Even though the outgoing BMW Z4 has been widely accepted and embraced by the BMW crowd, the first generation E85 Z4 roadster is the one that stole our hearts. The first generation of the BMW Z4 was designed by former head of MINI design, Anders Warming, from mid-1998 to March 1, 2000.

At the time, Warming’s design was controversial, as were many BMW designs of the time produced under the watchful eyes of BMW chief designer Chris Bangle, but over time, the E85 was often regarded as one of the best BMW designs.

BMW Z4 3.0i 4 600x750

So with great pleasure, we’re bringing you today a 2003 BMW Z4 3.0i for our next episode of “The Driveway.”


Hauke Petersen

Car (year/make/model):

2003 BMW Z4 3.0i Roadster E85

Time of Ownership:

1 year ago

What made you buy it?:

 In 2003 – when I was 10 years old – my uncle came down our driveway in a new Sterling Grey Z4 3.0i. He took me on a trip with lots of German country roads. I instantly fell in love with the thing. Guilty. I knew I would buy one myself one day. And it exactly looks like my uncle’s car. Well it had to.

Things you like:

The sound. It’s so sonorous and bassy at lower rpms, with a mean growl at about 3-4k rpm and just singing towards the red line. I cannot stop smiling.

And then there’s the looks. I know many people don’t like it. But those sharp Bangle lines and taut surfaces make it look so fresh even by today’s standards. People don’t think it’s already 13 years old.

In general this car is about senses. It might be small, impractical with a harsh and loud ride but you couldn’t care any less when driving.

 Things you’d change:

Nothing really. It’s anything but perfect but somehow to me it is. I like to think I understand what engineers and designers intended with every detail back then.

Modifications Done:

None. It just has to stay as it is

Any Adventures?:

Everyday. Super cheesy I know.


€16,000 ($17,500) for a mint 2003 with a hardtop and just 24,000 miles on it.

What’s Next (Next car, next adventure, etc.)?:

I don’t think I will ever sell it. I will need to get something practical along with it. But sell it? No.

Someday next Spring I’ll just jump in with a friend and take it down to Italy crossing the Alps.