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      01-25-2010, 11:16 PM   #1
Jacked21
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Z3M Coupe

Im interested in hearing some opinions on this car. I personally love it and have been looking for one for a few months now, but they are difficult to find in good condition with reasonably low miles. IMO there is nothing else like it on the road, and having driven a few i can say that the raw driving experience it offers also makes it unique in my mind. It is, in fact, the most rigid chassis BMW has ever produced. So what are your thoughts on it?...

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      01-26-2010, 03:28 AM   #2
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I might agree with you on the rawness off the Z3 comparing it to a Z4 m coupe.
Having only driven the Z3 m coupe once I might be biased towards the Z4 having driven that around 3000 miles.

I do, however think that the Z4 with the later version M3-engine and it's go-cart feel falls in the same category as the Z3.
Perhaps I like the styling of the Z3 even more. The Z4 is not as bold looking, perhaps more classy or modern.

If I was going to drive fairly often I'd go Z4 because of it's smoother ride (smoother) and beeing newer.
A Sunday driver I would lean towards the Z3.

Anyhow, having that engine howling it's metallic song makes me think, nothing of this matters...low miles and really pampered the Z3 makes for lots of fun. Diving into the corners and flying out of them...great car to do in.

I know you didn't compare these two cars, but since they are similar I thought I would raise the question.

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      01-26-2010, 03:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked21 View Post
Im interested in hearing some opinions on this car. I personally love it and have been looking for one for a few months now, but they are difficult to find in good condition with reasonably low miles. IMO there is nothing else like it on the road, and having driven a few i can say that the raw driving experience it offers also makes it unique in my mind. It is, in fact, the most rigid chassis BMW has ever produced. So what are your thoughts on it?...

-J21
... most rigid chassis??? I would not say that, it is considerable weaker then the chassis of the Z4M coupe.

The Z3M is really a beautifull car, and available with the 3.2 liter engine, but this one is only produced in small numbers and hard to find. Prices are quite steep for a good one.
What do you want to do with it exactly? Cruising around or tracking? The Z3 coupe 3.0 liter is a very good alternative IMO. Fast, reliable, and much cheaper to maintain. My dad owns one, just a blast to drive. (he has the M bumpers and mirrors making it look really nice)
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      01-26-2010, 08:10 AM   #4
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Just checked pricing and there's no difference in pricing on low miles Z3 and Z4's. I know which one I'd be driving.
Guessing you're not interested in cars with more than 30000 miles.
They go for the same money, at least here in Europe.

The Z4 is a newer car with updated instrumentation hence it doesn't feel as old as the Z3. It also has the updated engine.
I've read som articles stating that the Z4 m coupes are tricky when pushed hard...I don't agree.
Might not be my first choice for drifting but they communicate skids well before they happen.

For the same money I'd go Z4 m coupe.
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      01-26-2010, 10:11 AM   #5
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the Z3 M Coupe is truly an awesome car. aesthetically, people either love it or hate it - there is no in between. it is not without flaws though...

1) while it borrows its front suspension from the e36 M3 (MacPherson struts), it borrows its rear suspension from the e30 M3 (semi-trailing arms). many BMW purists aren't crazy about this b/c the e30's rear suspension is not the most advanced design by today's standards (or even late 90's standards when the M Coupe was first introduced for that matter). that being said, i think people exaggerate this "problem." you see, the Z3 M Coupe is a very light platform to begin with, just like the e30 M3 was...and we all know how well the e30 M3 handled. so while the Z3M's "e30" rear end wasn't the most compliant in the hands of a novice, it is VERY capable in the hands of a driver who knows what he/she is doing. i can also attest to this, as i drive my brother's modified 99 M Coupe often enough to know that hardly anything can touch it in the handling department.

2) the Z3M Roadsters AND Coupes have major rear sub-frame issues. if the car is and has always been stock, it is only a matter of time before the sub-frame begins to tear, and will require reinforcement. modified cars often need sub-frame reinforcements much sooner due to the increase in power, or simply due to an excess of aggressive driving, whether on the streets or on the track. sub-frame reinforcement can add weight, but if done right can increase body rigidity above and beyond OEM spec. besides, the amount of weight added by the reinforcement can be removed from other areas of the car (and then some).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked21 View Post
It is, in fact, the most rigid chassis BMW has ever produced. So what are your thoughts on it?
while i agree with marcel b that it is in fact NOT BMW's stiffest chassis, it is still impressive that the e368 (Z3 M Coupe) chassis is 2.6 times as rigid as the e367 (Z3 M Roadster) chassis.



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Originally Posted by slowSwede View Post
The Z4 is a newer car with updated instrumentation hence it doesn't feel as old as the Z3.
it also doesn't hold a candle to the Z3M's spartan interior (from a sports car perspective that is...from a luxury perspective, its the other way around)

Z3M :




Z4M :





i've only been behind the wheel of a Z4M Coupe twice, and both times were local drives around town, not track outings - so i have no idea how the Z4M compares to the Z3M on track. however, i will tell you this - a Z4M on the streets would have to be wildly modified to turn more heads than the Z3M. granted, my brother's car isn't totally stock-bodied either...but even when it was, all it needed was wheels and a drop to take attention away from Ferraris and the like...

here are a few pictures:





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      01-26-2010, 10:30 AM   #6
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It's not a matter of agreeing that it is the stiffest BMW ever...it's a fact.
http://www.insideline.com/bmw/m/1999...-roadster.html
I've decided that I'll fly anywhere in the country where I find the one I want, and just drive the sucker home...I have to have it!

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      01-26-2010, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked21 View Post
It's not a matter of agreeing that it is the stiffest BMW ever...it's a fact.
http://www.insideline.com/bmw/m/1999...-roadster.html
I've decided that I'll fly anywhere in the country where I find the one I want, and just drive the sucker home...I have to have it!

-j21
i'm certainly not looking to argue...all i know is that your information was published back in 1999 (the first year of M Coupe production), and many newer models have rolled off the BMW production line since then. so if that article proves anything, its that the Z3 M Coupe was the most rigid BMW up to that point in time...but its been 11 years since then.

at any rate, i encourage you to get one, seeing as how you seem to be very passionate about wanting one. just be aware of the sub-frame issue - you WILL eventually have to address it if you get one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by marcel b View Post
The Z3 coupe 3.0 liter is a very good alternative IMO. Fast, reliable, and much cheaper to maintain. My dad owns one, just a blast to drive. (he has the M bumpers and mirrors making it look really nice)
it lacks an LSD though, and its suspension parts and geometry are not as beefy as the ///M's.

btw, how much of a PITA was it to retrofit the ///M bumpers to a non-M car? that must have been a nightmare considering the Z3M's are wider than the non-M Z3's.
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      01-26-2010, 11:09 AM   #8
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      01-26-2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94JZA80 View Post
it lacks an LSD though, and its suspension parts and geometry are not as beefy as the ///M's.

btw, how much of a PITA was it to retrofit the ///M bumpers to a non-M car? that must have been a nightmare considering the Z3M's are wider than the non-M Z3's.

It has an LSD, the 2.8 as well. At that time is was standard, also for non-M models.
The coupe is only available after the facelift which means it has the same wide body. Bumpers fitted very easy.
Suspension you should anyway upgrade, M or not M. My dad has a KW3 suspension in it and has the the M3 E36 camberplates in (crossed, so left one right and visa versa) This give some nice camber in the front. He has upgraded brakes / cooling as well, engine wise standard though. A stock Z3M has no chance on a track.


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      01-26-2010, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked21 View Post
It's not a matter of agreeing that it is the stiffest BMW ever...it's a fact.
http://www.insideline.com/bmw/m/1999...-roadster.html
I've decided that I'll fly anywhere in the country where I find the one I want, and just drive the sucker home...I have to have it!

-j21
sure... an 11 year old fact! The Z3M roadster was really soft and the coupe was a big improvement. However it is not comparable to the Z4 coupe. The Z4coupe is based on the Z4 roadster which was very stiff. The coupe got even much stiffer as it adds a roof on top without reducing any off the reinforcements of the roadster chassis. For this reason the coupe is 50kg heavier then the roadster, which is quite unusual. Normal roadsters are heavier as they need more reinforcement in the chassis to be able to maintain rigid.
Nothing against you want to have a Z3M though!
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      01-26-2010, 12:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94JZA80 View Post

here are a few pictures:





sorry, but that exhaust really doesnot fit a Z3 Of course just my opinion.... fits a supra or other Japanese car, but not a Z3M.
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      01-26-2010, 12:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94JZA80 View Post
the Z3 M Coupe is truly an awesome car. aesthetically, people either love it or hate it - there is no in between. it is not without flaws though...

1) while it borrows its front suspension from the e36 M3 (MacPherson struts), it borrows its rear suspension from the e30 M3 (semi-trailing arms). many BMW purists aren't crazy about this b/c the e30's rear suspension is not the most advanced design by today's standards (or even late 90's standards when the M Coupe was first introduced for that matter). that being said, i think people exaggerate this "problem." you see, the Z3 M Coupe is a very light platform to begin with, just like the e30 M3 was...and we all know how well the e30 M3 handled. so while the Z3M's "e30" rear end wasn't the most compliant in the hands of a novice, it is VERY capable in the hands of a driver who knows what he/she is doing. i can also attest to this, as i drive my brother's modified 99 M Coupe often enough to know that hardly anything can touch it in the handling department.

2) the Z3M Roadsters AND Coupes have major rear sub-frame issues. if the car is and has always been stock, it is only a matter of time before the sub-frame begins to tear, and will require reinforcement. modified cars often need sub-frame reinforcements much sooner due to the increase in power, or simply due to an excess of aggressive driving, whether on the streets or on the track. sub-frame reinforcement can add weight, but if done right can increase body rigidity above and beyond OEM spec. besides, the amount of weight added by the reinforcement can be removed from other areas of the car (and then some).





while i agree with marcel b that it is in fact NOT BMW's stiffest chassis, it is still impressive that the e368 (Z3 M Coupe) chassis is 2.6 times as rigid as the e367 (Z3 M Roadster) chassis.





it also doesn't hold a candle to the Z3M's spartan interior (from a sports car perspective that is...from a luxury perspective, its the other way around)

Z3M :




Z4M :





i've only been behind the wheel of a Z4M Coupe twice, and both times were local drives around town, not track outings - so i have no idea how the Z4M compares to the Z3M on track. however, i will tell you this - a Z4M on the streets would have to be wildly modified to turn more heads than the Z3M. granted, my brother's car isn't totally stock-bodied either...but even when it was, all it needed was wheels and a drop to take attention away from Ferraris and the like...

here are a few pictures:





I like everything but the exhaust. I just cant get used to a JDM -Style exhaust on a BMW LOL

But I always loved the Z3M.
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      01-26-2010, 12:29 PM   #13
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sorry, but that exhaust really doesnot fit a Z3 Of course just my opinion.... fits a supra or other Japanese car, but not a Z3M.



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      01-26-2010, 12:37 PM   #14
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Ohh yah thats right...missed the 1999 part ...and yes i am very passionate about it. I sat in my first one when i was 16 (10 years ago) at the javitz center auto show in NY, and loved it ever since. Thanks for the heads up on the sub-frame issues they have. I am doing more and more research every day and will be as knowledgeable as i can be about them before i buy one...

-J21

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94JZA80 View Post
i'm certainly not looking to argue...all i know is that your information was published back in 1999 (the first year of M Coupe production), and many newer models have rolled off the BMW production line since then. so if that article proves anything, its that the Z3 M Coupe was the most rigid BMW up to that point in time...but its been 11 years since then.

at any rate, i encourage you to get one, seeing as how you seem to be very passionate about wanting one. just be aware of the sub-frame issue - you WILL eventually have to address it if you get one.





it lacks an LSD though, and its suspension parts and geometry are not as beefy as the ///M's.

btw, how much of a PITA was it to retrofit the ///M bumpers to a non-M car? that must have been a nightmare considering the Z3M's are wider than the non-M Z3's.
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      01-26-2010, 12:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcel b View Post
It has an LSD, the 2.8 as well. At that time is was standard, also for non-M models.
The coupe is only available after the facelift which means it has the same wide body. Bumpers fitted very easy.
Suspension you should anyway upgrade, M or not M. My dad has a KW3 suspension in it and has the the M3 E36 camberplates in (crossed, so left one right and visa versa) This give some nice camber in the front. He has upgraded brakes / cooling as well, engine wise standard though. A stock Z3M has no chance on a track.
i stand corrected on the LSD.

as regards the body and suspension, the BMW M Registry would beg to differ with you:
Quote:

Chassis


How is the chassis of the E36/8 M coupe different from that of the standard Z3 coupe?
Like all Z3s, the M coupe’s suspension is made up of MacPherson struts in the front and semi-trailing arms in the rear. However, compared to the Z3 coupe, the M coupe has the following modifications:
-Wider front and rear tracks (by 0.4-inches)
-Reduced ride height (by 1.1-inches)
-Modified front suspension geometry
-Firmer springs and shocks
-Thicker anti-roll bars
-Stronger semi-trailing arms
-Reinforced subframe

...as you can see, both the front and rear tracks of the ///M are wider than their non-M counterparts. not that i'm arguing with you over the ease of fitting non-M bumpers to an ///M, but according to these data, they are slightly different. as regards the suspension, you can see that i was referring to more than just the shocks and springs (see sway bars, trailing arms, etc. - they aren't as beefy in the non-M...unless your dad upgraded those things on his non-M too). granted i know that a quality shock and spring setup is most important, and that sway bars and the like are only meant to compliment the main components of the suspension. regardless, if you ONLY upgrade the shocks and springs of the Z3 2.8, you're still missing quite a few ///M suspension components.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marcel b View Post
sorry, but that exhaust really doesnot fit a Z3 Of course just my opinion.... fits a supra or other Japanese car, but not a Z3M.
well technically it "fits" just fine ...but i get your drift - its not your cup of tea on the M Coupe. believe me, ever since my brother's build started months ago, there have been two main schools of thought regarding the exhaust - people either love it or they hate it...its a theme that's inherent in M Coupe design to begin with, and my brother only wanted to build on it.
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      01-26-2010, 01:47 PM   #16
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someone here at work as a Z3-coupe ... awesome ans unique looking car... gives me the feeling of a MG fastback..

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      01-26-2010, 02:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94JZA80 View Post
as regards the body and suspension, the BMW M Registry would beg to differ with you:

...as you can see, both the front and rear tracks of the ///M are wider than their non-M counterparts. not that i'm arguing with you over the ease of fitting non-M bumpers to an ///M, but according to these data, they are slightly different. as regards the suspension, you can see that i was referring to more than just the shocks and springs (see sway bars, trailing arms, etc. - they aren't as beefy in the non-M...unless your dad upgraded those things on his non-M too). granted i know that a quality shock and spring setup is most important, and that sway bars and the like are only meant to compliment the main components of the suspension. regardless, if you ONLY upgrade the shocks and springs of the Z3 2.8, you're still missing quite a few ///M suspension components.
the track is wider of the M, sure, but the body is the same The wheels on the non M are quite tucked in standard.

Sure, the M has a better set up standard then a standard 3.0l, no discussion about that. With some mods though, the 3.0 become really fast though.
I you see the difference in tracktimes it is quite small:
On the famous NS:
Z3M roadster: 08:32
Z3M coupe: 08:22
Z3 3.0i: 08:34
(335i: 08:26)
(Z4M is around 08:15)

It just depends what you want to do with the car, and how much money you want to spent. A Z3 3.0 can be a good (cheap) alternative to the M. But it will never be a M...
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      01-26-2010, 02:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
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the track is wider of the M, sure, but the body is the same The wheels on the non M are quite tucked in standard.
makes sense...just wanted to verify. when my brother opted for the large single exhaust tip, we explored the option of getting a non-M rear bumper for his car since its got the single exhaust cutout (unlike the M rear bumper). but we couldn't find reliable enough information indicating that the non-M bumper would fit on the M at the time...we searched all over the Z3 forums at bimmerforums.com, but to no avail. as such, we just cut the M bumper to fit the exhaust, and i think my brother is glad he ended up doing that, as he really likes the look of the rear bumper now (despite the fact that it doesn't completely hide the diff.
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      01-26-2010, 02:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
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sorry, but that exhaust really doesnot fit a Z3 Of course just my opinion.... fits a supra or other Japanese car, but not a Z3M.
Completely agree. A large tin can exhaust on any BMW is an abomination, but it's even worse on an M Car...
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      01-26-2010, 02:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Completely agree. A large tin can exhaust on any BMW is an abomination, but it's even worse on an M Car...
everyone's entitled to an opinion...and from an aesthetic point of view, many are bound to agree with you. but there's no denying that, from a performance point of view, this exhaust completely outflows and outperforms the stock exhaust in every way.

that being said, lets not turn this into a thread critiquing the above modified M Coupe. i just posted the pictures to give OP an idea of what kind of fun you can have modifying a Z3 M Coupe - not to hijack the thread. if you do feel the need to comment on it, please do so in THIS THREAD. we appreciate any and all feedback, positive or negative...just keep it in the right thread.
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      01-26-2010, 02:36 PM   #21
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118k happy miles on my 2000 M Coupe. It's been an absolutely perfect car for my desires. It's fun, if not terribly fast on the track, it carries a keg, and with a roof rack, easily carries bikes and skis/boards, it's comfortable enough to drive across country, but does have a small gas tank and it looks like nothing else.

My only real dislike is that it's sort of wrecked my desire to get another car. So I just keep driving and enjoying it. To be honest, if I didn't have it, I'd probably enjoy the 135i a lot more, but because of the M Coupe, I'm more than content to let the wife drive the 1er and I'll just keep looking for the next thing, slowly.

I think the only thing that would get me to immediately sell my S52 M Coupe would be a low mileage Laguna Seca Blue S54 M Coupe with a sunroof, and I think there are about five or six of those in the US. The sunroof adds about an inch and half of additional space and allows me to fit for track duty, and I'm only 6'1", so if you're tall, be aware that they're not terribly roomy, although a 6'5" friend of mine fits, yet looks like Magilla Gorilla in my car.
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      01-26-2010, 03:21 PM   #22
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btw, you might want to check THIS sub-forum over at bimmerforums.com. you're going to get biased answers there too, but people over there will be much more knowledgeable about the particular model you're interested in than people over here will, generally speaking of course...
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