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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in northern New England where the roads are just awful at the best of times and third world like most of the time - enormous pot holes, frost heaves etc. With DOT budgets being cut, I don't expect the roads to get better!

I plan to use the car as a daily driver that I will ocasionally take to the track for CCA schools so want and need the ZSP suspension. I'm coming off a 330xi that as you know doesn't offer the sport suspension and it's fine over the bumps, but I remember how bad the roads were in my E36 M3.

I will get rid of the run flats for sure, but wondering if there are any other guys with ZSP in the snow belt - is it a joke or manageable without run flats? :dunno:
 

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Worlds Foremost Authority
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I live in northern New England where the roads are just awful at the best of times and third world like most of the time - enormous pot holes, frost heaves etc. With DOT budgets being cut, I don't expect the roads to get better!

I plan to use the car as a daily driver that I will ocasionally take to the track for CCA schools so want and need the ZSP suspension. I'm coming off a 330xi that as you know doesn't offer the sport suspension and it's fine over the bumps, but I remember how bad the roads were in my E36 M3.

I will get rid of the run flats for sure, but wondering if there are any other guys with ZSP in the snow belt - is it a joke or manageable without run flats? :dunno:
Check put the "Pothole Explosions" thread.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336867
 

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Wouldn't do it. If you want sport suspension, better off moving to a place with better roads.
 

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Not a real doctor.
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I ordered the ZSP and then started reading the threads. I was really worried about this. Perhaps it was because I was expecting the worst, but I have been surprised at how well the car handles some pretty rough roads. I still haven't hit a pothole at speed, but I have hit bridge joints frost heaves, and other road defects. So far, so good. I'm glad I got the ZSP.
 

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I ordered the ZSP and then started reading the threads. I was really worried about this. Perhaps it was because I was expecting the worst, but I have been surprised at how well the car handles some pretty rough roads. I still haven't hit a pothole at speed, but I have hit bridge joints frost heaves, and other road defects. So far, so good. I'm glad I got the ZSP.
I have a feeling that your definition of 'pretty rough roads" may be different than mine. I live in Manhattan and spend a lot of time driving in rural New England. As unpleasant as the ZSP is in NYC I have no issue with the way the car drives once I get it out of the city. Geting rid of the RFTs was a huge improvment.

CA
 

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Agree about the RFTs, which may contribute more to the roughness of the ride. We have our share of potholes and gaping crevices in our roads here, especially after a snowy winter with lots of plowing. For me, the biggest concern is dodging the potholes so I don't bust a rim and blow a tire. The ride is firm, to be sure, but it was a lot worse on my 350Z roadster.
 

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Thinking about ED #5
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I have to say that I'm shocked by some of the responses at the top. Isn't this an enthusiast forum???
I live in a city with horrific potholes and the like and I LOVE the ZSP suspension; it's perfect. To order a BMW without the sport suspension means you really should be driving a Ford.
 

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The suspension is not perfect!!! My A4 had a sport package with a firm suspension. Sure I felt the bumps, but they were at least somewhat muted. With my 330i, I hear and feel every little pebble in the road. I hit a section of patchwork the other day. I was going around a slight curve. The vibration is so harsh, it travels through the subframe and echos around in the cabin. And even worse, the car was completely thrown off course, just because I went over a section of patched road. Does that sound perfect to you?

I was driving a friend last night. I hit a SMALL pothole. It sounded like an M80 went off in the cabin. He said, HOLY S!!! What's is wrong with your car? It sounded and felt like a ran over a 6" speed bump at 80 mph. But in reality, it was probably only an inch deep. The rumbling/jiggling sensation I feel over even minor patchwork is driving me crazy. And I DON'T have RFTs.

That said, I got the car out of the city last weekend and took it down to Maryland, which has much better roads than PA. No more manhole covers, etc. It was heaven on earth. The car/suspension was amazing. But if you live in an urban area, or an area with poor road conditions, I'd think twice before getting the sport suspension. Now, I don't mind a very firm suspension. My issue isn't with the firmness - it's a noise/vibration/harshness issue. Something is just not right.
 

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That said, I got the car out of the city last weekend and took it down to Maryland, which has much better roads than PA. No more manhole covers, etc. It was heaven on earth. .
:rofl: True, but I lived in MD for years and really, they don't have that great a pavement. PA has terrible roads, MD is only slightly better.

I've driven I-80 and I-81 dozens of times in the '04 X3 (even stiffer than the 325i sport) and I swear that PA purposely keeps the roads in poor condition so you cannot exceed the speed limit by too much.
 

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Eh.

We have an '08 E90 w/ZSP in Columbus OH. There IS the occasional jolt, but we haven't had any damage (~6k miles so far).
 

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:rofl: True, but I lived in MD for years and really, they don't have that great a pavement. PA has terrible roads, MD is only slightly better.

I've driven I-80 and I-81 dozens of times in the '04 X3 (even stiffer than the 325i sport) and I swear that PA purposely keeps the roads in poor condition so you cannot exceed the speed limit by too much.
I guess it depends where you are. My grew up in a rural area in MD. Now I live just outside the Philly city limits, so I might not be comparing apples to apples.

I don't think my 330i with sport package makes a very good city/urban car.
 

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The ZSP wheels and tires can't be driven in the snow, so you'll need to switch to 17" wheels and winter tires. I got a set from Tirerack and the ride is much better even with RFTs. Plus, if I damage a wheel, I'll just get a new one from Tirerack for a lot less then the BMW wheels.

If you can avoid driving the snow, and don't change the wheels, you could get by with the summer tires, but then you'll run the risk of destroying your tires and rims. The ride will be better without RFT's but I think you run a greater risk of wheel damage on the std tires since you have very little tire between your wheel and the potholes.

My first year in N/VA I drove the summer tires all year. I was lucky, as I did hit a few potholes at low speed and didn't sustain any damage. But if you search the threads on this site, you'll find a lot of others, especially further north of the Mid Atlantic area who have not been as lucky.
 

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I will get rid of the run flats for sure, but wondering if there are any other guys with ZSP in the snow belt - is it a joke or manageable without run flats? :dunno:
Nobody offered it up yet so here goes, get the 17" wheels and zsp.

Mine came with 17" wheels (PO orderd the car and did the first 16K miles) and 16" steelie snows. The 17" fronts have some noticable wear on the outer edge and the rears are dead flat. The PO did mostly highway miles with the mileage split between the sets of tires/wheels.

I can't imagine wanting/needing shorter sidewalls than what comes with the 17"ers for track duty. Well, maybe I can, but for a daily/track car I think the 17"ers are the ideal trade off. In normal use, the car is 'on rails' with liveable 'shock and awe' over the potholed excuses for roads in the back country of Germany.

On anything short of endless pothole repairs, the car does very well. It tries to stay on track over the potholes in corners but there is only so much one should expect in this situation.

If you are a slave to car 'fashion' and must have the largest wheels/smallest sidewalls possible, then good luck and buy tire/rim insurance is all I can say.

Brian
 

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I will get rid of the run flats for sure, but wondering if there are any other guys with ZSP in the snow belt - is it a joke or manageable without run flats? :dunno:
I have ZSP and live in the snow belt. You MUST have a dedicated winter tire/wheel package from Tirerack. I chose the 17" Rial Salerno's with the Blizzak WS-60s. The only problem I had was when there was too much snow on the ground and the streets weren't plowed. But the only thing that could help you there is more ground clearance, and a few mm's in ride height (with non-ZSP) wasn't going to do it.
 

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+1 on the dedicated snow tires. I have found that ambient temperature is not as much of a concern as any form of snow or ice. My '08 335 with ZSP is a $50,000 sled. Don’t risk it.
 

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detour in Ingolstadt
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It's soft enough to drive grandma to church in whilst sipping hot tea. Anything the manufacturer puts on a car is so mainstream it will appeal to 99% of drivers. You won't regret it.
 

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It's soft enough to drive grandma to church in whilst sipping hot tea. Anything the manufacturer puts on a car is so mainstream it will appeal to 99% of drivers. You won't regret it.
Speaking of that, my Grandmother LOVES the ride in my 335i with the sport suspension. So if anyone here can't handle it then I guess my Grandmother is tougher than them!
 

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It's soft enough to drive grandma to church in whilst sipping hot tea. Anything the manufacturer puts on a car is so mainstream it will appeal to 99% of drivers. You won't regret it.
Something tells me your roads in San Diego are a bit nice than here in the North East. And based on your sig pic (which is bad ass - I used to do the same on my crotch rocket) I think you have your percentage mixed up. If you ask me, my car is so firm that it won't appeal to 99% of drivers. My wife hates riding it it.
 

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I know it's heresy, but, having the 328i coupe, I have the option of using 16" wheels. I got a set from the tire rack with continental performance, 205s and some wheels with thin spokes. Got the whole set with the tire pressure monitors for around $1000. People won't agree with me or won't believe it, but I think these wheels look pretty good, actually. I went out in the snow today, and the car performed quite well, despite not having worn off the first 200 miles on the dedicated snows yet.

I have not had to deal with the potholes of New York. I believe that the BMW sport suspension does not perform well with such potholes. I did do one stretch of road with so many potholes, you could not avoid them. I went at slow speed and was fine. I have hit other road defects at speed with the 18" wheels and there were no explosions. But I have my eyes open and actively avoid the true road hazards. So far, so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have to say that I'm shocked by some of the responses at the top. Isn't this an enthusiast forum???
I live in a city with horrific potholes and the like and I LOVE the ZSP suspension; it's perfect. To order a BMW without the sport suspension means you really should be driving a Ford.
I have no doubt that i'm an enthusiast. I'm probably going to pick this car up in Munich and flog it around the Nurburgring before returning it to the US for the occasional BMW CCA school day. I drive on rural roads in the country of Northern New England where sometimes the dirt roads are smoother! Most folks outside of this forum, wouldn't even consider a BMW with ZSP for a daily driver as the percentage of smooth driving is in the minority. The novelty of dodging the rough stuff gets old after miles and miles of it.

The dilema in picking roads up here is that the deserted twisty stuff where you can open it up is the seariously rough stuff and i'm not just talking about pot holes , i'm talking broken up for miles with 6" frost heaves.

So the question in my mind is : as an enthusiast who can only own one car (a track car will have to wait) is it really worth spending the money on a non ZSP car as I don't get satisfaction out of the handling of my current non ZSP (xi doesn't have ZSP suspension). Wondering if there is anyone in a similar situation with crappy road rural driving as me.

Thanks for the comments guys.:thumbup:
 
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