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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 04-28-2012, 05:00 AM
dolphin717 dolphin717 is offline
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Z4 3.0 vs Z4 3.0Si vs Z4M

OK....I have my 335 convertible sold, wonderful car, but not really the weekend, fun, sunnyday convertible I was looking for....looking at several Z4s.....3.0i, 3.0Si and M models all in the '06-'08 year range....any and all opinions appreciated....Thanks
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2012, 06:16 AM
tomhole tomhole is offline
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Just went through the same thing myself. Drove all three. Chose the M, but not why you might think. Actually, my wife chose the M for the looks. I had brought home a 3.0 and 3.0si and she liked them. I thought they drove great and were plenty of car for my enjoyment. THen my wife saw a 2007 M roadster and said "I really like that one." So I went and test drove it and bought it. Glad I did because it really does look more sporty than the non M's. Oh, and it drives real nice, too. Faster, tighter, sounds better, hydraulic steering is better connected to the road. All these are nice but I could have been happy with the 3.0 performance as well.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2012, 06:45 AM
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I'm an older guy (70) and I stepped out of a 740i into an '08 3.0si and couldn't be happier. I drove a 06 Z4M after I bought the 'si' but did not get a chance to wind it up as I should have because of a tire pressure warning light during the test drive. I DO like my 'si' though, and the color (Bright Red) attracts attention wherever I go. The car drives well, is quite responsive and powerful, and is a joy to drive. Gives great gas mileage as well. I prefer shifting with the paddles for the sport car 'feel'...not a car for female passengers who like to sleep while husband drives. With the top up during inclement weather, the airconditioning system works beautifully, but there are huge blind spots, so one has to be a lot more careful. Another big plus....it takes only half as long to wash as the 740i.

jake
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  #4  
Old 04-28-2012, 06:57 AM
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Find one of the newer 35is and it is quicker than the 06 Z4M, I even like the newer body shape..
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2012, 07:06 AM
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Dolphin,

Good advice here, I'll just add:

Think of the 3.0 as the upscale, better built Miata, the Si as the upscale, better made and more luxuriously appointed S2000 and the M as the Boxster fighter and you'll get the idea.

The 3.0 is probably the best daily driver - 17 inch wheels and tires will offer a better ride and the slightly smaller (detuned) engine good gas mileage.

The si will be a bit more harsh and the wheel/tire combo of 18's more fragile (some come with 17's) but otherwise a good DD

The M is in a different class - it's a lot of power for a lightweight sport car and the gas milage really suffers. However, it's the highest performer of the three, but that's academic, you'd only exploit it at the track, and you'd need a LOT of talent to exploit the M's capabilities well.

IMO, either the 3.0 or Si would give you more than enough handling and thrills for street driving, return good mileage and be comfortable and livable for everyday driving.

Your choice, go drive'em and enjoy.

PS: pre 2006, the Si was the 3.0 and the 3.0 the 2.5.
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Last edited by EdCT; 04-28-2012 at 07:07 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2012, 07:50 AM
dolphin717 dolphin717 is offline
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Yeah, I think the choice is between the Si and the M....seem to be able to get more for the money with the Si....newer, less miles...wonder if there is much difference in the long term value? I'm looking at an '06 black M with 40K miles priced about $27-28K, and several Si '06-07....for $2-3 less.....I really like the looks of the M better, especially the 4 exhaust pipes at the rear...Thanks, WC
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2012, 08:39 AM
tomhole tomhole is offline
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I found that the M costs you and extra $6k for similar cars. I found a 2007 3.0si, manual, Monaco Blue, tan interior, 9,400 miles, premium + sport package but no nav for $27k, which seemed about right for that car. I found a 2007 M, manual, Monaco Blue, tan interior, 10,100 miles, every option except heated seats and headlight washers for $33k. The M stickered at $61,400. The 3.0si was $46,800. The M has depreciated 46%, the 3.0si 42%. Based on hours of research on autotrader, they seem to drop equally as the miles go up or they get older. And the separations seems to stay at $4,000 - $6,000.

So, your assessment is correct. You can either save money or get a nicer 3.0si vs. buying an M. I was ready to make that trade and made an offer on that 2007 3.0si. Then my wife asked me, "If money were no object, which one would you want?" I said the M. She said I don't get two bites at the mid-life apple, so pick the right car the first time. I did. She was right. But that's my situation.

Tom
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:24 AM
JohnnB JohnnB is offline
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I had almost the exact situation. I was going to buy an Si. I loved it, drove great, it's a really wonderful car and I would be very happy to have one. You would never be disappointed. But, my wife said the same thing to me as Tomhole's and told me to go drive a couple. I went out and drove one a week or two after the Si and wondered if it was really worth the extra money. I finally decided that to be sure I would drive them back to back in one day - it took about two hours of travel time, but was worth it. When I drove the Si after the M the differences were very clear to me and they were significant IMO. With no exaggeration, the M was a totally different experience. I got in the Si and it was clear within 30 seconds down the road. Acceleration in the M was great, but that was not worth the difference in cost. As he said, the steering certainly gave me more feel for the road. The sound coming out of the pipes alone, which I personally care about care about, was wonderful. A lot of it was just the intangible feeling of everything together....sound, acceleration & torque, seats, steering, road feel, fat steering wheel, suspension, brakes, no run-flat tires, looks, etc. You really need to do the back to back to know what you think. You may find it is not that different for your driving and personal needs than an Si or you may not be able to live without it afterwords, but that is the only way to really find out.

Last edited by JohnnB; 04-30-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:31 AM
JohnnB JohnnB is offline
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By the way, I found this somewhere when I was looking at cars if you are interested. I think it is M vs Si. Am I right?
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Last edited by JohnnB; 04-28-2012 at 08:41 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2012, 11:39 AM
Chaz17 Chaz17 is offline
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i know a guy selling a Z4M in NYC. message me if interested
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnB View Post
By the way, I found this somewhere when I was looking at cars if you are interested. I am pretty sure it is M vs Si. Can someone confirm that those are the Si numbers?
It says Z4M across the top. What may be confusing you is that one line on the graph is horsepower and other one is torque. This is not a comparison of two different cars.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2012, 03:36 PM
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Z4luvr Z4luvr is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT View Post
Dolphin,

Good advice here, I'll just add:

Think of the 3.0 as the upscale, better built Miata, the Si as the upscale, better made and more luxuriously appointed S2000 and the M as the Boxster fighter and you'll get the idea.

The 3.0 is probably the best daily driver - 17 inch wheels and tires will offer a better ride and the slightly smaller (detuned) engine good gas mileage.

The si will be a bit more harsh and the wheel/tire combo of 18's more fragile (some come with 17's) but otherwise a good DD

The M is in a different class - it's a lot of power for a lightweight sport car and the gas milage really suffers. However, it's the highest performer of the three, but that's academic, you'd only exploit it at the track, and you'd need a LOT of talent to exploit the M's capabilities well.

IMO, either the 3.0 or Si would give you more than enough handling and thrills for street driving, return good mileage and be comfortable and livable for everyday driving.

Your choice, go drive'em and enjoy.

PS: pre 2006, the Si was the 3.0 and the 3.0 the 2.5.
+1 (Can't believe I am agreeing so easily with EDCT!) I use my 3.0Si as my daily driver, sometimes in significant traffic. While the M might be more sporty and fun to drive, I never really considered it due to the beating it would be in traffic. I really like the 18 inch wheels and overall wider feel of the Si VS the 3.0. I also like the look of the sport wheels that come when you get the sport and premium package (which is how many are equipped).

The prices you are talking about seem pretty high. I bought my 2006 3.0si in 2009 with only 17K miles for 28K with a CPO warranty and waiving a lot of excess wear and tear on my previous Z4.

If I were looking at a used Z4 I would look to the new model design for a CPO xdrive 35. My son's xdrive 3.0 compares favorably to my Si, but adding the turbo makes that Z4 a beast with no need to add an M to it. It's already a ticket machine, but if it had the turbo, he might be in jail permanently.
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2012, 07:13 PM
JohnnB JohnnB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarkHouston View Post
It says Z4M across the top. What may be confusing you is that one line on the graph is horsepower and other one is torque. This is not a comparison of two different cars.
Oh yeah....doh! I guess that shows you how my brain works ( or doesn't work) sometimes. Geez, I hate it when I say stupid stuff. I used to know what it was all about. Do I get any credit for that?

Last edited by JohnnB; 04-28-2012 at 08:18 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2012, 07:13 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT View Post
Dolphin,

Good advice here, I'll just add:

Think of the 3.0 as the upscale, better built Miata, the Si as the upscale, better made and more luxuriously appointed S2000 and the M as the Boxster fighter and you'll get the idea.

The 3.0 is probably the best daily driver - 17 inch wheels and tires will offer a better ride and the slightly smaller (detuned) engine good gas mileage.

The si will be a bit more harsh and the wheel/tire combo of 18's more fragile (some come with 17's) but otherwise a good DD

The M is in a different class - it's a lot of power for a lightweight sport car and the gas milage really suffers. However, it's the highest performer of the three, but that's academic, you'd only exploit it at the track, and you'd need a LOT of talent to exploit the M's capabilities well.

IMO, either the 3.0 or Si would give you more than enough handling and thrills for street driving, return good mileage and be comfortable and livable for everyday driving.

Your choice, go drive'em and enjoy.

PS: pre 2006, the Si was the 3.0 and the 3.0 the 2.5.
EXCELLENT post! Can't say it better!
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:29 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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It pretty much depends on what are you looking for. I have a Z4 M and have driven the 3.0si. From what I have felt, these are VERY different cars. The Z4 M is a very manly car - it's harsh, unforgiving (mistakes are paid through the nose), savage and... oh, so SEXY and FUN! To me personaly, the choice is obvious - take the M-version. Thrill is guaranteed. The "pro" line ends here, though. I can hardly think of any other advantage of the M-version. So there come the disadvantages - low gas mileage, higher maintainance costs, more involved driving (this is NOT a highway cruiser for sure) and so on an so on... Not to mention girls LOVE this car... unless they have to do the driving Then they hate it Still, I would NEVER trade my M to a non-M version. Have been away for a week and I already miss her... There she is:

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Old 04-28-2012, 09:42 PM
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EdCT EdCT is offline
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Originally Posted by Z4luvr View Post
+1 (Can't believe I am agreeing so easily with EDCT!) I use my 3.0Si as my daily driver, sometimes in significant traffic. While the M might be more sporty and fun to drive, I never really considered it due to the beating it would be in traffic. I really like the 18 inch wheels and overall wider feel of the Si VS the 3.0. I also like the look of the sport wheels that come when you get the sport and premium package (which is how many are equipped).

The prices you are talking about seem pretty high. I bought my 2006 3.0si in 2009 with only 17K miles for 28K with a CPO warranty and waiving a lot of excess wear and tear on my previous Z4.

If I were looking at a used Z4 I would look to the new model design for a CPO xdrive 35. My son's xdrive 3.0 compares favorably to my Si, but adding the turbo makes that Z4 a beast with no need to add an M to it. It's already a ticket machine, but if it had the turbo, he might be in jail permanently.
Well, I'm sure on the subject of cars we'd find a lot of agreement - I had a Z4!!
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  #17  
Old 04-28-2012, 10:25 PM
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Bucko521 Bucko521 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT View Post
Dolphin,

The 3.0 is probably the best daily driver - 17 inch wheels and tires will offer a better ride and the slightly smaller (detuned) engine good gas mileage.

IMO, either the 3.0 or Si would give you more than enough handling and thrills for street driving, return good mileage and be comfortable and livable for everyday driving.
This is exactly why I choice my Z4 3.0i car..... the Z4M was way to powerful and overpriced IMHO, the 3.0si ones I tried were not much better than the Z4, although a bit more power, but harsher ride. I wanted a DD. Plus the Z4 I did buy was a 2006 with only 4000 miles on it...hard to pass up a car that was showroom condition.

I'd concur that based on the individual reasons any of the three options would serve the buyer well.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphin717 View Post
OK....I have my 335 convertible sold, wonderful car, but not really the weekend, fun, sunnyday convertible I was looking for....looking at several Z4s.....3.0i, 3.0Si and M models all in the '06-'08 year range....any and all opinions appreciated....Thanks
As you're buying used, I think it's between the Si and M, which offer more bang for the buck since the price differences aren't as large as when new. For a sunny day fun car that you plan to keep a few years, I'd recommend the 3.0si.

Yes, the Z4M is faster, has better steering feedback, and looks more aggressive. It's also more expensive to run in terms of fuel, maintenance (as it requires valve adjustments), and repairs. It has a harsher ride and less storage space. In my opinion, the Z4MR/C is more for the dedicated Z4 enthusiast - someone that's already had a non-M.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:09 AM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Originally Posted by JohnnB View Post
By the way, I found this somewhere when I was looking at cars if you are interested. I think it is M vs Si. Am I right?
It seems to me more like the torque (lower, flatter curve) and power of an Z3 M-engine vs. engine speed. For comparison of engine performance (the data base is really huge, these guys have done excellent job!) go to http://www.rri.se/index.php?DN=29

Cheers,
Vladi
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:32 AM
dolphin717 dolphin717 is offline
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I am seriously looking at an '06 M, 40K miles, $24,900, black/black, it has one fender bender on Autocheck with Carmax....Carmax is bringing it in from northern Virginia. The accident report only shows left side damage, and Carmax seems to be really good about their inspections, the pics look very good, and I'll have a couple of days to really give it a good look. There are a couple of Sis that I really like the look of, but I'm afraid that if I don't go with an M, I'll keep looking back....anyway the M won't be here for several days so I've still got a lot of time....WC
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:36 AM
JohnnB JohnnB is offline
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How long have you been looking for a car?
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  #22  
Old 04-29-2012, 01:01 PM
tonywintn tonywintn is offline
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I never test drove an M. I was more interested in either a 3.0i or the 3.0si. I drove a Miata for 4 years. I wanted a bit bigger car so my wife would ride with me more, and while I was at it, more horsepower couldn't hurt either. I found a 2007 3.0si with low miles and it is a sweet ride. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but like someone else said, we only get one bite out of the middle age apple. Over the years I heard comments from Miata drivers that the Z was too much engine and that the Miata was sportier. I drive the curvy mountain roads here in the Smokies and I find the Z is not just way faster, but also handles better- at least it can go through the curves much faster. The Miata being a bit light in its feet had a tendency to drift in the curves. Not a good feeling when the shoulder is a couple of hundred feet below the road.
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  #23  
Old 04-29-2012, 09:20 PM
vachss vachss is offline
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The OP says he's looking for a "weekend fun sunny day" car. Despite the fact that I chose a 3.0si over an M, for the OP's stated purpose I'd recommend the Z4M all the way. The 3.0si makes good power, has a very broad flat torque curve and gets 30+ mpg at 80 mph. All these make for a great long distance cruiser - with the capability of doing pretty well on the occasional canyon run or AutoX. But I think if you're looking for fun and this isn't your daily driver then the economic advantages of the SI are irrelevant. We're all sports car fiends here and maximum fun means maximum performance. A weekend toy doesn't have to be practical. Just buy an M.
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  #24  
Old 05-02-2012, 06:26 AM
dolphin717 dolphin717 is offline
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The Z4M that I'm looking at will be arriving in a few days, in the meantime I've been looking at what I can to help with the decision....drove an '04 M3 yesterday, 16K miles, 6 sp manual...really, really nice....if the Z4M is at all similiar that will be great. My biggest concern now is how will the Z4M be on 3-4 trips a year of 300 miles or so to the beach or mountains....Thanks again for all the help...WC
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:28 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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Which ever you decide take my advice get a very good warranty you are going to need it. Good day.
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