Goodbye BMW Z4...hello Mazda!


I have a 2012 BMW Z4, and despite the fact that the folding roof is with a full warranty, it’s not covered.

It’s just cost £4k. Which was not good at all, and as they get newer, they get more ugly.

So it can go, as they’re not cheap, and I’m not fussed about a soft top.

From what I have seen (eBay, specialist MX5 used and new parts), this seems like a good choice, and a lot cheaper than BMW.

Quite happy to repair it (I was an electromechanical engineer), but I don’t know what’s the best way around.

So I thought I’d rather ask you first, before I get one!

It’s worth up to £4k (obviously more if there’s a good deal), but I really want to find what it needs.


Satnav I’ve got, so I don’t need that.

Automatic would be good, but manual is also ok. Rear wheel drive makes the clutch easier to do.

Air conditioning is a yes please.
Cruise control if it’s visible.

Hard top can be found later. They’re easy to find, so that’s not an issue.

I’m interested in engine power.
There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the 1.6 and the 1.8.

I don’t mind if it’s a Miata…

From what I can tell, it’s the most reliable car as long as you look after it, and the engine and transmission goes on forever…

All I’m really concerned is rust as an important issue…

Sorry to talk a long way, but it’s going to be several months (there’s a family car that I can drive), but I’ve decided on that version at last!

Appreciate your help!

Miata! I almost always mean Eunos…

Mk1 or Mk2 (1.6 or 1.8) I guess you’re after as the Mk3’s come in 1.8 or 2 ltr?

I don’t know how much you’re willing to spend or how much your Z4 is worth, surely you could start looking at Mk3’s unless you have an hankering for the earlier?
Prices are all over the place ATM, good quality cars (rust free😁) are at premium, couple that with everything else that’s going on in the world it’s a seller’s market right now.

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Unfortunately it’s that time of year when prices on MX-5s are skyrocketing, everyone wanting a reasonably priced Summer toy. Having said that, I bought mine in October and drove her right through the Winter without any issues.
Wouldn’t worry too much if you find an otherwise nice vehicle with a minor touch of rust as it can be sorted if caught quickly enough. I’m putting money aside at the moment to getting mine properly rust-proofed. There’s a Dinitrol specialist up the road from me quoting £500 for a full 4-day process and that includes use of a courtesy car so am more than happy with that.
Incidentally, mine’s a Mk 3 1.8. Some of folk have said they found the 1.8 a wee bit disappointing but tbh, she’s more than adequate enough for me. No one buys a 5 for raw power, sounds cliché now but it really is all about the smiles per miles :grin: You’ll have great fun throwing one round the corners and yes, ultra reliable as long as you treasure them appropriately. That said, they do love to be revved so you can definitely let ‘em rip on the open road.
Price-wise, as an example, I bought mine 6 months ago, 2013, immaculate with 41,000 OTC and cost just a fraction over £7000, but when I was first searching for a 5, I saw a few Mk 2s for about £4000-£5000 but then you could possibly end up compromising on the engine size you want. Having said that, lots of people love their 1.5s and really rate them against the larger engines. Have a look on the AA website, I found them really helpful.
Fuel-wise, it’ll absolutely be a win over your Z4 :rofl:
Have fun with your search, can’t wait to see pictures of your new baby when you find her!

It is true that the Z4 is a thirsty monster.
Locally 28(ish) mpg…

I don’t mind a small amount of rust…I have a classic car that’s older than me, and I’m 51, so it’s only rust holes and underseal that hides rust holes to pass the MOT.

I’ve already got a couple of pints of Bilt Hamber S-50, so stopping the light rust it isn’t a problem…

It is good to see that in fact the early cars seem to be lighter, rather than heavier, and if I’m honest, the Z4 top speed of 147 is utterly pointless. The averaging speed of 100mph means you lose your license for a year, and the insurance goes through the roof…

I just need an easier, fun car that’s much more reliable.

If it’s lighter rust, then that’s not an issue…

Thanks for letting me know more! It makes more sense. I don’t mind older cars. Bushes and clutch plates are not a problem…

I went from a Z4 to an MX-5 and haven’t regretted it for a second, mind you, my Z4 was knocking on a bit, proving to be quite unreliable, and had a horrendous water leak, whereas the MX-5 is only 3 years old. I do find the Mazda a lot easier to drive and the suspension is much more forgiving, going over potholes in the Z4 I always worried the struts were going to make a sudden unwanted appearance!!

Water leak seems to be the worst.

Apparently they don’t have any water bung holes, so it just fills up with water, and the pump, motor, electrical wires and amp dies. And the warranty is not covered, so it’s very very expensive.

My wife has an M4 sport convertible, and KarTechnic are fixing it at the moment for the same problem.

Fortunately, the roof wasn’t opened when it was wet, so only the amp should be over, but that’s all when they dry it.

My Z4 was only 24000 miles though. It’s just not satisfied.

So yes, the idea of the MX5 being reliable is a major issue.

I don’t mind, because it’s also less complicated compared to the Z4…

The other issue is that the MX5 has a spare wheel, and the Z4 has runflats, which are a. expensive, and b. bumpy

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