This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW Z4 Roadster review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

When the Z4 was first launched it came with a choice of two six-cylinder engines – a 2.5-litre with 192bhp and a 3.0-litre with 231bhp. Both are smooth and offer good performance with the latter sprinting from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds – quicker than a Porsche Boxster. At the end of 2003 BMW introduced an entry-level 2.2-litre engine with 170bhp which covers the 0-62mph sprint in 7.7 seconds, however it can feel a little unresponsive and in-gear pace isn’t great – it also needs to be worked fairly hard to get the best out of it.

This engine was replaced by a smaller 150bhp 2.0-litre engine, which although not as quick as the 2.2i is better to drive and offers lively performance given its modest size. In early 2006 the Z4 was facelifted and the engine line-up overhauled. A new 3.0-litre was launched (badged 3.0si) which boasts 265bhp and a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds while a fresh 2.5-litre was also introduced and comes in two outputs.

The higher-powered 2.5si has 218bhp and records a zero to 62mph time of 6.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 149mph. The Z4 2.5i with its 177hp engine offers drivers the smoothness of a six-cylinder powerplant but with a slight reduction in top end performance.

The Z4 responds quickly and directly to any turns of the wheel and feels very predictable and safe doing so. This is perfect if you like driving on twisty roads but the Z4 is also very calm and composed on major roads. The small engines help the car feel very nimble, with the 2.5-litre Si version providing the best compromise between power and handling.

The bigger engines mean more weight in the front, which in turn means the car isn’t quite as quick to change direction but overall this is a very exhilarating car to drive. The SE models rides well with a nice compliancy to the suspension, however the Sport models with their larger wheels and sports suspension can feel overly firm and a little fidgety on rough surfaces.