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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
ample power for strong acceleration at any speed
braking and handling are all excellent
Car and Driver
The 2008 BMW Z4 acquits itself well in base versions, but it’s the Z4 M that really pumps up the enthusiast appeal, according to reviewers from around the Web.
Cars.com reports that the Z4 BMW 2008 comes with a choice of three powerplants. Two “are 3.0 liters, but the 3.0i's makes 215 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque, while the one in the 3.0si achieves 255 hp and 220 pounds-feet of torque." ConsumerGuide notes that both these BMW 2008 engines are "high-revving engines [that] require lots of rpm for speediest getaways but furnish ample power for strong acceleration at any speed." ConsumerGuide says "slick, crisp, short-throw shifts make the manual transmission a pleasure," while "the alert automatic transmission shifts decisively but never feels harsh."
The high-performance M Roadster and hatchback coupe are defined by the 330-horsepower, 3.2-liter inline-six under their hood. With this engine, 0-60 mph comes up in around five seconds, and the Z4 keeps on running up to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Edmunds says the Z4 M experience requires a leap of faith beyond its stats: “Owing to their light weight, sharp reflexes and aggressively quick acceleration, both coupe and convertible offer competent drivers a thrilling experience.“ Still, Car and Driver finds it doesn’t “measure up to the dynamic goodness of the Porsche Cayman series,” a sentiment with which Edmunds agrees.
The Z4’s fuel economy is decent, if not stellar by today's standards: ConsumerGuide reports "coupe and convertible both averaged 18.8 mpg," noting "Z4s require premium-grade gas." The M versions have fuel economy of 15/22 mpg.
Handling and steering are terrific, but the ride is a little harsh across the Z4 lineup. Car and Driver notes that this 2008 BMW is "a much nimbler handler in the corners than the skittish Z3 it replaced." Cars.com notes the BMW 2008 Z4 models' "weight distribution is even and handling is competent...the electric power steering is better than that in some cars, but it's not great." Edmunds reviewers praised it overall: "braking and handling are all excellent...from an everyday driver standpoint, the Z4 is still mostly agreeable." ForbesAutos reports the "suspension is firm, which makes for excellent cornering, but the ride can be harsh over uneven pavement." Edmunds feels the M versions are edgy—maybe too edgy. “The car's sharp responses -- the quick steering, instantaneous throttle and direct brakes -- won't reward a casual driving style,” they report. Ride quality is a concern noted by most outlets; Car and Driver calls it “harsh.”
The 2008 BMW Z4 excels with sharp handling and, in M versions, outright speed.