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      03-17-2019, 11:10 AM   #1
baege
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Anyone prefer an SI over an M as a weekend car?

So the stars may be aligning for me to purchase a Z4C as a weekend car.

So my question is should I look for a Z4MC or a 3.0SI?

I owned a 2007 3.0SI for 4 years. I loved that car.

Z4C 3.0SI's were not sold in Canada so finding one is pretty difficult and importing one is a headache and expensive given the current exchange.

Z4MC's can be found here and they are appreciating in value (the SI coupe's are also probably appreciating but maybe not as quickly.

I have only driven 2 Z4MC's, one prior to the purchase of my SI and one while I owned a 2014 Cayman S. I did not walk away saying I must have a Z4M

I've reviewed all the 3.0SI vs M threads (ok maybe not all of them ) and I don't think they hit on my exact query.

I am wondering if anyone who has had both or at least driven both for an extended period, PREFERRED the 3.0SI as a road car in terms of driving enjoyment. Using that metric alone (since that is all that matters to me) would anyone choose the SI over the M?

in my mind the Z4M's
hydraulic steering, better suspension, styling cues attract me

but the n52 is such a peach, it's so smooth (smoother than the s54) and I think it might actually have better low end torque response than the s54
but that's about all it has over the M...so I am tempted to focus on an M search

but then I realize the SI might actually fit my driving style better, which is perhaps 7/10's driving, going to 5500 rpm or so, taking curves and ramps with enthusiasm. I am not a track type.

So maybe the SI fits me better?

Last edited by baege; 03-17-2019 at 12:58 PM.
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      03-17-2019, 01:52 PM   #2
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I've owned both.

In my opinion the 3.0si needs a limited slip rear differential to be a really good 7/10ths car. I didn't mind the electric steering and it sounds like you didn't either. The N52 is indeed a peach, especially in 255HP 3.0si trim. It revs gleefully all the way to redline, seemingly pulling harder the whole way up the tachometer. It also sheds about 200lbs. from the front end of the car compared to the S54, which makes the hustling the 3.0si through turns a noticeably different experience compared to the M car. The 3.0si is a very satisfying 'tosser'. If only it had a LSD...

I had M Sport suspension and seats, highly recommended.

The M Coupe is always going to be the more desirable, collectible, car, just because it's an M. In terms of driving experience it's more visceral, more in your face about its capabilities, more demanding. It just wants to GO, all the time. The 3.0si is happy doodling around town; the M grumbles under its breath. But when GO time does come, there is something to be said for the M's greater torque and power, that legendary S54, the sublime steering, and the rear end that puts the power down so well on corner exits. The nose may not cut in quite as quickly as the 3.0si but it is still very, very responsive. And there is always the gas pedal to liven things up. No question about it, the M is a very satisfying driver's car.

I really, really liked both cars. I kept the M. I would not have a harsh word to say to anyone who chose the 3.0si instead. In fact I'd fully understand.

Good luck with your decision!
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      03-17-2019, 03:53 PM   #3
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I'm familiar with the N52 from the '06 330i, the first year of the E90 3-series, and my first BMW back in the day. Definitely a peach of a motor, and perfect for that car. One year later, they shelved it (stateside anyways) in the 3 and moved "up" to the twin turbo 335i and its rampant HPFS problems that dragged on for years. But I digress.

The M car will always be more exclusive and desirable, has hydraulic steering & LSD, and some different styling queues that I think do a nice job setting it apart. But if you enjoy driving the 3.0si more, then by all means, it could well be the right car for you.

I don't doubt that I'd prefer *some* aspects of the 3.0si experience if I were to ever get to drive one, but for me, I'd still want the M car. But that's just me.

Try this: make a list of the characteristics of both cars, combined into one list. Then go down the list and put a checkmark on one side or the other, indicating which car you prefer or gets the edge for that trait. Then total it up when you're done and see which came out on top. Then analyze some more to be sure that some don't need to be weighted more than others. Might prove helpful. Good luck!
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      03-17-2019, 07:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
I'm familiar with the N52 from the '06 330i, the first year of the E90 3-series, and my first BMW back in the day. Definitely a peach of a motor, and perfect for that car. One year later, they shelved it (stateside anyways) in the 3 and moved "up" to the twin turbo 335i and its rampant HPFS problems that dragged on for years. But I digress.

The M car will always be more exclusive and desirable, has hydraulic steering & LSD, and some different styling queues that I think do a nice job setting it apart. But if you enjoy driving the 3.0si more, then by all means, it could well be the right car for you.

I don't doubt that I'd prefer *some* aspects of the 3.0si experience if I were to ever get to drive one, but for me, I'd still want the M car. But that's just me.

Try this: make a list of the characteristics of both cars, combined into one list. Then go down the list and put a checkmark on one side or the other, indicating which car you prefer or gets the edge for that trait. Then total it up when you're done and see which came out on top. Then analyze some more to be sure that some don't need to be weighted more than others. Might prove helpful. Good luck!
Also think about how long you plan to keep it and if for a long time will you have regrets later down the road if you didn't get the M and they're even harder and more expensive to take home. I'm happy I got my 128i but 10 years later now that they're out of production there's a niggle of regret not getting the 135i (although its definitely not too late I suppose).

All that will change when I get a third car and new daily driver though
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      03-18-2019, 12:56 AM   #5
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I've had both. The 3.0si is a great car. If you are comparing them strictly as a weekend driver's car without any track time, then I think I would pick the 3.0si. It has a wonderful engine and when you remove one of the foam inserts from the sound generator, it sounds better than the S54 in my opinion in stock form. Super smooth. The S54 is a bit of a sewing machine with noises and lifters and such. I liked the N52 so much, that I bought an X3 3.0si and still love that motor. Pulls and pulls.

The 3.0si is also easier to drive it seems. The clutch, the shifter, matching the revs, it all just works a bit smoother. Idk why, just seems that way to me. You can hop in the 3.0si and just go. With the M, you feel like it's more of an exotic. It's more high strung. You need to warm it up before getting on it, the whole system is just dialed up a notch. On the track that's good as the brakes are better, the limited slip is more fun, the engine angrier. First time I took the si to the track the water pump went out and the brakes quickly faded. But for weekend drives at 7/10th you don't worry about it. You also don't worry about putting miles on it. Or if your bearings are about to blow.

So for a 7/10th drivers car, the si is great. It's also great at auto crossing with some lightweight rims like Arc-8s and some good tires.

But there are other reasons why I chose the M. There are more upgrades you can do. (The si is a bit of an odd duck with parts). I like the look of the hood and bumpers much better on the M. I love the carbon dash. M seats (harder to find in the 3.0si) and M wheel (definitely get one for the si if you do purchase that). The S54 engine is a work of engineering art. The high point for old school tech. It's like a race motor. Hand built. Solid lifters. 6 throttle bodies. Amazing. The mechanical diff is great fun. It's more robust for track duty with additional oil cooler, mechanical water pump, etc. It also seems to hold its value better. Overall the M is just a very special car and always will be.
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      03-18-2019, 07:59 AM   #6
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Clearly you can't go wrong with either car based on the info provided above. Note also that an M will open your wallet more frequently for maintenance and gas. But, even though I'm a strong advocate for the SI, having owned one for ten years now, it seems to me that if M Coupes are more readily available for you, why go to the trouble to import a hard to find SI Coupe?

Good luck with the search and please post some pics of the car when you get it.
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      03-18-2019, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huz-Z View Post
Clearly you can't go wrong with either car based on the info provided above. Note also that an M will open your wallet more frequently for maintenance and gas. But, even though I'm a strong advocate for the SI, having owned one for ten years now, it seems to me that if M Coupes are more readily available for you, why go to the trouble to import a hard to find SI Coupe?

Good luck with the search and please post some pics of the car when you get it.
Agreed.

OP - Since you already had an SI previously, why not try something new? From your other posts, sounds like you get bored of cars pretty quick and you may get rid of the SI for the same reason that you got rid of it previously? So, just get the M and don't look back. If you get bore of it, you could probably sell it for the same price you got it for. YOLO
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      03-18-2019, 04:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
I'm familiar with the N52 from the '06 330i, the first year of the E90 3-series, and my first BMW back in the day. Definitely a peach of a motor, and perfect for that car. One year later, they shelved it (stateside anyways) in the 3 and moved "up" to the twin turbo 335i and its rampant HPFS problems that dragged on for years. But I digress.
I'm not a full-on BMW maven (yet!) but I specifically researched cars with the N52 and, based on that study, I believe the N52 (or the same motor in N51 SULEV guise) continued in the 3 series throughout the E9x lifetime. You could still buy a 328i with an N52 in 2013.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDCoupe View Post
I liked the N52 so much, that I bought an X3 3.0si and still love that motor. Pulls and pulls.
Too much! I did the same thing although I landed on an E93 with an N51. It is "only" 230HP but has the same 3-stage intake as the Z4 3.0si, which just keeps on giving as one rises through the revs. I still want to tweak things a bit to get back some of the auditory experience of the Z4 N52, but it is a joyous, revvy, happy thing even so.
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      03-18-2019, 04:46 PM   #9
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I bought the si as well a condo car because you can get two sets of golf clubs. Would have preferred the m though.
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      03-19-2019, 12:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdb View Post
I'm not a full-on BMW maven (yet!) but I specifically researched cars with the N52 and, based on that study, I believe the N52 (or the same motor in N51 SULEV guise) continued in the 3 series throughout the E9x lifetime. You could still buy a 328i with an N52 in 2013.
What I meant was the 330i/Z4 3.0Si motor - the 255 hp version of the N52. The 328i motor soldiered on beyond 2006, but it's a detuned version of the N52. Less power, not quite the same beast.
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      03-19-2019, 09:47 AM   #11
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Btw, the X3 3.0si N52 is rated at 260 hp. I always wanted to know why so I could get that extra 5hp for the Z4. I think it might be the intake as it is slightly different. Not sure though. That elusive 5 hp is out there ready to be unleashed!
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      03-19-2019, 10:02 AM   #12
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I think the European 3.0si was 265 hp.
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      03-19-2019, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
What I meant was the 330i/Z4 3.0Si motor - the 255 hp version of the N52. The 328i motor soldiered on beyond 2006, but it's a detuned version of the N52. Less power, not quite the same beast.
Ah, gotcha. The difference is the 3-stage intake and corresponding retune. You can actually buy it pretty easily from vendors. As I mentioned earlier the N51 already has that intake, but needs it just to get back to 230HP because of a lower compression ratio. It's still fun to feel it pull through the revs, but admittedly not as much fun as it was in the Z4.
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