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JonM 10-25-2002 06:25 AM

Z4 in Vancouver BC
 
Drove up to Vacouver last night to Z4 unveiling at Brian Jessel BMW.

I want one. You will want one.
  • I have nothing but good things to say about the styling of the exterior and the interior. The doors have a shape which makes them much thicker at the top than the Z3.
  • The interior aluminum trim is real aluminum. Not E46-style matte chrome. It would be easy to leather cover every aluminum pieces in (deviating) colors of leather.
  • Interior controls are placed perfectly. Ignore other people hacking on the flat dash. It is not a problem.
  • Gauges are perfect.
  • Steering wheel is great. Tilts and telescopes.
  • Armrest is useable, but too low to be ideal and too small. E-brake boot is integrated into armrest leather.
  • Glovebox is probably not large enough for the owner's manual.
  • Rear storage compartment probably makes up for some glovebox space
  • Door map pockets are very small and shallow.
  • Cupholders are well thought out.
  • There are no tools on board. No jack, no lug wrench, nuthin. No space or provisions for them either, at least under the trunk carpet
  • Amp has been relocated to the battery compartment under the trunk floor
  • Warning triangle is sized for the Euro E46 one now. Still cannot get those in the US
  • No underhood liner on the models I saw. Aluminum hood is cool.
  • Manual seats are nice.
  • LED lighting behind interior door pulls to located interior door handle, Boxster style
  • Overhead light panel is E46 with amber LED lighitng integrated
  • Quality of dash and door panels is not as good as E46, but much better than Z3 wood pulp/vinyl door panels. They feel injection molded and hard plastic. Texture is good though.
  • Plenty of room in cabin. Feels much larger than Z3
  • Both of these cars had the 18" bolted 5-spokes, not slated for US. I like them.
  • Car looks better de-badged. Neither of these had the Z4 or the 2.5/3.0 badges on them.
  • I took only 1 picture. Will post when I get home tonight.
  • Women employees at Brian Jessel are very attractive.
  • Brian Jessel had a section dedicated to BMW Individual with several hides of leather draped around on display. This is the right way to spec out an interior.
  • Exterior door handles appear to be E39 re-used.
  • Interior door handles appear to be X5
  • Door panels have soft vinyl section where your elbow goes. Probably no need for door armrests aftermarket. Most of door panel is vinyl. Very little leather.
  • Windshield header is thicker and beerfier in all respects
  • Lack of small wing windows makes windshield feel more solid. I prefer no wing windows.
  • Roll hoops are 2 pieces of plastic snapped together. Would be easy to leather cover.
  • Interior switches and controls are great. Lots of E46 re-use. The feel and operation is commensurate with a $45K car, not a $29K Z3 1.9 car. This is good. The auto climate controls and the manual climate controls are both nice feel.
  • Quality of materials in general is much better than Z3 in all respects. I found a few Saratoga-made pieces, but BMW has done a good job.

Will write more later. Less than 4 hours of sleep and have to pitch to president of Dassault at 8am this morning.

scottn2retro 10-25-2002 07:47 AM

good write up . . .
 
lots of details and have a much keener eye for the manufacturing details that I do.

I saw one at Sterling BMW (Newport Beach) and here's observations. I only saw the car for a couple of minutes and did not open the hood or test drive:

First impression on seeing the car was favorable. The overall shape, stance and proportions of the car are good looking and with the engineering advances over the Z3, I think BMW may accomplish what they set out to do with the Z4 (which the Z3 community seems to either forget or not understand): to create a high end (not cheap) roadster that will appeal to the market segments that DO NOT like the Z3.

I get close enough to see the window sticker. The car I'm looking at is Maldives blue (nice color), black interior with wood trim, 2.5L with a 5 speed stick, 17" wheels. MSRP is near $43K, but I was happy to see no dealer mark-up sticker on it. A serious buyer can test drive the car (and presumably take the car) at any time.

Before I go further with the observations and/or nit picks, let me say again that overall I approve of the vehicle.
- I was thrown off a little to look in the trunk and not find the customary tool kit. The car comes with run flats. Like Jon, I also noticed the amp next to the battery.
- I do not like the wood trim on the black interior. It clashes with the many pieces of 'aluminum' trim still on the steering wheel, roll hoops, etc. It may add some color to the beige int., but I do not recommend it with the black.
- The light/roundel on the side sticks out a little too far from the surface of the car for my taste. I would prefer it a little more lower profile.
- Still not a fan of the shape of the roll hoops.
- Also not a big fan of any of the wheel choices for the production cars. I prefer the wheel that Jon saw last night.
- Looks like they're still using the Z3 antenna.
- The trunk didn't seem THAT much bigger than the Z3, but it is larger.
- This car has the power seats with the memory settings and the bottom part of the seat looks more like the standard Z3 seat than the M Roadster sport seats.

johnlew 10-25-2002 07:51 AM

Would agree with most of the assessment and suspected that the Z3 people would be most impressed. It's coming from the better 3s and 5s that may leave one wanting, but again, I have to give it another fair chance.

JonM 10-25-2002 05:45 PM

Door handle locator LED
 
http://www.leatherz.com/pics/z4_led.jpg

Boxster has these. 7 series has had these for a few years now. Ron and I have these. I like them. Nice detail.

JonM 10-25-2002 05:48 PM

Audio/Subs
 
We did move the seats all the way forward. There are grilles behind each seat, sized for either a 6x9 or 8" round sub. Very large. One on each side.

JonM 10-26-2002 10:25 AM

Door sills say "BMW". Not "roadster".

Will post more details as I remember them.

AndyM 10-27-2002 12:29 PM

My morning with the Z4
 
Jake Sweeny BMW (The good BMW Dealer in Cincinnati) held an exclusive preview of the Z4 this morning for the CinZRoadster Club. Needless to say Myself and the LeatherZ R&D team were on-hand.

Introduction:
I want to say right away that I am not a "Roadster kind of person". This is not a knock against roadsters and should not be taken as such. I love driving roadsters, but would not want to own one. After all, I did pass on the Z3 in favor of the Coupe. That was until today.

I have seen all the pictures of the Z4 as well as the viewings at HC. Like a lot of people, I did not like the design at first. Going from the Z3 to the Z4 was a drastic change and I think that is what affected my opinion. Over the past few months the look has started to grow on me.

Initial Impression:
Today was the first time I saw a Z4 up close. My viewings at HC were very limited and the sheer exhaustion from the workload didn't give me much of a chance to get a good look at the car. The first thing I noticed was the car's stance. I may be in the minority here, but I feel that the Z4 has a much more aggressive look over the Z3. The car has low ground clearance and I was surprised to see that both the 2.5 and 3.0 do not have the Conestoga wagon look that the Z3 has. The gap from the tire to the wheel-well is correct. I see no need to lower the car (unlike the Z3 which NEEDS to be lowered at least 1.5").

The only problem I had with the car at this point was the Roundel on the side. I just don't like it. I like the rear end, it is much nicer than the 7 series. No complaints.

Moving on to the interior. The interior is where you see that the Z4 is way ahead of the Z3. I think that the interior is excellent. Everything is where it should be and I had no problem adjusting to button and instrument layout. I see why some people do not like it. It does not have the "roadster feel" to it, having center console gauges and the HVAC matching is a good look for the roadster (i.e. M roadster). After a minute or two though, I was already past it. I really like the gauge layout, everything is easy to read and seemed to be in the correct place. I would not by an Automatic because of the cheap D, R, N, P display. My only real gripe so far.

Driving impressions:
We drove the 3.0 so we were stuck with the Step. Let me just say that the 2.5 sounds as good as the stock 3.0 Z3. It has a very throaty tone and I was very surprised. OK, back to the 3.0, the car has plenty of power. I knew this going into today after spending the past 6 months with my 3.0 so I wasn't surprised. The first thing I noticed about the car was that there seems to be no need for a windscreen. At no time during my drive did I notice a lot of wind nor was the wind too loud (I actually don't remember any affect from the wind). Bob Slone did take the car on the freeway and at 75mph, he said the Z4 was quieter than his Z3 with Clear Windscreen.

On to the handling. The Z4 handles much better than any Z3 I have driven. It is a much tighter car and I would venture to say that it compares more closely to the Coupe than the Roadster version of the Z3. Again, I only spent a limited amount of time in the car, but that was the feeling I got.

Midway through the drive, we decided to put the top up. Here is where there is a major change in the 2 roadsters. The top operation is perfect. I found myself reaching up to latch the top only to find that the top does this automatically. With the top up, I had more headroom than my coupe. When I ride in a Z3, I usually have to lean my head to one side so I am not pressed up against the top. I easily had 4 fingers from the top of my head to the top of the Z4. Everybody was griping about the fact that the top leaves a portion of the top mechanics exposed and how bad this was going to be to clean, and every cigarette they throw out the car is going to go in this hole, and on and on. Now what I don't get is, everyone *****ed about the Z3 not having an integrated boot cover. Now they get one and they still complain? Anyway, I will get off my soapbox. To end the discussion of the top, I will say that it alone is worth $5,000 more than the Z3.


So Now Then:
Overall I really like the Z4. I would love to have one. I would not sell my Coupe to buy one, but should my VW die in the near future, I would buy a Z4 in a heartbeat. There are still a few things that I have a gripe about. The side Roundel is just not doing it for me. I also do not like the reflector that is mounted on side of rear bumper, the little red round one. I would rather have nothing there. The last problem I have is the exhaust. The tips are too cheap. Why didn't BMW use a Chrome tip or even bigger tips?

That is pretty much it.

JST 10-27-2002 12:56 PM

"There are no tools on board. No jack, no lug wrench, nuthin. No space or provisions for them either, at least under the trunk carpet."


Sigh.

I also noticed that the window switches are in the doors, rather than the center console.

The Z4 is so uniquely ugly, yet so mainstream in its detail execution. When all that remains is the roundel on the hood, will it still be a BMW?

If we are being taken where we don't want to go, will someone at least let me know when we get there?

Randy Forbes 10-27-2002 01:08 PM

Quote:

"There are no tools on board. No jack, no lug wrench, nuthin. No space or provisions for them either, at least under the trunk carpet."
You guys didn't look hard enough!
There is a very small tool roll in the trunk, rearwards of the battery and next to the amplifier.

It only contains a reversible screwdriver, wrench, tow hook and "something" else. But it IS there.

As for the jack and lug wrench, you have run flat tires instead.
I'm sure that your significant other would rather continue her drive home with a deflated tire and let YOU deal with the problem;)

JonM 10-27-2002 01:18 PM

Re: My morning with the Z4
 
Quote:

Originally posted by AndyM
Myself and the LeatherZ R&D team were on-hand.
You sound like the AssMan.

You should clarify: "Myself and the EDS CAD/CAM team were on-hand"

JonM 10-27-2002 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Randy Forbes


You guys didn't look hard enough!
There is a very small tool roll in the trunk, rearwards of the battery and next to the amplifier.

The cars in Vancouver were preproduction. I asked to see the top operate and the guy from BMW Canada said he couldn't show me because both tops were broken on these cars.

JonM 10-27-2002 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by JST
[BI also noticed that the window switches are in the doors, rather than the center console. [/B]
I prefer them on the door myself, especially since the controls are side by side for the driver. That said, I question putting the switches forward of the door pull. I think it will be an awkward reach.

Christian 10-27-2002 02:05 PM

Well, that did it. Great reviews guys. I'm gonna have to go drive one. If I end up shelling out 40 grand, I'm gonna hold you Maddux boys responsible!

Randy Forbes 10-27-2002 03:32 PM

Quote:

The cars in Vancouver were preproduction. I asked to see the top operate and the guy from BMW Canada said he couldn't show me because both tops were broken on these cars.
The tops in Toledo work...

Via the key in the door!

You can raise or lower the top just by turning and holding the key in the drivers door.

Now that was cool.

Of course, there is a switch on the console too.

Ron Stygar 10-27-2002 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Randy Forbes

You can raise or lower the top just by turning and holding the key in the drivers door.

Does it do windows too?

JST 10-27-2002 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Randy Forbes


The tops in Toledo work...

Via the key in the door!

You can raise or lower the top just by turning and holding the key in the drivers door.

Now that was cool.

Of course, there is a switch on the console too.

This has been a feature on BMWs with power tops for a while, so I'm not surprised that they included it on the Z4. Mine does it, but I've always questioned the wisdom of putting that kind of drain on the battery, so I never use it.

Mine does the windows, too, so I assume the Z4s does the same thing.

johnlew 10-27-2002 05:05 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Randy Forbes


The tops in Toledo work...

Via the key in the door!

You can raise or lower the top just by turning and holding the key in the drivers door.

Now that was cool.

Of course, there is a switch on the console too.

Does it on my 330, and does the windows too. Non USA models can be done with the remote key out of the door.

Clem 10-28-2002 06:55 AM

I finally watched "The Hostage" and I am telling you I really like this car. The Z3 was nice but never grabbed my attention like this car does.

JonM 10-28-2002 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by JST
This has been a feature on BMWs with power tops for a while, so I'm not surprised that they included it on the Z4.
Not included on Z3s with power tops.

JonM 10-28-2002 07:48 AM

Detailed Z4 pics
 
Most people probably will not care about these. But we do.

Pics.

scottn2retro 10-28-2002 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Randy Forbes
You guys didn't look hard enough!
There is a very small tool roll in the trunk, rearwards of the battery and next to the amplifier.

It only contains a reversible screwdriver, wrench, tow hook and "something" else. But it IS there.

Which side and what color is it. Maybe it wasn't yet in the car I looked at. I noticed the new round tow hook hole covers and thought they must have the tow hook somewhere. :dunno: If I pass by again, I'll take another look.

nate 10-28-2002 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by scottn2retro


Which side and what color is it. Maybe it wasn't yet in the car I looked at. I noticed the new round tow hook hole covers and thought they must have the tow hook somewhere. :dunno: If I pass by again, I'll take another look.

I can't find it in these pictures, maybe it is under the mat :dunno:

http://www.zroadster.net/tim/drives/paris4.html

Maldives Blue is horrible, I have seen it on the 2.5; just hideous. Otherwise, it is great. A huge improvement on the Z3, IMO.

And I also don't like the location of the window switches. I don't like them on the door, espceially behind the armrest. I guess BMW thought it was the only place available. :dunno:

The drive has gotten very good reviews, http://www.thecarconnection.com/inde...&sid=184&n=157

scottn2retro 10-28-2002 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by nate328Ci
I can't find it in these pictures, maybe it is under the mat :dunno:
The battery and amp compartment is under the mat, in the center of the vehicle with the amp aft of the battery (from what I remember).

JonM 10-28-2002 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by nate328Ci
Maldives Blue is horrible, I have seen it on the 2.5; just hideous.
I think Maldives is 10 times better than Z3 Atlanta Blue. The car in Vancouver was Maldives/Black with the 18" wheels and it looked great. But Blue cars with Black interiors generally do look better than Blue with Beige in my opinion.

nate 10-28-2002 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by JonM


I think Maldives is 10 times better than Z3 Atlanta Blue. The car in Vancouver was Maldives/Black with the 18" wheels and it looked great. But Blue cars with Black interiors generally do look better than Blue with Beige in my opinion.

Atlanta is better, IMO. But, I prefer dark blue much more than the light ones. Maldives was ugly....


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