A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 BMW Z4

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BMW’s entry in the hardtop roadster segment, the Z4 delivers the ideal combination of performance, looks, and standard comfort features. This two seater is not only classically stylish and heavy on extras that aren’t, well, extra, it’s also the perfect solution for sun-loving driving enthusiasts who want something just a little more substantial than something like the Miata.

Key Features

The hard-top and rollover protection system come standard, as does an audio entertainment system with MP3 capability, and a zippy little turbocharged 4-cylinder. The optional Sport or Sport M packages are geared more toward performance than luxury features, offering paddle shifters and other perks like a DCT gearbox.

Changes for 2012

The biggest, and arguably most thrilling, change for the 2012 model year is the switch to the turbocharged 4. It’s lighter, with better torque and better balance, making it a big improvement to BMW’s flagship roadster.

What We Like

Have we mentioned we really, really enjoy the changeover to the turbocharged 4-cylinder? The Dynamic Stability Control and the ergonomic steering wheel add to the athletic experience. Solid handling and a visceral feel round out the driving nirvana in this retro yet…not…classic convertible.

What Concerns Us

There’s not much we don’t like but if we had to choose, it would be the near-complete lack of practicality. But, it is a sports car, and a convertible at that, and it is a Beamer which makes almost any grievance forgivable.

Available Models

Under the hood of the Z4 sDrive28i you’ll find a 2.0L twin turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder with 260 lb.-ft. of torque, 240 HP, and 22/34 mpg for the manual and 24/33 mpg for the automatic.

The Z4 sDrive35i boasts a 3.0L twin turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder with 300 lb.-ft. torque, 300 HP, and 19/26 mpg manual, 17/24 mpg DCT automatic. The performance-minded Z4 sDrive35is sports a 3.0L turbocharged in-line 6-cylinder with 332 lb.-ft. of torque, 335 HP, and 17/24 mpg in the DCT automatic.

Major Recalls

In July 2012 BMW issued a recall on the Z4 due to a potential steering electronics failure which could result in loss of power to the steering assistance system. This could affect the effort required to steer the car, increasing the risk of a collision. The company notified owners and sent out a bulletin saying they would repair the problem at no cost.

In January 2014 a recall was issued due to improper brake lubrication. This could cause brake vacuum pump failure which could increase the chances of a crash. The company again notified owners along with a statement offering to fix the problem for free.

Common Issues

There are no available common complaints on this model.

BMW Z4 2012 Interior


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18 years of experience
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Excellent, knowledgeable, hands-on, and experienced mechanic. Polite, helpful, focused and answers any questions. Examines everything thoroughly and explains what he is doing and offers immediate insight. Great energy, hard-working and provides great support for pre-purchase inspection. I'm a professor and do my own research but wanted the added confidence of a good mechanic who could see and inspect every detail that mattered. This is the guy I want to be working with as far as cars are concerned. I'll be hiring him to do all my inspections, until I get my car. Then I'll hire him as the mechanic for my car. Then I'll repeat when its time for my daughter's car etc. When he found a problem, he showed me, and explained, and then had me test it out. Then he would show me the variations. At the same time, he was efficient. He did his job well and moved from task to task, and didn't linger over random discussion, and conscientiously moved from one inspection to the next in a timely manner. He was looking for everything that might be wrong and made a good remark when something was right and showed me what he meant. When we went for a test-drive he felt out the entire set of behaviors that should matter to a person interested in a good engine, in good performance, and in safety. At the end of the day, people who love their work do it extremely well. I would say Atilla represents that kind of person and he was a pleasure to work with.
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15 years of experience
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I recommend Jason. I know little about cars and needed him to check out a car for me. Jason did a pre purchase car inspection for me. He explained what looked good and what looked to be of concern about the car. If it was a concern, he explained what needed to be done to get the car in good shape before the purchase. He had all the equipment to check out the car. I would book him again for any other services as he knows what he's doing and is friendly.
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