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    CAR #2020-BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #BMW-Z4-M40i-G29 / #BMW-Z4-M40i / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW

    REPORT
    £49,050 OTR/£51,985 as tested/£591pcm

    WHY IT’S HERE
    Can Supra DNA lift BMW’s sports car from the Boxster’s shadow?

    DRIVER

    It’s difficult to talk to anyone about the #BMW-Z4-G29 without the Toyota-Supra-A90 soon crowbarring its way into the conversation. The debate about whether the two should share parts so flagrantly is raging, of course, not least between two of TG telly’s own. I’m with the dating show host rather than the racing driver, though. A sentence I never thought I’d type. Sharing engines, gearboxes and electronics is far and away the easiest way to cut costs and enlarge profit margins. Doing so has enabled both BMW and Toyota to launch some very accomplished sports cars at a time when the market and its increasingly tight emissions regs might suggest such things are unwise. I suspect having the Supra to worry about as an in-house rival made the German engineers up their game, too, as I can’t remember any of the Z4’s predecessors driving this keenly. Few cars’ aggression ramps up so tangibly through their Sport modes.

    That parts sharing also came in handy for my first go in the Supra, which jammily took place on the full layout of Circuit de la Sarthe, shortly before the Le Mans 24 Hour grid rolled out for its warm-up laps. Hopping in a car whose dynamics I’m familiar with by proxy was exceedingly welcome, then, and moments after prodding the starter button I was hitting an indicated 158mph down the Mulsanne Straight amid five of the better minutes in my life.

    The Supra’s not the only car to share vital organs with the BMW, though, and I’ve also tried the new Morgan Plus Six this month. A stonking 500kg lighter than the Z4 and with none of its electronic safety nets, it’s a loud, boisterous, intoxicating thing to drive. Anyone thinking Toyota went soft by borrowing a BMW engine needs to try it in a British lightweight with all the nannies removed. Paddy’s right. Parts sharing really isn’t so evil.

    SPECIFICATION
    Engine 2998cc, 6cyl turbo, RWD
    Max power 335bhp
    Max torque 369lb ft
    Weight 1610kg
    0–62mph in 4.6secs
    Max speed 155mph
    33.2mpg, 165g/km CO2

    + GOOD STUFF
    A warm fuzzy feeling from seeing ‘my’ car on primetime Sunday night telly

    - BAD STUFF
    I’ve had my head turned by a much wilder Morgan with the same powertrain

    MILEAGE: 7650 OUR MPG: 34.0
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    Stephen Bayley
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    Stephen Bayley
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    Stephen Bayley
    Stephen Bayley joined the group Porsche 911 992
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    STEVEN’S E31 #BMW-850Ci-E31 / #BMW-850Ci / #BMW-E31 / #BMW / #BMW-850i-E31 / #BMW-8-Series / #BMW-8-Series-E31 / #BMW-M70 /

    Yes, I know the 850 is supposed to be for sale. But you can’t sell a broken car, and if there’s one thing that E31s are good at, it’s being very high maintenance.

    I suppose I could call this one a narrow escape, as it happened the day after it passed its #MOT . Upon start-up, I heard the characteristic screech of a worn fan belt. This surprised me as it’s not that old, however it is adjustable, so I mentally put it on the ‘to-do’ list. While pulling away, however, I heard a distinct rattling noise coming from the engine bay, so I quickly pulled over to investigate. I found the viscous fan rattling away at all sorts of angles, with coolant spraying out from the water pump which it’s connected to. Clearly the water pump had lost its bearings and was moving in a ‘nonlinear’ fashion.

    Water pumps are not that hard to change, they are simply bolted to the front of the engine block. Accessing one, however, does require the removal of several parts, namely the viscous fan, fan shroud, radiator and coolant hoses, thermostat, both auxiliary fan belts and associated tensioners, and finally the crank pulley. The last one is particularly difficult to remove and has to be levered off using a large screwdriver, lots of muscle and even more patience. All of this took me about four hours to remove.

    I could now access the water pump, and removal of that was interesting. The pump housing has three threaded holes in it which seem to serve no purpose as they line up with nothing. In fact, they are there for removal. You screw some bolts into the holes and, by tightening them up, they push the pump away from the block. After that, you just need to carefully pull the pump off from the block, trying not to pull the top hoses off from the back of the engine.

    Fitting of the new pump was, as always, the reversal of removal, and once I’d drained and replaced the remaining coolant I fired her up. Lo and behold, a spinning fan and no leaks. Happy days, and all-in the job took six hours. Shame I chose a day when it was 33°C, but never mind. I also had another go at the headlining last week. I replaced the headlining a couple of years ago when I rebuilt the sunroof as it was sagging badly and quite dirty. It was a time-consuming, but relatively simple job. However I noticed that it was starting to sag again, so clearly more attention was required. It is only really held-up with clips so can be pulled off once you have removed the roof handles and sun visors, and I set to work removing and re-gluing the material back on, this time with stronger glue. All of the clips instantly broke when I removed it (as they always do) so a quick trip to BMW sorted me a replacement set. Once refitted, I have to say it was looking rather smart. Now I can sell it.

    Knackered old water pump has been replaced. New water pump in place.
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    Stephen Bayley
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