The Best BMW Z4 Big Brake Kit

By on 28 April 2021 / Leave a comment Updated on: 28th April 2021

The most important safety feature of any car. No vehicle will be travelling very far without effective brakes. Most modern vehicles come with adequate stopping power for day-to-day use, but what about those who enjoy spirited driving or track days?

Standard brakes are often sufficient when performing mandatory town journeys and motorway routes, but when the forces get greater and the heat rises, they can often wilt and underperform. Vehicles with increased power or grip levels will often far exceed the braking performance available from stock parts, particularly in track day cars that take a beating lap after lap.

Incremental changes like better brake pads and improved fluids can make good improvements but, for all out braking power and resistance to fade, look no further than a big brake kit. Improving lap times, increasing feel through the pedal and helping bring the car to a halt safely. Big brake kits are arguably the best upgrade for any performance car.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

Vehicle fitment

Braking parts are specific to most individual vehicles, though thanks to part sharing and stud patterns being the same, most Z4’s from the same model line e.g., E85/E86 will all be covered by the same kits. The subheadings below should make it easy to decipher the correct parts for each Z4 model.

Safety

Fitting the brake kit itself can be tricky for those that lack automotive mechanical experience. Parts fitted incorrectly could become huge safety hazards, loose bolts releasing at high speed or incorrectly bled systems could lead to a serious crash. This is not ideal in a track vehicle but, could spell disaster on the road.

Having a new braking system overseen by a professional or installed by a knowledgeable specialist is highly recommended, to maintain safety and legality with a big brake kit installation.

Brake Pad Choice

Likely the biggest variable in a brake upgrade is deciding which brake pads to choose. From track-biased specials to standard cheap, mass produced items, brakes pads can make or break any system upgrades.

Pads designed for high stress, high heat uses, such as those designed for motorsport will often provide superior braking performance. However, on the road they will cause large amounts of dust, loud noises and will likely not work effectively at low temperatures. Therefore, finding a balance between performance, longevity and comfort is important. Information on the best pads for each vehicle is something the brake kit manufacturers can advise about, alternatively lots of information can be found on Z4 forums and fan pages from knowledgeable owners.

Featured Brands

Brembo

Arguably the most famous name in braking. Brembo can supply any part of a braking system for every use, from F1 race cars to runabout hatchbacks. They are one of the first names most enthusiasts will have in mind when looking to upgrade braking components and for good reason. Nearly 60 years of experience manufacturing and designing their own components, use in most top tiers of motorsport and glowing customer satisfaction ensures Brembo stays on top of there game and at the top of most drivers lists.

AP Racing

Another brand with huge history and pedigree, particularly in the design and manufacture of performance braking components. UK-based AP Racing have been involved in the engineering of braking components since 1928 and show no sign of letting up. As well as appearing in many top motorsport vehicles, AP Racing provide some of the highest quality brake upgrade kits for performance cars worldwide.

V-Maxx

Netherlands based V-Maxx may not have the pedigree or reputation of the aforementioned brands, but they have been making something of a splash in the performance parts market. The company was built around performance cars and modifications, focussing specifically on suspension and braking upgrades. Quality is ensured, with all products being manufactured to strict German TUV standards and boasting a 2-year manufacturer-backed warranty.

Tarox

Lastly, we have Tarox, the Italian brakes specialist has been around for nearly 50 years and, like it’s rivals, has excelled in top-level motorsport including regular appearances on F1 title winning cars. Tarox are well known for engineering breakthroughs such as the introduction of grooved brake discs for road vehicles, though they cater for everything from basic OEM brakes through to track day and motorsport specials.

The Best BMW Z4 E85/E86 (2002-2008) Big Brake Kits on the Market

Unbranded Big Brake Kit

unbranded bmw z4 e85 e86 big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

The first of our BMW E85/86 big brake kits is our budget option, made cheaper thanks to this being a kit supplied from a private seller. Big brake kits put together by enthusiasts are not uncommon, particularly for BMW’s, which often share fitment across many models. Through many years and thousands of miles of testing, sellers can put together very comprehensive kits to bolt straight on, for a much lower price than established retailers.

This kit includes larger 4-piston Brembo brake calipers, huge 337mm discs and high-performance pads. These upgrades will take braking performance to the next level, allowing greater stopping force, resistance to fade and better pedal feel. Whether on the track or on the road, these brakes are sure to improve the driving experience and could help keep brakes from fading in high-speed driving and actually improve safety.

This kit comes with the correct hardware to mount the calipers onto any E85/86 Z4, apart from Z4M models (covered further down). The Brembo calipers are well known in the industry and should provide excellent performance and longevity.

Brake caliper spec: 4-piston
Disc size:
337mm
Pad type:
Fast road
Hoses included:
No

Pros:

  • Cheapest E85/E86 brake kit featured
  • Brembo 4-piston calipers
  • Huge upgrade in disc size
  • Increased resistance to overheating and brake fade

Cons:

  • Private brake seller, not backed by large manufacturer

V-Maxx Big Brake Kit 20 BMZ330 02

v-maxx big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

Our second E86/E86 offering comes from a more established supplier, again using 4-piston calipers alongside larger brake discs and upgraded high-performance road brake pads. This combination promises a dramatic increase in braking performance, promoting shorter stopping distances and better resistance against heat and therefore minimal brake fade.

Also included in the kit are upgraded braided brake hoses and all the correct hardware to mount easily onto the E85/E86 Z4, with nothing more required than some fluid and a system bleed. All V-Maxx kits are manufactured to align with strict German TUV standards, ensuring a quality product that will withstand the huge forces involved without failure or risk to occupant safety.

Brake caliper spec: 4-piston
Disc size:
330mm
Pad type:
Fast road/ high performance
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • Upgraded 4-piston brake calipers
  • Better resistance to heat and associated brake fade
  • Braided steel hoses included in the kit
  • Meets strict German TUV parts standards

Cons:

  • Smaller disc size compared to cheaper, privately sold kits

Tarox Sport Big Brake Kit KMBM0177

tarox sport big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

The last and most expensive kit featured here for the BMW Z4 E85/E86 (non-M) model. Building on cheaper offerings, this kit offers the chance to upgrade not to 4-piston but 6-piston calipers, for extra stopping force and lower chances of brake lock-up. Like rivals, this kit comes with 330mm brake discs, which can be chosen in grooved or drilled styles depending on application. Also selectable is the pad type, to go along with the brake kit. Customers can choose standard road pads, performance driving road pads or a track-biased option, depending on the planned usage.

This kit comes as a complete package, also including the required hardware and brake lines to bolt onto the Z4, requiring new fluid and a full system bleed after installation. There is a variety of different colours and finishes available to suit the customers vehicle and wheel colour.

Brake caliper spec: 6-piston
Disc size:
330mm
Pad type:
Choice of pads available: standard/ fast road// track
Hoses included:
Yes

Pros:

  • Massive 6-piston brake calipers for ultimate stopping force
  • Choice of brake discs and pads to suit application
  • All hardware and hoses included
  • Choice of colour finishes

Cons:

  • Most expensive E85/86 big brake kit featured

The Best BMW Z4M (2006-2008) Big Brake Kits on the Market

RB Racing Rotors Big Brake Kit

rb racing rotors bmw z4m big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

The Z4M comes from factory with upgraded brakes over the standard Z4 models, meaning any upgrade requires serious hardware and, usually, a large outlay for such bespoke parts. Our first offering uses huge 6-piston AP racing calipers to add that extra bite and stopping force to any Z4M, particularly useful for those that are used on track or in motorsport events. Larger 370mm discs and fast road pads help manage the heat and reduce fade with repeated use, such as at a track event.

This kit comes with everything required to fit onto the Z4M including the correct hardware and braided steel brake hoses. Lightweight calipers help reduce un-sprung mass and are also coated in an anodised grey paint to promote longevity and stop any chance of corrosion.

Brake caliper spec: 6-piston
Disc size:
370mm
Pad type:
Fast road
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • Least expensive Z4M big brake kit featured
  • AP racing calipers, well known and trusted by enthusiasts and racers
  • Increased disc size gives better stopping performance and increased resistance to fade
  • Reduction in all-important un-sprung mass

Cons:

  • Smaller discs than the Brembo 6-piston kit featured below

Brembo Gran Turismo Big Brake Kit 4-Piston 2C18026A

brembo gran turismo big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

Next, we have the smaller of our two Brembo big brake upgrade kits. This “lesser” kit features the 4-piston calipers, alongside larger 345mm diameter brake discs and high performance Brembo brake pads. This kit, the manufacturer promises, is the ideal setup for fast-road and track use, giving amazing resistance to fade. The calipers are made using incredibly rigid parts that prevent flexing and give consistent, reliable stopping power every time. Discs are offered as drilled or grooved options, to both increase the dissipation of heat and promote better friction on the braking surface.

As a full Brembo kit, customers can be sure that all parts were made to work together, all designed by the same company and same team to ensure maximum effectiveness and ease of fitment. Also included is the required hardware for installation and braided brake hoses. A variety of colour options for the calipers are available.

Brake caliper spec: 4-piston
Disc size:
345mm
Pad type:
High performance
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • Larger discs and calipers than the standard Z4M setup
  • Includes high performance brake pads
  • Suitable for fast road and light track use
  • All parts designed and manufactured by Brembo, ensuring good fitment

Cons:

  • Smaller calipers and less pistons compared to rival kits

Brembo Gran Turismo Big Brake Kit 6-Piston 1M29001A

brembo gran turismo big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

Last up is arguably the ultimate BMW Z4M brake setup for sale, anywhere. Massive 6-piston monobloc Brembo calipers are combined with 380mm discs for the ultimate stopping force, ideal for owners that are planning on using their Z4M on the track. Monobloc calipers not only reduce mass but also increase strength, this gives consistent force across the brake pads leading to even friction distribution, minimised vibrations and consistently high stopping power.

As a full Brembo kit, customers can be sure that all parts were made to work together, all designed by the same company and same team to ensure maximum effectiveness and ease of fitment. Also included is the required hardware for installation and braided brake hoses. A variety of colour options for the calipers are available.

Brake caliper spec: 6-piston
Disc size:
380mm
Pad type:
High performance
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • Biggest calipers and discs of any Z4M kit featured
  • Lightweight monobloc calipers
  • All hardware and hoses included for ease of fitment
  • Variety of colour finishes available

Cons:

  • Most expensive Z4M big brake kit featured

The Best BMW Z4 E89 (2009-2016) Big Brake Kits on the Market

V-Maxx Big Brake Kit 20 BMZ330 03

v-maxx big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

Our first E89 offering comes from a well-established aftermarket brake kit supplier, V-Maxx. Using 4-piston calipers alongside larger brake discs and upgraded high-performance road brake pads. This combination promises a dramatic increase in braking performance, promoting shorter stopping distances and better resistance against heat and therefore minimal brake fade.

Also included in the kit are upgraded braided brake hoses and all the correct hardware to mount easily onto the E89 Z4, with nothing more required than some fluid and a system bleed. All V-Maxx kits are manufactured to align with strict German TUV standards, ensuring a quality product that will withstand the huge forces involved without failure or risk to occupant safety.

Brake caliper spec: 4-piston
Disc size:
330mm
Pad type:
Fast road/ high performance
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • Upgraded 4-piston brake calipers
  • Better resistance to heat and associated brake fade
  • Braided steel hoses included in the kit
  • Meets strict German TUV parts standards

Cons:

  • Smaller disc size compared to Tarox kit

Tarox Sport Big Brake Kit KMBM0291

tarox sport big brake kit

Check the latest price on eBay

Our second and final E89 Z4 brake kit is this 6-piston offering from Tarox. 314mm discs may be smaller than some rivals but, still offer a good upgrade over the standard items. This size increase for the disc alongside more powerful 6-piston calipers promises high stopping power, as well as more consistent brake feel and better resistance to fade in high heat applications. The combination featured here makes for an excellent upgrade, when used for fast road or track driving.

Brake discs can be specified as either grooved or drilled to suit the application and provide the ideal performance. Also included in the kit are braided brake lines and all the hardware needed for ease of mounting and installation. Discs are specifically manufactured from high-quality European steel and heat treated to ensure longevity without failure.

Brake caliper spec: 6-piston
Disc size:
314mm
Pad type:
Fast road
Hoses included:
Yes (braided)

Pros:

  • 6-piston brake calipers provide consistent braking performance
  • High performance pads included
  • Designed for fast road and track usage
  • High quality components ensure longevity

Cons:

  • Most expensive E89 Z4 kit featured

In Conclusion

Whether looking for extra safety on the road, resistance to wear or increased on-track performance, a big brake kit may be a large outlay but will pay back hugely in stopping power and longevity. Choosing the correct parts to fit a specific model can often be difficult but manufacturers are always willing to help and give advice where possible.

Modifying your vehicle can often be seen as unsafe. Large exhausts, power increases and lairy body kits all lean towards that typical “modified car” image. Bigger brakes however, increasing safety and reliability (when compared with old, rusted, worn out brakes seen on many cars) is something anyone would approve of. Taking braking performance to the next level, with these excellent all-inclusive kits, has never been easier…

If you liked the article, please share, leave a comment below and check out our other exciting articles.

Categorised in:

Jack Gill

Car journalist and fully qualified mechanical engineer, Czok’s newest contributor and long-time automotive writer. Lifetime passion for all things automotive, from new supercars to rusty old hatchbacks. If I’m not behind the wheel, I’m likely under the bonnet or browsing the classifieds. Having spent over 5 years in the automotive industry and under the bonnet of my own car at home, I want to share the knowledge and learning that I have gained, with others without the time to study or the expertise, who just want their car to get them from A to B every day. We aren’t all interested in trawling through endless internet pages and forums. I aim to gather all the information up and roll it into a quick summarised format, to give only the information you really need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Czok Newsletter

Sign up to get breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more, plus the hottest deals!

No spam, we promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and we'll never share your details without your permission.