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Retro #BMW-R75/6 hits ’em high, bagged F31 hits ’em low. The bike’s cool. The wagon’s cool. Hell, even the trailer’s cool. Step right up, folks, and enter Stan Chen’s wacky world of eight-wheeled wonder… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Peter Wu.
THREE’S COMPANY F31 Touring and classic bike combo
There’s a fairly natural crossover between cars and motorbikes. Okay, two-wheeled mischief may not be everyone’s cup of tea (and undoubtedly for some of you it won’t be – you’ve actively shelled out your hard-earned on a car mag, after all, so you probably quite like cars), but the visceral thrills of opening the throttle and heading for the horizon are shared by both groups of enthusiasts with equal aplomb. Swapping an accelerator pedal for a twist grip, and four wheels for two, is largely immaterial in the greater pursuit of letting it all hang out, forgetting the world, and just heading out to burn some rubber. Whether your journey’s end falls at a Cars and Coffee meet or a greasy, down-low biker bar, the strength of passion is just the same.
Sitting right in the middle of this cars/bikes Venn diagram is Stan Chen, events and sponsorship manager for Toyo Tires and all-round unassailable petrolhead. If it’s got a motor and makes shouty noises, he’s in. So it makes perfect sense that he’d have a matching set of machines; that way he’s covering all bases. And when this eight-wheeled carnival sideshow rolls into town – yes, we’re counting the wheels on the trailer, as that’s very cool, too – all heads turn and Stan finds himself torn between which machine to cause mayhem with first. It’s not a bad way to live.
There are, in fact, three protagonists in this tale aside, of course, from Stan himself: Von Doom, Lil’ Doom, and The Raft. While these may sound like characters from a pastel-hued CBeebies animation, there’s a simmering aggression beneath it all. And just for the hell of it, we’re going to start with the bike.
Stan’s motorcycle is a #1973 #BMW R75/5 . Nicknamed Lil’ Doom, it was originally acquired from a mate of his who let it go on the understanding that he thought Stan could be trusted with it. He was right. What followed was a lengthy and thorough frame-off restoration at the hands of Jay from Lossa Engineering. The frame has been detabbed, which is basically the motorbike equivalent of a shaved engine bay; every superfluous tab and bracket has been ground off and smoothed, allowing all the oily bits to sit more artistically within the scaffolding of the bike’s architecture. The mudguards have been bobbed – that is, chopped shorter to look more pert and racy – and the finish of the bike is just gorgeous: it’s all been painted in BMW Mineral white, with dual pinstripes in Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green. And the motor? It’s the biggest of BMW’s /5 Series, being a 749cc boxer twin that offers an entertaining mix of rasps and rumbles through its retro black chrome exhausts. It’s a beautiful mid-Seventies sculpture, fastidiously restomodded to be 21st century useable.
Oh, and it’s been lowered, obviously. The shocks are shorter, as it has to match the car. But before we get to that, let’s look at the second character on our amusingly peculiar script: The Raft.
Now, this might be the first time we’ve featured a trailer in Performance BMW. It might be the last. But this one, The Raft, is no ordinary trailer. You see, Stan’s aim was to marry all of these ideas cohesively, and if you’ve put this level of effort into crafting a custom motorbike to match your custom car, it’d be a bit dumb to just nip down to Brian James Trailers and pick up any old generic tangle of aluminium. What Stan’s done here, then, is to create a one-off carriage for his prized and jewel-like bike. Built by Laodies Kustomz in Iowa it comprises a minimalist tubular frame, wheel arches painted to match both vehicles, a pair of HRE wheels, and a custom Kelderman air-ride system that’s controlled from the car. That’s right. Your eyes do not deceive you. When Stan airs out the wagon, the trailer airs out too. And that’s just about the coolest thing we’ve seen this year.
Ah yes, and there’s a car here as well! Can’t forget that. The reason the bike’s named Lil’ Doom is that it’s a pint-sized companion to its larger stablemate, Von Doom. This imposing creation is a 2014 F31 Touring, a 328i xDrive, and you’ll no doubt have spotted that it’s rocking the same BMW/Audi/Porsche colour scheme as both the bike and The Raft. Interestingly, it was actually bought to be a sensible car…
“This is my fourth BMW,” Stan explains. “My first was a ’95 E36 M3, which was the first car I began modifying; I went as far as putting the Rieger wide-body kit on it with custom-drilled MAE three-piece wheels. It was a must-have, as the European tuning market was getting bigger in the US during that time. But this F31? Well, my wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit for us.” At this point, it’s probably best if you just take a moment and think back to the car you were ferried about in as a tiny child. For some of you it’ll have been something cool, for many others something mundane, but we’re happy to wager that few would have been as awe-inspiring as this unique triumvirate. What a way to build childhood memories!
All of the sensible family-car touchpoints are present: it’s an xDrive model, meaning four-wheel drive and thus a reduced likelihood of getting trapped in snow or quicksand on the school run (hey, y’know, it happens). And the sizeable Thule roof box supplements the colossal boot to ensure ample stowage for nappies, spare babygrows, and unchewed copies of The Jolly Postman. And yet… something here is not quite as sensible as BMW intended.
“I definitely wanted an aero package on the car, there was no doubt about that,” Stan grins. That’s why, along with the M Sport bumpers, you’ll spot the rakish M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser and, of course, roof spoiler ramping up the aggression here. “I went with the M Performance aero package since it was a cleaner look than the other brands available,” he reasons. “It also had the very subtle but noticeable roof spoiler, and that was a must.” It’s in-keeping with the car’s sportwagon intent, too, as Stan’s opted for the 328 variant which features the N20 motor – a four-cylinder petrol, but bolstered by a perky twin-scroll turbo and considered by many to be a truly appropriate successor to the old N52 straight-sixes. Stan’s tickled it a bit, naturally, with an optimising remap and a throaty quad exhaust to help the thing breathe a little more vocally.
“The build of the car was a two-stage process,” he says. “The first stage was the aero along with the KW coilovers, something I’ve used on all my previous builds. But then I decided that air-ride would better match the overall theme of the project, so the second stage included fitting the air suspension, and custom-building the motorcycle trailer that was also on air, and that could be controlled from inside the car.
I went with HP Drivetech struts with AccuAir E-Level air management. It’s my favourite part of the build; it allows me to go as low as possible but air up as needed when going over speed bumps and into steep driveways, which I always found to be a challenge with coilovers.” Impressively, what Stan’s achieved here is to convince us that fitting air-ride to his car and making a bagged trailer to match has all been done in the name of sensibleness and practicality, and that’s exactly the sort of world we want to live in.
The wheels are 20” HRE 501s, plucked from the Vintage Series line and sporting staggered widths; Stan chose them because he likes the classic style, and we can really see where he’s coming from. Mesh wheels always suit BMWs (well, within reason), and HRE’s timeless cross-spokes flatter the F31 down to a tee. The same can also be said for the Recaro Sportster CS seats, which were selected in order to retain an OE feel but provide more of a sporty aesthetic. And that’s pretty much the ethos of the project in a nutshell. What at first seems to be a well-kept modern BMW with a classic bike on a trailer may not immediately trigger sirens in the brains of passers-by but the more you look, the more details you unearth. What Stan’s done is to fuse the practical chores of day-to-day family life with the slap-in-the-chops ability to stop the show when he rolls into town. Furthermore, he’s got a badass ’bagged BMW for cruising, as well as a zingy custom retro motorcycle for canyon-running and B-road blasts. The package deal really does tick a lot of boxes. People often talk about their ideal three-car garage but Stan’s vision of the ultimate answer only actually involves one car: with Von Doom, Lil’ Doom and The Raft working together in slick, colour-coded harmony, there’s no situation that this family can’t deal with. If only we could all have life so neatly figured out.
Both the Touring and trailer air-ride systems are linked and controlled from the car.
/ 1973 / BMW-R75/5 has been colour-coded with the Touring and trailer perfectly.
Left: frame has been detabbed for a cleaner look.
“My wife and I were expecting our first child and figured the wagon would be the perfect fit”
DATA FILE #BMW-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring ʻVon Doomʼ / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-Von-Doom-F31 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #HRE-501 / #HRE / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-F31 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #MXP quad exhaust system with dual-wall black chrome tips, dual tune by ECU Tuning Group, full European coding by Alpine Coding, eight-speed auto ’box
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 9.5x20” (rear) #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels with 225/35 (front) and 255/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, #HP-Drivetech struts and #AccuAir-E-Level air management system, #M-Performance big brake kit, R1 Concepts dimpled and grooved discs
EXTERIOR BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, M Sport front and rear bumpers, M Performance front splitter, rear diffuser, side panel blades and roof spoiler, Thule Sonic roof box, Thule AeroBlade Edge rack system, Huper Optik ceramic window film by STM Advanced Window Film Solutions
INTERIOR #Recaro-Sportster-CS seats, custom #AccuAir-E-Level control pad mount
DATA FILER 75/5 ʻLilʼ Doomʼ / #BMW-R75 / #BMW-R75/5-Lil-Doom
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 749cc air cooled four-stroke boxer twin, #K&N filters, Motul 7100 4T, cast aluminium BMW2Valve.com café racer starter cover, black chrome exhaust with Heatshield Cobra exhaust wrap, Shorai lithium-ion battery
CHASSIS Audi Charcoal grey wheel spokes with Porsche Irish green lips, Firestone Deluxe tyres, Lossa Engineering subframe, Charcoal de-tabbed frame, shortened front suspension with Progressive Suspension springs, #Progressive-Suspension-412-Series rear shocks
EXTERIOR #BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, R100 fuel tank with custom dimple die fuel cap recess, Crafty B brushed aluminium Mini Racer fuel cap, BMW2valve.com cast aluminium starter cover, Lossa Engineering custom mudguards, vintage brushed aluminium tail-light
INTERIOR Black leather with grey selvedge denim seat, Renthal Ultra Low handlebars, Tommaselli grips
DATA FILE #Trailer-The-Raft / #Trailer
CHASSIS 8.5x18” #HRE-501-Vintage-Series wheels, 225/45 Toyo Proxes 4 Plus tyres, custom #Kelderman airride system (controlled from car), custom Irish green control arms
EXTERIOR Custom tube frame, arches painted BMW Mineral white with Audi Charcoal grey and Porsche Irish green pinstriping, #Ford-Model-A-tail-lightsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBMW F31 TOURING Slick, slammed 328i xDrive
A slick, seriously slammed and sexy Stateside F31 Touring.
If you haven’t caught F30-fever yet, be warned this beautiful blue Touring is highly infectious. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: @vossen.
Despite having been launched a good few years ago now, you could count the amount of non-M F3x cars that have been featured in DRIVE-MY on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over for whatever it is you might want to do with them. Perhaps it’s the looks that haven’t won people over or it’s simply the fact that they’re still quite expensive to buy. We’ve had plenty of M3s and M4s in our pages, but the lesser F3x models remain something of a modified rarity. Seeing a nicely-modified example, then, is reason to be happy and when it’s something as well done as this tasty Touring, it’s broad grins all-round. As the disgustingly sunny photos might suggest, this Touring is not a UK resident.
You will find it and its owner Kat Azadi cruising the streets of Miami Florida, turning plenty of heads as they go because this Touring delivers a tasty styling combo that’s hard to beat. Kat got herself off to a good start as an Estoril 328i xDrive is a mightyfine machine, the classic BMW hue looking very at home on the current models, and the 28i engine is both punchy and decent on fuel, making it a great all-rounder.
Of course, it’s practical too and that was part of the reason why Kat was drawn to the 3 Series wagon, as she explains: “I visited Europe in 2014 and caught the wagon or as you call it ‘estate’ bug! In the USA, it’s very hard to find a wagon and there are even fewer choices if you want a luxury brand. After owning sedans previously, I wanted a car with more cargo room for my dogs and moving around merchandise for the Vossen store. I travel frequently to car shows, events and visit vendors on a regular basis with my boot filled! I didn’t want a SUV and in the USA wagon choices are pretty limited.
BMW really has a winner with the 328i xDrive wagon and the Estoril blue colour was a must-have with the M Sport package! After a nationwide search, we found three Estoril blue M Sport Tourings in the USA: one in California, one in Georgia and one in Colorado. My dealership, Braman BMW, negotiated a swap and I got my car sight unseen from Colorado. The funny thing is that with Colorado being a colder part of the USA my BMW has the Cold Weather Package, which I will never use in Miami!”
Working as Vossen’s merchandise store director means that Kat is surrounded by car people and, working in that sort of environment, it would be impossible to own a standard car. Indeed, she’s no stranger to the pleasures of modified metal, having previously owned a 2013 Lexus GS, which she treated to some Vossen wheels (natch), RS-R suspension, an F-Sport front bumper and a mint wrap (literally) for good measure. The chances of the F31 remaining standard were therefore about zero…
Plans started simply enough, with Kat obviously deciding a set of Vossens were needed along with a drop in ride height. However, after a bit of internet research and talking to co-workers, she realised just what was available out there and it would have been rude not to indulge a bit…
Kat’s goal was to keep the car looking clean and subtle but at the same time make sure it stood out from the crowd. We’d say she’s definitely stuck to her brief and nailed it with the end result. The car is subtle, but once the wheels grab your attention (and they most definitely will) you’ll spot the changes that help make this Touring stand out. Rolling on Vossens was a given, but Kat was spoiled for choice when it came to choosing the right rims for her ride. “Having rocked a few different sets of Vossen wheels, I really wanted something custom this time around,” she says, “so I went with a set of new Vossen Forged LC Series wheels. The model is LC-107 in a colour called Patina gold in 9x20-inch and 10x20- inch. The team engineers the wheels for each specific vehicle so they put my car on the lift and took precise measurements before making their recommendation.”
The single-piece ten-spoke wheels look fantastic; with that wide edge running round the lip they’re just that little bit different to traditional designs, and the 20s are the perfect size for the F31 Touring. Kat’s choice of hue sits perfectly against the Estoril bodywork, Subaru having taught us many moons ago that blue and gold really complement each other. The faces of the wheels are brushed, with polished detailing along the edges of the spokes. Multi-piece offerings might be the darlings of the modified scene, but when it comes to single-piece wheels Vossen knows its onions.
“They are wrapped in 245/35 and 275/30 Toyos,” says Kat, choosing to have some rubber on the road rather than stretch, “and I love how the Brembo brakes are framed behind these wheels!” Because the calipers aren’t painted a lairy shade it’s easy to miss them, but this Touring is rocking a Brembo GT BBK front and rear, with heavy-duty calipers clamping massive 381mm crossdrilled discs up front and 343mm items at the back.
That might seem like overkill but with the high levels grip and traction, this Touring can be hustled along at a fair old pace and, with a turbocharged engine that’s responsive to tuning, Kat’s running a little more than stock power from her 328. “I had a Dynamic Turbo engine tune,” says Kat, “and it’s now making 310hp and 330lb ft of torque up from the stock 240hp and 258lb ft. I’m very happy with the results, the car now is noticeably quicker with hardly any difference in mpg.”
With brakes, wheels and performance taken care of, the suspension needed attention and Kat knew exactly what she wanted: a fully adjustable setup. For this, she turned to KW and went with a V3 coilover kit. Judging by the pictures, the suspension has been wound down to within an inch of its life, as there’s nary a gap between the tops of the tyres and the bottoms of the arches, the 20-inch Vossens tucking right up and giving this Touring an awesome look.
The final part was sorting the styling and here too Kat had a clear idea of what she wanted. “The idea was to make my wagon stand out without screaming ‘look at me!’ in regards to exterior modifications. After reviewing multiple body kits I felt the BMW M Performance kit really complemented the stock M Sport body. This included a new front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser.
“After going back and forth over the big rear wing, I decided against it. Dynamic Turbo installed the parts which were very easy to do in regards to the front bumper and side skirts. Since I had a GT Haus Meisterschaft exhaust with quad pipes the install didn’t go as planned, as Dynamic Turbo had to make some modifications to make it work. But the team there managed it and it came out amazing and I now have the only 328i xDrive with the GT Haus Meisterschaft quad exhaust! It is very loud which I love, but so I don’t want to wake the neighbours up, I ordered it with the GTC valve control which allows me to open and close the valves.” The styling is subtle, but it definitely gives the Touring more aggression and presence, plus the quad exhaust looks awesome tucked up in the rear valance.
While Kat’s kept her daily relatively sensible in some respects, she’s not compromised when it comes to ride height, picking the right wheels or the volume of her exhaust and she’s ended up with an exceedingly smart 3 Series Touring that looks good and does everything she needs. She’s not done with it yet, either, and like all of us can’t help but wonder about what’s next… “If money were no object I would bag my car on AccuAir and maybe get it painted matt blue, but I’m thinking of possibly wrapping it with the new matt clear colour that is out. And of course treating it to another set of Vossen Forged Wheels,” she laughs and hey, why not? Whatever she decides to do, things will only get even get better for this tidy Touring.
DATA FILE F31 #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring / #BMW-F31 / #2016 / #BMW / #BMW-328i-xDrive-Touring-F31 / #BMW-328i-Touring / #BMW-328i-Touring-F31 / #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 / #Vossen / #BMW-F31-Vossen /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo #N20B20 / #N20 / #BMW-N20 , #Dynamic-Turbo engine tune, GT-Haus-Meisterschaft-GTC exhaust with quad Pipes and valve control, eight-speed automatic gearbox. 310hp, 330lb ft
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Vossen-Forged-LC-107 wheels in Patina gold finish with brushed faces and polished windows and barrels with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Toyo T1 Sport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #Brembo GT #Brembo-BBK (front and rear) with 381mm cross-drilled discs (front) and 343mm cross-drilled discs (rear)
EXTERIOR Estoril blue, BMW M Performance kit consisting of front bumper, side skirts and rear diffuser
INTERIOR Stock black M Sport interior with blue trim
THANKS Jav and Mike at Vossen, Jose and Chris at Dynamic Turbo, Greg at Race Technologies, Braman #BMW and my wonderful doggies, Jetson and CharlieStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLittle Zed Riding Good 2015 – Road test #BMW-Z4-E89 / #BMW-Z4-Drive28i-E89 / #BMW-Z4-Drive28i-AC-Schnitzer / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-E89 / #BMW-E89-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-Z4-Drive28i-AC-Schnitzer-E89
We test the AC Schnitzer-tuned #BMW-Z4-sDrive28i to see what it’s capable of. AC Schnitzer has taken BMW’s Z4 sDrive28i and given it a comprehensive makeover bringing out the sports car that was lurking underneath Words: Bob Harper /// Photography: Max Earey
On reflection I think I have probably been a little harsh on the second generation #BMW-Z4 over the years, but it’s a car that I’ve never fully gelled with. Conversely I was quite keen on the original Z4 — yes, its electric steering wasn’t the best and its cockpit was a little tight — but it always felt eager and sporty and was always a machine that I looked forward to driving.
Maybe I’m not really the target audience for the new car as BMW made a conscious decision to make the latest (E89) Z4 more of a cruiser than a bruiser. It said focus groups made up of owners and potential owners brought up the fact that they didn’t want a full-on hardcore sports car. Comfort and refinement seemed to come higher up the list of priorities than the ability to run rings around the Boxster. Perhaps that was the death knell for the overtly sporting Z4 though; BMW tried to make a Boxster-beater with the original Z4 and it failed. Thus the new car is seen more as an Audi TT and Mercedes SLK competitor but I’ve still struggled to get to grips with the E89.
It is more refined, the cockpit is bigger, the roof is a work of genius… but I still think it could be a little bit more sporting and retain that refinement. Perhaps the biggest disappointment for me was the arrival of the 35iS incarnation. With 340hp on tap this really should have been the answer to my prayers but to me it fell well short of my expectations and showing it a sinuous stretch of Tarmac led to a disjointed and less than satisfying driving experience. The front and rear sections of the chassis seemed to have been designed by two different people who were not allowed to communicate during the process and trying to drive it quickly was a frustrating experience.
Doubly so as when we went to Germany to sample Schnitzer’s take on the 35iS Seb reported it was an awesome piece of kit with underpinnings to provide a platform for the stunning straight-six under the bonnet. I wasn’t able to make that trip so there was always the nagging doubt that maybe Seb and I have different chassis preferences or that super-smooth German road surfaces had clouded his judgement.
Thus when Chris Rossiter who is the face of AC Schnitzer in the UK called to say he had a fullyconverted Z4 28i at his Norfolk HQ that I could try, I jumped at the chance. This was a car that was actually built by Chris as a demonstrator over a year ago and just about the first customer who drove it bought it! It returned to Chris to be sold again after the first owner decided to move on and since we went to sample it it’s already found a new owner again. And having put this Z4 through its paces I can confidently say he must have one of the best E89 Z4s in the country.
The pristine Z4 that greets us at AC Schnitzer UK is certainly a sight for sore eyes and while the Schnitzer enhancements are pretty subtle for the most part it looks very nicely done and visually at least adds some of the pizzazz missing from the standard offering. Normally I’d be having a good look at the spec sheet before driving the car but the weather forecast isn’t the best and with the prospect of more storms on the way we nab the keys and without further ado disappear off to get some pictures in the bag and some driving impressions on relatively dry roads.
Having carried out a recce before arrival we’ve found a photo location a scant distance from base and in order to keep car cleaning to a minimum we tip-toe our way around the puddles and generally drive the Z4 like your maiden aunt. When I originally spoke with Chris Rossiter he was effusive over the car’s Schnitzer suspension setup but after five minutes behind the wheel I’m beginning to wonder how his idea of a good ride and mine can be so wildly different. Bobbing along at 20-30mph the car feels stiff and fidgety over bumps and ruts and I’m beginning to wonder whether this might be a step too far in terms of setup.
As usual, though, getting the pictures takes first priority and after we’ve given the car a quick rub down it’s time for Max to work his magic with his Nikons and it gives me a chance to drink in the details and look at the spec sheet. The bottom line for the complete conversion is £12,995 – that’s a saving of nearly £2000 if all the parts were fitted separately – and that includes everything, parts, painting, labour, VAT, the lot. It’s certainly a fair chunk of cash but you can always cherry pick the parts that you like and if you visit the AC Schnitzer UK website you can find prices for each individual item, or what’s involved in the complete conversion.
As far as the looks are concerned up front there’s a carbon fibre addition to the lower front spoiler that adds just the right amount of visual drama without going over the top, although having said that in my part of London that’s infested with speed bumps I’m not sure how long it would last! There’s a new set of front wings, too, sitting aft of the front wheel and below the bonnet line that feature little cooling grilles and a ’Chromeline’ set of slats, the latter are optional and could be left off if you so desired. I’m not a massive chrome fan at the moment – it suits some cars better than others, and given the rest of the Z4 more or less does away with chrome design elements I’d be inclined to leave them off.
What does suit the car particularly well are the 19-inch Type VIII AC Schnitzer alloys that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. These wheels can be ordered either in a traditional silver finish or, as you can see here, a silver and black bi-colour combination and they measure 8.5x19-inches at the front and 9.5x19-inches at the rear with 225/35 and 255/30 section rubber respectively. At the rear there are a pair of winglets that adorn the bootlid but other than that, bar a few decals, it’s as it came from the factory as far as styling is concerned.
One thing that’s most un-factory like is the lowered stance of the Schnitzer Z4 which is a result of the car being fitted with Schnitzer’s fully-adjustable RS Suspension setup. Ride height, compression and rebound damping can all be adjusted to suit your personal taste and I’m itching to give it a proper evaluation and start to wonder if Earey will ever finish with his cameras. The last shot to be done is an underbonnet view and two things strike me as we open up the Zed’s large clamshell. First, the engine really is set back so far in the chassis that it’s not really stretching the truth that much to call it a frontmid-engined setup, and when compared to the sixcylinder machines this must really bring about improvements in handling, especially when you consider that the 28i weighs a useful 105kg less than the six-cylinder 35i. The second thought is that I’ve yet to mention or think about the power upgrade this Z4 has been endowed with. As standard the 28i puts out 245hp and 258lb ft of torque but thanks to the ministrations from Schintzer’s boffins the tuning box that’s fitted to this car those figures have been boosted to 294 and 310 respectively. That’s just down by 12hp on the 35i version but torque’s up by 15lb ft. And if you look at the power-to-weight ratio this Schnitzer Z4 actually beats the Z4 sDrive35i with 199hp per ton compared to 193 for the six-cylinder machine. It should be rapid, too, with Schnitzer quoting a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds (an improvement of 0.2 seconds) while a whopping 2.9 seconds has been shaved off the 50-112mph time.
Impressive stuff indeed, and now I can finally have a proper play as Max has competed the static shots and we just need to get some action in the bag. Previously I’ve taken a little time to warm to BMW’s new four-cylinder units but I don’t know whether it’s a result of Schnitzer’s ministrations or perhaps being able to hear it rather better in the Z4 but I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s not a bad little powerplant. It certainly feels every bit as fast as Schnitzer’s figures would suggest and at certain points in the rev range it’s pretty tuneful with almost a flat-four-style warble to it. The ratios in the six-speed manual seem perfectly attuned to the engine’s power characteristics, too, and it’s a joy to either chase down the redline or short-shift and let the ample torque take the strain depending upon your mood.
Perhaps the biggest revelation is the suspension setup. What felt somewhat uncompromising at really low speeds soon becomes far less intrusive as the speeds rise and by the time you’re up to cruising speed it feels just like a proper sports car – firm but by no means filling-loosening. The real improvement, though, is in the Z4’s handling and Schnitzer’s RS setup really does endow the car with the sort of behaviour you’d expect from a BMW. Even on these slippery, cold, damp roads there’s plenty of grip from the gumball Michelins but there’s a finesse that’s totally lacking from the standard car. There’s a decent level of communication coming back through the steering and any movement at the rear is telegraphed back to the driver through the seat of the pants. It’s as if the standard Z4 is operating on a dial-up system and the Schnitzer one has gone fibre-optic. I’m not feeling brave enough to switch the DSC off on the tight lanes around here, but selecting the halfway house DTC mode allows enough slip from the rear on the greasy surface to let you have a huge amount of fun without risking a car/hedge interface. It’s genuinely exciting to drive and has restored my faith in the Z4.
As I said at the beginning perhaps I’m not in the right demographic for Z4 ownership, but I love the way the car looks and it now packs the performance to match the style.
AC Schnitzer UK
Tel: 01485 542000
It’s as if the standard #BMW-Z4 is operating on a dial-up system and the Schnitzer one has gone fibre-optic.
TECH DATA #2015 #BMW #AC-Schnitzer-ACS4-28i
ENGINE: #N20 four-cylinder,
MAX POWER: 294hp @ 5800rpm
MAX TORQUE: 310lb ft @ 2500-3000rpm
0-62MPH: 5.5 seconds
50-112MPH: 11.9 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
WEIGHT (EU): 1475kg
ENGINE: 294hp performance upgrade
WHEELS & TYRES: AC Schnitzer Type VIII alloy wheels (black or silver bi-colour), 8.5x19-inch (front), 9.5x19-inch (rear) with 225/35 and 255/30 Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres
SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer RS suspension package (fully adjustable for ride height, compression and rebound damping).
STYLING: AC Schnitzer carbon front spoiler, Sports front wings with chromeline set, boot spoiler set, decals.
INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer pedal set
COST: £12,995 (complete package including all parts, labour and VAT)
There are plenty of tasty exterior upgrades on the Schnitzer Z4 from new front wings with Chromeline elements to boot spoilers and a carbon front spoiler.
If you look at the power-to-weight ratio this Schnitzer Z4 actually beats the Z4 sDrive35i.
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