I'm in the market for either a 2000-2002 E36/8 Z3 Roadster or a 2003-2008 E85, E86 Z4
Roadster. Ignoring the price-point variance, I would greatly appreciate some solid, engine
-specific advice. It would be especially GREAT to hear from the informed mechanic's perspective.
Basically, I'm looking for a Roadster that is a joy to drive, fun to work on and a good overall investment. Fuel efficiency is also a plus; but reliability (over practicality) is my key concern.
From what I have learned, it seems that with the earlier E36/7 Z3's, 1.8 4cyls have little power but will run forever with responsible maintenance. It also seems that the inline 6cyls from the E36/7 models (before the drive by cable system was added) are good for a "pure" roadster engine and driving experience.
The later E36/8 models are my favorite (after they fixed her tail). For engine specs, I like the 2.8L = 144 kW , 193 HP SAE @ 5,500 rpm; 206 ft lb , 279 Nm @ 3,500 rpm.
The only pure performance driving I will do is taking her up to Canyon Country (North of LA) once or twice a month. But this is more cornering and maneuvering than red-lining.
The 2.8: seems more than enough for my driving needs (no practical demand for the M Coupe or newer M Roadster because I'm not going to race it). I'm just going to drive it...a lot.
My PROBLEM is the Z4 is just about my favorite trim of any car on the road today (unless somebody can find an old Austin Healey Mark III) - however I know far less about the Z4's mechanically than I do the Z3's.
I test-drove a Z4 E86 in Temecula last weekend and LOVED it...but it is very, very different than it's predecessor. Not better, not worse...just different.
So frankly, I like both models (a lot), and have decided I want the pure mechanics and reliability to be the final decision-influencing factor here.
Considering the Z4's electric steering is a bit of a pain to work on and doesn't feel as great on the road...and also given that overall, the Z4 will just cost a lot more to maintain - would the newer Zed even be worth the hassle and extra cash? Methinks it might...?
NOTE: *Please bear in mind this is for a (soon to be) owner that wants to baby his roadster, but simply will NOT have more than $3.5k for maintenance each year to invest in cost of operation (after insurance). I will be doing as much DIY maintenance as possible in my own shop at home.
1) Regarding the Z4 E85/E86 models, are they fun to work on? Intuitive (for a BMW?) Or do they just look like alien space machines under the hood (ala Nissan VQ)?
2) In your opinion, would the E36/8 Z3 Roadster or the E85/E86 Z4 Roadster be a wiser investment to perform as a daily driver (i.e. for a single dude working in and around LA)?
3) Would the Z4 E85/E86 do alright with responsible DIY care, oil changes every 1500 and scheduled maintenance for bigger jobs? Driving it everyday? What about the same of an E36/8 Z3?
4) Objectively speaking, which is the more solid vehicle on basis of pure reliability and driving experience; NOT racing performance?
BotXXXXX XXXXXne, I'd just like to engage in a dialogue comparing the two specifically. I love these cars and hope you do too. Please feel free to address any/all of my questions/concerns (or not to, if you don't want to).
Many thanks. Drive on. Cheers.