Porsche Boxster or BMW Z4

alp8alp8 Member Posts: 656
edited April 2014 in BMW
Which of these cars is the better car for the money, and why?

I am looking at an auto version, as my back won't let me drive a stick. The Tiptronic/Steptronic is just gonna have to do.

I am not looking at the performance versions, as I'd prefer to get better MPG.


  • spiritintheskyspiritinthesky Member Posts: 207
    Which of these cars is the better car for the money, and why?


    You are looking at two $45k +/- sports cars, can't drive a stick, don't care about performance and are concerned about MPG. And you want to know which is the better "value". Re-read that and tell me you don't see some humorous illogic.

    If you are going through some mid life crisis, be careful. My Porsche sales manager privately refers to Tiptronic versions of the base Boxster and the new base Cayman as "secretary" cars. He's not the most politically correct guy, but probably fairly accurate in his demographic / image assessment.

    On point, in my opinion, the Boxster is a better sports car than the Z4, and I own a BMW M5, with a 911 Turbo on the way. But adding a tiptronic to the Boxster will sap its performance and your pocketbook to the tune of $3,400. Hardly a good "value" now, and a hindrence to future resale.
  • alp8alp8 Member Posts: 656
    :) yes, true, it's silly to talk about "value" when comparing cars at the 45k level - no doubt

    I enjoy driving a stick, but because of a long-time lower back injury I just can't do it on a daily basis, thus the need for an auto. I guess I could go the SMG route, but I've heard too many bad things about it. Aslo, the amount of time I'd get to really "use" the manual tranny is very limited. The SF Bay Area has a lot of congestion, and driving a stick is just silly. I am man enough to handle being made fun of for driving an automatic. I'm buying the car to satisfy my desires, not anybody else's.

    I've learned not to listen to anything a car sales person says. They are fairly worthlessa as far as I can tell.

    Even if the Tip/Steptronic decreases performance, I am sure they are still good cars to drive, though not as much fun as the manual.

    You're making fun of me for considering "value" but you are telling me I should care about resale? That seems inconsistent.

    I dont' care about resale. I plan to own the car for 10 years, even if I retire it as my daily driver and keep it for the weekend car.

    I don't need a backseat, anymore. At least not on my daily driver. Why should I lug around a back seat and a large trunk? Just to take an extra person to lunch? They can walk. I'd rather get a few extra mpg by dumping the back seat and trunk. I'd almost consider a Solstice/Sky, but the mpg stinks for that sized car.

    I never said my logic was perfect.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    Have you considered an SLK280?

    I throw that out because, if you are comparing to the base level Boxster and Z4, the SLK has the most torque and is least adversely affected by an automatic transmission. It's in the same league as the Boxster in price, with both well above the Z4. You can, however, get a 7% discount on the SLK by picking it up in Europe, if you are so inclined. Porsche charges extra for European delivery.

    Personally, I have never been a fan of the BMW "Z" cars. No sexist remark intended, but my secretary/assistant got a Z4 (2 year old, certified one) and it has been in the shop at least 5 times in the first 6 months. Two power top failures, dead engine (electronics), noticable suspension shimmy (clean car / no accidents), poor fit and finish, etc. That's just one example, but I know of many BMW enthusiasts who would claim the U.S. made Z4 is not up to BMW's European standards. I just never liked the looks and drive, especailly compared to my former Honda S2000.

    Between the Boxster and SLK, I think the Boxster is clearly the better performing true sports car. But, as spiritinthesky indicated, if it's going to be fitted with an automatic, I think the SLK might be worth consideration, as well. The new design is a vast improvement over the original SLK in every way.

    Sorry to hear about your back. In March I had right rotator cuff surgery, then tore my right ACL in June and while awaiting surgery broke my left elbow trying to run the bases with my torn ACL. But, thankfully, I can still drive my 911S 6-speed manual. Even if I look at bit like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail. :cry:
  • alp8alp8 Member Posts: 656
    OUCH - sorry to hear the injury report

    LOL re the Black Knight - he's the one who keeps getting body parts lopped off, correct?

    It's been hilarious watching my teenage girls get turned on to Monty Python. They keep us in stitches doing "The Penguin on the Tele" skit

    I prefer the look of the Z4 to the Porsche or the SLK, but that's just me. I was a big Batman fan.

    I had not heard of the reliability issues with the Z4. I've actually been surprised at how good the reports are, from what I've been reading (doubly surprised, since it is US-assembled)

    I thought it was the most reliable BMW

    and the TCO/mile is much lower than anything it compares to

    plus, I am barely willing to spend 40K, so I can't imagine buying the SLK, even if it is better

    and I'm not OLD enough to drive an SLK


    the fit and finish issues you raise are now giving me pause

  • epbronwepbronw Member Posts: 5
    Well, how about the perspective of another Porsche and BMW owner?

    I've previously owned 3 Porsches, and currently own a BMW 325i and Z4 2.5i (both from 2003). I thought about the SLK and Boxster as well as the Z4. The SLK didn't have the sport car handling I'm used to - I think it's beautiful and makes the best daily driver of the trio, and if I were looking for a sports car as my daily driver it's the route I'd have gone.

    The Boxster has the best handling, but I think the Z4 comes closer than a lot of people give it credit for. Most definitely I preferred the styling of the Z4 to the Boxster, which has bland lines and the fried-egg headlamps that Porsche dropped from the 996 after the facelift. I also feel the Z4 was a better value - the Porsche was a bit better, but not as much as the price different would indicate. Lastly, the Z4 comes with a longer warranty and includes all maintenance and free roadside assistance - more support than the Boxster.

    As for reliability, my Z4 is essentially the same car as my 325i and both have been reliable as an anvil. I've had one light bulb burn out on each, but other than that only scheduled maintenance. Both the E46 3-series and E85 Z4 are among the most reliable BMWs made recently. I plan on keeping my 325 a few more years, but I'm thinking I will be getting rid of my Z4 sooner - to upgrade to an M Roadster version.
  • alp8alp8 Member Posts: 656
    nice report - thanks
  • squelchsquelch Member Posts: 1
    I am also trying to decide between the Z4 and the Boxster. I thought I was convinced that I wanted a Boxster until reading the following link with post after post of blown Boxster engines.
    link title

    Now I am really leaning towards the Z4. Any comments?

  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    As far as I know, the Boxster engines that had problems were in the early (1990's) models. A neighbor of mine who formerly worked for Porsche's racing team is considering a 2007 Boxster S with the new 3.4 liter engine. According to him, it's bulletproof, having been refined from the 3.6 liter 911 engine.

    When I was considering a 2005 Boxster S last year before deciding on a 911, I could not find any real concerns other than the "rear main seal" leak, which is often tied to improper break in. Porsche has moved up considerably in the reliability rankings, suggesting to me that the early Boxster issues are behind them.

    The Z4 engine is about as tried and true as one can get, having been used in everything from the 3 series, 5 series, and X5. Unfortunately, for a sports car / roadster, IMO it is rather low revving and heavy, partly leading to Z4 handling characteristics that are inferior to the Boxster. The Boxster and S2000 are exceptional ground up roadsters, the Z4 is a bit too much like a spare parts project, a similar complaint I have to the 350Z. Just my opinion.
  • dl7265dl7265 Member Posts: 1,381
    Having just driven a G35 Coupe against the 335i Twin Turbo at the Texas Motor Speedway. I can say your spot on. What looks good on paper (350Z, G35) does not translate into a fine Sports car. Personally I would not take a 800 Hp Nissan over the Bimmer or Porsche. What a hunk of junk...

  • vsaxenavsaxena Member Posts: 211
    The Z4 is definitely cheaper to own than the Boxter. And right now BMW has truly incredible lease rates on the Z4 (at least till August) with very low interest rates. I am quite sure that the lease programs are going to be aggressive since the end of summer is here. The good thing about leasing is that you can always buy the car if you want to keep it but in case you do not want to keep it you do not pay the huge sales tax up-front.

    I had a 2004 Z4 3.0 SMG and it was truly a blast to drive. BTW, do consider the 335 coupe. You can do European Delivery and get the car for 10-11% of MSRP. It is a blast to drive and you can seat four if you need it. However, you will not be able to throw it around like the Z4.

    Also thanks the incentives offered on Z4 in the last few years, you can get a $48K MSRP loaded 2003-2004 Z4 3.0 for between $25-30K, which is almost 50% off the MSRP for a car still under warranty. A great deal for a great car. Check out ebay or craigslist for cars at a great value. If you are not looking for a particularly sporty ride, avoid the Sports Package since it can make the ride harsher. Also non-Sports Package cars are slightly cheaper.

    The options to look for are Premium Package (includes automatic soft top with leather) and Heated Seats. Everything else (xenons, stereo, convenience package are nice to have).
  • txranger1txranger1 Member Posts: 5
    vsaxena has some good advice except one thing - Get the sports package. Having that little button to push can make all the difference. I really love using it, but not all the time.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Member Posts: 211
    The only problem with the Sports Package is the 18" Run Flats which can make the ride quite harsh. The throttle and steering response with the Sports button is definitely better; I had it on all the time :shades: . If the OP does not mind the harsher ride, then ZSP is a must have.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    There's always a good chance of Boxster or 996 engine failure at around the 100K mark. That's just the way it is, sad to say.

    Personally I'd buy the Boxster and be sure to ditch it around 80K, but I wouldn't turn down a Z4 if you gave me one :P

    I just prefer the Boxster looks.
  • larryjodlarryjod Member Posts: 1
    After 100,000+ troublefree miles on my '88 924S, I bought an '07 5 speed Boxster. Comfort & handling are awesome. I get 27 MPG on the highway, love the engine sound and having 2 trunks is nice. I test drove an automatic Boxster S and the power was great but the price was alot higher. If I ever buy a BMW it will be a sedan, the Z4 felt cramped. There is nothing like driving a Porsche!
  • aren1aren1 Member Posts: 2
    i sue to own a boxter s and loved it so much, fun to drive and great handling, only problen is it has been a money pit, so many times i have to bring to the dealership after 45,000 miles and labor and materials are about twice as much as other european cars. recently bought a z4, not quite like my boxter but close enough - better mpg and i love the styling. I do like boxters but prefer carrera's , i just dont find it practical for my financial situation - only thing i hate about boxters is whenever i came side by side with 911's or carreras i feel so inferior, witha z4 its hard to tell the difference between 2.5 and 3.0 :)
  • majormcfmajormcf Member Posts: 20
    Great thing about where I live is 911s are as rare as big foot sightings. The Porsche is several levels above the BMW so obviously it is going to cost more. You get what you pay for. I have a BMW motorcycle and its an awesome bike but their cars just dont measure up to Mercedes or Porsche.
  • z4poppyz4poppy Member Posts: 2
    I have an 06 Z4 roadster and after 25000 miles have only had to change oil and rotate and balance tires. No problems at all. I drove all the roadsters on the market and the Z4 has the feel I was looking for. I personally liked it much better than the Boxster. My only dislike is the runflat tires, and I am about to change to conventional tires. If I take it easy, I can get 30 mpg on a tank of gas that is 75% highway miles. It is just a great overall car for me. I traded in 2000 Z3 with 91000 miles on it. No major quality issues with it.
    You have to decide for yourself which is best for you. Just buy the one you enjoy the most. Get as much seat time as you can in each before you decide. Good luck!
  • dtownmildtownmil Member Posts: 23
    I test drove both, and personal preference lead me to the Boxster. I like the look better, the transmission, sound, feel, and pretty much everything else.

    I feel that the Porsche is the better performing car, regardless of what the numbers say, and that the Z4 is more of a cruising car. Just my opinion.

    Both are great cars of course.
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