BMW Z4 cars were originally only available as a Roadster, and first appeared at the end of 2002. The BMW Z4 was created to replace the Z3, which ceased production earlier in 2002. Offering a stiffer suspension than the Z3, the Z4 was hailed by critics as a true "driver's machine", with excellent handling and feel for the road. BMW Z4 sales were very strong and in only two years over 100,000 cars were sold. The sleek styling by Chris Bangle was hailed as a departure from the more typical "boxy" BMW look.
Variations in the car soon became available, making this pricey vehicle attractive to even more buyers. In 2005 two engines were available to replace the original six-cylinder engine: a 2.5 si and a 3.0 si. Five-speed manual transmissions were standard in all models, except the entry-level Roadster.
2006 saw the introduction of the Z4 Coupe, as well as production of the more powerful M cars to round out the model offerings. A new, six-speed manual transmission was the only offering for the Roadster and Coupe models. The M-model Roadster for 2006 offered a six-speed manual gearbox as well.
Minor adjustments were made in 2008, but in 2009 a power retractable hardtop was offered on the convertible Roadster. Engine options included a 335 horsepower, 3.0 litre twin-turbo engine with a seven-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, as well as the familiar 255 horsepower and 300 horsepower engines. BMW's famous iDrive helps to keep drivers well connected to the road, while a rollover protection system keeps occupants safe. The most recent addition for 2011 is the BMW Z4 THX-certified sound system, which puts out 100 watts through 10 speakers.
Over the years the Z4 has slowly become lower, sleeker and more powerful. Today both new and nearly new BMW Z4s offer a unique driving experience that very few other cars can match.