My BMW Z4 (E89) Journey – 2 Year Transformation

This story starts a little different from most BMW owners. It didn’t start at a fancy dealership or even a used car lot. This car took many days of work, some frustration and lots of learning experiences to get here and I love it for it. So, let’s start from the beginning when this beauty showed up on a back of a truck, looking sad and broken, to now, 20,000 miles later and still bringing a smile to my face every time I drive it. I hope you enjoy this trip down the memory lane of my journey with the BMW Z4. If you hit that like button, I will even talk about my favorite things about this car I didn’t except!

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but almost on daily bases I scroll through different website looking for cars I can’t afford or projects I should definitely not take on and wonder.. what would happen if I just bought it. One of those nights, I stumbled upon a few very blurry pictures of a BMW Z4 that was listed at an auction house and only had some ‘mechanical issues’. As not many people were bidding on it, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get my hands on a very unique hard-top convertible. To be honest, I’ve never even seen one in real life before buying it. Hit that like button for buying cars sight unseen!

The rebuild:

I was scared and excited, I won a car at auction that I knew almost nothing about. A week later, a car hauler pulled up in front of my house and that’s the first time I saw this Z4. I could see the sexy curves of the body behind all of the dust and dirt and then I heard it start up as it was driven off the trailer. It sounded hurt, very hurt. With my very limited experience at the time, I was excited to jump in and get this engine repaired! After hours of Youtube videos and forums posts, I was convinced that the noise coming from the engine was timing chain related.

Attempting a timing chain replacement for the first time felt very ambitious and perhaps a little dumb, but what did I have to lose? After 2 weekend of work, I replaced the timing chain, the timing chain guides and sprockets and everything else along the way.. but when I started the engine, I heard the same knock, knock.. knock.

At that point I knew I mis-diagnosed the issue and the real issue with the engine was the famous rod knock.. which I later confirmed by taking the engine apart. Check that video out at the link in the description if you’d like to see the damage. The best course of action at this point was to get a replacement engine. Luckily I was able to source a 2015 engine with only about 30,000 miles on it for a very good price. This was the new plan, replace the engine. Surprisingly, engine replacement has gone smoothly and I honestly believe that it has given me a lot more confidence with working on cars in general and later on rebuild the BMW N55 engine.

When the engine fired up for the first time, missing it’s intake and exhaust and still barely attached to the car. I was on cloud nine and figured I’ve done the hardest part.. but of course, it’s not so easy. What I failed to realize is that there are many N20 engine variations. For the longest time, I had lean codes that I just couldn’t figure out. I replaced the HPFP and fuel sensors, tested for vacuum leaks using a smoke machine, replaced various other sensors and even put a new set of sparkplugs and coils, but my lean code remained. This is when I learned more about the differences between different year N20 engines. Turns out, BMW has upgraded the injectors from EU5 to EU6 sometime between when the Z4 was manufactured and when the donor engine was produced. I installed the old injectors into the new engine viola! No more lean codes! If you are doing something like this, you will also have to replace the Oil sensor and the HPFP has a different connector.

With the engine running like a champ, I started fixing many other little items on the car and cleaning everything I could. One of the items that I knew had to be done was to service the hardtop roof. It’s super important that these are very well maintained as repairing one of these is not easy at all. How hard is it? I called my local BMW dealers and out of 3, only 2 would even take a look at it. Anyway, I have a full video on how to properly lubricate all of the moving parts and moisturize the rubbers so it doesn’t leak and squeak.

One issue I still have with the engine is hesitation or failure to start up when the engine is fully warmed up. I’ve tried over 20 different items to narrow this down and have found nothing. I won’t go too much into it as I’m planning on making a video about this in the near feature, so subscribe and see what happens!

The Mods:

Even though I enjoyed how the car looked stock, I wanted to make it a little more my style. So, I did what everyone else has done on their Z4s and replaced the front grill from chrome to black and installed white LEDs to modernize the front end a little bit. I then installed a body color spoiler to lift up the back end as well. After the spoiler I tinted the windows for that slick hard top roof and even though I debated whether I should or shouldn’t tint a convertible, I love it! Since my Z4 is pre-LCI, I also decided to swap out the old blub looking side indicators for newer style chrome ones and painted the side reflector body color. These two modifications changed the side profile and gave the car a sleeker look. 

The biggest difference as far as style was done by the new wheel and tire combination. I went for the M437 style rim that normally comes on a BMW M3 and M4. I was surprised that my little Z4 happily accepted 19 by 9s on the front and 19 by 10s on the back. I had the wheels wrapped in some Nitto tires and this combination has been a dream ever since. Never rubbed and the ride has been decent as well. I must say, this has been my favorite change on the car and I love how it completely transforms the look. Later-on I converted to studs for ease of changing the wheels and tires to the winter set and this is what it looks like now.

Since I didn’t want to drill my intact front bumper, I installed some magnets behind the bumper cover and modified the license plate bracket as well and now I had a removable license plate I could use when parking on the streets.

For a while, I left it alone and just enjoyed driving the car, but then I had an itch that needed to be scratched. I wanted better sound out of the exhaust. I started by deleting the resonator and replacing it with a super sprint stainless steel pipe. It definitely made a difference and added many pops and burbles. Half a year later, I upgraded it further with a super sprint sport muffler and now she sounds just perfect.. well, at least for a 4 cylinder turbo engine.

Driving:

And here we are.. after all of the stuff I have fixed, upgraded and updated.. what have I been doing with the car lately? Well, we have had a beautiful summer and I enjoyed it taking it on long drives into the country, city and just around the neighborhood. If you truly enjoy driving and a car is more to you than just an appliance, this Z4 will keep you engaged and having fun while the sun shines down on you and the wind blows through your hair. I like that it doesn’t pretend to be a hardcore, aggressive sports car. It’s a sport, fun to drive grad tourer.

Conclusion\Future Plans:

To finish off the video, let’s quickly look into the future plans and what I want to do with this car. To start off, this is a long-term car for me. I’m not selling it any time soon, so expect to see it on this channel for years to come. I will get the startup issue fixed on it, hopefully sooner than later and I’m also planning on installing an Apple CarPlay system to bring the infotainment department into 21st century, but the good ones are at least $750 at the moment and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I mostly focus on driving and enjoy nature when I’m in this car, but I also like the convivence it provides. Either way, after two years of ownership and two years of videos, let’s continue this journey for many more! I hope you stayed tuned by subscribing and leave some ideas for me as well down in the comments. On that note, thank you guys so much for watching, I really appreciate it and I’ll see you in the next one.

5 Reasons to Buy a BMW Z4 E89

Today I’m going to talk about 5 Reasons Why You need to pick up a BMW Z4 e89 right now!

  • I’ll start by talking a little bit about the driving experience
    • If you truly enjoy driving and a car to you is more than an appliance. You’ll enjoy driving a Z4 every time. You are fully engaged in the driving experience whenever you are behind the wheel of this car. You get the wind and the sun, the unique sounding inline 6 or even the 4 banger, a manual gear box and a sporty, yet comfortable handling car all in one. With its sporty ride, a fantastic feel of the road and a cool breeze blowing through your hair, it’s hard to say no. This is not a hardcore sports car, more of a Grand Tourer that can act sporty when you ask it to.
    • The engines put into these Z4s were mainly the N52/N54 which were incredibly strong/award-winning engines with adequate power and a beautiful sound out of the in-line 6. The N20 engine is not as robust, but the later models are not a bad choice.
    • Not to mention, the N54 Engines are easily tunable to over 400 HP and even more torque which equates to more speed and even more dynamic driving experience.
  • The next reason for me is the looks
    • One of the main reasons to get this car is because of the unique BMW design.  She’s a timeless beauty that seems to get better with age and always puts a smile on your face. Whether the top is up or down, you’ll love the shape and aggressive but sleek design. It looks great as a coupe, and even better as a roadster. To me, it’s the only convertible car that looks just as sexy as coupe as it does as a convertible.
    • The exterior design also seems to be aging very well, most people don’t believe it’s a 12 year old design. With that long hood, It has the looks of a (future) classic and allows you to sit all the way back almost on the rear wheels.
    • The Z4 will put a smile on your face every time you get in and drive it, even if it’s for a simple reason that every time you park, you’ll turn your head to look back and glance at the unique shape. It’s art on wheels with long, sexy and voluptuous curves. Never seizes to amaze me how much of a head-turner this car really is.
    • The interior is exclusive, refined with those rounded knobs and integrated leather. It definitely takes inspiration from the Z8. It may look a little dated now; especially, with the old looking radio, but at least it’s not like many current BMWs that look the same on the inside.
    • Fun fact: This is the first and I believe only BMW to ever be designed by a team of women designers
  • The Next reason is Exclusivity
    • BMW E89 doesn’t look like the rest of the cars, it is not a common sight; especially in the Midwest where I live. Which makes this car very unique and exclusive. Not only is it distinctive from other makes, it’s even unique in the BMW family as this is the only hard top roadster that BMW has made in recent history. This makes it a very special and exclusive looking BMW on the road.
    • I’ve always loved cars with long hoods like the Mercedes GTS or the Dodge Viper, so being able to afford a car with this exclusive feature was a great feeling and just added to the classy, sexy and aggressive look that the car projects.
    • And if you think about it, it’s also excusive because you can only take one other person with you, which will make your lady friend feel very special!
  • Next, let’s talk about the value and cost of ownership
    • I believe these cars will be appreciating in value soon. People are starting to realize what a cool car this is and good examples are now being kept in garages. To be clear, not every Z4 will go up in value. As an example, my Z4 has lots of miles, a replacement engine and doesn’t have all of the fancy options or the top spec engine, but they still sell for more than the KBB value.
    • These cars also tend to have better specs and technology compared to other roadsters in this price range. 
  • Now let’s take a look at the cost of ownership and how it compares to other cars like this
    • For being such a unique and fun car to drive, it surprisingly is not crazy expensive to run and maintain. The N52 and later N54 engines are some of the more reliable BMW engines. The n20 engine is a bit of a troublemaker, but parts aren’t expensive. To learn which models are best, check out my videos on BMW Z4 Problems to Expect.
    • You also get lots of technology, especially on the higher trims that you wouldn’t get in the less expensive cars like the MX-5, which makes this car more suited for a luxury daily driver or a fun weekend cruiser.
    • Not to mention it’s cheaper than a Porsche Boxster.
  • Speaking of the Boxster, let’s compare how the two cars stack up
    • I have noticed a lot of people comparing the Z4 with the Boxster. While I do not deny that a Boxster is a great car, I do think the Z4 represents a better car for the money.
    • It’s less expensive
    • It has a hardtop and it’s arguably a more reliable and easier to work on car. The engine and many other mechanical parts fit from many other BMWs, like the 3 series, which are plentiful.
    • It’s also rare compared to the Boxster and even cars like the SLKs and MX-5’s. You see those on the road all the time.
    • Not to mention it’s one of the few roadsters that fits a person over 6 foot tall. My taller friend couldn’t get into the SLK or Boxster but just fits in this car.
    • Of course, if we take a look at a Porsche 718 Boxster,  it most likely is a superior machine in every ways, but when it comes to looks; especially, with the roof up and down, and looking at the price, it’s a very hard sell at being twice as expensive.

In conclusion, It’s just an amazing car, a great combination between Sportiness and Luxury. Enough modern features and tech giving you the best of both worlds, a beautiful convertible and a sexy coupe.  If you can afford the 35s or 35is then definitely go for those models for the great sounding, silky smooth straight six engine. If you cannot, the smaller engines are still a great buy as you will love looking at it, driving it, and love how you look in it.

Is BMW Z4 the best daily driver?

If you are anything like me and like cars, you can’t make yourself drive a boring, slow car to work every single day without loosing your mind. This puts a lot of pressure on what to get as a daily driver and I think I have found the perfect one! Without spending a fortune, you can have a very cool and practical looking 2 door car as your daily driver!

Your daily driver doesn’t have to be a dreadful driving experience and you should enjoy some power and excitement every time you drive. Let me show you WHY the BMW Z4 works so well as a daily driver!

Since most commuters drive all on their own, you don’t need more than two seats. One for you and one for your laptop or a briefcase, it’s perfect.

BMW Z4 is low, feels fast even in traffic but you must be able to get in and out as it’s not as easy as it looks since the seating position is quite low.

Another great reason to get a BMW Z4 as a daily driver is that you get to practice your manual driving every time you are in traffic and the use those skills to go on the track and do some spirited driving there.

It can fit a suitcase and plenty of groceries as well as you and your passenger very comfortably, It’s an enthusiast car, so it’s only practical for a sports car. You can’t expect to go on a Costco trip and bring back a month worth of groceries, but it works well for most everything else.

Another reason BMW Z4 is a great daily driver is because it’s economical. Even though this is a sports car, you can get around 22mpg in the city and 34mpg on the highway but you still get around 240 HP to play with each time you drive.

It’s also very versatile, when it is nice and warm outside, you get to use the car as an awesome convertible cruiser and just enjoy the sun and great weather. Once it gets cold outside, you you gotta do is swap to some winter or all season tires and you have a very competent sports coupe to drive around.

If you worry about the ride quality for you daily driver, BMW Z4 offers a decent enough ride on OEM tires and even more so on non run flat tires. So if you want the best comfort, going with a good regular tire on the 17 inch wheels will do wonders. Now, if you are like me and enjoy the look of the car just as much as the ride quality, you can go with 19 inch low profile sticky tires for the summer and enjoy every minute of driving. With the regular tire and traction control off, you can also have lots of fun in the winter by sliding (controllably and safely) around corners.

What I also love about having a BMW Z4 as a daily driver is that you start taking less direct way home to enjoy your drive even more! You want to go on the smaller roads, not take the highway and just enjoy your time with the car every time possible.

As a perk of having only two seats and not a lot of cabin space, the interior the cabin warms very quickly as there isn’t much space to heat up

Last and probably most important for a lot of people, the BMW Z4 is as reliable as any BMW 128, BMW 228, BMW 328, BMW 428 or BMW 528 as they have the same engine and if you pay any attention on the roads you can see how many people actually drive those cars on the daily bases.