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      04-12-2014, 09:54 PM   #1
wpoulos
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Thoughts after upgrading from 3.0i to Z4M roadster

I thought I would share my opinions after recently buying a Z4M roadster, after coming from a Z4 3.0i.

The cars:
1 - 2003 Z4 3.0i Roadster - 6spd Manual - fully stock ~82k miles
2 - 2006 Z4M Roadster - 6spd Manual - fully stock ~20k miles

My random thoughts/opinions:
  • Overall the M just has a much more solid feel compared to the 3.0. This might be due to the mileage difference, but it just feels more planted and solid across the board.
  • The 3.2 M engine is wonderful. The acceleration isn't incredibly faster than the 3.0, though it is noticeable... but the main thing I have felt is just an increased sense of power across a much wider power band. The sound of the engine is a bit more angry and mean to me too.
  • The M seats are much more comfortable and have much better lateral support.
  • The M steering wheel is seriously thick and provides a much better driving experience than the 3.0. The 3.0 wheel feels absolutely wimpy after driving the M.
  • The M Suspension is not nearly as harsh as I was concerned it would be. In fact, I would argue that it is more supple than the 3.0 suspension. I drove it from Utah to LA and had no complaints on the highway or on rougher roads.
  • The bluetooth phone integration provided by the M is way more reliable than the MediaBridge I have on the 3.0, BUT I was disappointed it doesn't provide bluetooth audio. Need to come up with a solution for this without replacing the head unit and without using the spotty MediaBridge unit.
  • The M gauges are a cooler white-light compared to the orange of the 3.0.
  • The 6spd manual gearbox is definitely a little chunkier/notchier on the M (as I have heard), but it doesn't bother me and just takes a minute to get used to.
  • I love the the M has the convenience of the windows/top down from the key fob.
  • The xenon lights in the M seem brighter to me, but again perhaps just because it's 3 years newer.
  • I miss the fog lights on the 3.0, but no biggie.
  • Mileage on the M is definitely worse, but that's the price you pay for 100 more horsies.

I think that's about it... definitely VERY happy with the purchase. I love the 3.0, but The M is exactly what I was hoping for. I would recommend anyone thinking about it should at least drive one to get a sense for yourself.

Selling my 3.0 here if anyone is interested - http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...414208173.html
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      04-13-2014, 12:07 AM   #2
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Every E85/E86 Z4 uses the same 6-speed transmission (the 2.5i had a 5-speed though). Many of your points have more to do with wear/age and general changes that were done for the 2006 facelift or as production evolved.

And you didn't even mention the limited slip diff.

You could try something like this for a simple bluetooth solution. Just plug it into the AUX input.
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      04-13-2014, 12:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
That is a pretty slick product. The only problem is his 06 M doesn't have an Aux in so he would need to add that too...

Another solution which would likely sound a lot better is to go with the USA Spec unit and add the BT streaming module. There was a thread about this recently(http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...t=#post8225267). It is a very reasonable way to get the job done.
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      04-13-2014, 01:21 AM   #4
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That is a pretty slick product. The only problem is his 06 M doesn't have an Aux in so he would need to add that too...
He should install the AUX no matter what he does, it's so easy, and it cheaper if you get the E46 cable and install it in the stock location instead of that silly ashtray.
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      04-13-2014, 02:56 AM   #5
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Interesting!!!

I did a test drive of an Z4M roadster some time ago and I agree with you on the differences you found. For me how solid the car felt and the feeling of the steering were the most noticeable differences. My car has an 3.67 differential so I didn't feel day and night difference in the acceleration.

I'm kind of on the same boat, trying to sell my car now in order to get an Z4M coupe or roadster (going towards the coupe more for now). How long have you had your car for sale? I've had it for 3 weeks so far and not much interest. I got a couple of "offers" but they were offering just too low and I rejected them right away. Mine is an 03 with 89,455 on the odometer, 6 speed manual and in excellent condition as well (a lot maintenance done as well). In the past I sold my 3 series and Z3 within 2 weeks of posting them, I feel that with the Z4 is harder.
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      04-13-2014, 08:37 AM   #6
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I agree on the differences, and my list would probably have mirrored yours if I was to have made one after my first drive in an M.

The "planted" feel is probably half steering feel/suspension setup from the factory, and half due to your 3.0's OEM shocks. Replacing your worn shocks will return the solid feeling, but the M does give more feedback and is more communicative about where the limit is. Because of this, I feel I can utilize more capability in the M.

100% agree on the steering wheel. After driving the M a bit, I felt like I was driving a teenage girl's car in the non-M due to the steering wheel. When I decided to keep the 3.0i and start modding it, one of the first mods was an M wheel. It's one of those things only the driver gets to appreciate, so you won't get any oooohs and ahhhhs when others see/hear/ride in the car. But, it's one of the best things you can do to a non-M for $575.
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      04-13-2014, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
Every E85/E86 Z4 uses the same 6-speed transmission (the 2.5i had a 5-speed though).
From what I have read it was a new 6-spd for the M, but I'm sure someone else here can speak with more authority. Here is an example of what I found:

"The Z4 M Roadster and the Z4 M Coupé were introduced in 2006. They feature the (In the US) 330-horsepower 3.2 L S54B32 engine. A new six-speed manual transmission is used . It's the only transmission available and its final gear ratios are virtually the same as in the M3. The M Roadster has a 6-speed getrag manual box."
From http://www.bmwz4roadster.net/bmw_z4_history.htm

I didn't even know about the limited slip diff!
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      04-13-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
He should install the AUX no matter what he does, it's so easy, and it cheaper if you get the E46 cable and install it in the stock location instead of that silly ashtray.
I think this is all I would need. I was disappointed the 2006 was missing the aux input under dash.
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      04-13-2014, 11:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
He should install the AUX no matter what he does, it's so easy, and it cheaper if you get the E46 cable and install it in the stock location instead of that silly ashtray.
The USA Spec has an Aux-in as part of its connections and gives a lot more flexibility. I wouldn't waste time with the OEM unit with what he wants to do.
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      04-13-2014, 11:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by chickdr View Post
The USA Spec has an Aux-in as part of its connections and gives a lot more flexibility. I wouldn't waste time with the OEM unit with what he wants to do.
Do you have some more info about this? Do I need to buy an oem connector to add this cable/input socket? Thanks
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      04-13-2014, 12:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpoulos View Post
Do you have some more info about this? Do I need to buy an oem connector to add this cable/input socket? Thanks
I posted this earlier in the thread but here it is again: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...t=#post8225267

I do not personally have this as my car had the OEM ipod connection kit, but wish I did. Seems to be much better and even scrolls the song info on the business unit radio.
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      04-13-2014, 12:47 PM   #12
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The transmission on the M feels different than the non-M, that is a fact. The M's is like a boxing coach that smacks you every time he sees a mistake. The non-M has smoother engagement and doesn't feel as clanky. For 90% of my driving, I prefer the non-M's feel. The M truly shines at high speed. When pushed hard, it feels perfect. Most of this probably has to do with the clutch/flywheel combo, and some has to do with the differences in engine rpm when shifting.
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      04-13-2014, 10:11 PM   #13
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Cool comparison, and congrats on the new M. ; ) enjoy
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      04-13-2014, 11:43 PM   #14
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I've been driving a Z4 2.5i for a year, I love the car so much that I just bought an Z4MC today and shifting isn't as nice, for sure. For one, the shifter is way notchier, much like my E39M5 was, and I hated that gearbox. The other thing, is that I removed the CDV from my 2.5i and I keep missing/bloopering shifts on the Z4MC. The CDV is coming out this week if I can help it.

Overall the car is very similar but moving to a coupe I can really feel the extra weight up high. The car is much more responsive but as a consequence it's not as nice of a ride. The 2.5i was the perfect car to just cruise. The Z4MC is already seeming like a little guy with an attitude. We'll see how it turns out.

I sold my E39M5 because it was just too rough for me. I am hoping that is not the case with the Z4MC because if that's the case... I will need to surrender my man card and go buy a Sienna.
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      04-13-2014, 11:53 PM   #15
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Put your big-boy pants on! Because Racecar!
It's a bit harsh to drive, for sure; I love it though. Adds to the fun.
I drive 20-25k miles a year, and the challenge of hitting a perfect blip-shift is the only thing that keeps me sane during my 1.5 hour each way drive to work and back.
The car's daring you to drive it smoothy. Embrace the challenge.

Quote:
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.. The M's is like a boxing coach that smacks you every time he sees a mistake. ...
Love the analogy!
Coming from 25 years driving MK1 MR2s, the torque of the engine makes a lot of difference.
In a car with low torque, if you don't rev match exactly, the momentum of the car will change the engine speed to match, without much jerking.
In the ///M, if you don't get the rev match right, the engine wins, and you get a nice smack telling you to try again and get it right next time.

P.S. I found that a cheap adjustable clutch stop helps a bit, too.
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Last edited by StickMon; 04-14-2014 at 10:48 AM.
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      04-14-2014, 10:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
Every E85/E86 Z4 uses the same 6-speed transmission (the 2.5i had a 5-speed though). Many of your points have more to do with wear/age and general changes that were done for the 2006 facelift or as production evolved.

And you didn't even mention the limited slip diff.

You could try something like this for a simple bluetooth solution. Just plug it into the AUX input.
Awesome find! Do you have that in your car? I am this close to ordering it but need to see how I can hide the wires first
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      04-16-2014, 11:03 PM   #17
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if you're not noticing a big power difference compared to the 3.0, you're not revving it hard enough

a short shift KNOB really improved shifting sloppyness for me. The stock knob is too flexible
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      04-16-2014, 11:15 PM   #18
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I went from an '03 3.0i with SMG (bought new) to an '06 MZ4 Coupe (also bought new). The '03 3.0i was no slouch. Had it on multiple So Cal tracks and it would chase down cars with a few hundred more HP with ease.

But the MZ4 Coupe is on another stratosphere IMO.
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      04-17-2014, 03:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
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a short shift KNOB really improved shifting sloppyness for me. The stock knob is too flexible
I made this change a few weeks ago and was genuinely surprised at how much it improved shifting. I've done the clutch stop and trans mounts and neither made as big of a difference as the shifter. I should have done that years ago
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      04-17-2014, 04:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I made this change a few weeks ago and was genuinely surprised at how much it improved shifting. I've done the clutch stop and trans mounts and neither made as big of a difference as the shifter. I should have done that years ago
I switched to an OEM BMW Performance shift knob (the one with alcantara) and combined with the RE tranny mounts, it shifts perfectly. Still little clunky from 1st to 2nd when cold, but otherwise quite minty.
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