BMW Z4 M: The Other ///M Car
I am a BMW fan all day long. More so than any other car in the world. Recently, my best friend Tom was looking at purchasing another BMW, since he got rid of his M3 about five months ago. He has been looking at 645’s, 545’s and even the occasional 745i and Li. All of the cars he was looking at were manuals, except for the 7’s of course. He and I would go back and forth on what kind of car he should get, he said something that was a more elegant status symbol that showed his stature, and I thought he should go back to an M car. While he liked his M3, he never thought it gave him the attention that he wanted from it. It didn’t seem quite responsive enough and it just wasn’t him.
As Tom and I bounced around from dealership to dealership millions of times, there was one car that I always came back to, the Z4 M Coupe. I personally love these cars, and I don’t think they get enough notoriety from the Motorsport public. The M Coupe and Roadsters of the Z3 were rather popular, but didn’t seem to have that same BMW spirit and passion that the M3 and M5 had at that time. When the Z4 came out to people being split over the looks. You pretty much either loved it or hated it. Many have now grown to love it, but not necessarily appreciate it. Tom never really could picture himself with the Z4 M Coupe. While I could, simply because not a lot of people have them, and they are to me, a more brutal cousin to the M3 with the same heartbeat that just pumped a little harder.
Well after much deliberation, and so many test drives in countless BMW’s and the likes, finally Tom found one particular car in Duluth, GA, at of all places, a Subaru dealership. Yes, it was a 2006 Imola Red Z4 M Coupe with red leather interior.
The price was great, and the mileage was well documented for at a little over 26,000 miles. Tom and I had the grand idea to drive down this morning –Sunday April 13, 2008- and sign the paperwork and drive off into the sunset with it. Only one snaggle came about, the drive that we thought was only about 5 hours, was actually 7. We found this out just as we were about to go to bed at around 11:30 pm. Thinking quickly, we decided to leave about 12:30 am and just drive down there and wait for the sales manager to get to the dealership and open up on his off day to sell us this amazing car. We left, with no sleep mind you, and switched off about half way down. What a long drive, but man was it worth it for such a car. We were in and out of the dealership within an hour. Tom drove it around first and decided just by looking at it that it was his car, and the only one that was perfect for him. Finally! A car that he could love and actually want to keep. We drove back up to North Carolina in what seemed to be the most exotic car ride of my life.
As we were travelling back up, we were amazed at how many people were staring at the car, giving us the old thumbs up, smiling and one lady even started taking pictures while her husband smiled and waved to us from their brand new Audi Q7. I remarked to Tom that I drove an E92 M3 at 120 mph and not once did I get a wave, smile, nod or anything of the sort. And then I came to the conclusion that I had been right all along, no one knows that much about the E85/86 Z4 M. No one sees them that often, especially not in bright Imola Red.
As much as you may disagree, look at the real facts. How many times have you seen a Z4 M in comparison to the new M3, M5 and M6? I believe that the Z4 M is the most exotic of BMW’s. You can pick them up used for a good price, and you can buy them new for the early to mid $50,000. Impressive for a car that matches the E46 M3’s 4.8s 0-60 performance numbers. Of course it carries the same
3.2L Inline-6 with 330hp and 262lb-ft of torque, and a little bit of a lower curb weight. The most surprising thing to me was how much faster and more composed the new M Coupe feels over the outgoing M3. Amazing cars they both are, but I really love the Z4 M more and more now. There are no electronic aides other than DSC, very much so unlike any modern M car. There is no electronic steering, and there is only a manual with no SMG option. Motorsport 100% did what they once used to do, make pure driving machines that were engineered to perfection.
These days, you can buy cars with all kinds of big horsepower, and weight advantages. But when you are buying a sports car, you have to be happy with it yourself. I personally would love to own the Z4 M. I think that I would buy one over an older M3, and maybe over the new M5 and M6. As I told Tom, the Z4 M feels more like the E92 M3 with its better balance and much better composure. The whole ride back, I did not once feel uncomfortable. I was happy switching back and forth from driving to watching the public’s reaction as we drove by. There is nothing like good attention that is well deserved. The M Coupe has deserved it, and it gets it. Now we have reports that the new Z4 that comes out in 2009/2010 will feature the new 4.0L V8 from the M3 for the M Coupe and Roadster. Have fun with that! I am seriously contemplating about trying to get an Interlagos Blue Z4 M Coupe with black leather to drive daily. What do you think?
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Photos courtesy of: Motherproof and Channel 4
Top Gear- Dodge SRT/10 being thrown aside on the track by the BMW Z4 M Roadster
Top Gear- BMW Z4 M Roadster review