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  •   Guy Baker reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Supercharged Z4 M Coupé / This supercharged Z4 M Coupé will blow you away!

    Walk the line
    Strapping a supercharged to the already potent Z4 M makes for an exceptional performance machine.
    Words and photos Chris Nichols.

    Tuning a car is often a fraught process. There’s the stress that comes from buying new products, not knowing if they’ll work until they’re on the car, despite your hours of research. There’s the possibility that the workshop you’ve chosen will do bad work or rip you off. And, of course, there’s the likelihood that fitting upgrades will simply expose weaknesses in other parts of the car you weren’t aware of, forcing you to spend money you hadn’t planned to.

    Melbourne, Australia’s Kris Hooper knew about all those potential pitfalls when he chose his 2006 Z4 M Coupé. A tearaway in his younger days, he’d managed to destroy one car and blow two engines in another before getting a 1998 Subaru WRX sedan as his first proper performance car. However, his experience making mild mods to that, coupled with his otherwise methodical thought processes and focus on research, meant when he decided on something European to change things up, he wasn’t going to approach the project with anything other than highly considered plans to ensure he avoided many of those common tuning errors.
    “Magazines and forums have taught me how easy it can be to perform a modification only to find you are not happy with the result, to not get enough bang-for-your-buck, or to find further down the track that it is incompatible with something else you have planned.” All this is why, before he even began, Kris had a pretty clear idea as to what he wanted and how to achieve it. The Z4 M base was already a great start – powerful, with great street handling and braking, and looks that Kris fell in love with well before the test-drive. But his desire for a true all-rounder that combined ability on the street with track prowess meant things had to be planned well in advance, particularly as, being such a rare car outside of America, parts were not exactly in huge supply. “Most of the parts I’ve used have come from the US,” Kris says, “simply because the number of E85 Z4s in the States makes production of go-faster bits viable.”

    While in some respects, that lack of choice made things easy, Kris still needed to make the right decisions to achieve the goals he wanted, so on top of his research he talked to the guys at SouthernBM, a local and highly renowned specialist shop. The end result was a pretty tasty combination of American tuning parts, such as a 34-row Zionsville radiator, Vibra-Technics engine mounts, a StopTech Trophy BBK, Turner anti-roll bars, Hyperco Linear Race springs, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts and adjustable rear control arms, and an APR Performance carbon GT wing. In fact, JRZ RS-1 dampers aside, the only brake and suspension parts Kris didn’t get from the US were the Vorschlag E46 M3 camber/caster plates and Carbone Lorraine R6E pads. Even inside, Kris relied on US know-how to help improve the already pleasant Z4 M cabin in the form of beautiful and custommade anti-slip pedals from Ultimate Pedals. To these he added a Recaro Pole Position bucket for himself and a ZHP-style weighted BMW gear knob.


    Rather surprisingly, given the S54 engine is from the E46 M3, Kris had trouble finding options even here, specifically in the form of supercharger kits. At the time, only ESS kits were available, so to get the power he wanted Kris had no choice but to go with the company’s VT2-525 blower, intercooler and intake manifold kit. Currently it makes 403whp and 228lb ft of torque. Of course, ESS equipment is hardly second-best, and thanks to upgrading the included Setrab oil cooler for a bigger one, Kris reckons even now, with more options on the market, he wouldn’t change a thing.

    Thankfully, Kris’s other engine tuning options were easier to come by. He decided on a beautiful Tekarbon carbon fibre engine cover to spruce up the bay, and a KSS Performance valve-controlled exhaust to allow him to stay street-legal and not annoy his neighbours on those early mornings when he heads to the track yet still enjoy the full metallic scream of the S54 when he gets there. And he’s there a lot.

    In fact, thanks to holding onto his WRX for more practical driving, Kris can afford to use the Z4 as almost purely a toy. This freedom, combined with his desire to learn from instructors on a regular basis and to study his own on-board data stats, means he’s able to really enjoy the car at the Marque Sports Car Association (MSCA) sprint days he attends regularly. He actually won his class in both 2014 and 2015.

    Not that it’s all been plain sailing on the way to the top. While Kris has generally been very careful to build the car in a holistic way, avoiding many of the pitfalls others fall into, there have been challenges and even a scary on-track moment coming from a rare lapse of judgement when it came to both on-track behaviour and the order in which he fitted his mods. In terms of the challenges, the biggest was getting rid of the stock suspension setup’s on-track understeer. “For a car that handled so well on the street, I wasn’t expecting so much understeer,” Kris says. “An additional strut brace didn’t help. Wider front tyres didn’t help. Additional front camber didn’t help much either. Nor did changing my driving style to add some extra trail braking. It wasn’t until I swapped the suspension to the current coilovers and anti-roll bars and was able to stiffen the rear relative to the front that I was able to get the car to rotate like it should.”

    And that scary moment? That was the result of what turned out to be an unwise decision to head to Calder Park, a track with one of Australia’s longest straights, on stock brakes (albeit with nearly new pads) despite having fitted the supercharger kit. Now, in his defence, Kris says the brakes had been ordered at the same time but not arrived before the last-minute spot opened up. We’ll let him tell you what happened next: “Halfway through the day, the pedal was starting to feel a little sketchy, and I began a cool down lap so I could come in and inspect the pad material. Part way into that lap, though, a supercharged Honda Civic tore out of the pits ahead of me, and the red mist descended. About a minute later he was still in front as we hit the main straight. At the end of it, as we were both hitting 220km/h (135mph), some semblance of rational thought returned and I started braking slightly before my marker because of my earlier concerns. Too little, too late. Under my left foot I could feel little more than air. Brake pressure was non-existent.”

    As he later learned after pumping a whole extinguisher into the front left caliper, the pad material had just crumbled away by that point, leading to piston seals melting and fluid spraying everywhere. Luckily he still managed to save it, steering the Z4 around the Civic and through the narrow gate at the end of the straight before spinning to slow down in the field beyond. Safe to say, the StopTechs went on straight afterwards!

    One additional benefit of fitting the big brakes was that they necessitated a wheel change. Never a fan of the OEM design, Kris had previously chanced upon a forum member running Volk Racing G2s in the same matt black as his own Z4 and decided they were perfect. And, as luck would have it, a member of a different forum who lived locally was selling a set just when Kris needed them. “They must have been the only used set of wheels in the correct fitment available locally at the time, and possibly ever since,” he says. “I was so happy with them that when it came time to get a separate set of track wheels I went straight to Volk, who made me up a set of TE37SLs that, again, are exactly what I wanted.” It’s hard to argue with Kris’s choice, too.


    Japanese wheels often look great on BMWs and this is no exception. The relatively rare G2 design’s sharp edges and rounded curves, especially, match perfectly with the E85 Z4 M Coupé’s similar mix of lines, keeping the car looking current and fresh, despite now being ten-years-old. And thanks to Kris’s focus on getting the handling, power and braking right, it’s now a car that doesn’t just look great but one he can enjoy driving for years to come (like his WRX, he has no plans to part with it though).


    “The Z4 M, to me, represents a challenge, one that never gets old. There is such a fine line between getting it right and everything going to hell in a split-second. Sprinting along the right side of that line is one of my favourite things in the world.”

    DATA FILE #Supercharged Z4 M Coupé / #ESS / #BMW / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupé / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupe-E86 / #BMW-Z4-M-E86 / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-E86 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #Rogue-Engineering / #Vortech / #Volk-Racing-G2 / #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54B32-Supercharged / #S54B32-TUNED

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six S54B32 , #ESS-VT2-525 supercharger kit ( #Vortech-V3Si supercharger, #ESS intercooler and intake manifold), #K&N air filter, #Zionsville aluminium radiator, #Vibra-Technics engine mounts, #Tekarbon carbon fibre engine cover, #Bosch-453cc injectors, #KKS-Performance valve-controlled exhaust with push-button controller, KKS-Performance 4x80mm exhaust tips, software reflash to remove speed limiter and raise rev limiter to 8200rpm, six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 8.5x19” ET+35 (front) and 9.5x19” ET+22 (rear) #Volk-Racing G2 wheels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza tyres for the street, 8.5x18” ET+35 (front) and 9.5x18” ET+22 (rear) Volk Racing TE37SL wheels with 245/40 (front) and 275/40 (rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres for the track, JRZ RS-1 coilovers with Hyperco Linear Race springs (450lb front, 600lb rear), Turner Motorsport 30/25 E46 M3 anti-roll bars, stock front strut brace, Rogue Engineering adjustable rear control arms, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts, Vorschlag E46 M3 camber/caster plates and perches, StopTech Trophy Sport BBK with six-pot calipers (front) and four-pot calipers (rear), 355x32mm two-piece slotted rotors allround and stainless braided lines, Carbone Lorraine R6E sintered endurance pads, Motul 600RBF fluid

    EXTERIOR Carbon fibre centre grille (sourced by Turner Motorsport), APR Performance rear carbon GT wing, M Power windscreen decal

    INTERIOR Recaro Pole Position race bucket (driver’s side only), Macht Schnell Competition Liteweight seat mounts, BMW ZHP-style weighted gear knob, LeatherZ leather door handle covers, custom billet Ultimate Pedals anti-slip racing pedals
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Forecourt find #2007 / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupe-E86 (2006-2008) / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupé / #BMW-Z4-M / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-E86 / #BMW /

    Now is the time to snap up the exclusive E86 Z4 M Coupé – before the few remaining cherished examples disappear. And you’ll do well to find a better example than this top-spec Ruby black 52k-mile 2007 car we spotted for sale at North East specialists Snippersgate.

    With a recent set of Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres it boasts satellite navigation with the latest maps, heated seats, a factory upgraded Hi-Fi system, Individual champagne full leather upholstery and all the standard M kit. The requisite full service history includes the running-in service, whilst the asking price is a very reasonable £20,990.
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  •   Keith Adams reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    10 MINUTE GUIDE E86 Z4 3.0si

    The Z4 Coupé still looks fresh and purposeful and while M versions look set to rise in price the ‘lesser’ 3.0si still looks like excellent value for money. Words: Bob Harper / Photography: #BMW / #2006

    Why should you buy one?

    Whisper it quietly but we actually preferred the 3.0si to the manic M Coupé when these cars were new – certainly if you were planning to use the car everyday the 3.0si was the better prospect. And there’s loads to like: sexy styling, excellent performance (sub six-seconds to 62mph) from its sonorous straight-six and that’s blended with surprisingly good economy and affordable running costs. The cockpit is a little snug and there’s not a huge amount of storage space, but if that’s not a worrying issue you should get searching for one now.

    History

    Launched in 2006 the #BMW-Z4-3.0si-Coupé came in one flavour, so choosing a used example is straightforward. It came with the six-speed manual with a Sport auto as an option. Standard equipment was generous, with 17-inch alloys, electronically assisted Servotronic steering, a Sport button, front and side driver and passenger airbags, DSC+, run-flat tyres, electric mirrors, front fogs, headlight washers, metallic paint, auto air-con, brushed aluminium interior trim, one-touch electric windows, Oregon leather seats and a single CD player covered within its £31,400 price. A Sport model was also available at launch, adding 18-inch double-spoke alloys, anthracite headlining, M Sport seats, M Sport suspension and a three-spoke M leather steering wheel, costing £32,925. Options included the aforementioned automatic transmission, multi-function steering wheel controls, folding exterior mirrors, many different alloy wheels, auto-dimming mirrors, carbon leather trim, rear PDC, xenons, cruise, Business or Professional nav, Bluetooth, Logic7 speaker system, Comfort package and Nappa leather.

    How much to pay?

    The cheapest car we found was just under £5000. Admittedly it had done over 200k miles but it had been with the same owner since 2008. At the other end of the scale, 3.0sis still occasionally crop up at main dealers and these cars can be priced up to around £15k which we’d reckon is too much to pay given you can still bag a Z4 M Coupé for that sort of money. Choose the middle ground and you should be able to find a low(ish) mileage example that’s been well looked after for less than £10k.

    What goes wrong?

    We are happy to report that the short answer to this question is not a lot. Generally speaking the N52 straight-six that’s used in the Z4 Coupé is a pretty reliable unit and even as mileages rise it seems to have very few issues.

    They don’t tend to use much oil and just about the only thing the engine is known for is a bit of a ticking from the top end which comes from the hydraulic valve actuators. BMW tried several fixes over the years with mixed success, but the noise doesn’t seem to affect the reliability of the unit. Running problems are most likely to be down to dodgy coils, but as this unit is pre-direct injection you’re far less likely to have any injector faults compared to some later units.

    A few suspension components are a little less durable than you might like – rear springs in particular fail like clockwork but aren’t expensive and rear shock mounts can collapse. The front control arms are similar in design to the E46 so these can fail over time too. It should feel tight and clonk-free on the road, so get it checked if you’re at all unsure. Inside, check the steering doesn’t feel like it’s sticking at all – most likely to rear its ugly head in hot weather – as the only surefire fix is a new steering column assembly. If the car has sat nav then check the fold-out screen works smoothly as failed units need to be replaced. Also listen out for rattles on a road test – the Z4’s cockpit wasn’t especially well put together and you may find it can be a little creaky, and while it’s irritating, most problems can be sorted if you don’t mind putting the effort in.

    Running costs

    Road tax costs £159.50 for six months and £290 for 12 – pretty decent for a 3.0-litre sports coupé and servicing shouldn’t cost the earth either. BMW’s value service menu quotes £189 for an oil service and microfilter, £269 for an Inspection 1, £429 for an Inspection 2 and £62 for a brake fluid change. New brake pads can be had from a main dealer for £129 or £119 front and rear respectively. Specialists may be able to beat these prices, but the bottom line is that the 3.0si doesn’t have the ‘M Tax’ that you get when it comes to sourcing parts for the more powerful Z4 M.
    As standard the 3.0si came with run-flat tyres, but we’d recommend binning them as it transforms the way the car rides and handles. For an SE on 17s you should be able to get a set of good boots fitted for about £300 and for the Sport on 18s that will rise to around £450.

    Verdict

    With a relatively low purchase price, sexy styling and reasonable running costs we love the Z4 3.0si Coupé. It’s refined and composed when you’re out for a cruise yet can lift up its skirts and fly when the mood takes you. As a used buy it’s an absolute cracker.

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E86 Z4 3.0si / #BMW-Z4-3.0si-E86 / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-Z4 /
    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve
    CAPACITY: 2996cc
    MAX POWER: 265hp @ 6600rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (electronically limited)
    0-62MPH: 5.7 seconds (6.0)
    ECONOMY: 31.7mph (31.4)
    EMISSIONS: (CO2): 213g/km (216)
    PRICE: SE £31,400; Sport £32,925
    Figures in brackets for automatic transmission
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  •   Sam Huggins reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    The Last Emperor

    A look back on the legendary #BMW-Z4M-Coupé , the last of the naturally aspirated six-cylinder M cars. Emperor The last. If you follow the mantra that M cars should come with a naturally aspirated screaming straight-six then the Z4 M Coupé represents the last of the breed… fortunately it’s rather good, too Words: Bob Harper Photography: Steve Hall

    It feels slightly odd to find myself for the second time this month writing about a car that I haven’t universally heaped praise upon in the past. Yup, the Z4 M Coupé has not always been on my list of ultra-desirable BMWs and I even remember it being the subject of a very heated argument in the office when we were selecting the cars for our Car of the Year test at the tail-end of 2006. I favoured the ‘M-lite’ 3.0si model whereas everyone else in the office thought the M Coupé should be on the short list. In all honesty I think the 3.0si is the better all-round car, certainly from the prospect of using it as a daily driver as it offers virtually the same performance as the M car, significantly better economy, a more compliant ride and much lower running costs all wrapped up in a similarly visually arresting package.


    However, while that was my view then – and still is if you want to use a Z4 Coupé everyday – these days the M Coupé is starting to be appreciated for what it is: a mad, bad and brawny hot shoe – the last in the line of naturally-aspirated M cars that can trace its parentage all the way back to the original M1. Increasingly they’re becoming squirreled away as weekend cars, something to cherish and polish and then, when the mood takes you, to excite and exhilarate on an early morning cross-country dash that will have you grinning from ear to ear. The Z4 M is blistering quick – and still feels it – but it takes a strong and fully committed hand to fully tame it. To drive one quickly requires your full attention. Give it that and it’ll be hugely rewarding.

    Under the M Coupé’s shapely bonnet was the last resting place for the venerable S54 straight-six, itself a development of the S50 ‘six that first saw the light of day in the E36 M3. It was a car that #BMW claimed would never be built when the E85 generation of Z4 was created, claiming that the new Roadster was so torsionally stiff that a coupé wasn’t needed and that the regular 3.0i Z4 was so quick that there was no need for an M version. Fast forward a few years and the Z4 Concept Coupé was shown at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and when we questioned one of BMW’s press bods at the time he more or less said, ‘if a BMW Concept has towing eye-covers, it’s production-ready.’ Then it was just a matter of time before the production version appeared, and at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006 the fully-fledged cars were shown for the first time with serial production starting just a month later. It wasn’t a particularly longlived M car, though, as just over two-years later it had disappeared just as quickly as it had arrived and the E85/6 generation of Zed was replaced by the less driver-focused E89 with its fancy folding metal roof, effectively killing the need for a coupé version. Of course, BMW M had form for making slightly crazy Zed cars by the time the Z4 appeared on the scene and despite the fact that the Z3 Ms were fairly deeply flawed pieces of kit they had a big following and their shortcomings could easily be overlooked thanks to their brawny characters. Quite why BMW changed its mind and decided to eventually offer the M versions isn’t fully known but perhaps the top brass wanted to have one last try to knock the Boxster off its perch, or perhaps the Zed Ms were seen as a useful way of filling the gap between the departure of the E46 M3 and the arrival of the E92 version. The Z4 Ms ensured BMW still had a presence in this section of the market, albeit with a less practical twoseater but we can’t really see it as being a fully commercial decision as with less than 5000 cars built in just over two years it’s likely the car didn’t recoup its development costs.


    Knowing that the Z4 M was effectively going to be a limited production machine BMW could perhaps have been forgiven if it had scrimped slightly on its specification but by now we should know that M doesn’t generally do things by halves so the Z4 M Coupé was a fully-fettled M car. The engine was lifted directly from the E46 M3 and while it’s a familiar unit it should be remembered that it’s still an absolute peach. Double Vanos, an 11.5:1 compression ratio, individual throttle butterflies and an advanced engine management system ensured a high specific output and even today a normally aspirated engine that develops nearly 106hp per litre is something to write home about. Even within BMW M’s hallowed halls this is an outstanding achievement and betters the specific output of the later S65 V8 from the E9x M3 (including the GTS’s 4.4-litre) and even the E60 M5’s mighty S85 V10.


    Unlike in the E46 M3, the straight-six was mated to a #ZF transmission (the E46 used a Getrag unit) and the six-speed manual was the only option for the Z4; none of your fancy #SMG gubbins here thank you very much. Naturally enough for an M car there was a limited-slip differential, BMW’s M Differential Lock, which despite being a fully mechanical item uses pressurised viscous silicon fluid to operate a multi- disc clutch to direct power to the wheel with the greatest traction. It also featured the latest version of BMW’s #DSC traction control system along with the most up-to-date version of Dynamic Brake Control which added items such as brake fade compensation, brake standby, brake drying and hill-start assistant.

    While the Z4 Ms used the same basic suspension setup as the regular production Z4 it was fine-honed by M to try to bring the best out of the car. Without a doubt the biggest change was the adoption of hydraulic power steering, as the electric setup of the normal Z4 was deemed not feelsome enough for an M car. The majority of the Z4 M’s setup was lifted more or less directly from the E46 M3 CS and it had an overall ratio of 14:5:1 which, interestingly, made it more direct than the rack that was fitted to the Roadster version of the Z4 M.

    The rest of the M’s underpinnings were also beefed-up and while it still retained the basic MacPherson strut/multi-link setup of the Z4 it had a wider front and rear track, revised lower front arms and steering knuckles bolted directly to the front struts. Spring and shock absorber rates were unique to the car (and slightly stiffer than those fitted to the M Roadster) while anti-roll bars had larger diameters at 27mm and 22.5mm, front and rear respectively. At the rear there was a more heavy-duty rear subframe required to accommodate the larger M diff and there were also enhanced wheel bearings and reworked longitudinal links in the rear suspension.

    That the Z4 M was going to go well was a given – it was, after all, nigh on 100kg lighter than the E46 M3 – so to ensure it stopped equally well M equipped it with the braking setup from the E46 M3 CSL with 345x28mm vented and drilled front discs and 328x28mm rears that were gripped by single piston swing callipers all-round.


    Naturally enough there were exterior changes to the Z4 M and as we sit waiting for the sun to set for our cover image there’s plenty of time to take these in and while it’s perhaps not quite as outrageously distinctive as the Z3 M Coupé the Z4 version is still a stunning-looking piece of design. The beefed-up front and rear bumpers with their various cut outs and grilles for air intakes and exhausts add some much needed visual drama to the shape. The wide rear haunches seem to work particularly well with the sweeping rear hatch and with the exhaust pushed further out to the edges than in most other M cars it gives the rear end a feeling of real width and presence. The ‘Zorro’ slash in the front wings with the BMW roundels hiding the indicator side repeaters in the centre catch the dropping sun and create areas of light and dark – there always seems to be a little something extra to the shape that you’ve not seen before. Altogether it combines to create a machine that if I owned it I’d definitely have a sneaky glance over my shoulder at as I walked away after a spirited drive as the sound of hot metal ticking away to itself reminded me of the fun we’d just had.

    Slipping into the cockpit reminds me of just how low these cars are and while the cabin is slightly on the snug side everything you could want falls nicely to hand. The leather-clad and M-logo’d gear knob is just a hand span away from the steering wheel, and while the latter item is nice to hold it’s perhaps not the most visually appealing item ever fitted to an M car. Instrumentation is minimal as per the standard Z4 but there’s the rev counter with illuminated segments that remind you not to thrash it from cold and an oil temperature gauge tucked away by the fuel gauge and the car’s performance potential is made clear by an 180mph speedo.

    Where the Z4 M really scores over the 3.0si, though, is in the sense of occasion – a palpable sense of drama when you slip behind the wheel. There’s that dramatic view down the heavily sculpted bonnet (that the 3.0si didn’t get), and once you twist the key the straight-six sends tingles up your spine and gets the hair standing up on the back of your neck. To experience a fully wound-up S54 ‘six is a aural treat and you feel that you’re genuinely a witness to something special, and let’s not forget that it’s not something we’re expecting will be available for a long time to come with all the manufacturers following the turbocharged eco-friendly route.

    The engine dominates the driving experience and you can make very decent progress without wringing the car’s neck and those sampling the car for the first time can often be caught out by short-shifting up the gearbox and even if you use 5000rpm the Z4 will be travelling very rapidly but you’ll be missing out on the best part of another 3000rpm. Hit the Sport button that sharpens up throttle response still further and use the full extent of the rev range and you’ll feel like you’re sitting on top of a low-flying ballistic missile.

    You sit so much lower than in an E46 M3 that the sensation of speed is much greater and that’s before you factor in that the Z4 M is actually a quicker machine, too. 0-62mph at 5.0 seconds is 0.2 seconds faster than the M3 and 50-75mph in fourth gear is despatched 0.3 seconds quicker in the Z4, too, while over the standing kilometre the Z4 is again halfa-second quicker. Small increments, perhaps, but coupled with the low-slung Z4 and it feels like more.

    This is compounded by perhaps one of the less likable aspects of the Z4 M: its ride. It’s pretty uncompromising and an M3 is more compliant and this can ultimately temper your pace on roughly surfaced roads. On first acquaintance it’s easy to feel that the Z4 M is attempting to throw you off the road and a tendency to understeer on the standard fit ContiSportContact tyres didn’t help to endow you with confidence in the chassis, but with greater familiarity it becomes clear that you can lean on the Z4 M pretty hard and it will reward the confidence you show in it. It’s a car that requires real commitment to get the best out of. Sure it’s a little rough around the edges when it comes to ultimate handling finesse but get it right and it’s hugely rewarding.

    A few choice changes can also make it a better steer, too. Ditching the original equipment tyres for something with more grip – later generations of Pilot Sport work well – help to counteract that initial understeer, and the addition of a front strut brace also helps here. As standard the Z4 is fitted with a clutch delay valve and this can combine with a slightly notchy ’box to make gear changes less than perfect, but deleting it or fitting a modified one can really smooth out a jerky gear change. Many owners have also fitted 19-inch CSL rims in place of the 18-inch M Double Spoke Style 224 rims and this really does work wonders for the look of the car. If money’s no object you could fit aftermarket suspension, but ultimately when these machines start to become really collectible it will be the standard examples that will be worth the most.

    When it was new the Z4 M Coupé cost a not insignificant £41,285, just a smidgen less than an E46 M3, which made it seem quite expensive when the M3 was a far more practical and almost as quick proposition. However, by the time the Z4 was discontinued its price had only risen by £1000 yet the E92 M3 that was then available cost over £50k which conspired to make the #BMW-Z4M look like a bit of a bargain! These days prices start at around £13k for higher mile examples and rise to high £20s for really low mile examples being sold by franchised dealers.

    The majority of cars fall in the mid-to-high teens bracket and represent excellent value for money. If you look after one and use it regularly but sparingly we don’t reckon you’re going to suffer much in the way of depreciation and if you hold onto it long enough you may well see values rise. Remember, only 1052 right-hand drive examples were built so rarity value certainly counts in their favour.

    You could still use one every day if the fancy takes you, and bar the high cost of Inspection services there isn’t too much to worry about. The head gasket failures that afflict high mileage M3s are less of a problem with Z4 Ms as they were originally often purchased as a second car. However, I reckon you could become bored with its harsh ride, slightly cramped cockpit and brawny nature. Used sparingly, though, and every journey becomes an event, something to be looked forward to and savoured. It was the last of the line of great naturally-aspirated straight-six M cars and while it wasn’t perfect it’s still a marvellous machine to punt down a challenging bit of road. Nab one now before it’s too late.

    Once you twist the key the straight-six sends tingles up your spine and gets the hair standing up on the back of your neck.

    There’s a palpable sense of drama when you slip behind the wheel.

    TECH DATA #2015 #BMW-Z4M-Coupé-E86 / #BMW-Z4M-E86 / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-Z4
    ENGINE: #S54 / #S54B32 Straight-six, 24-valve, DOHC
    CAPACITY: 3246cc
    MAX POWER: 343hp @ 7900rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 269lb ft @ 4900rpm
    0-62MPH: 5.0 seconds
    STANDING KM: 23.7 seconds
    50-75MPH (4th): 5.0 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 23.3mpg
    EMISSIONS: 292g/km
    WEIGHT (EU): 1495kg
    TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual, #LSD
    STEERING: Rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION: MacPherson struts (front), multi-link ‘Z’ axle (rear)
    WHEELS: 8x18-inch (front), 9x18-inch (rear)
    TYRES: 225/45 ZR18 & 255/40 ZR18
    BRAKES: Single piston swing callipers front and rear gripping vented discs, 345x28mm (front) and 328x28mm (rear)
    PRICE: £41,285 (2006)

    Even today a normally aspirated engine that develops nearly 106hp per litre is something to write home about.
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  •   Sam Huggins reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    BMW CONCEPTS: The cars they could have made. This month a car that actually went into production! #BMW-Z4-Concept Coupe / #BMW-Z4-E86-Concept from #2005 is one BMW concept that did see the showroom floor / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-E86 / #BMW-E86-Concept /

    One of the best-kept secrets and one of the biggest stars of the #2005-Frankfurt-Motor-Show was the Z4 Coupé. BMW usually wheels out a concept vehicle at its home show, but unlike many of its predecessors the ‘Concept’ Z4 Coupé was virtually production ready and even the Chairman of the Board, Dr Helmut Panke, admitted that a production version would be built.

    When the Z4 was launched back in 2003 BMW claimed there would not be a Coupé version of the car to take over from the quirkily-styled Z3 tin-top. Despite claims to the contrary from the company the Z4 hadn’t been a universal success and the sexy hardtop Z4 was necessary to breathe much-needed life back into the range.

    The ‘Concept’ was based on the Z4’s chassis and used the lightweight 2996cc ‘six that offered up 265hp at 6650rpm and 232lb ft of torque from 2500-4000rpm. BMW claimed performance figures of 5.7 seconds for the 0-62mph dash and a top speed limited to 155mph.

    The Z4 Coupé’s styling was obviously heavily based on the Roadster, although its new ‘fastback’ look gave the car a much a more dynamic form. To our eyes the new model of Z4 looked more cohesive than the Roadster thanks to the higher rear deck afforded by the coupé design and it gave it a much more powerful look about its rear haunches.

    There was a trademark Hofmeister kick to the C-pillar, while the centre recess on the roof itself harked back to coupé designs of the 1950s and 1960s. The Concept Z4’s lines were shown off to best effect by the Glacier silver matt paint effect which looked particularly dynamic under the show lights. To contrast with the bodywork it sat on bespoke chrome shadow 8x19-inch aluminium rims equipped with 235/35 ZR19 (front) and 255/35 ZR19 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, while the show car also sported the big drilled discs fitted to the then current M cars, although in the studio pictures the car made do with standard BMW stoppers.


    Inside it was a mixture of Z4 Roadster and some new materials – such as the woven look for the leather door panels – and while we didn’t expect these to make the production version we hoped in vain that the roof lining would remain the soft Nubuk leather that was featured on the show car.

    The luggage space was of a decent size thanks to the kicked-up rear deck and, as seemed to be the way back then, the press pack informed you of its dimensions in terms of golf clubs. In case you were wondering, you’d be able to fit two large golf bags in the boot, although whether that was with the natty integrated travel bags in place was not reported. #BMW had always said it would never build a coupé version of the Z4 and also that there would never be an M version either – but when the car it wasn’t going to build looked this good, and went as well as it did we’re jolly glad it changed its mind!
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