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-   -   Test drove a Z4 2.5 (long) (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22628)

reddevil7nine 03-06-2003 01:52 PM

Test drove a Z4 2.5 (long)
 
A friend of mine and me went and test drove a 2.5 liter Z4 at lunch today. I was interested in the performance of this car as Iíve heard nothing but good things about it. We were hoping to find a 3 liter with a 6 speed but they didn't have any (nor did they have any cooper S's...6 month wait for those damn things)!

Details:
2003 Z4 2.5
5-speed
Leatherette
Convenience Package
Bi-Xenon

Engine/Exhaust:
I was a bit skeptical about the performance of this car with this configuration and with my current car being a 330. However, to my surprise, the 2.5 liter was very energetic and had more than enough pep to be a great car to drive. From a stand still it seemed very quick and I was chirping tires easily in 2nd and 3rd.

The exhaust note was top notch. Very deep grunting sound, a lot more so than my 330 but that could be due to it being a convertible (hear more outside noise, closer to the tailpipe, etc.). The engine sound was very cool, made a whining sort of jet engine sound when it was really pushed. The only downside to the 2.5 liter is when you are rolling and then you punch it. I kept waiting for the car to push me back in my seat on these occasion but it never did, not like it did from standstill.

Handling:
This car drives like its on rails! We hit this one corner over and over again (warning sign said 30, we maxed out at about 65 before we chickened out), each time going faster and the car was so stable, still gives me chills. This was all achieved on the stock 16in rims with run-flats. Iíd love to see this car in the 3 liter, 6spd version with the 17in rimsÖI bet itís amazing.

I also think the Z4 would run circles around my 330 in the corners; then again, I have some old crappy tires. The car was very light and VERY tossible but in a good, ďI just started driving this car but look how much control I haveĒ sort of way. My friend had never driven a RWD car before and he was easily breaking the tail out around a corner while being able to control it with minimal effort. Sounds like BMW got this part right! Oh, he couldnít believe how intrusive DSC is. I always tell him about it and I think he finally understands. With Audiís traction control, you hardly notice that itís there.

Steering:
The steering was very precise and responsive. I always felt in total control and had all kinds of confidence driving this car. Itís really hard to explain how it felt, put it this way, it felt very, VERY good. I think the best way to describe it was my friend saying, ďman, you just point this thing and it goes there.Ē

Interior:
The interior I thought was fantastic, very comfortable and techie and it was good contrast from the exterior (more on that later). My friend drives a TT and he enjoyed the interior as well (that says a lot to me as the TT has one of the best interiors out there), just felt really good being in that car. The only thing I didnít like with the curvy designs is that they took away some leg room and we both felt a little bit cramped (Iím 5í11Ē). The front to back leg room was fine; side to side however, it felt a little tight. Also, the interior pieces were hard and when we started flying around the corners, it hurt when you hit those things. I noticed BMW has some purposely placed pads in certain locations to compensate for this.

The leatherette was a bit weird. It was sort of bumpy but very sticky. I didnít think it was leatherette but my friend swears buy it, I should have looked on the sticker.

I love the new look of the gauges. BMW seems to be using this new style on all the new cars and I really like it. Controls are positioned pretty well but some of them seem to be a tad out of reach (DSC for one, although, that may be by design). The window controls were a bit difficult to use. I think they were on a piece of metal that was sloping away from you. They were pretty low on the door also so it was somewhat dangerous to look down to find them and adjust the windows. However, after driving the car for a while, I bet you could find them easily. The best part about the interior was the steering wheel. It was small but not race car small and it felt really great. It was beefier than the one in my car but not as beefy as an M3.

Exterior:
Iím not really going to say much about the exterior except that itís ugly. Itís a shame that such a fantastic car has the hindrance of its exterior. Every part of the car is fantastic except for the outside. Bigger rims would aid the visuals of the car but it would take a lot more than that to make me buy one. Finally, I think itís absolutely horrible of BMW to not provide fog lights standard and when they arenít on the car, rather than put a new front piece on that doesnít have holes for the fogs, they just put a ďcapĒ on the inside of the fog light holesÖthe color doesnít even match the body! Absolutely horrendous IMHO, for 36k, this thing should come with fogs and then someÖ.

Summary:
Overall, this is a fantastic driverís car, one of the more thrilling cars Iíve driven and thatís with the 2.5 liter. However, you have to get in the car to be able to enjoy what it can do and in order to do that, you have to look at the exterior. IMHO the only downside (and downfall for me) of this car is the exterior, oh wait, the $36K price tag that came with it wasnít too pleasing either. I think that paying this much for a car should constitute many more things being included in the car. I paid a bit more for my car and it had all kinds of goodies not to mention a back seat and trunk to boot.

Despite the exterior, BMW got it right when it comes to the performance department. If I were looking to buy a roadster, this car would be at the top of my list however, it would be hard to look past the exterior and focus solely on the interior and the performance. Call me a poseur, but Iím not driving an ugly car.

Overall Iíd say I was extremely surprised by the drivability of this car and the 2.5 liter engine is more than adequate. I now understand why they arenít making an M version; they donít need it if the 2.5 is this quick! I would love to have gone head to head with my car to see the comparison. The Z4 is a an extremely exhilarating car to drive with only one hitch, this hitch however happens to be the part that most people will notice.

pdz 03-06-2003 01:58 PM

Re: Test drove a Z4 2.5 (long)
 
Quote:

Originally posted by reddevil7nine
A friend of mine and me went and test drove a 2.5 liter Z4 at lunch today. I was interested in the performance of this car as I?ve heard nothing but good things about it. We were hoping to find a 3 liter with a 6 speed but they didn't have any (nor did they have any cooper S's...6 month wait for those damn things)!

Details:
2003 Z4 2.5
5-speed
Leatherette
Convenience Package
Bi-Xenon

Engine/Exhaust:
I was a bit skeptical about the performance of this car with this configuration and with my current car being a 330. However, to my surprise, the 2.5 liter was very energetic and had more than enough pep to be a great car to drive. From a stand still it seemed very quick and I was chirping tires easily in 2nd and 3rd.

The exhaust note was top notch. Very deep grunting sound, a lot more so than my 330 but that could be due to it being a convertible (hear more outside noise, closer to the tailpipe, etc.). The engine sound was very cool, made a whining sort of jet engine sound when it was really pushed. The only downside to the 2.5 liter is when you are rolling and then you punch it. I kept waiting for the car to push me back in my seat on these occasion but it never did, not like it did from standstill.

Handling:
This car drives like its on rails! We hit this one corner over and over again (warning sign said 30, we maxed out at about 65 before we chickened out), each time going faster and the car was so stable, still gives me chills. This was all achieved on the stock 16in rims with run-flats. I?d love to see this car in the 3 liter, 6spd version with the 17in rims?I bet it?s amazing.

I also think the Z4 would run circles around my 330 in the corners; then again, I have some old crappy tires. The car was very light and VERY tossible but in a good, ?I just started driving this car but look how much control I have? sort of way. My friend had never driven a RWD car before and he was easily breaking the tail out around a corner while being able to control it with minimal effort. Sounds like BMW got this part right! Oh, he couldn?t believe how intrusive DSC is. I always tell him about it and I think he finally understands. With Audi?s traction control, you hardly notice that it?s there.

Steering:
The steering was very precise and responsive. I always felt in total control and had all kinds of confidence driving this car. It?s really hard to explain how it felt, put it this way, it felt very, VERY good. I think the best way to describe it was my friend saying, ?man, you just point this thing and it goes there.?

Interior:
The interior I thought was fantastic, very comfortable and techie and it was good contrast from the exterior (more on that later). My friend drives a TT and he enjoyed the interior as well (that says a lot to me as the TT has one of the best interiors out there), just felt really good being in that car. The only thing I didn?t like with the curvy designs is that they took away some leg room and we both felt a little bit cramped (I?m 5?11?). The front to back leg room was fine; side to side however, it felt a little tight. Also, the interior pieces were hard and when we started flying around the corners, it hurt when you hit those things. I noticed BMW has some purposely placed pads in certain locations to compensate for this.

The leatherette was a bit weird. It was sort of bumpy but very sticky. I didn?t think it was leatherette but my friend swears buy it, I should have looked on the sticker.

I love the new look of the gauges. BMW seems to be using this new style on all the new cars and I really like it. Controls are positioned pretty well but some of them seem to be a tad out of reach (DSC for one, although, that may be by design). The window controls were a bit difficult to use. I think they were on a piece of metal that was sloping away from you. They were pretty low on the door also so it was somewhat dangerous to look down to find them and adjust the windows. However, after driving the car for a while, I bet you could find them easily. The best part about the interior was the steering wheel. It was small but not race car small and it felt really great. It was beefier than the one in my car but not as beefy as an M3.

Exterior:
I?m not really going to say much about the exterior except that it?s ugly. It?s a shame that such a fantastic car has the hindrance of its exterior. Every part of the car is fantastic except for the outside. Bigger rims would aid the visuals of the car but it would take a lot more than that to make me buy one. Finally, I think it?s absolutely horrible of BMW to not provide fog lights standard and when they aren?t on the car, rather than put a new front piece on that doesn?t have holes for the fogs, they just put a ?cap? on the inside of the fog light holes?the color doesn?t even match the body! Absolutely horrendous IMHO, for 36k, this thing should come with fogs and then some?.

Summary:
Overall, this is a fantastic driver?s car, one of the more thrilling cars I?ve driven and that?s with the 2.5 liter. However, you have to get in the car to be able to enjoy what it can do and in order to do that, you have to look at the exterior. IMHO the only downside (and downfall for me) of this car is the exterior, oh wait, the $36K price tag that came with it wasn?t too pleasing either. I think that paying this much for a car should constitute many more things being included in the car. I paid a bit more for my car and it had all kinds of goodies not to mention a back seat and trunk to boot.

Despite the exterior, BMW got it right when it comes to the performance department. If I were looking to buy a roadster, this car would be at the top of my list however, it would be hard to look past the exterior and focus solely on the interior and the performance. Call me a poseur, but I?m not driving an ugly car.

Overall I?d say I was extremely surprised by the drivability of this car and the 2.5 liter engine is more than adequate. I now understand why they aren?t making an M version; they don?t need it if the 2.5 is this quick! I would love to have gone head to head with my car to see the comparison. The Z4 is a an extremely exhilarating car to drive with only one hitch, this hitch however happens to be the part that most people will notice.

the z4 with the 3.0litre engine is mighty, mighty fine in terms of driving experience.

would still get a used boxster S, but the z4 3.0 is a terrific driver's car.

Masskrug 03-06-2003 02:28 PM

Nice well thought out write up.

I posted my conversion to the Z4 religion several times before, but there is not a lot of interest here. I'm concluding that the combination of looks, impracticality, and pricing are going to kill this car. I really wish my 3er drove more like a Z4!

pdz 03-06-2003 02:33 PM

pricing (particularly in this economy) are really going to hurt the z4.

but, i think the looks will grow on people and form a postive feed forward loop.

as soon as dumba$$ US car magazines compare it to the boxster in testing and it wins or comes out even, then it should start to sell this spring.

Jeff_DML 03-06-2003 02:34 PM

Re: Re: Test drove a Z4 2.5 (long)
 
Quote:

Originally posted by pdz
the z4 with the 3.0litre engine is mighty, mighty fine in terms of driving experience.

would still get a used boxster S, but the z4 3.0 is a terrific driver's car.

Anybody read the latest Sports Car International magazine? They had a comparision between the Z4 and normal Boxster. They did not like the Z4 from a driving point of view compared to the boxster. It made me want to try a boxster:)

Masskrug 03-06-2003 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by pdz
pricing (particularly in this economy) are really going to hurt the z4.

but, i think the looks will grow on people and form a postive feed forward loop.

as soon as dumba$$ US car magazines compare it to the boxster in testing and it wins or comes out even, then it should start to sell this spring.

The March CAR did a TT, Z4 3.0 and a plain Boxster comparo. You know who came out on top.

The Roadstergal 03-06-2003 02:41 PM

I have to agree with you on everything except for the exterior. ;)

The 3.0 I drove wasn't broken in, but even at the lower revs it had more grunt than the 2.5. The sound was very civilized, despite the 'engine subwoofer.'
The steering is smooth and responsive.

I'm just lovin' the car. :D Vicariously, for the time being.

pdz 03-06-2003 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Masskrug
The March CAR did a TT, Z4 3.0 and a plain Boxster comparo. You know who came out on top.
i know. but how many "guys" get CAR at the airport or magazine stand?

zero exposure.

but C&D, MT, or automobile are omnipresent at kiosks and that's where the exposure really would seem to be in the US.

only freaks such as the people who inhabit this board would know of TopGear, EVO, or CAR.

Jeff_DML 03-06-2003 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Masskrug
The March CAR did a TT, Z4 3.0 and a plain Boxster comparo. You know who came out on top.
I read that article but forgot who came out on top:cry: By your response I assume the Z4?

reddevil7nine 03-06-2003 04:42 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by The Roadstergal
I have to agree with you on everything except for the exterior. ;)

The 3.0 I drove wasn't broken in, but even at the lower revs it had more grunt than the 2.5. The sound was very civilized, despite the 'engine subwoofer.'
The steering is smooth and responsive.

I'm just lovin' the car. :D Vicariously, for the time being.

i think the z has some potential in the exterior category. the 3 looks much better than the 2.5 for some reason, has to be the bigger rims. perhaps lowering it and changing the front spoiler would do it (not that i would change it, hence i don't think it'd buy it). other than that, i really enjoyed the car, still can't get over how fun it was to drive. :thumbup:

Masskrug 03-06-2003 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Jeff_DML
I read that article but forgot who came out on top:cry: By your response I assume the Z4?
No. Sorry, I assumed you would assume the por-sha would take top honors.

elfhearse 03-07-2003 05:51 AM

Nice write up and I agree, if you can't get past the looks on a car you're interested in, it's pretty hard to rationalize the high $ tag.
I guess Spring/Summer will show how well they sell. My dealer is up to about 14 on the lot based on my last Sunday AM cruise-thru.

Dr. Phil 03-07-2003 05:57 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by elfhearse
Nice write up and I agree, if you can't get past the looks on a car you're interested in, it's pretty hard to rationalize the high $ tag.
I guess Spring/Summer will show how well they sell. My dealer is up to about 14 on the lot based on my last Sunday AM cruise-thru.

:yikes: :yikes:

I have not been down there in a few weeks, are the 2 Ms still there :dunno:

elfhearse 03-07-2003 08:03 AM

Quote:

are the 2 Ms still there
...I don't remember, the lot is so full. The M3 convertible and M5 (drooool...) are still there along with all the corporate demo Z3's, S2000, Mini, etc etc

mbr129 03-07-2003 08:37 AM

I am really pumped about the prospect of owning a used stripper Boxster S in a few years. They will probably be in the 20's if I can find a 5-6 year old 2003 model. CR rated it above average in reliability, so assuming low miles it would be a great summer/fun car.

pdz 03-07-2003 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by mbr129
I am really pumped about the prospect of owning a used stripper Boxster S in a few years. They will probably be in the 20's if I can find a 5-6 year old 2003 model. CR rated it above average in reliability, so assuming low miles it would be a great summer/fun car.
not that the z4 is not balanced, because it is a tidy car (dunno about resale though......), but the boxster S is a damn fine car. on most tracks at the DE level, faster that any 993 and pretty much can keep up (barely) with the 996s in capable hands.

what i like are the upgraded brakes, balance, and engine noise. it's glorious. the growl of the S54 is okay, but i am personally hooked on the flat six wail.

mbr129 03-07-2003 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by pdz
not that the z4 is not balanced, because it is a tidy car (dunno about resale though......), but the boxster S is a damn fine car. on most tracks at the DE level, faster that any 993 and pretty much can keep up (barely) with the 996s in capable hands.

what i like are the upgraded brakes, balance, and engine noise. it's glorious. the growl of the S54 is okay, but i am personally hooked on the flat six wail.

I just saw one on cars.com near me.

2000, 7K miles for 38K. With a bunch of options, I don't want any.

And that car is only 3 years old. Cool.

pdz 03-09-2003 04:18 PM

just read the march TopGear comparison of the "base" 228hp 2.7 litre boxster (5 speed) against the z4 3.0 (auto).

it seems odd that they could not get two manuals, but it surely may have been an allocation problem. but, i guess i would project a neutral impression with the 6 speed because the BMW clutch and DBW leave some to be desired.

but as i earlier posted, i, too, like the reviewers much prefer the wail of the flat six. and the base boxster was still chosen over the z4 3.0.

interesting. both CAR and TG still complain loudly about the styling. gee, have i ever heard this one before?

nate 03-09-2003 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by pdz

interesting. both CAR and TG still complain loudly about the styling. gee, have i ever heard this one before?

And, they all ***** about the ride. It is 'too stiff' :rofl:

pdz 03-10-2003 04:50 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by nate328Ci
And, they all ***** about the ride. It is 'too stiff' :rofl:
while i enjoy the writing of the british publications the most, i find that the conclusions one can draw from their "comparisons" are severely limited.

for example: to compare the z4 3.0 step to the base boxster 5spd? how about the z4 2.5 5spd to the base boxster 5spd? or the z4 3.0 6sp versus the boxster S?

and another example of this is: the X5 4.6is versus the cayenne S?

to compare these cars based on price is silly. people who buy these cars are not bean counters and will compare them trim to trim levels. it would have been more appropriate to compare the x5 4.6 to the cayenne turbo. top of the top versus top of the top.

at the end of the day, there is one single telling statistic: for the price of a z4 2.5, one can basically get a 330ci......for the price of an equipped z4 3.0, one can get a nice m3........these cars are going to die in the marketplace.

mbr129 03-10-2003 05:29 AM

I agree. But I don't think it's only a matter of the Z4's pricing with regard to what comparable performance you can get for your money. The success of the Z3 (which I am sure they are trying to replicate) was primarily the allure of having an affordable good looking BMW roadster. A lot of men and women went after the car. Since then, many other manufacturers have jumped in the market. The SLK takes away the crown as a flashy cool car a girl may want to get (hardtop acrobabitcs are cool). And for performance, the Boxster delivers. There are other competitors as well for less money.

Even if one were to argue that the Boxster and the Z4 have comparable performance for the money, the Porsche name will overshadow the BMW name to many of those shopping. To some this will be their best car ever owned and they rather flaunt a Porsche convertible than a BMW one. And remember most buyers are not performance nuts.

Finally, I am yet to meet ONE girl who likes the Z4 better than the Boxster as far as looks go.

JakeC 03-10-2003 05:39 AM

I remember when Boxster came out, most people hated its looks, rear was hideous and it looked like a bullet. Where are those people now? :D

My wife likes Z4 better, much better. :)

Well, I take the Z4:
http://members.roadfly.com/mr_mike/Ride_A8.jpg

pdz 03-10-2003 05:44 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by JakeC
[B]I remember when Boxster came out, most people hated its looks, rear was hideous and it looked like a bullet. Where are those people now? :D

My wife likes Z4 better, much better. :)

Well, I take the Z4:

if it were my money, i'd still take the boxster. probably not the base model, but the boxster S. the z4 needs an aero kit because the front end, ironically, is the most boring part of the car and it needs something. but that's just more money on top of a $45k z4 3.0 (for an airdam or splitters). ha ha ha.

JakeC 03-10-2003 10:18 AM

So Z4 nose is boring but Boxsters nose isn't? Give me a break!

My friend has a Boxster S, nice car, but not very modern and interior looks like :mad:

mbr129 03-10-2003 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by JakeC
So Z4 nose is boring but Boxsters nose isn't? Give me a break!

My friend has a Boxster S, nice car, but not very modern and interior looks like :mad:

I think the Boxster has a great interior. Simple, clean. The interior of the Z4 is nice too, in a retro way. The nose of the Z4 is enormous compared to that of the Boxster. As far as which one looks better, we'll have to agree to disagree. I admit that the front of the boxster is awfully plain, and IMO a front view of the Boxster is it's worst view, but the Z4 is not any better.


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