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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2009, 07:39 PM
tarheel91 tarheel91 is offline
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Question Z3M vs. Honda S2000

I'm trying to decide between the two and I'm really stuck. Both have their distinct advantages, but I'm not sure which I value more. Obviously, asking this question on this forum probably won't get me the most unbiased responses, but I've asked the same thing on s2ki.com and plan to compare responses. Just to give a little info, I plan to spend 12-14k on either a 1999-2000ish Z3M with 50-70k miles or a 02-03 S2K with similar mileage.

Anyways, my analysis thus far has just made me more unsure of which to choose:

Z3 M:
240HP/236Torque
6.5k redline
3086lb curbweight
Semi-trailing arm suspension :/

S2K
240HP/153Torque :/
9k redline
2809lb curbweight
Double wishbone suspension

Both look beautiful to me, so looks aren't really an issue. The Z3 M has the torque I like, and it'd be much more accessible on a daily basis. Plus, I can do a S50B32 swap should I ever feel like it in the future. However, the S2K's suspension is superior AND it's lighter. Both engines sound beautiful, but a 9k redline is oh-so-tempting. This car would be a daily driver with the potential for a few autocrosses or track days in the future. The 0-60 and quarter mile times are nearly identical with the Z3 M having a tiny advantage if any. I really don't know what to do.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2009, 08:47 PM
SUNZOUT SUNZOUT is offline
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Some info here...

you really have to wind up the s2000 to get the best from it. the M with it's extra torque will be much more fun as daily driver.

But of course expect to spend $2k plus to get it somewhat closer to s2000 in handling.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ighlight=s2000
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  #3  
Old 02-03-2009, 09:01 PM
e30e e30e is offline
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DD requires torque, so I say the z3m.
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  #4  
Old 02-03-2009, 09:03 PM
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I had a 2.8 liter Z3 that I did a lot of mods to for handling and power (went from 193 hp to 215). Anyway, I had to trade it in. If I could do it again, I would go for the S2000.

My Miata handled much better than my Z3. The Z3 sounded great with my Supersprint exhaust and Dinan cold air intake, though!
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  #5  
Old 02-03-2009, 10:33 PM
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I went thru this a couple of years ago. The noise level of the S2000 convinced me to go with the M. I haven't regreted the decision.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2009, 12:16 AM
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Here's a great side by side comparison:

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...4465/pageId=15

For them, the Honda comes out the winner, and that was against a very impressive line-up. The S2K smoked the field on the twisties (the M smoked the straights), and cost of maintenance is a definite issue. But I bought an M (even though there was a very clean Honda for 12 and change, 24K miles) because I like the styling much better, and the old-fashioned, muscle car torque.

Incidently, a month ago I would have said the M would hold its value better, over the long run. But I read recently that the S2K will be discontinued after 2009.
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:26 AM
kieskaman kieskaman is offline
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I have considered/driven both. I found the Honda fast but cramped and undesirable in stop and go situations. The Z3 is roomy but does not shift well and handles on the heavy side. Both have plastic rear windows (sad) Performance issues aside, also consider the cost differences for insurance. But what do I know. I ended up with a Z3 Coupe?
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:32 AM
Ryan M Ryan M is offline
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A honda/acura's manual transmission alone is worth it's weight in gold. Personally I like the s2k better. I think it looks better, it feels like a go kart, and that 9k redline is hard to argue with. But the tranny would really be a deal breaker. Honda's manual trannies really are THAT much better.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:51 AM
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madurodave madurodave is offline
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Originally Posted by Ryan M View Post
A honda/acura's manual transmission alone is worth it's weight in gold. Personally I like the s2k better. I think it looks better, it feels like a go kart, and that 9k redline is hard to argue with. But the tranny would really be a deal breaker. Honda's manual trannies really are THAT much better.
I would have to agree. While I love the Z3 sound and torque, I need to have the entire package. I would still go with the S2000.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2009, 09:15 AM
Scottymac Scottymac is offline
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I went through the same thing

I was cross shopping the two, as well as a boxster. Ended up with a 02 M roadster. It may have been just the timing of the right car at the right price. I liked the S2ks I had driven. The main drawbacks of the Hondas were of course the lack of torque and the deep narrow cockpit. I felt like I was sitting too deep below the doorline. It was the same for the 350Z. It's just a personal thing with roadster driving with me.

Some here would argue that the S54 motor has no torque. I've always felt it pulled pretty well for a little old six
I hear the hondas are fairly bulletproof though.
Let us know which way you go.
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  #11  
Old 02-04-2009, 10:45 AM
Burt Reynolds Burt Reynolds is offline
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Probably the M. Yes the S2000 gearbox is sublime and it is a capable car. However, I always felt like you had to drive it like your pissed off 100% of the time to get the power out of it- Almost like an RX8 in that regard. As a daily driver, that can be tiresome. As a track car it would be a tougher choice. Drive them both. One should pretty easily emerge as the winner.
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2009, 11:30 AM
ronnie38 ronnie38 is offline
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I like the straight 6 it's the best torque producer. Yes the gear box in the Honda is a winner for a manual. But BMW's latest auto is a better choice. (as Jim Hall and his Chaparral showed us). I would spend extra money on the suppention.

Past cars AH sprite & MG, AH 100-4, AH 100-6, AH 3000 MK 1, 2, 3, MGB, Datsun 240z, 280z, RX7, 325e, 325IC.

Current, MGTD, 325e, 2000 Z3, F150, Honda Civic Hybrid.

So I would go with the M!
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  #13  
Old 02-04-2009, 12:35 PM
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2009, 01:05 PM
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Psyco6string Psyco6string is offline
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Ok. I don't usually chime in .....I'm shy , but ...this I have experience with having both a 98 M Roady and an 03 S2000. Lets start with looks -personally I find the BMW more classic and less boy racer. Torque -If you ever drive the S2000 you would think you were driving an accord until 6k when the vTec kicks in making a lot of noise to 9k redline where you need need to shift to get the car to move. Not very livable if you were raised on 5.0 Mustangs but if your last car was a Civic .....The M Pulls like a freight train to 7k (sharked) so smoothly I sometimes forget to shift to 5th on the highway or down shift to pass. Handling - well gotta give the boys at Honda praise hands down the best handling car I have ever driven The M ....not so much.Not bad but old school handling. Sound - the s52 even running on 5 cylinders sounds better than 2.0 in the Honda which you could mistake for a mail jeep on it's 7 am run.Not sporty at all and between 6k and 9k the intake noise will drown out the exhaust. Stereo ...Well the Honda has 2 speakers with tweeters in the upper door panels not great. I bought small the aftermarket behind the seat speakers to fill out but still not great. The BMW Carman Hardon system Sucks too but it has more bass.Fit and finish- Honda ...well it's all Honda, Perfect panel gaps,Top works flawless, glass rear window,perfect shifter and clutch no squeaks, rattles,loose seat bushings, but it only has 8k miles, The BMW ......well it's made in the USA ......no better than or worse than the big 3........wonder why they are in trouble ? well at least the engine is built if the Father Land. Lastly - Wow factor .....aside from my 928 GTS more heads turn when the M Roady rolls in looking bone stock than the Honda ( even with 18" BBS RGR's....Bling). If it's a weekend toy Go BMW ,If your gonna depend on it to get to and from reliably ....Honda....Oh,and you get a spare tire too!
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Mile High Z3M Mile High Z3M is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 Z3M Roadster
I couldn't help it, I had to chime in . . . . I've owned old Detroit Muscle, New Detroit Muscle, Japanese Buzz bombs and my 2K M Roady.

It's all personal preference but when I was shopping for my most recent toy/project I looked at the AMG SLK, TT AWD, Boxster S, even the Lotus Exige S. The AMG SLK sat like a bath tub and only comes in an Auto (at least that's all I could find). The TT was pretty uneventful, the Boxster S was a fun car but let's face it . . . it's kind of girly and the Exige S was phenominal but impractical as boobies on a bull. I never considered the Honda or Mazda roadsters (Miata????? whatever!)

I landed on the M Roady because it was comfortable, somewhat supported by the aftermarket (no where near how the Honda/Acura is supported but you can get good, quality parts as opposed to the flash in a pan SEMA show specials and carbon fiber trinkets), fun to drive and it "fit" me.

The Z3M will be a much better daily driver and you won't feel like you have to bump the rev limiter to have some fun. . . . . but you could be in the next Fast and Furious movie if you get the Hondoo.
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  #16  
Old 02-04-2009, 08:24 PM
z3widebody z3widebody is offline
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not so fast

Quote:
Originally Posted by madurodave View Post
I had a 2.8 liter Z3 that I did a lot of mods to for handling and power (went from 193 hp to 215). Anyway, I had to trade it in. If I could do it again, I would go for the S2000.

My Miata handled much better than my Z3. The Z3 sounded great with my Supersprint exhaust and Dinan cold air intake, though!
I'm not sure what kind of Miata you had, but my Z3 ran circles around a Miata on the 318 curves in 11 miles up at the Tail of the Dragon in Western North Carolina. I've owned several Miata's, including a Speed Edition turbo and the handling of the Z3 is better by far. The Miata is set up very well, but the tiny stock tires/wheels break away easily when pushed hard in curves. The 225 and 245 width tires of the Z3 really gave me an edge. When it comes to power to push you thru the steep winding curves, there's no comparison to even the turbo charged speed edition Miata to my 2.8 litre Z3. The inline 6 simply out performs the most powerful stock Miata ever produced. Sorry to take issue with your thoughts, but just had to place my 2 cents worth in.
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  #17  
Old 02-04-2009, 09:14 PM
AlanLX3 AlanLX3 is offline
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I had a 2005 AP2 series Honda S2k and did plenty of track miles on it while I owned it (27 HPDEs). I will echo what several others who owned one noted - the gear box is so far ahead of almost anything else you will ever drive on the streets it is beyond belief until you experience driving with it. The AP2 series (2004+) S2k has a stroked engine that only revs to 8200RPM instead of 9K but has gobs more torque down low to make up for it. Incredible handling out on the track - the car is amazingly well balanced almost to a fault. Few of us are good enough drivers to be able to handle a car with zero understeer and the number of accidents in the S2ks attests to that. It is far too easy to get out of balance with the S2k and the car is not even mildy forgiving once you do. Looking straight down the track through the passenger window while you are the driver is not a pleasant sight and can lead to some character building moments behind the wheel while you try to sort things back out.

My major reason for leaving the S2k behind for a Z4 was the street experience of driving that car. I added in extra sound dampening material to my S2k (lots of it) and had a factory hard top I could slap on for the winter months that helped quiet down the interior but the noise levels were still beyond acceptability. I took a sound meter out one day on the freeway and with the audio system off measured 90db out on the freeway at 70mph. I sold that car off 2 years ago for my Z4 and my ears are still ringing from driving the S2k around.

I like some luxury in my life and for all the fun I had with the S2k out on the track it was not a car I am willing to live with on a daily basis. My coupe might actually be a little faster lapping on my local track but it honestly feels numb out on the track compared to the S2k. That said I love my coupe and wouldn't take the S2k back for a moment as my daily driver.
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  #18  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:06 AM
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b-y b-y is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanLX3 View Post
...My major reason for leaving the S2k behind for a Z4 was the street experience of driving that car. I added in extra sound dampening material to my S2k (lots of it) and had a factory hard top I could slap on for the winter months that helped quiet down the interior but the noise levels were still beyond acceptability. I took a sound meter out one day on the freeway and with the audio system off measured 90db out on the freeway at 70mph. I sold that car off 2 years ago for my Z4 and my ears are still ringing from driving the S2k around. ....

Thanks for the comments. I was beginning to think I was the only one who noticed the noise level.
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  #19  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:38 AM
reidconti reidconti is offline
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I honestly didn't notice a substantial torque difference when I drove an AP1 and AP2 back to back, though the AP2 only had 7 miles on it, so I took it a bit easier.

The 2002+ glass rear window on the S2k is great if you'll ever use the car top-up, and I like the redesigned taillights and 17" wheels on the AP2 cars...

On the other hand, 16" tires are cheaper, and I think they dialed in too much understeer when they went to the 17's.

I love BMWs and actually crossshopped the S2k and M Coupe. For an only car, I decided I needed the solid feel of the BMW, the Honda just feels too cheap inside (having owned Hondas and BMWs in the past, as well).

But when I think roadster, I think Miata or S2k, not M Roadster. Some day I'll buy an S2k, even if to only own for a year.
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  #20  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheel91 View Post
I'm trying to decide between the two and I'm really stuck. Both have their distinct advantages, but I'm not sure which I value more. Obviously, asking this question on this forum probably won't get me the most unbiased responses, but I've asked the same thing on s2ki.com and plan to compare responses. Just to give a little info, I plan to spend 12-14k on either a 1999-2000ish Z3M with 50-70k miles or a 02-03 S2K with similar mileage.

Anyways, my analysis thus far has just made me more unsure of which to choose:

Z3 M:
240HP/236Torque
6.5k redline
3086lb curbweight
Semi-trailing arm suspension :/

S2K
240HP/153Torque :/
9k redline
2809lb curbweight
Double wishbone suspension

Both look beautiful to me, so looks aren't really an issue. The Z3 M has the torque I like, and it'd be much more accessible on a daily basis. Plus, I can do a S50B32 swap should I ever feel like it in the future. However, the S2K's suspension is superior AND it's lighter. Both engines sound beautiful, but a 9k redline is oh-so-tempting. This car would be a daily driver with the potential for a few autocrosses or track days in the future. The 0-60 and quarter mile times are nearly identical with the Z3 M having a tiny advantage if any. I really don't know what to do.
-Drive both! And be honest with yourself about how you will use the car/what it needs to do for you.
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  #21  
Old 02-05-2009, 08:36 AM
ajperea26 ajperea26 is offline
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i like s2000 cause of double wishbone suspension,,that was great to your car,,
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  #22  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:24 AM
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Gibber66 Gibber66 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 2.8; Volvo 940SE
Tested both (S2k and Z3 2.8...not M) and both were fun. The BIGGEST determining factor was elbow room. The Z3s are much more comfortable. Plus, I like the analog dials and classic interior styling far better than the digital bling and "industrial" look...but that's just me.

Cheers,
Gibber
P.S. performance-wise, you can also get an 01-02 Z3M and you get an S54 engine with 315HP, higher rev-limit and individual throttle bodies...nice, though it'll cost you a bit more--"low density, high demand". You can take an older M and make a number of upgrades and take it close to the 315HP mark (short of a Turbo or SC). Suspension can get upgraded too and then you can run circles around the S2K...but it all depends on how you intend to use you new buy.
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  #23  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:36 AM
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Excitmnt94 Excitmnt94 is offline
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i love both cars...have driven both and as you mentioned, they both shine brightly, just in differing ways.

it was my friend's S2000 that made me want a roadster. i just couldn't get enough of the feeling...and knew i had to have one. when i started here a few years ago and the lease special came out...well the rest is history. if i was looking in this price range it would be tough.

we happen to have an amazing S2000 in our pre-owned inventory right now that is just amazing. light blue with the blue interior...OZ Racing wheels...Exhaust...Intake...clear markers...with 15,100 miles on a 2003. if i didn't have the Z4, i would snatch this up in a heartbeat. PM me if you have interest in the car.
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  #24  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:03 PM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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I can't even fit into a S2000 so the choice would be very easy. If I could, it would be a much harder choice. There is a reason the S2000 dominates stock autocross classes which the M roadster is not even competitive in.
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  #25  
Old 02-05-2009, 12:27 PM
quaudi quaudi is offline
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Well, when I realized I was ready for a sports car again, I decided to sell my R32 and see what two seat wonders awaited me. I'm a sports car enthusiast from way back, owning a TR2, TR3, Austin Healey 100-6, Lotus Elan, Alfa Duetto Spider, Alfa Spider, Alfa GTV. Decided to be open minded and look at most everything in my price range. That included 350Z (too gee whiz), Lotus Elise (fast but not furious), Honda S2K, BMW M Coupe.

Took the Honda out, found the interior environment dull, it was an older generation which required pounding the piss out of it to keep it in the torque range (high RPMs aren't necessarily your friend). Upon returning to the dealer and being asked what I thought...I didn't hesitate to say it felt like driving an appliance. I suspect its a good car and very reliable but its soul is elusive, especially compared to my previous sports cars. It was disappointing and that's when I found my M Coupe. Granted, its an S54 but I'd spring for any MZ over the Honda just on interior, sweet straight six and quality of materials.

Last edited by quaudi; 02-05-2009 at 12:34 PM.
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