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RE: BMW Z4 3.0si: PH Carpool

RE: BMW Z4 3.0si: PH Carpool

Monday 16th October 2017

BMW Z4 3.0si: PH Carpool

This PHer has loved the Z4 M Coupe for a decade, but has found lots to like in its lesser-known counterpart



Name: Daniel Palmer
Car: BMW Z4 Coupe (E86) 3.0si
Owned since: April 2013
Previously owned: BMW E36 316i and BMW E36 320i

Looks sold it to Daniel a long time ago!
Looks sold it to Daniel a long time ago!
Why I bought it:
"I distinctly remember an Imola Red Z4 M Coupe that I used to walk past every day back in 2006/7. Being an impressionable teenager at the time, I instantly fell in love and knew I had to get one someday!

"Fast forward six years and I needed to find a new car. Criteria: six cylinders, at least 3.0-litres, comfort, reliability and, ideally, something not too expensive to run.

"With those filters on PistonHeads I found many E46 330is and somewhere near the end of my price bracket, I saw a Z4 3.0si. I didn't even know these existed and I had to have one as Z4 M Coupes were out of my price range - I could fulfil the childhood dream to some degree, though I still want the M!"

70K miles in four years means it's busy!
70K miles in four years means it's busy!
What I wish I'd known:
"I wish I had researched the different options lists that were available; I initially thought most were the same until I joined a forum and that revealed the differences.

"However, that being said, there were very few for sale at the time so I had limited options anyway. I also wish I'd known how much the interior rattles - the interior build quality isn't great even though it looks like a pleasant place to be."

Things I love:
"The shape! My word... Have you seen the way this thing looks?!"

"The way it drives. It was slightly lacking in steering feel but this was significantly improved with new steering arms and polybushes. To me, it's a very rewarding drive on the road, I can place it where I want with very a balanced but rear-led chassis."

Polybushes a worthwhile upgrade
Polybushes a worthwhile upgrade
Things I hate:
"The interior rattles - I'm constantly chasing rattles! The standard sound system is mediocre and when the tyres get low, it has a tendency to tramline.

"I have had a few little niggles that I have learnt to live with, including the one-touch windows that forget they're one-touch, so I have to reset this 90 per cent of the time I'm in the car."

Costs:
"Beyond consumables I have fully poly-bushed this car, replaced all lower arms, replaced the front brake callipers, sorted the wheel alignment and had an exhaust Vanos solenoid fixed. In terms of fuel, I am currently averaging 29mpg but I have seen 53mpg whilst hypermiling. Not bad for a 3.0-litre straight-six!"

A few more modifications might be on the way...
A few more modifications might be on the way...
Where I've been:
"Pretty much across the whole of the south of England - I have covered 70,000 miles in the four years I have owned the car! It has had a trip around Brands Hatch once too. I have always planned a Euro trip but I have never got around to actually doing it... I will one day!"

What next?
"I want the Z4M Coupe; however the prices seem to have skyrocketed and I am not convinced for the extra cash that I would fully appreciate it as a daily driver. But for the time being, I shall be replacing the springs and dampers with Bilstein items and potentially an LSD if I can commit to the cost.

"I'm also looking at exhaust alternatives, as I would like some extra pops and crackles occasionally."

 

 



Want to share your car with PHers on Carpool? Email us at carpool@pistonheads.com!

Author
Discussion

BangernomicsAndy

Original Poster:

11 posts

67 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
quotequote all
Love these, good choice and enjoy the car.

cerb4.5lee

9,240 posts

105 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
quotequote all
Really love the shape of these, and the engine is silky smooth too, a lovely rare car, enjoy it.

Mr Tidy

4,555 posts

52 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
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Great write up OP!

I've had a 3 litre Coupe for over 3 years now, and it still feels special every time I use it. thumbup

Jonstar

319 posts

116 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
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Great cars, I have a roadster and it still looks and sounds great, and that engine is a joy. Massively underated and undervalued!

Mr Tidy

4,555 posts

52 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
quotequote all
Jonstar said:
Massively underated and undervalued!
Sssh, don't tell everyone! laugh

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Loyly

15,819 posts

84 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
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Very cool car, I love these.

skylarking808

96 posts

11 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
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Good choice, glad your enjoying it.

RE interior rattles - poly bushing will only accentuate any rattles in the interiors of Beemers and harder springs will only make this worse. Best get a stereo upgrade or loud exhaust smile

TR4man

2,381 posts

99 months

Sunday 15th October 2017
quotequote all
Great car. I've had one as a daily driver for nearly three years which is longer than any other daily driver I've had (the problem is that there is not much else that compares)


Mr Tidy

4,555 posts

52 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
TR4man said:
Great car. I've had one as a daily driver for nearly three years which is longer than any other daily driver I've had (the problem is that there is not much else that compares)
Hi OP. thumbup

Probably time for a photo!



Earthdweller

370 posts

51 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Great write up

They are a very good car ... I have a Si Roady, the engine is an absolute peach and mated to a six speed manual is a lovely drive. And it needs to be driven .. it loves to rev and over 4K the engine comes alive and really starts to sing

I live on the edge of the northern Pennines where there are some fabulous roads

I find the Zed is the perfect car for blasts around the Dales.. it’s quick enough to have fun but not too fast .. which means that at 50-80 it is right in the zone, where other cars might not even be getting going

It is compact ., but roomy inside and very easy to place on narrow A and B roads .. you don’t need to be terrified of meeting a tractor !

It handles a bit like a go cart and never fails to put a smile on my face

No it’s not an adventador or 911 but I reckon on the roads I drive on I can get more enjoyment out of the Zed than a much more expensive “Sports” car

I’ve driven mine back to back with a Cayman S and not found it wanting at “sensible” speeds .. yes I think the Cayman would walk away from it over 100+ but at 50-80 along the lanes it’s just fine ??

As for the M .. it’s an itch I keep getting but the Si is probably 90% of the car for 50% of the cost

I do think it’s undervalued and a bit unknown but it does have a strong following on the quiet

As you’ve guessed I quite like mine ??




Edited by Earthdweller on Monday 16th October 07:47

phil121081

49 posts

97 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
great choice, love these too. I nearly bought one a few months back as a weekend car (like you, wanted the M really, but couldn't justify the cost!). Ended up with a 2.2 facelift Z3 which I love. It was buttons by comparison and thoroughly enjoying it! A coupe next on the list though, I've always loved them.

paulyv

385 posts

48 months

Monday 16th October 2017
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A very accurate write up on a lovely car. Saw my first one at Donington 4 years ago and added it to my list. Eventually I had one for almost 36 months and sold it this year to someone who seemed just as enthusiastic about these cars as I was and I barely lost any money. A terrific engine in a good-looking package. Minus points are the rattles - mine had them too, usually from the air vents. I considered firmer bushes but discounted them for that very reason.

A couple of track days at Silverstone, one with driver instruction, made it clear the abilities of the car were way beyond mine. The only reason it went was it was not getting driven enough as I moved to central London. I miss its amazing frugality when driven with a light right foot. I have progressed to a 1979 450SLC so those days are long behind me!

This year I was in the United States and by pure chance drove right past the plant at Spartanburg, South Carolina where all of these Z4's were made. A huge facility and had I planned ahead I would have seen if they had a visitor centre and had a word with the air vent guy or gal, or robot.

Scottie - NW

732 posts

158 months

Monday 16th October 2017
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Why does less tread on a tyre make the car more susceptible to tramlining?

Bennet

1,021 posts

56 months

Monday 16th October 2017
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There are three cars in our household at the moment and the Z4 (soft top) is the last one I'd choose to drive for almost any journey.

The other two are a 1994 Fiesta and a 1987 MR2. Both have more "feel", ride far better, and have significantly better visibility. Same went for my recently departed Mondeo.

Whenever Z4s are mentioned people praise the handling and comfort but they must live on a different planet to me. The manual gearbox and clutch are the worst I've ever used. There's no way I'd take one as a daily driver.

If you just want to get from one place to another quickly, the Z4 is great. Massive grip, plenty of pace and very strong brakes. But no involvement and no driver satisfaction. Not much fun sticking the 12 foot long bonnet out in to traffic either before you can see out of a junction.

Just my opinion. Maybe the coupe is better. I've never driven one.


cerb4.5lee

9,240 posts

105 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Bennet said:
Whenever Z4s are mentioned people praise the handling and comfort but they must live on a different planet to me. The manual gearbox and clutch are the worst I've ever used. There's no way I'd take one as a daily driver.
I tried to just say positive things in my previous post, yet I agree completely with you, and my Z4M had a woeful ride and a hateful gearbox, and quite how it's chassis got signed off I'll never know, it's a great shame because on paper a good recipe is there.

Mine was a weekend car thankfully, and I wouldn't contemplate using one as a daily either.

cmoose

40,227 posts

154 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Do think these are super value. Styling and packaging is great - feels special to sit in even if the quality of the cabin is a bit patchy and the look of the car is ageing remarkably well. The engine is fantastic, too.

Did contemplate swapping into one, but the primary controls ultimately put me off. It may be that those things - steering, shift and pedals - can be improved quite a bit, the problem for me was being confident about that and knowing what the end game was going to feel like.

Anyway, these things have loads going for them. More appealing by far than anything BMW makes today.

RenesisEvo

3,023 posts

144 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Article said:
I'm also looking at exhaust alternatives, as I would like some extra pops and crackles occasionally
Changing just the exhaust itself won't necessarily achieve this; there needs to be an amount of over-run fuelling too for this to happen (i.e. you may need a re-map).

aquarianone

298 posts

102 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
check out the DLV exhaust mod - on the Z4 forum - http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&am...


So much fun, completely changed the character of the car and it's much more fun....

along with...

CDV delete
ZHP gear knob
B12 kit

Had mine for around 18mnths / 20k miles - daily driver,

It's not without it's faults but its so much fun once you grab it by the scruff of the neck, and it gets a lot of positive comments as there's just nothing out there that looks as good (imo)

I've never known a car so fussy with regards to decent tyres, tyre pressure, a decent alignment...you can almost tell with somethings out of whack as it gently tries to kill you smile

Patrick Bateman

9,619 posts

99 months

Monday 16th October 2017
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Can anyone comment on 17" wheels and SE suspension vs 18" wheels and M Sport suspension? (non-runflats that is)

Evo (Henry Catchpole) rated it very highly on the former and I suspect the latter would do it no favours.

Bennet

1,021 posts

56 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Patrick Bateman said:
Can anyone comment on 17" wheels and SE suspension vs 18" wheels and M Sport suspension? (non-runflats that is)

Evo (Henry Catchpole) rated it very highly on the former and I suspect the latter would do it no favours.
I don't want to become the thread nay-sayer, but ours is an SE with 17" wheels and I find it bloody uncomfortable. Changing from runflats to Uniroyal Rainsports took a little of the crashiness out, but it does not "transform the car" or anything like that, as is, again, very often said.