This story should be prefaced with the fact that when I purchased this car, I was 25 years old and subsisting on an income of approximately $26,000 per year.
Yup, BMW leased a brand new Z4 3.0i to me for $320 per month. You have to realize, this was 2006. This was the time of easy credit. It was the time of financing for anyone with a pulse.
Speaking of pulse, this car was absolutely an impulse purchase. At the time, I was growing bored with my turbocharged Mazda RX-8 (this is a theme you will see with me). I wanted a Honda S2000, but the Honda salesman insulted me. Not only did he insist that his friend had a twin turbo RX-8 (lie), but he had the gall to offer me $15,000 for the car!
BMW offered me much, more more as a trade in. I pocketed the cash and picked up this baby. Optional sport package with the firmer suspension (springs, shocks, bushings, bigger wheels, better tires) and the M-Sport seats – which I wound up getting for free.
You see, in order to get the M-Sport seats, you needed to get the leather package. I didn’t order the leather package, but I ordered the M-Sport seats. Actually, lets back up. Yes, I ordered the car from the factory exactly how I wanted it – no power options with all the sport options. They actually yelled at me because “the resale value will be shit” but I didn’t care, I was leasing, reselling it was their problem. Anyways, so I ordered the car exactly how I wanted and they forgot to charge me for the leather, but ticked the M-sport seats and that’s how it arrived – and they didn’t charge me for them so fuck them.
Anyways, this car was fantastic. Great handling, decent power, good fuel economy, and fun to drive. It had enough room to fit everything my girlfriend (now wife) and I needed for a 5 day weekend, and would get 32 mpg at 80 mph with the top down. Great, reliable German engineering. I still miss this car to this day, it was a fantastic, extremely satisfying car to drive.
I have to say, there’s something about convertible driving. I just love the feeling of freedom with the top down, and when a car is built from the get go as a convertible there is a cohesive feel, as opposed to when they just chop the top off a coupe – then you add weight and dull the reflexes.
Was it completely inappropriate for someone of my age and means to have this car? Absolutely. But, in a continuing pattern of not-giving-a-fuck, I didn’t give a fuck.
Eventually, I moved up to Rochester and took this car with me. Now, you may ask – “doesn’t it snow in Rochester?”
It sure does. In fact, it snows an awful lot. But you’d be amazed what a car with proper snow tires and a good traction control program can do. I have to say, people who fear rear wheel drive in the winter are absolute pussies. The car performed wonderfully. The only major issue was ground clearance – but if you don’t do anything stupid you won’t wind up in a snow bank.
Ultimately, my lease ended, and my son was born. And gone was this delightful, reliable car. I still think about it sometimes, like a girl you used to bang who you never really broke up with or ended on bad terms – you just sort of stopped calling each other or moved away, so you can fondly remember her.