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Old 05-06-2020, 11:12 AM   #1
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Has anyone owned both a Boxster and BMW Z4?

I am in a quest for a new convertible to replace my current weekend car (2004 BMW 3-series vert).

I have spent hours reading through this forum and learning a lot about Boxsters and their typical issues. This seems like a fantastic community forum with tons of helpful info!

Anyways, I believe I have narrowed my search down to a Boxster or BMW Z4. I have read every forum thread comparing the two, but I am still torn.

I am wondering if anyone here has previously owned a 03-08 Z4 but ended up with a Boxster and how your experience has been between the two.

My top goal will be achieving the lowest possible ownership cost. I bought my 3-series at the bottom of the depreciation curve and have only had $600 in repair costs over 4 years and 11k miles. Hoping for a similar experience with the next car and trying to see what other's experience have been between the two.

I have been casually looking on marketplace and craigslist the past couple weeks, but most examples of either car seem to be from short-term owners with questionable maintenance histories.

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Old 05-06-2020, 04:18 PM   #2
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I was originally looking to buy an E85 3.0si and test drove several of them. I found that in my area many of these cars were high mileage/many owner/deferred maintenance condition and there were very few with manual transmissions. I really enjoyed the feel of the Z4 with its traditional front engine rear wheel drive layout but when I test drove a 2005 Porsche Boxster S, it was an amazing handling car with an equally mesmerizing howl from that flat 6 engine! There also seemed to be more well sorted boxsters with manual transmissions available at reasonable asking prices.

From a reliability perspective, the Z4 doesn't seem to have any catastrophic design or manufacturing flaws but like most other BMWs requires a lot of maintenance (especially the higher mileage ones). The early boxsters on the other hand have the IMS bearing issue but seem to be very well built and don't seem to require as much maintenance as the BMW.

In the end, I chose the boxster over the Z4 for the way it handled and sounded, the roomer interior layout and the additional trunk space.

Either way, they're both fun cars to drive!

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Old 05-06-2020, 06:57 PM   #3
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I've owned both.
I had a 2003 Z4 3.0 6sp with sport and premium from Late 2003 to 2007, and replaced with 2000 Boxster S 6sp.

My BMW was under warranty during ownership. Owned from 5k miles to 30K miles. Other than tires, I believe my only warranty work outside of maintenance was having an airbag warning show up.
The car was very nice, no real complaints at all.

Then I drove the Boxster S. Owned for 10 years from 75K miles to 133K miles, obviously out of warranty. For me, The Box was way more fun to drive than the Z4. I really felt like a sports car.
Although I certainly had items needing replacement during my ownership, I never had it to the dealer or an indy. The car never left me stranded and was a fun and solid when I sold it'd had been when I bought it.

Drive both. See what you think!
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:19 PM   #4
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Dad has a Z4 (coupe) and I've got the Box. Both are fun, but the Box beats the Z4 for me hands down. The Box feels tight and go cart like, the Z4 not quite as clean overall. The Z4 has a little more off the line grunt but feels a bit more ragged at the top RPMs. The Box just pulls and feels planted. Maintenance wise I think it’s kind of a wash. Both have potential big ticket things, but mostly it’s all maintenance oriented that effects all cars... clutch, power steering, water pumps etc. I consider these wear items. As far as the IMS thing, if it happens it happens. Factor it in, most cars selling these days have most likely had it sorted. When my clutch goes I’ll do mine. Bang for the buck I’m not sure the Boxster can be beat as a last, true analog, sports car.
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:29 AM   #5
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I've never owned or even driven a Z4, but a friend owns one and I've ridden in it a few times. Like the other posters have said, the Boxster is a sports car, the Z4 is more of a cruiser. Two different kinds of cars! It should really come down to what kind of car you are looking for.

One surprising difference is that although you would think that a sportscar makes more demands from the owner as far as practicality goes, the Boxster actually has more luggage space.
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:47 AM   #6
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I suspect if you asked this same question on a BMW forum you'd get the same answers, just in reverse. I recommend driving both and making a decision based on how they feel, and the maintenance status reflects on your ownership.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:11 AM   #7
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After owning multiple BMWs, I don't enjoy dealing with exploding cooling systems, and odd-ball electrical system surprises anymore, so the Z4 was off my list. People who are into S&M and odd kinks come in all forms, including automotive enthusiasts. So if that is your thing... I can't speak to cost of ownership on a Z4 but I would imagine it would be similar, if not, a bit more than Boxster ownership. For what it's worth, my Boxster and 996 were the most reliable vehicles I have owned. The BMWs I owned previously owned were just money pits, and they weren't anything special, either. I won't throw in Toyota ownership because a Toyota never breaks. Only needs oil changes.

Seeing that this is just a regular Z4, someone I knew joked that it was just a more expensive version of a Miata. Now, if this were a Z4M - That'd be a different story but it's no longer an apples-to-apples comparison.

Edit: I see you are located in Sacramento. That is probably the hottest place on Earth I have ever been to, next to India. Having said that, just buy both.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:40 AM   #8
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boxster is the better car to drive by a good margin, but the bmw will be cheaper to own, no question.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:20 PM   #9
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A guy paid me to drive his z4 from Chicago to la. I met him at LAX and flew back to midway. The boxster imo is a way more fun car to drive. Better balance probably quicker although I never pushed the z I didn't want to have to explain anything. I've always felt the BMW are the most overrated cars. Mechanic friends concure. The boxster is the real deal
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:35 PM   #10
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Have owned a 2003 Z4 3.0 and now I drive a 2002 Boxster base 2.7
Dont get me wrong.... The Z4 is a wonderful car. The 3.0 engine is reliable.
But the Boxster is little bit more fun to drive..
I prefer the ride smoothness and the car weight balance much more to what a Z4 can offer.

Overall.. like it has been said here... drive both(many) and see for yourself.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:55 PM   #11
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Thank you for all of the replies! It seems like either will be a decent car, but I am now leaning a bit more towards the boxster.

A friend owned a Z4 so I have driven one before. If the boxster were just even with that car, I would be happy with it's driveability.

I think I left out a key point though:

I haven't driven a manual car in a decade. My wife has never driven a manual. We both will drive the weekend car from time to time. SO, we are looking for a tiptronic. Probably not a popular decision, but we will use the car only 3k miles a year and don't want either of us burning through clutches with our inexperience. I will search this forum, but how often do you hear of the tiptronic transmissions failing?

Since this will be a weekend car, I want to keep overall ownership cost low, so will continue to dive through these forums trying to gain a good picture of what I can expect for maintenance.
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcalconvertible View Post
Thank you for all of the replies! It seems like either will be a decent car, but I am now leaning a bit more towards the boxster.

A friend owned a Z4 so I have driven one before. If the boxster were just even with that car, I would be happy with it's driveability.

I think I left out a key point though:

I haven't driven a manual car in a decade. My wife has never driven a manual. We both will drive the weekend car from time to time. SO, we are looking for a tiptronic. Probably not a popular decision, but we will use the car only 3k miles a year and don't want either of us burning through clutches with our inexperience. I will search this forum, but how often do you hear of the tiptronic transmissions failing?

Since this will be a weekend car, I want to keep overall ownership cost low, so will continue to dive through these forums trying to gain a good picture of what I can expect for maintenance.
The tiptronic is for me a nonstarter especially on a base car. Really saps a lot of the fun. That said, they seem to be reliable.

Since a major concern is keeping costs low, do you plan to do the work yourself? Porsche parts arent cheap and when combined with indy labor rates at porsche specialists, the numbers add up fast.

The 3.0 in the bmw is rock solid so long as you dont overheat it. The boxster engine is a bit iffy.

I think the bmw is the better vehicle for you
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:44 AM   #13
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The luggage space was actually a deciding factor for me. The tiny trunk of the z4 is too small for a weekend getaway with the better half.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:05 PM   #14
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I'll go the way of being a hypocrite and actually vouch for the Z4. Like Quadcammer said, just don't overheat the cooling system. This is where it gets really expensive.

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