While only in production since 2002, the BMW Z4 is part of a long line of BMW roadster-style cars. The Z4 was preceded by such automotive works of art as the Z1, which wasn't sold in t he U.S., the Z3, Z8, and the classic 507. The BMW Z4 is made exclusively in the company's South Carolina plant.

More on the BMW Z4
BMW Origins

The BMW automotive company began under unique circumstances. Unlike most car manufacturers, BMW didn't originally start out making cars. In the beginning, it was all about airplane engines to assist Germany in World War I. Around October of 1913, Karl Friedrich Rapp, an engineer, joined forces with Gustav Otto, a neighboring inventor with a four-cylinder engine design to share.

Before and during the World War I, the company focused on creating impressive designs for airplane engines. After the war ended, the Allies decreed no German company could make military equipment. At that point, BMW chose to focus on making high-quality farming equipment and boat and truck motors.

It wasn't until years later, in 1922, that the teams at BMW chose to focus their talents on state-of-the-art braking systems and designing the cars for which the brand became famous. Among the many famous models and designs associated with BMW, the Z4 model sticks out for car enthusiasts.

About the BMW Z4

The BMW Z4 is known throughout the world for its distinctive design. This car, in its various incarnations, is famous for its sleek exterior and interior. Both succeed in catching the eye, adding excitement and the a look of power to the appearance of the car. The body style features a long hood to house the engine as well as a low-seated frame that helps the car hug the road and aid in easy handling and maneuverability, for which BMW is known.

Modern BMW Z4s

Most fans of the BMW Z Series are more than familiar with the cars' powerful inline six-cylinder engine design. It appears BMW has decided to change things up a bit with the 2012 model. The 2012 BMW Z4 packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. Both BMW representatives and the automotive community have shown excitement about the change and expect great things from this engine design. The specs on the turbocharged Z4 engine state that it is capable of 240 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 260 lb-ft torque at 1250 rpm, all while achieving better fuel economy.

This car also offers an eight-speed automatic transmission, though a six-speed manual transmission is available as well. BMW believes the eight-speed automatic transmission works best with the four-cylinder engine, offering up the greatest level of performance and efficiency for the engine. The manual is still the performance drivers' option of choice, though the automatic may actually be easier for performance driving.

The 2012 BMW Z4 is equipped with some nice standard features as well. Along with the top-notch body style and a new powerful engine, you can also expect to enjoy Bluetooth hands-free capabilities, floor mats, a state-of-the-art alarm and security system, and adequate trunk space with a convenient pass-through.

BMW Z4 Evolution

The 2012 BMW Z4 comes from a line of exceptionally designed cars. From the beginning of the series in the 2003 model year, this car has received a great deal of positive attention. In the first generation, the Z4 was noted for its fast acceleration and sharp reflexes. This car design featured two unique roadster models, the 2.5i and the 3.0i. The 2.5i was equipped with an inline-six engine capable of 184 horsepower. The 3.0i contained a 3.0-liter, straight-six engine design. These cars also featured five-speed and six-speed transmission options, respectively.

In the 2006 model year, BMW updated the Z4 before undergoing a full redesign for the 2009 model year. Many believe that these cars show what having a Z4 is about. BMW offered them in the traditional roadster style or in a fixed-roof, coupe design. Now all new BMW Z4 models feature a retractable power hard top. A redone suspension system improved the ride in both styles. The much-maligned sequential manual gearbox semi-automatic transmission was removed. These models also noted a marked improvement in styling and interior design. BMW made sure to continue to offer high-performance motors and transmission options for the series.

Select a BMW Z4 Year

2016 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

2015 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

2014 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

2013 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

The 2013 BMW Z4 sports a very classic roadster look with a two-piece retractable power hardtop.

2012 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

For 2012, BMW is introducing a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to replace its 3.0-liter inline-6 in the name of greater fuel economy and fewer emissions. The new engine provides 240 horsepower, and will come with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. EPA-certified fuel economy numbers are not yet available, but the new engine should provide more than 30 mpg in highway driving.

2011 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

For the 2011 model year, BMW has added the Z4 sDrive35is to its lineup. The sDrive35is gets the same 3.0-liter turbo I-6 found in other BMW’s, but this one gets a power bump, taking the horsepower from 300 to 335 and the torque increases from 300 to 332. Plus, an electronically-controlled overboost function briefly increases torque under full load by another 37 pound-feet.

2010 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

2009 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

The 2009 BMW Z4 is a two-seater convertible with a retractable hard-top.

2008 BMW Z4

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

The 2008 BMW Z4 makes a good luxury sports car choice for its price, since so many favorite features come standard in its two styles: the convertible and hatchback.

2007 BMW Z4

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

The 2007 BMW is a driver's dream: a roadster or small coupe by an automaker known for its driving machines.

2006 BMW Z4

Convertible, Coupe, Sports

There have been numerous significant changes to the already popular 2006 BMW Z4 as it enters its fourth year of production.

2005 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

The 2005 BMW Z4 marks the German automaker’s fun, sporty roadster.

2004 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

The Z4 is a compact sport car from BMW.

2003 BMW Z4

Convertible, Sports

The 2003 BMW Z4 is a cool two-seat convertible.