BMW Z4 (E85)

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BMW Z4 (E85/E86)
BMW Z4 -- 05-23-2012.JPG
Manufacturer BMW
Production 09/2002 – 08/2008
Assembly Greer, SC, United States
Designer Anders Warming (1999)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door coupé
Layout FR layout
Engine 2.0 L N46 I4
2.2 - 3.0 L M54 I6
2.5 - 3.0 L N52 I6
3.2 L S54 I6
Wheelbase 2,495 mm (98.2 in)
Length 4,090 mm (161.0 in)
Width 1,780 mm (70.1 in)
Height E85: 1,300 mm (51.2 in)
E86: 1,285 mm (50.6 in)
Predecessor BMW Z3
Successor BMW Z4 (E89)

The BMW E85/E86 is the first generation of BMW Z4 roadsters and coupes, which were produced from 2002 to 2008. The E85/E86 replaced the Z3 and is the third model in the BMW Z Series. Initial models were in the roadster (E85) body style, with the coupe (E86) body style being added in 2006.

As per the Z3, the Z4 was manufactured solely in Greer, South Carolina.

The M model - the Z4M - is powered by the S54 straight-six engine.

Development and launch[edit]

The E85 was designed by Danish BMW-designer Anders Warming from mid-1998 to March 1, 2000.[1] The Z4 was introduced at the Paris Auto Show in 2002,[2] and North American models went on sale in November of the same year (as the 2003 model year). European sales began in March 2003.[3]

Initial models consisted of the roadster body style powered by a 2.5L or 3.0L 6-cylinder engine.

Body styles[edit]

Roadster (E85)[edit]

The Z4 Roadster was launched in 2002 with the 2.5i and 3.0i six-cylinder models.[4] Transmission choices were a six-speed manual, five-speed automatic and six-speed SMG-II automated manual.[5]

A four-cylinder model, the Z4 2.0i Roadster, was introduced for the European market in May 2005.

The drag coefficient is 0.35.[citation needed]

Coupé (E86)[edit]

Z4 Coupé rear

BMW unveiled a concept coupé version of the Z4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005.[6] The design of the Z4 and Z4 coupé has variously been ascribed to Anders Warming, Chris Bangle, the controversial former BMW Head Designer, and Adrian van Hooydonk, current BMW design chief,[7][8] and BMW designer Tomasz Sycha. The company announced in 2005 that the two-door fastback coupé would be available for production including the return of the M Coupé. The production cars were introduced at the New York Auto Show in April 2006 as a 2-door fastback coupé.

Thanks to its hatch design, the Z4 Coupé offers 10.1 cu ft (0.29 m3) of trunk space,[9] compared with 8.5 cu ft (0.24 m3) for the roadster.[10]

The Coupe's fixed roof increases torsional rigidity, resulting in a stiffness of 32,000 N·m (24,000 lb·ft) per degree of body twist on the coupe (compared to 14,500 N·m (10,700 lb·ft) per degree on the roadster), which improves turn-in and overall handling response.[11] The roof has a 'double bubble' contour which serves as an aerodynamic aid and offers more headroom than the roadster with top closed. The Coupé has a sleek fastback rear window that slopes down to an integrated spoiler shaped to deliver downforce to the rear axle at speed.

The model range for the Coupe was more limited than the roadster, and consisted the six-cylinder 3.0i and Z4M models.[12][13] Transmission choices were a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic with shift paddles.

Chassis and body[edit]

Convertible (pre-facelift)

Compared with its Z3 predecessor, the Z4 is larger and has a stiffer chassis.[14] As per the Z3, the front suspension is a Macpherson strut design. The rear suspension uses a multi-link design, instead of the semi-trailing design used by the Z3. Some reviewers have criticised the ride quality for being too harsh, and observed excessive bump steer from the rear suspension.[15]

The Z4 used lightweight materials to offset the increased weight over the smaller Z3, such as an aluminium hood and suspension components, magnesium roof frame. Run-flat tires removed the need for a spare tire, which reduces weight and allows for a larger trunk.[16]


The 6-cylinder engines included all-alloy construction, variable valve timing (double-VANOS) and throttle by wire. Safety technology included four-wheel disc brakes and electronic stability control, incorporating ABS and traction control.

An optional "Sport Package" included added stiffer and lower suspension, 18 inch wheels, and sport tuned electronic steering, throttle and shift parameters ("Dynamic Driving Control").[17]

Electric power steering replaced the traditional hydraulic power steering used by the Z3.[18][19] The power assist is speed-sensitive, allowing for easier manoeuvering at low speeds. The steering has been criticised for lacking feedback.[20] However, the Z4 M uses hydraulic power steering, and has been judged as having a more direct and communicative feel to the steering.[21]


The available transmissions were:

  • 5-speed manual Getrag S5D250G (2.2i, 2.5i)[22]
  • 6-speed manual Getrag GS6-17BG (2.0i)[23]
  • 6-speed manual Getrag GS6-37BZ (3.0i, Z4M)[24]
  • 5-speed automatic ZF 5HP19 (2.2i, 2.5i, 3.0i)[25]
  • 6-speed automatic ZF 6HP19 (3.0si)[26]
  • 6-speed automated manual SMG-II (2.5i, 3.0i)[27]


Model Years Engine Displacement Power[28] Torque[28]
  2.0i* 2005–2008 N46B20
1,995 cc (122 cu in) 110 kW (148 bhp)
@ 6200 rpm
200 N·m (148 lb·ft)
@ 3600 rpm
2.2i 2003–2005 M54B22
2,171 cc (132 cu in) 130 kW (174 bhp)
@ 6250 rpm
210 N·m (155 lb·ft)
@ 3500 rpm
2.5i 2003–2005 M54B25
2,494 cc (152 cu in) 141 kW (189 bhp)
@ 6000 rpm
245 N·m (181 lb·ft)
@ 3500 rpm
2006–2008 N52B25
2,497 cc (152 cu in) 130 kW (174 bhp)
@ 5800 rpm
230 N·m (170 lb·ft)
@ 3500 rpm
2.5si 2006–2008 N52B25
2,497 cc (152 cu in) 160 kW (215 bhp)
@ 6500 rpm
250 N·m (184 lb·ft)
@ 2750 rpm
3.0i 2002–2005 M54B30
2,979 cc (182 cu in) 170 kW (228 bhp)
@ 5900 rpm
300 N·m (221 lb·ft)
@ 3500 rpm
2006–2008 N52B30
2,996 cc (183 cu in) 160 kW (215 hp)
@ 6250 rpm
250 N·m (184 lb·ft)
@ 2750 rpm
3.0si 2006–2008 N52B30
2,996 cc (183 cu in) 195 kW (261 bhp)
@ 6600 rpm
315 N·m (232 lb·ft)
@ 2750 rpm
M 2006–2008 S54B32
3,246 cc (198 cu in) 252 kW (338 bhp)
@ 7900 rpm
365 N·m (269 lb·ft)
@ 4900 rpm

* The 2.0i was only sold in Europe.[29]

US models include 2.5i Roadster, 3.0i Roadster, 3.0si Roadster & Coupé, M Roadster & Coupé.[30]

Model Years Curb Weight 0-100 km/h (62 mph)
time, sec
2.0i 2005–2008 2,855 lb (1,295 kg) 8.2
2.2i 2003–2005 2,932 lb (1,330 kg) 7.7
2.5i 2003–2005 2,943 lb (1,335 kg) 7.0
2.5i 2006–2008 2,965 lb (1,345 kg) 7.0
2.5si 2006–2008 2,998 lb (1,360 kg) 6.5
3.0i 2003–2005 3,009 lb (1,365 kg) 5.9
3.0i 2006–2008 3,020 lb (1,370 kg) 6.2
3.0si 2006–2008 3,086 lb (1,400 kg) 5.6
E86 3.0si Cpe 2006–2008 3,075 lb (1,395 kg) 5.6
M Rdst 2006–2008 3,197 lb (1,450 kg) 5.0
E86 M Cpe 2006–2008 3,230 lb (1,470 kg) 4.8

All models are E85 roadsters except as noted. European specifications shown. North American vehicles have slightly lower power ratings, due to lower compression ratios necessitated by fuel quality issues.

Z4 M versions[edit]

Z4 M Roadster front
Z4 M Roadster rear (non-standard wheels)

The Z4 M Coupe/Roadster was introduced in 2006 and is powered by the S54 straight-six engine from the E46 M3. The S54 was also on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list for 2001 through 2004.[31] North American Z4 M models produce 330 bhp (246 kW), 3 hp less than the North American M3.[32] In other markets, the power output is the same 252 kW (338 bhp) as the M3.

The Z4 M uses hydraulic power steering, unlike the electric power steering used by the rest of the Z4 range.[32] Other changes include a wider front track, revised front suspension and steering geometry.[32]

The M coupe's production began at the Spartanburg BMW plant in Greer on 4 April 2006.

Special models[edit]

Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006[edit]

BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006, BMW Museum, Munchen, Germany.

It is a concept car inspired by the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé, but uses the Z4 M Coupé's drive components. The concept car is 23 cm longer, 14 cm wider, and 4 cm flatter than the Z4 M Coupé. Other features of the concept car include 20-inch alloy wheels with 245/40R20 tires, permanently integrated sidewalls, swing-up cockpit, LED headlight panel, silver-coloured carbon-fibre reinforced plastic body, 3-material (stainless steel, untreated cowhides and Lycra fabric) interior.[33]

The vehicle was designed by Anders Warming.[34]

Model year changes[edit]

2006 facelift[edit]

Convertible (facelift)
Coupe (facelift)

In 2006, BMW updated the Z4 line by introducing the M Roadster, and later the M Coupe, with the vaunted S54 "M" engine. The standard cars received the new N52 I6 engines. The N52 features a magnesium block construction, which consists of an aluminium interior for the cylinders, and an outer magnesium block. The engine features BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing system for increased performance, are considerably more powerful through the middle of the rev range, and also improve fuel economy noticeably. A final benefit of the N52 engines is that they improve handling and turn-in due to the decreased weight over the nose of the car. This is particularly noticeable when compared to the Z4 M, which continued with the heavier S54 iron block engine.

Standard equipment included Run Flat tires, ABS Brakes, Stability Control, Traction Control, CD Player, Power Locks, Power Windows and Air Conditioning. The Z4 included Side Airbags, Driver Airbags, Passenger AirBags, Knee Airbags and 5 Star Rollover Protection.

In addition to the powertrain updates, BMW made mild revisions to the styling of the Z4, added several electronic features, and increased the brake size on the 3.0si models.

The 2006 BMW Z4 received a number of updates including a revised exterior, more powerful engines and improved interior features. Highlighted by a new front bumper ensemble with a larger air intake, rectangular foglights and front side reflectors, the exterior also received new wheels, rear bumper and taillight designs. The interior was fitted with a new aluminium trim, shift knob for automatic transmission and new colors. The 3.0i replaced the 2.5i and the 3.0si replaced the 3.0i. Power for the 3.0i was 218 bhp while the 3.0si got 261 hp (195 kW) and 232 lb·ft (315 N·m) of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission was standard with an optional 6-speed automatic. 17-inch wheels were standard on both trims and the Sport Package also features new wheels as well.


The last of the first-generation Z4 (Z4 3.0si Roadster in Space Grey) rolled off the production line on 28 August 2008.[35]

Over the Z4's life cycle, 197,950 vehicles had been produced, with 180,856 roadsters and 17,094 coupés.[36]

Over the Z4 E86 life cycle (2006–2008), only 12,819 Z4 coupés (E86) were produced worldwide, as well as 4,275 Z4M coupés,[37] yielding a total of 17,094 coupés (Z4 and Z4M).[36] The last Z4 car was made on 28 August 2008 with 197,950 total vehicles produced over the Z4's five-year lifecycle. Bobby Hit, a spokesman for BMW's US manufacturing operations, states that 180,856 vehicles were roadsters and 17,094 were coupés. Of the 17,094 coupés manufactured worldwide, only 3,919 were made for the North American (NA) market (NA=US and Canada) of which 1,815 were the M-Coupe and 2,104 were the 3.0si Coupe. Of the 2,104 3.0si Coupes made, 1,276 were automatics and only 828 were manual transmission (the Z4M however, was only available as a manual transmission everywhere). Therefore, less than 1/3 of all Z4 coupés made for NA (M and non-M 3.0si) were automatics.[38] Even from its introduction in 2006, the Coupé was relatively rare: In its first 13 months on the market, the roadster outsold it at a ratio of 7 to 1.[39]

Production numbers for the 2,104 NA version of the E86 3.0si Coupé were: 2006 = 348; 2007 = 1,280; 2008 = 476.

Production numbers for the 1,815 NA version of the Z4M 3.2L Coupé were: 2006 = 380; 2007 = 1,187; 2008 = 248.


Dieter Quester, Dirk Werner, Jamie Campell-Walter and Tim Mullen won the Silverstone Britcar 24 Hour Race with a BMW Z4 M Coupé.[40] The unit of the racing version is a modified and reinforced version of the S54B32 3.2-litre engine, delivering around 294 kW/400 hp. The car is made by BMW's M Division and called the Z4 M Coupé Motorsport.[41] The Z4 Coupe Motorsport version weighs 1,200 kg/2,643 lb with a driver and has a 120-litre/30-gallon fuel tank for endurance racing. The racing kit for the Z4 M Coupé is available for 250,000, plus VAT (US $391, 025) (UK £233, 500) in addition to the list price of the car. The Racing Kit is very popular among Group N drivers, which also got a lot of good results in the track.[citation needed]

In August 2008, a modified Z4 debuted in Round 6 of the Super GT season, participating in the GT300 class. It is powered by a detuned version of the S62 V8 engine from the E39-Series M5. Although it is well known by fans since it has a unique image (or called "Itasha"), this car also marked the return of BMW to Super GT series since their exit from the previous JGTC (which they used the M3). They continue to participate in the 2009 Super GT season other than Sepang Race,[42] and they would replace their H-pattern to a sequential transmission, as well as their S62 Engine with an S65B40 after race 3, after they had suffered an unrepairable engine blow in race 2 at Suzuka.[43] The car served them for the 2008 and 2009 season, and the team used the BMW Z4 GT3 in 2011 season instead, which helped them become the GT300 Champion that season.

In the 2008 Super Taikyu Endurance Series (equivalent to Group N championship) in Japan, both BMW Z4M's entered by Petronas Syntium Team won the Super Taikyu 1 class first and second taking both the championship and drivers title. Both cars dominated the series by taking first and second at every race in the 2008 season beating cars like Porsche GT3 (both 996 and 997), Honda NSX, Mitsubishi Evolution X, Mazda RX-7, Nissan GTR and Nissan 350Z. The Super Taikyu endurance races usually last for at least 500 kilometers or 4 hours highlighted by the race of the season, the 24 Hours of Tokachi. In total Petronas Syntium Team gathered 277 points compared to the second place team Endless Sports with a mere 98 points.[44] The cars were driven by established and popular drivers such as Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida, Manabu Orido and father and son pairing of Hans-Joachim Stuck and Johannes Stuck.[45]

The team of Bas Leinders secured pole position at the 2011 24 Hours of Spa in their Z4.[46] This team did not finish, however the Z4 of Dirk Werner came 2nd in the race.


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