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    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    You seem to be affiliated with BMW - otherwise I couldn't imagine to get my car specced that way right at the factory. Or did the M GmbH did it as an Individual work?



    No BMW affiliation for me, I have tended to buy both BMW and Porsche during the past 15 years or so, usually owning BMWs as daily drivers and Porsches as my weekend cars. Only recently have I been a convert to ///M division and started driving BMWs as track and weekend cars also.

    It was my BMW dealer who applied all the changes, before I collected the car and they just ordered the items from the BMW catalogue and fitted them as part of the pre-delivery inspection.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    My only serious question about the Z4MC is how they managed to make such a compact car weigh 3,250 lbs. It's a bit disappointing that they couldn't make it a bit more lithe. Still, a very entertaining drive! Any hints of a lightweight version (ala CSL)?



    That's the great deception, BMW didn't make it as heavy as that. The magazines keep quoting published weights and BMW and Porsche publish their weights to different standards. The actual difference in kerb weight between Cayman and Z4MC for instance is around 40kg (i.e. 90lbs), which although heavier isn't that much heavier particularly when you include the addition of a LSD in the Z4MC.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    SteveD said:
    Quote:
    My only serious question about the Z4MC is how they managed to make such a compact car weigh 3,250 lbs. It's a bit disappointing that they couldn't make it a bit more lithe. Still, a very entertaining drive! Any hints of a lightweight version (ala CSL)?



    That's the great deception, BMW didn't make it as heavy as that. The magazines keep quoting published weights and BMW and Porsche publish their weights to different standards. The actual difference in kerb weight between Cayman and Z4MC for instance is around 40kg (i.e. 90lbs), which although heavier isn't that much heavier particularly when you include the addition of a LSD in the Z4MC.


    So, how much do you think the car really weighs with all fluids? I realize Porsche fibs about weights. I wasn't comparing the Z4MC to the Cayman's weight, just other cars whose weight I know...

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Given that BMW have absolutely no history at all of delivering a car that comes anywhere near the Cayman S in terms of handling I am somewhat sceptical of any claims that magically they have at last managed to compete with the Z4M (albeit with a bunch of ad-hoc, owner-specified changes). And for anyone old enough to care I include the E30 M3 in the list of disappointments.
    I have bought 23 new BMWs so far, including a large bunch of M cars, looking for the "promise", but I have yet to find it.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    KenH said:
    Given that BMW have absolutely no history at all of delivering a car that comes anywhere near the Cayman S in terms of handling I am somewhat sceptical of any claims that magically they have at last managed to compete with the Z4M (albeit with a bunch of ad-hoc, owner-specified changes). And for anyone old enough to care I include the E30 M3 in the list of disappointments.
    I have bought 23 new BMWs so far, including a large bunch of M cars, looking for the "promise", but I have yet to find it.




    Blimey, I am not sure how to respond to such a comment, you obviously have a viewpoint borne of personal experience and therefore no amount of debate is likely to change it. I presume you also own a Cayman S, judging by the tone of your comment.

    Handling is a 'subjective' judgement, so we would have to agree on a common definition before we could even begin to discuss the topic.

    Personally I prefer the handling characteristics of a front-engined rear wheel drive car, but when I first drove a Cayman I loved the approachable way it drove. I even wrote about it for a magazine a few months ago, but whilst I have owned several of Porsche's mid-engined models I still prefer the involvement and greater satisfaction achieved from driving a rear-engined Porsche. After owning and racing various 911s (GT3, 964RS, 993C2 etc) I find the Cayman a little too easy to drive. I guess that's part of the reason why I preferred the Z4MC, because there was more satisfaction borne from driving it well.

    On the purely subjective view of handling, I also own an M3 CSL and having also owned a 996 GT3 before it I know which one I would vote as being the better handling car. So BMW's history of building fine handling cars is pretty clear in my experience.

    Both manufacturers have pretty admirable records of building very succesful racing cars; BMW being the most succesful touring car brand in history and Porsche being the most succesful sports car brand. So I personally don't see any contradiction in crediting them both as being able to build damn good (and exciting) cars to drive.

    The "bunch of ad-hoc and owner specified changes" that I applied to the Z4MC arose as a consequence of driving 6 seperate cars provided to me by BMW's Press department and comparing them against a similar number of cars provided by Porsche (Boxster S and Cayman S models). Then by comparing them in the same conditions, I was able to come to my own conclusion as to whether there was a fundamental advantage of one brand over another, or (as I found) that due to a daft decision by BMW they had lumbered the Z4MC with a rather obvious handicap. The changes I made were obvious to anyone with a modicum of car set-up experience and I feel show BMW to be the penny-pinching organisation that they seem to have become. But the dynamics of the car when driven with suitable tyres are far from being below par.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    KenH said:
    I have bought 23 new BMWs so far, including a large bunch of M cars, looking for the "promise", but I have yet to find it.


    So what is the current "Guiness Book of Records" benchmark for being a Glutton for Punishment that you are trying to beat?

    Only kidding, I think.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:

    So, how much do you think the car really weighs with all fluids? I realize Porsche fibs about weights. I wasn't comparing the Z4MC to the Cayman's weight, just other cars whose weight I know...



    I understand from my friends at EVO that the Z4M Coupe they weighed came in at 1420kg including all the fluids, so what's that in lbs? I guess that's just over 3200lbs including a tank of petrol. Interestingly my bigger M3 CSL weighs around 90lbs less...

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    SteveD said:
    Quote:

    So, how much do you think the car really weighs with all fluids? I realize Porsche fibs about weights. I wasn't comparing the Z4MC to the Cayman's weight, just other cars whose weight I know...



    I understand from my friends at EVO that the Z4M Coupe they weighed came in at 1420kg including all the fluids, so what's that in lbs? I guess that's just over 3200lbs including a tank of petrol.


    Steve - Actually, that's only 3,124 lbs - better than BMW's published US specs (3,250 lbs). Maybe the US one is heavier or maybe their specs include additional equipment. Anyways, that's better than I feared, although still rather heavy for a relatively small car.

    Thanks for all the good info

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Cayman S - 4
    Z4M Coupe - 0

    (Autocar; Sport Car International; Road & Track; Car.)

    I don't know what the verdict in Evo comparison test was. Could be 5-0.

    However besides all the mag tests, I really don't like the look of the Z4 - all those lines and creases look a bit of a mess to me.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    EVO's group test gave the vote to the Cayman, but then after driving my car (with an equivalent set of tyres to the Cayman) decided that it would a much closer decision (in fact Richard then preferred the Z4MC, but I will leave it for him to write his own conclusion in next month's issue).

    When I joined EVO to test the Z4M Roadster against the Boxster S, we gave the decision to the Z4M. Likewise in a recent magazine test (albeit in a BMW oriented publication), we reviewed the Z4MC against the Cayman S and gave the verdict to the Z4MC 2 to 1.

    SportAuto magazine gave the vote to the Z4MC over the Cayman S, despite it running on those appaling Continentals.

    So maybe it's 4-3 then..

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    SteveD said:
    SportAuto magazine gave the vote to the Z4MC over the Cayman S, despite it running on those appaling Continentals.

    So maybe it's 4-3 then..


    Well, it's true that the Z4M scored 48 points whereas the Cayman S scored 46 points only in the Sport Auto comparo.

    The BMW earned the 2 points lead by it's lower pricetag, better 0-100 time and better power/weight ratio.

    However, the Cayman won 3 of the four driving dynamic's criteria (HHR-laptime, Slalom, Brakes) without earning extra-points, because the results were pretty close to the BMW.
    To be honest, I was almost shocked when reading Sport Auto's comments about the Z4M's handling impressions (actually I can't recall any harsher criticism in Sport Auto regarding a sportscar's handling). The review in SCI mag (see other thread, posted by Carlos) seems to be more moderate with it's respective criticism.

    Anyway Sport Auto stated very clearly which car they would prefer (although the BMW gained more points) - "The Cayman S definitely provides the better driving dynamics".

    Those point-systems in carmags sometimes don't tell the entire truth and sometimes the writer's verdict seems to be just the opposite of the point-score assessment

    I'd say both cars are really fine cars (with almost identical values on paper), hence at the end of the day it's a matter of personal preference (more raw experience in the BMW vs. perfectly balanced dynamics in the Porsche).

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    I myself slated the Z4MC for it's driving behaviour in a recent article, but I cannot stress more clearly that this is 90% due to the tyres it is fitted with.

    I guess some people will be saying "how can tyres make any difference to the fundamental balance and handling of a car?", well if you've ever set-up a car, perhaps for racing or just for extended track use you will perhaps be aware how much effect the balance of tyre pressures has and how small changes to roll-bars and spring rates can change the character of the way a car handles.

    In the Z4M Coupe's case there are two contrasting problems; the steering rack on the Coupe is much quicker than on the roadster and relies on the front axle being stable and planted at all times. The SportContact tyres fitted as standard are soft, squishy and lack the ability to convey any real detail via the steering wheel. So if you drive a standard car you will tend to over-steer it into corners (because you cannot feel where the front end is at) and thereby unsettle the front as you then need to adjust the line (and perhaps back off mid-corner). Compounding this problem is the lack of grip displayed by the SportContacts which leads to more understeer (or push) than you would like and therefore a lack of confidence (and feel) when pushing on. What the driver feels is an imbalance between front and rear axles and the correction needed is more grip and better feel.

    Now some people might simply describe this as poor handling, but if you understand what's causing it then you can do something about it - in this case change the bloody tyres and also fit a cross-brace between the front struts to further stabilise the front end (although that's not entirely necessary).

    All of these changes are available in BMW's own accessories catalogue for the Z4 (or your local tyre shop), so it's not as if they are modifications, and BMW could (and should) have fitted them as standard, if the bean-counters hadn't cut a few corners.

    I was personally able to find fault dynamically with both Z4MC and Cayman (since no car is perfect), but in the end the decision boiled down to how you prefer to drive. There was absolutely nothing to seperate them in terms of lap time or pace on the road, although the Z4MC was the quicker of the two in terms of acceleration.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Cayman S - 5
    Z4M Coupe - 1

    (Autocar; Sport Car International; Road & Track; Car; Evo; SportAuto.)

    Evo test with Z4M Roadster against the Boxster S has nothing to do with the Cayman S!
    And in a recent magazine test (albeit in a BMW oriented publication) doesn't count! I think we should stick to the independent tests.

    As for the re-evalution of you modified Z4M coupe you might want to compare that to a modified Cayman S. I don't think you want to do that because we know what a modified Cayman S is like.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    I find it hard to accept the opinion that BMW were too mean to spend a bit more on tyres for their ZM car, especially as they get them for next to nothing anyway. At manufacturer cost I doubt if there is any significant difference between the tyre manufacturers for a low-volume car such as the ZM.
    My experience of working in the motor industry is that the cars provided to magazines are far from standard (some even arrived in the UK with stickers on the windscreen saying "for roadtest"). Some manufacturers (eg Skoda) have even been suspected of switching engines. If BMW really did think that there was a significant difference to be gained from one tyre or another I am sure that the road-test cars would have had those installed. Or maybe (extremely unlikely knowing BMW) they did not try all the possibilities.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Err, modified in what way? All that has been changed is that it now runs on 'identical' size and type tyres to the Cayman S...

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    mlin said:
    As for the re-evalution of you modified Z4M coupe you might want to compare that to a modified Cayman S. I don't think you want to do that because we know what a modified Cayman S is like.




    Well, I think Steve may have a valid point regarding the tyres, though strut braces and other mods shouldn't be part of the equation (because then you may equip the Cayman S with a LSD for example ).
    But tyres (speaking of street-tyres of course) certainly can make a big difference. BMW seems not to regard this - not only for the Z4M. When I'll replace my daily beater (3 series sedan/E46) next year, the successor (E90) might just disappear from my short-list due the RFT-tyres...

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    KenH said:
    I find it hard to accept the opinion that BMW were too mean to spend a bit more on tyres for their ZM car, especially as they get them for next to nothing anyway. At manufacturer cost I doubt if there is any significant difference between the tyre manufacturers for a low-volume car such as the ZM.
    My experience of working in the motor industry is that the cars provided to magazines are far from standard (some even arrived in the UK with stickers on the windscreen saying "for roadtest"). Some manufacturers (eg Skoda) have even been suspected of switching engines. If BMW really did think that there was a significant difference to be gained from one tyre or another I am sure that the road-test cars would have had those installed. Or maybe (extremely unlikely knowing BMW) they did not try all the possibilities.



    BMW have an OEM agreement with Continental for the fitment of the majority of their tyres, and I guess that when you have a production volume of over 1M cars per year, that matters. They originally asked Continental for their latest SportContact (version 3), but Continental did not make the Z4M's sizes yet and therefore were unable to fulfil the order. They did however have enough left-over of their version 1 SportContact tyres as fitted to the M3 back in 2001, so that's what the Z4M was given. Since it has been muted that the Z4 only has a further 2 years of production remaining BMW didn't believe it warranted the additional expense of either offering a 19" rim (as they do with the M3) nor a better performing tyre since the typical roadster customer is not necessarily the most dynamically demanding. Given how small the production numbers are for the Z4M Coupe (i.e. only 200 cars being built for the UK in the first year), it wasn't hard for the bean-counters to win the argument.

    P.s. on the subject of whether press cars are in a better state of tune than road cars, that certainly isn't true in my experience when testing either Porsches or BMWs. I drive both press cars and cars that my local dealers supply me with and there's no difference. In fact I am often amazed at how 'poorly prepared' some press cars can be (e.g. oil below minimum on the dipstick, tyres with less than optimum tread depth levels, lights not working properly, trim not attached very well etc, etc..). Maybe I'd agree that Ferrari tends to 'polish' their press cars a little too much, but the germans seem quite the opposite.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:
    SteveD said:
    Err, modified in what way? All that has been changed is that it now runs on 'identical' size and type tyres to the Cayman S...



    "and by merely fitting the same Michelin PS2s as fitted to the Cayman S transforms the way it drives. I went a little further,"

    "Richard M of EVO popped round and retested my Z4MC after these alterations"






    Err, you wrote earlier about other modifications you applied.

    And by the way, can you imagine if everyone, after seeing their car in a comparison test phoned up the magazine and asked them to re-test their (modified) car because they felt it could beat the other now. Be a bit weird in a desperate kind of way.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Quote:

    And by the way, can you imagine if everyone, after seeing their car in a comparison test phoned up the magazine and asked them to re-test their (modified) car because they felt it could beat the other now. Be a bit weird in a desperate kind of way.



    You really aren't paying attention are you? Richard Meaden and many other of the EVO staffers are mates of mine, since we have worked together writing and testing cars for nearly 20 years. So, he called me for a chat during the recent group test and wanted to gauge my opinions (hence the retest of my own car). And if you judge changing a set of tyres as a modification then perhaps that is a better illustration of sounding desperate.

    So far for most people this is just a discussion on the Autocar group test and some background thoughts behind it. I have just been relaying some insight from the EVO group test (using the same car I believe), which someone with an 'enthusisat' hat on might be interested by.

    As far as the effects that tyres can have on a car's handling. I have owned two Z4s now and they are the most sensitive road cars I have driven. Just a difference of 1psi in pressure between the front tyres can leave the steering fidgeting and feeling nervous. A couple of psi too much air can ruin the suppleness of the ride and getting the chassis alignment right is a black art.

    I remember many years ago when I used to own a 968CS and 964RS and discovering how important it was to change all four tyres rather than two. If you only changed two tyres (i.e. two new tyres on the front and two part-worn tyres on the rear), the car would fidget and be very nervous over road cambers, tramlining badly. I remember speaking with Steve Kevlin (who was Porsche's UK Technical Director at the time) to gain his input to an article I wrote in the Porsche Club GB's magazine, warning other owners to always change all four tyres.

    So balance is important and tyres can make a big difference, but some cars seem more suceptible than others to this factor.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    Hey Steve, I was just amused at how many little faults the Z4 has in terms of handling and how committed you are to rectifying them. I look forward to reading about it in Evo.

    Re: This week's Autocar (UK) article

    I have yet to drive a car that didn't need some kind of tailoring and adjusting to optimise its performance, that's half the fun of owning these cars. My GT3 was particularly sensitive and I spent many hours adjusting and improving that. I have spent far less effort on my Z4MC..

     
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