Most Bang For the Buck
March 3, 2018
A man I know once looked at it, turned to me and said, " you cannot buy a more beautiful automobile than this for less than a 100.000.00 dollars," and he was right. While there is much controversy around the design, the truth is this car turns heads. It looks like it's going fast even when its sitting still. This is despite being ten years old and ostensibly an old design. And, when it is going fast, Wow! The power is effortless and comes on quickly, but with the sport suspension and the rack and pinion steering, you feel confident and in control. You have to remember though, this is a sports car that requires the driver to pay attention. There are cup holders, but you need both hands to handle this beast; I suggest waiting until a pit stop to sip on that soda. And why not? have your drink and burger in the family sedan; the pleasure derived from this car has nothing to do with the flavor of food. Its the flavor of life. The seats are firm, but they hold you securely in place when you are taking that curve at speed, and if you just have to have some luxury, they are heated. The S54 engine is the last naturally aspirated BMW power plant, makes 330 hp, and is darn near bullet proof. M cars do benefit from a little more maintenance , but the overall reliability is so good that it need not be deal killer. It is recommended that the valves be adjusted every 30,000 miles, but other than that, monitor the Vanos system, keep the oil changed, and regularly inspect the usual things like brake pads, filters, and coolant. Also check to see that the drain holes for the convertible top are clean and clear. This keeps the motor that raises and lowers it from burning out.
Comfort for large individuals can be an issue, but for the average sized among us, there is plenty of room. The convertible goes up and down in about 7 seconds, and the wipers, defroster/heater, and air conditioning rivals that of American cars. Another potential issue is a lack of trunk space. There isn't much in a regular Z4, but due to design considerations, the M cuts even more room because the battery is located there as well. Finally, remember, these cars do not have spare tires, and unlike the regular Z's they do not have run flat tires. There are currently no run flat tires that can handle the performance of the M, so sitting on top of the battery is what BMW calls a "mobility kit." Essentially, it is a portable air compressor and a can of fix a flat. I know from experience that the compressor will inflate the tire quickly, but try not to use the fix a flat unless it is absolutely essential. Tire stores hate the stuff. The bottom line for these cars is that they love to be driven, and if you are looking for non-turbo charged performance with a touch of the elegance of old style British roadsters, this is the car for you.