres a speaker there, also the GPS unit is hidden behind the cover , cant see why there would be a cavity as its std on all the E89s

  25. #25
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    Here you go Jon, sorry about the reflections but its sitting right where the sun is on the screen but its normally clear of relection

    IMG_5377 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5378 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5379 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5380 by Bilko169, on Flickr

  26. #26
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie169 View Post
    Here you go Jon, sorry about the reflections but its sitting right where the sun is on the screen but its normally clear of relection

    IMG_5377 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5378 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5379 by Bilko169, on Flickr

    IMG_5380 by Bilko169, on Flickr
    Cheers! That looks sweet. Much better than Iíve seen on some of the Z4 forums.

    Thanks for sharing.

  27. #27
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenney View Post
    Cheers! That looks sweet. Much better than Iíve seen on some of the Z4 forums.

    Thanks for sharing.
    If you use Z4 forum, AnubisZed (Dave) is your man, he does the OEM cruise control units and the fitting of the android units, top guy and a useful source of info, also does DAB conversions (did mine), rear view camera fitment and a host of other mods !!!

  28. #28
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    I owned a Z4 23si, as the name suggests itís a de-tuned 2.5. I liked it initially; and can vouch for the turbine like smooth straight six power delivery. But after a few weeks I felt like it run out of puff too early and the engine felt constrained. I took it to a local tuning company who Re-mapped it and a few rolling road sessions later it came back feeling like it should have from the factory, way better, but still not as good as the MX5 I bought afterwards, nor as good as the Boxster I had before.

  29. #29
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yumma View Post
    I owned a Z4 23si, as the name suggests it’s a de-tuned 2.5. I liked it initially; and can vouch for the turbine like smooth straight six power delivery. But after a few weeks I felt like it run out of puff too early and the engine felt constrained. I took it to a local tuning company who Re-mapped it and a few rolling road sessions later it came back feeling like it should have from the factory, way better, but still not as good as the MX5 I bought afterwards, nor as good as the Boxster I had before.
    What gains did you get from the remap? NA engines don't tend to benefit too much from one.

    Can you post up the dyno print outs please?
    Last edited by Jon Kenney; 23rd September 2020 at 06:37.

  30. #30
    Master Frankie169's Avatar
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    The 3.0 would be the best choice in my eyes, more power and torque than the 25i and less to worry about than the twin turbo 35i which I bought, mine was too good a deal and low mileage to ignore and lots of go but if I looked for another it would be the 3.0 then tune it a bit, problem is most of them are autos, , bloody hard to find One with the right spec in manual
    Last edited by Frankie169; 23rd September 2020 at 09:45.

  31. #31
    Master yumma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenney View Post
    What gains did you get from the remap? NA engines don't tend to benefit too much from one.

    Can you post up the dyno print outs please?
    Here you go Jon. Like you say youíll never get huge gains from an N/A but Iíd say it was worth it. +23 bhp, smoothed out delivery, raised rev limiter by 500 rpm which felt a more natural place if you were pressing on a bit. Only Phase 1 so completely safe and in manufacturers tolerances. Was done by SA Tuning who are superb. If you had a Turbo car they are the place to go.



  32. #32
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    Have you considered the older e86 Z4 Coupe? Or the M if you’d like something a little crazier. They weren’t made for long and are verging on modern classic status, and there are only something like 230 on the road. So they’re likely to hold up in value, but are still surprisingly affordable. Those with the sportier options have a pretty firm ride but work well once you swap run flats for Pilot Sports, while the hard top makes the chassis incredibly stiff. The 3.0 has tons of torque and in auto mode it’s a very smooth and civilised cruiser that can rise to the occasion if you select the sportier mapping, and gets very lively if you hit the sport button. It’s more mini grand tourer than out and out sports car but is far from slow and is very involving to drive. The electro mechanical steering takes a bit of getting used to, at first it feels like wearing oven gloves but it soon starts to make sense, so long as you get rid of run flats which tramline like crazy.

    Its greatest benefit is being either sheep or wolf, depending on your mood. It has no problems bombing from the UK to France with the revs gently burbling at about 2750, leaving you completely relaxed on arrival. Its only real weakness is that it’s not a Cayman, which is better balanced and sounds better too - but it’s a matter of degree, it still handles well. For substantially less outlay for a much less common car with similar specs it’s a bit of a bargain.

  33. #33
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Thatís a great screen conversion, Iíll bear that in mind thanks. Definitely is a tricky one to get the right spec youíre after. Almost impossible Iím finding unless you just spend crazy money.

    The Z4 coupe has always been one I really have a soft spot for. As you say, theyíre just such a rare breed. Iíll maybe have another look but I think the convertible benefit of the Z4 roadster is so handy whilst retaining the look of a coupe with the roof up during winter.
    The coupes I often see come up are high milers but maybe further afield will show up some lower mile ones. Just not sure if Iíd rather the newer car for the same kind of money.


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  34. #34
    Master Jon Kenney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yumma View Post
    Here you go Jon. Like you say youíll never get huge gains from an N/A but Iíd say it was worth it. +23 bhp, smoothed out delivery, raised rev limiter by 500 rpm which felt a more natural place if you were pressing on a bit. Only Phase 1 so completely safe and in manufacturers tolerances. Was done by SA Tuning who are superb. If you had a Turbo car they are the place to go.


    Thanks for that. 10%+ gain is certainly worth it.

  35. #35
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    The coupe is so beautiful, the only car I have always glanced back at after parking. I owned my one twice, buying it back from the person I sold it too.

    It sold recently on the Z4 forum and is still low miles compared to most. Iíd happily own it again!

  36. #36
    Master Chr1stof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post


    The coupe is so beautiful, the only car I have always glanced back at after parking. I owned my one twice, buying it back from the person I sold it too.

    It sold recently on the Z4 forum and is still low miles compared to most. Iíd happily own it again!
    That angle, colour and wheel combo sums up the immense beauty of that car. The lines, arches and how deep set the rear lights are...
    I always wish theyíd fitted a symmetrical exhaust system as standard, like they have on the M.


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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chr1stof View Post
    That angle, colour and wheel combo sums up the immense beauty of that car. The lines, arches and how deep set the rear lights are...
    I always wish theyíd fitted a symmetrical exhaust system as standard, like they have on the M.


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    Agree fully, the exhaust would have set it off; but I still loved that car more than I should have.

    Was replaced by this after a while , but now have a cayman GTS. Still miss the engine of the Z4M though as an event starting & driving, proper old school.


  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsguy View Post
    Have you considered the older e86 Z4 Coupe? Or the M if youíd like something a little crazier. They werenít made for long and are verging on modern classic status, and there are only something like 230 on the road. So theyíre likely to hold up in value, but are still surprisingly affordable. Those with the sportier options have a pretty firm ride but work well once you swap run flats for Pilot Sports, while the hard top makes the chassis incredibly stiff. The 3.0 has tons of torque and in auto mode itís a very smooth and civilised cruiser that can rise to the occasion if you select the sportier mapping, and gets very lively if you hit the sport button. Itís more mini grand tourer than out and out sports car but is far from slow and is very involving to drive. The electro mechanical steering takes a bit of getting used to, at first it feels like wearing oven gloves but it soon starts to make sense, so long as you get rid of run flats which tramline like crazy.

    Its greatest benefit is being either sheep or wolf, depending on your mood. It has no problems bombing from the UK to France with the revs gently burbling at about 2750, leaving you completely relaxed on arrival. Its only real weakness is that itís not a Cayman, which is better balanced and sounds better too - but itís a matter of degree, it still handles well. For substantially less outlay for a much less common car with similar specs itís a bit of a bargain.
    I was waiting for this to get suggested - I recently bought one, really, really enjoying it. I'd previously looked at the E89 but I preferred the idea of something more unusual, plus you get the superb N52 engine and not a turbo in sight. That said, if you're dead set on a convertible then obviously, not going to work. Finding a good one can be a little tricky, but a bit of patience will pay dividends. Here's a very cheeky photo of mine tonight.


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