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      05-27-2013, 01:31 AM   #1
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Does anyone know why the Z4 is such a red-headed stepchild for BMW?

Every time I take my Z4 in for service, I am usually the only Z4 there amongst all the 3 series, 5 series and X series cars also there for service. When I walk over to the showroom to kill time, it's rare that they have a Z4 on display. There are more "M" cars in the showroom at any one time than there are Z4s, and if you ask me, the Z4 is the better looking car. Maybe it's just my dealer, but they just don't push the Z4. I live in Los Angeles, and sometimes a week goes by and I don't see another Z4 on the road. It's actually kind of sad, especially when thinking about the longevity of the model.
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      05-27-2013, 01:36 AM   #2
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      05-27-2013, 01:54 AM   #3
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Z4s are rare because sales are down because the Z has been going up market in price... Yet, the "chick car" status has stuck. Not to mention, it's really hard to justify a Z4 when it can easily reach the price of a 6, which is significantly more family oriented. And I would imagine people who can afford such a vehicle is more likely to be family oriented than not. Not to mention... while I love my Z and I think it definitely is more eye-catching than any Porsche can be (maybe not the GT3 or the Turbo S in orange or Speed Yellow...) but with a sticker of 70k (not even for the iS) you can easily jump into a Cayman or Boxster S which is a lot more car for the price than the Z. Or, if you are into more luxury cruising, almost a base 911. We all made our choices (including myself) to get the Z, and I am glad it's so exclusive. However, on a marketing/business standpoint, just cause it has 1/2 the looks of an exotic supercar doesn't mean it should have 1/2 the price of one, especially since the performance doesn't back it up (and it's "just" a BMW after all). Don't get me wrong, the car is fast and handles pretty well for a hardtop convertible, but for the price point...
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      05-27-2013, 02:32 AM   #4
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I bet if more people realized how good the residuals BMW gives for the leases and how much dealers will discount (especially in 2011 when lease deals were EPIC) there would have been more Z our there.

As it stands, people probably can't look past the fact performance is the same as 335 sedan and price is close to M3 and 6 series.
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      05-27-2013, 02:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nicknaz View Post
As it stands, people probably can't look past the fact performance is the same as 335 sedan and price is close to M3 and 6 series.
Well I guess I must have fallen in love with the aesthetics and "roadster" feel of the Z4 then. If I wanted a similar driving experience, I could have bought a convertible M3 for about the same price, or just kept my convertible C6 Vette. I actually would have considered a Boxster though, if they came in a hardtop convertible. Until the perfect car comes out, I guess the Z4 will have to do, and that's my story.
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      05-27-2013, 03:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarZ4 View Post
Z4s are rare because sales are down because the Z has been going up market in price... Yet, the "chick car" status has stuck. Not to mention, it's really hard to justify a Z4 when it can easily reach the price of a 6, which is significantly more family oriented. And I would imagine people who can afford such a vehicle is more likely to be family oriented than not. Not to mention... while I love my Z and I think it definitely is more eye-catching than any Porsche can be (maybe not the GT3 or the Turbo S in orange or Speed Yellow...) but with a sticker of 70k (not even for the iS) you can easily jump into a Cayman or Boxster S which is a lot more car for the price than the Z. Or, if you are into more luxury cruising, almost a base 911. We all made our choices (including myself) to get the Z, and I am glad it's so exclusive. However, on a marketing/business standpoint, just cause it has 1/2 the looks of an exotic supercar doesn't mean it should have 1/2 the price of one, especially since the performance doesn't back it up (and it's "just" a BMW after all). Don't get me wrong, the car is fast and handles pretty well for a hardtop convertible, but for the price point...
I don't agree that the sentiment is that Z4 is a chick's car. I've never heard of that, and I've never seen a Z4 that is driven by a woman. Granted, I don't see that many Z4s to begin with :P

I have to say, I do enjoy the exclusivity though!
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      05-27-2013, 06:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayhem View Post
Every time I take my Z4 in for service, I am usually the only Z4 there amongst all the 3 series, 5 series and X series cars also there for service. When I walk over to the showroom to kill time, it's rare that they have a Z4 on display. There are more "M" cars in the showroom at any one time than there are Z4s, and if you ask me, the Z4 is the better looking car. Maybe it's just my dealer, but they just don't push the Z4. I live in Los Angeles, and sometimes a week goes by and I don't see another Z4 on the road. It's actually kind of sad, especially when thinking about the longevity of the model.
Yeah I experience exactly the same here in China. In fact, I have yet to see another 35i or 35is anywhere.

I think the answer is simple though. If you can afford a 35is you can also afford a 7-series. Or if you can afford a 20i you can also easily afford a 5-series. And prestige is important in China. (7 is higher than 4)

And then there is the 335i convertible with 4 seats which costs exactly the same as a Z4 35i here... I think I saw 2 of those before.
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      05-27-2013, 08:23 AM   #8
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Roadster market over all brands is small, factor in the price point of a Z4 and it drops off even more. Yes its a great looking car but its overpriced for what it is, which turns away buyers.

Base prices

z435is - 64k
335is vert - 60k
135is vert - 47k

E550 Cabrio -66k
SLK55 AMG - 67.9k

S5 Cab -60k
TTRS - 58.9k

Cayman S - 63k
Boxster S - 62k

Point is you will cross shop many of these, some have 2 some have 4 seats but all are verts in the rough same ballpark (sans ttrs/cayman,)

With THAT much competition its no wonder why you dont see many Z4s. Also a sure sign of being overpriced is the 1-2 year depreciation. The sticker on my 35iS was 10'9k USD i picked it up for 56k USD. Almost 50% loss in 16 months with only 14,000 miles on the clock. The steep buy in for 1st time buyer makes the already rare roadsters even more and in turn makes the 2nd hand market very small. It would sell much better if the 35iS was adjusted down 55k base.

Last edited by VailM3; 05-27-2013 at 11:08 AM.
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      05-27-2013, 09:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morfinx View Post
I don't agree that the sentiment is that Z4 is a chick's car. I've never heard of that, and I've never seen a Z4 that is driven by a woman. Granted, I don't see that many Z4s to begin with :P

I have to say, I do enjoy the exclusivity though!
Just Google "Z4 Girl's Car" or "Z4 Hairdresser's Car" and you'll find yourself quite some read.

Now, don't get me wrong, I personally think the idea of any car being gender specific is preposterous (however, certain options, like color, can make it more feminine or masculine). But the fact is when the SLK came out, it was branded the hairdresser car, and the Z4 following suit didn't help. My theory is only people who are jealous say it's a girl's/hairdressers car, but regardless that stigma is there.

I don't care, I'll drive a "girl's" car. I think I look super fly driving around town in my bright yellow Z4

And in reference to stigma/perception and VailM3's comment. The idea that convertibles/roadsters are "impractical" also hurt sales in that category as a whole. Vail is spot on in that this specific category of cars see low sales in general, and the Z4 being so high up in the price bracket significantly decrease sales number. After all, we are 1 of the Top 10 worst selling cars in 2012!
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      05-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #10
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I love the exclusivity of my Z that gets more looks and gawkers then any other car on the road, sans a Lamborghini. Since my purchase in Oct, I have only seen 2 E89 Z's in my local area, neither of which were driven by a "chick". I picked up my fully loaded 35i, with an original list price of just under $69K, for less then 1/2 of what the original buyer paid and that is part of the sales and exclusivity problem- 2 seater convertible in New England with 6 -7 months of crap weather and high depreciation that drops like a rock in the 1st 2 plus years. However for my price which the original buyer took the major hit on, I get all the performance that I need and paid for, the drop top hardtop, the DCT, the interior, the body style, and on and on. I"ll take the Z any day over the all too common 911's, M3, Caymans and more.
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      05-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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Here are the prices in China. Since most options, such as automatic transmission, navigation etc, are preselected by the manufacturer we do not see the prices of most options directly. It is therefore easier to compare "actual" prices and rather impossible to compare base prices.

Just as an example, in China you cannot buy a 35i without the changer for 6 CDs or without the DCT transmission.



I have ranked the models according to their performance to price ratios. Since the SLK 55 AMG and 1-series 135i convertible are not sold in China, I do not know what their prices would have been here.

Interestingly the new non-S Boxter (with PDK and PASM) offers the best performance to price ratio.

Anyway, this table does not explain why Z4 sales is slow compared to other BMWs. It just shows how expensive roadsters are in general.

Last edited by Asbjorn; 05-27-2013 at 10:52 AM.
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      05-27-2013, 11:04 AM   #12
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If the z were 3x the cost or a special edition I bet we would just call it limited production at pay ourselves on the back.

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      05-27-2013, 12:31 PM   #13
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Our z4 is overpriced and always get dated stuff from 3 series. I've owned 2 z4m and a 35is. I notice that our z4 tends to get what the 3 series gotten several years already as a new feature. For instance, a wide screen navi with idrive, we got it in 09 when 3 series got it 06. We got the same engine option as a 3 series. The current 3 series have HUD and a few other stuff more than our current z4. Every time we get the update, all other series get newer updates. The price is as much as an m3 and it's not an m car so people would just get an m3 for the same price.
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      05-27-2013, 03:39 PM   #14
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The car is nice but it's too expensive and too heavy for what one gets.
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      05-27-2013, 04:55 PM   #15
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I was on holiday on Long Island a few weeks ago. Only Zed i saw was at the Hertz car rental at the airport.
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      05-27-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigendbob View Post
I was on holiday on Long Island a few weeks ago. Only Zed i saw was at the Hertz car rental at the airport.


Hertz had a Z4 at the car rental? Was it the E85 or E89?
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      05-28-2013, 12:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoa View Post
Our z4 is overpriced and always get dated stuff from 3 series. I've owned 2 z4m and a 35is. I notice that our z4 tends to get what the 3 series gotten several years already as a new feature. For instance, a wide screen navi with idrive, we got it in 09 when 3 series got it 06. We got the same engine option as a 3 series. The current 3 series have HUD and a few other stuff more than our current z4. Every time we get the update, all other series get newer updates. The price is as much as an m3 and it's not an m car so people would just get an m3 for the same price.
But you forgot
  • the electric-steering
  • the engine (the N54T was available in the 3-series at the same as the Z4),
  • the non-M DCT which was only later available in the 3-series and 1-seres.
  • the navigation system which has been updated over the years (the 09 model z4 does not have the same navi as the 06 3-series... also it folds away )
  • the folding hard-top was a big improvement over the leaking 3-series version
  • the adaptive suspension maybe? (again save for the M-cars)

So we could also argue that most of the stuff that matters was improved or new in the Z4. And it will also be the last car offered with the N54. I do not think that is a bad thing at all.

And btw with comparable options the M3 convertible is far more expensive than the Z4 35is, and the performance is almost the same. So this hardly explains anything. Because the M3 convertible is not as rare as the Z4 35i where I live.

I think it is a fair point that the Z4 is too expensive, and that you can get 300hp and 4 seats in a 1-series for much less. But let us not forget that even the soft-top 1-series convertible is heavier than a Z4. And compared to the roadster competition, the Z4 is indeed competitively priced, and offers very competitive technology and looks, even if it is "only" based on a 3-series. Except for the HUD, B&O hifi, and perhaps ventilated seats, I cannot think of many 5, 6 or 7-series features that I really wish we also had. I can think of a few M-features though (such as drilled brake disks, more customizable software, an electronic LSD, upgraded exhaust sound etc), but that is a different story...

Last edited by Asbjorn; 05-28-2013 at 12:49 AM.
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      05-28-2013, 09:29 AM   #18
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No one buys a Z4 because they need one, it's because they want one. Therefore the price for a car like this is always going to be a premium over other similarly equipped cars.
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      05-28-2013, 10:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparnes1 View Post
No one buys a Z4 because they need one, it's because they want one. Therefore the price for a car like this is always going to be a premium over other similarly equipped cars.
Well said, People only buy the Z4 because they want one.
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      05-28-2013, 10:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparnes1 View Post
No one buys a Z4 because they need one, it's because they want one. Therefore the price for a car like this is always going to be a premium over other similarly equipped cars.
You realize that an SLK55 is only 3.5k more base than a 35iS. Your logic is off.when you say similarly equipped cars. Looks aside the SLK55 AMG is FAR FAR more car than a 35iS.

To compete with a SLK55 a fictional e89 Z4M would cost between 80-85k. a good 12-17k more than a SLK55. Its lucky the SLK looks like crap bc if it was reverse and the BMW was the dog and the MB was the looker.. NOBODY not ONE person would chose a 35iS vs a full blown AMG car for what makes no difference in price.
.
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      05-28-2013, 11:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VailM3 View Post
You realize that an SLK55 is only 3.5k more base than a 35iS. Your logic is off.when you say similarly equipped cars. Looks aside the SLK55 AMG is FAR FAR more car than a 35iS.

To compete with a SLK55 a fictional e89 Z4M would cost between 80-85k. a good 12-17k more than a SLK55. Its lucky the SLK looks like crap bc if it was reverse and the BMW was the dog and the MB was the looker.. NOBODY not ONE person would chose a 35iS vs a full blown AMG car for what makes no difference in price.
.
I think it more like $5k w/o the AMG handling package, that adds another $5k. So your really looking at $79,000 for a fully decked out SLK55 AMG.

But it is clearly way more of a performance car than the 35is. I got mine new a couple of months ago for $60,000 with all of the options since they wanted to clear it (2012). For $20,000 difference I'm happy with my Z4.
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      05-28-2013, 12:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VailM3 View Post
You realize that an SLK55 is only 3.5k more base than a 35iS. Your logic is off.when you say similarly equipped cars. Looks aside the SLK55 AMG is FAR FAR more car than a 35iS.

To compete with a SLK55 a fictional e89 Z4M would cost between 80-85k. a good 12-17k more than a SLK55. Its lucky the SLK looks like crap bc if it was reverse and the BMW was the dog and the MB was the looker.. NOBODY not ONE person would chose a 35iS vs a full blown AMG car for what makes no difference in price.
.
I dont' disagree with you about the SLK but I was referencing the above comments comparing the Z4 with the M3. Base M3 vert is 68K, just 4K more than the 35is. The M3 is a lot more performance car in many ways, but it can also be a daily driver, fetching groceries and hauling the kids around,etc. Not so easy with the Z4. Hence the "want" factor and the ability by BMW to up the cost.
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Last edited by jparnes1; 05-28-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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