Boring Z3M Questions - Safety and MPG

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CrouchingWayne
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Boring Z3M Questions - Safety and MPG

Post by CrouchingWayne » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 17:12

Hi folks,

Doing some further research. I like the M's but have not driven anything RWD so am curious as to how I'd get on with no TC and the short wheelbase? And then if the worst was to happen would the car be a relatively safe place to be?

Not expected miracles with the MPG but around town I'm guessing 18-22mpg then motorways maybe up to 30mpg? Should be in line with similar engined cars.

Also considering 350Z and S2000. Bit put off the 350Z by the interior, bit put off the S2000 as the insurance is very high. Also the S is meant to be a bit of a ditch finder...

As it stands a Z3M would be £400 a year cheaper to insure than an S2000, I was even thinking taking the hit in the first year and doing driver training and/or getting aftermarket TC - I would still be a net saver long term?

Cheers,

bugsy
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Re: Boring Z3M Questions - Safety and MPG

Post by bugsy » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 17:52

Welcome

With driver and passenger airbags & abs, I think it's very safe. Just check this out - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... -fall.html.
As with any mid-engined car, you have to give it respect - especially in the wet.
I've driven a Lotus Elise, VX220, S2000, MGF and MR2 and it feels far more planted than those cars (mainly due to the extra weight).

MPG - I averaged 28MPG on an A-road/Motorway run last year. Haven't measured around town.

350Z & S2000 - again it's the drivers, not the car. So many coming from front wheel drives do not slow down in the wet or consider how to put down the power after a corner - just browse the forums, most crashes I've seen happen in corners.
In my corolla I'm much earlier in corners at putting down the power because I have front wheel drive, traction control, stability control etc to catch any problems. In the Z3M, I give it far more respect.

I would recommend driving training at Bedford/Silverstone simply because it's fun and beneficial - but not specificly because you're going to drive a Z3M.
But I would recommend driving with caution in most conditions and not to drive it in the snow.

Edit - noted I put side and not passenger airbags. How silly of me! Thinking about the partner and her talking.
Also, you can drive in a snow, but it's not recommended in front engined-rear drive cars. One member did note that putting a sangbag in his boot really helped with grip last winter.
Last edited by bugsy on Tue 03 Aug, 2010 21:39, edited 2 times in total.

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Jonttt
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Post by Jonttt » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 18:17

Obviously you will get biased views on here :D

but having owned an S2000 (when they first came out) and plenty of jap cars I would say your questions will be answered when you drive them.

For me you cannot compare a classic rear wheel drive, front engined stright six ///M engine (last time I looked it was in the front not mid engine :lol: ) with a Vtech honda engine.

The vtechs are very hard work as you have to keep the revs well over 5k all the time. (not to mention the dash looks like a modern slot machine with LED's all over the place :head: ).

I loved it when I had one and it was "the" car to have when they first came out but I could not wait to sell it after 9 months.

The nissans are a different kettle of fish again but again like chalk and cheese. Hard to really put into words, just drive them both and you will just know what I mean.

S50 ///M without traction just means RESPECT in the wet = being progressive with the throttle. In the dry you have nothing really to worry about unless you driving in a way traction would not make a difference anyway :wink:
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CrouchingWayne
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Re:

Post by CrouchingWayne » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 19:02

Thanks guys, very helpful.

Driving wise I will be doing about 60-70% town with the rest being fairly free flowing country jaunts. The mrs and I have an 09 Fiesta ZS which returns something stupid like 49mpg so we share that when commuting where possible.

Really keen to hear what people get around town in their Z's, I would prefer if it was around 20 instead of being down at 12mpg! The S2000 is around 25mpg apparently which is liveable, the 350Z is poorer, around 18mpg.

Safety - that link is scary :| Does the Z have an NCAP score? I didn't realise it had side airbags etc. either so that is positive.

Depreciation, over 2-3 years I'd like to minimise my losses. I quite like messing about with cars etc. so want to be able to do basic maintenance etc. on the car. Z values have seemed to remain fairly static in the period I've been monitoring them although a lot seem to be overpriced by their owners.

I know I'm bound to get a biased opinion on here :D I actually ruled out the Z previously as I'm not sure if it's suitable as a first RWD car, it was posting on an S2000 forum where I was told Boxster/Z3M was a better place for my money so I'm rethinking. Especially as the S2000 has a bit of a reputation for being a handful anyway.

I also read through previous postings on general car forums and time and time again people are suggesting Z3M's and Coupe's!

With snow, I would ideally want to be able to use it. Would it be ok if it had proper winter tyres or is it just a no no?

Within the next 12m I'll be buying a flat around the corner from my office and the girlfriends work so I'll basically get free reign over the Fiesta during the week too so I guess that isn't too big a deal!

Apologies for the epic post!

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Jonttt
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Post by Jonttt » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 19:16

Side airbags were an option and pretty rare :wink:

Re winter snow use, you turn your traction control off anyway when its bad :D

I odn't measure MPG and don't do that much mileage in it anyway but its definately better than 20mpg and even on full throttle runs it sems remarkably good. I'm used to turbo cars averaging low 20's and low teens full throttle so much better than that. Note the tank is pretty small though and you will get 220-240 miles per tank but unless your commuting >50 miles a day its not really an issue.

Prices do seem pretty static, an honest S50 can be had privately for £7.5 - £8.5k with 60k-90k on the clock :drive
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CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 19:43

Thanks. I'll start looking around the classifieds and try gauge the pricing from there. Would be looking for mid miles (70k would be ideal) in any colour really. The interior would need to be a nice combination as some of the colours... Well, it makes me wonder about the original owners!

I'll have a look for an FAQ and buyers guide but I don't recall too many scare stories from last time I looked. Over 20mpg around town is fine by me too as my mileage won't be too high.

My main concern is:

http://www.euroncap.com/tests/bmw_3_series_1997/15.aspx

:|

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Hard Top
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Post by Hard Top » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 19:55

The test report in your link is for :-

Car details
Hand of drive RHD
Tested model BMW 316i
Body type 4 door saloon

Year of publication 1997
Kerb weight 1225


Not a Z :?

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CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 20:53

I know, but it was the closest match I saw seeing as the Z is closely related to the E36 and is of the same era.

shantybeater
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Post by shantybeater » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 21:27

Sorry i've edited previous post just realised I went on a rant about comparisons which isnt what you were after.

I would assume MPG would be worse than an S2000 by a fair bit considering the smaller 2.0 engine but not as thirsty as the 350z

I do think that when buying a sports car like this you need to expect to take a hit on petrol - The MPG is NOT good when bumbling around town but suprisingly laps up nice open country roads, i found the car actually felt faster and more responsive after a spirited drive - it felt happier..it also averaged relatively good MPG.

I have only driven FWD cars previously, granted 320+hp per ton but no RWD M car. I've been ok but i respect the car immensely especially in the wet...i've had a few hair raising moments doing things which i really wouldnt class as stupid some at very low speeds..

Personally if you are looking for a car to ease you in the s2000 would be a better shout...very little torque to bite you at low revs (where i've been caught out) and a good TCS system..granted they may have a reputation but they are alot more common and have an image inviting the sort of drivers who will crash them...i genuinely believe if there were the same number of ZM's (instead of less than 900 in the whole of the UK) and they had the same image so attracted the same drivers they would be classed as a far worse death trap. 320hp with NO driver aids and lots of torque low down in a car where you are sat on the rear wheels is always going to be a handful

Everyone i've spoken to with knowledge of the ZM's has horror stories. The engineer I take my car to who worked with BMW for 20years said he almost wrote one off when they first came out - he certainly wasnt inexperienced with RWD cars.

Having said all this if you drive like a **** the car will treat you like one - that goes with any sportscar - just be careful and choose what you truly want...dont be put off by horror stories
Last edited by shantybeater on Tue 03 Aug, 2010 21:54, edited 3 times in total.
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Titan
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Re:

Post by Titan » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 21:37

CrouchingWayne wrote:Really keen to hear what people get around town in their Z's
Lot's of smiles and envious looks :shock:

Plus 25mpg (me)
and 36mpg (her) :D

But let's face it, a Z should be for fun, not economy.
The design parameters have changed radically since they were first built.
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pingu
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Post by pingu » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 21:42

The Z3 is an E36. I think the NCAP data for the frontal test. Rollover data would be interesting when comparing a saloon to a convertible.

Like any car of the era, safety was starting to become an important feature, but wasn't the be-all and end-all. The important things were still important back then :twisted: .
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CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 23:34

I understand there will be a drop in the fuel economy but as mentioned I don't really want to drop much below 20mpg as I feel that is too much of a compromise.

Shantybeater - thanks for the reply. I really like your Z actually, would love one similar. I take on board your point about driving like a fool, I guess just being careful is the key and a bit of practice.

Overall I do like the Z but that NCAP review has put me off, not one to be super safety conscious generally but it seemed to come off really badly.

Always loved M cars, would love an E46 M3 or even better an E39 M5 at some point. Z3M might be a nice way to join the family :D

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Jonttt
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Post by Jonttt » Tue 03 Aug, 2010 23:34

Z3m Faqs here:

http://www.bmwmregistry.com/model_faq.php?id=16

Boot welds and noisy VANOS are main issues to look out for. Search boot AND welds for more info (there is lots) but basically its an easy thing to check for as the tell tail is rusted spot welds under the boot carpet, rear passenger side. Noisy VANOS will stand out, just rev engine to 2.5k and let idle back down. If it sounds like a bag of marbles its noisy. Not as expensive to replace as old scare stories portray (c£800) but find a good one with 70k on and you should be ok with both of these issues :wink:

nb its worth noting there was a "facelift" S50 engined Z3m from 04/99 to mid 2000 production. Subtle changes (not bodywork or performance) but sound proofed roof and 2 stage airbag system are worth having. Often pre and post facelift S50's are priced on mileage so if you havea choice go for a post 04/99 car :wink:
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Rory4711
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fuel economy

Post by Rory4711 » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 08:47

As to it dropping below 20mpg - I doubt it. I've had my M for some months now, and on the few occasion I've measured consumption ( brim-to-brim ) I've been getting 24/26 mpg over a mixture of good a-roads and winding b roads. I've havn't been tootling about, but clearly I'm not driving it hard enough !
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Post by OO 1005 » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 10:57

On the safety point, not the same car, but I had a headon with a large tree about 12 years ago in a E30 318i at around 60mph - both myself and passenger were completely unharmed... Car was of course a write off, but the front end absorbed virtually all the impact... Ever since then I've been convinced that BMW's are safe in the event of a crash..

PS Tree was fine, just took a layer of bark off 1/3 of it... (big tree..)
ex.. BMW /// M Coupe 00, Estoril, ACS Front flippers, KWV3.. :(
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CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 19:04

So around town I can expect around 20mpg but on a run it picks up significantly.

Safety wise there doesn't seem to be much documentation bar an NCAP rating on the E36. Are the roll bars structural?

As for S2000 vs. 350Z vs. Z3M I've no idea, need to try and get into a Z3M to see if it is going to scare me senseless or not :D

I'm going to troll the FAQ and classifieds and try work out a pricing regime, without buying a complete dog what sort of price can you get a roadster and coupe for? Jonttt, you say £6.5-8k - what would you expect for £6.5k?

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Robin
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Post by Robin » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 19:33

I get 18mpg round town & on the outskirts, driving enthusiastically that is.
No traction is no problem in the dry.
Take it very easy in the wet so as to avoid rear end breakaway which can still happen even when you have traction control if you don't take it easy in the wet.
This is something I discovered with my 2.8 in the wet which had traction control.
Never driven an S2000 but don't like cars that need to be thrashed even if they can take it. Though do I really mean that ?
After all I'd love to drive an F1 car !
The S2000 is so reliable & less juicy.
If money no concerns then an M/// would be best choice.
Heaps of torque plus the sound :-)
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hazzamondo
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Post by hazzamondo » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 20:11

The z3m is my first rwd car and its fine aslong as you take it easy.
In the dry its fine has lots of grip. The wet is a different matter but take it easy and its ok. If you drive it like you stole it everywhere then it will bite, but if you take it steady and build up confidence in it over time its great fun.7

As for mpg i get 250 from a tank of v power with mixed driving.

I was also looking at the same cars when i brought the z3m, The s2k is hard work to keep it buzzing and when it does bite you are near the limit of the car so not too much room for error. The 350z was a minefield of imports a different specs i got confused. When i saw the m i new i had to have it and im so glad i did.

Good luck with the search and buy what feels right for you, test drive 2 of each if you can.

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Post by shantybeater » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 21:23

Shantybeater - thanks for the reply. I really like your Z actually, would love one similar. I take on board your point about driving like a fool, I guess just being careful is the key and a bit of practice.
Thanks mate :)

To be honest i'd be looking at more like 8k for a reasonable high mileage car...7.5k and down are generally dogs and/or very high mileage.

If I were you i'd get 8-8.5k in my pocket and then start looking, any less and you really are being optimistic. Take a look on PH and you get a good idea of what you can expect for your money. Anything sub 60k and you are likely to spend anything from 9k at the very lowest. Prices have fluctuated alot recently and they've definately increased

Also not meaning to wind you up jon ;) but the VANOS Growl gives no indication to the condition of the unit - I learnt this first hand since mine was silent and now growls slightly(but still works perfectly). 9/10 cars have the noise to some extent, its a totally seperate problem which to my knowledge has never caused a VANOS failure. Watch out for lumpy idle and lack of power low down the revs...you will know if there is a problem!!
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Jonttt
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Post by Jonttt » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 21:38

I agree re the VANOS noise not being related to actual performance degredation but I was referring to ability to resell. I've heard one with a bad VANOS and you would not touch it with a barge pole even if it drove well :wink:
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CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 22:02

Money wise I'm planning on doing basic maintenance myself and my friend is a mechanic who can help with servicing etc. so for all cars the basics should be roughly the same. However I'm guessing the M's parts might be more? I've heard some M parts can get silly expensive - I just hope they don't apply to the Z's.

I don't do much mileage really and will probably do even less next year if I move house. I love cars though so won't be without one so I'd prefer one that depreciates slowly and the fixed costs are lower - tax, insurance etc.

I caught a top gear with the S2000 on it and it sounded awful to be honest, kind of stinted their appeal. Won't rule them out though until I've experienced it myself.

As for 350Z's I'd need to spend minimum of £8k to get an average UK spec. S2000 would be 7-8k so all cars are approximately level cost wise.

I'm not after mega low miles, as said anywhere between 0 and 80k would be fine, still budget £8k for a roadster?

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Post by shantybeater » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 22:13

Yep i think you'd do well with 8k.

As for noise the straight six really is up there with the greats, on full chat its beautiful :lol:
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Jonttt
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Post by Jonttt » Wed 04 Aug, 2010 23:26

This was Tiff's own car, can't say better than that :wink:

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uk86ze
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Post by uk86ze » Thu 05 Aug, 2010 00:34

I owned a s2000 for about 18 months. The Z3 I've had for a couple of months and would I go back to another S2000 I don't think so. My Monaro V8 gave me more MPG than the s2000.

CrouchingWayne
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Post by CrouchingWayne » Thu 05 Aug, 2010 17:26

I've not had much experience with a Z3M, been out in an E46 M3 and been around a couple of stationary Z3M's but never out in one. If one comes up for sale near me I'll try and get a look at it, quite unlikely I'd imagine though unfortunately.

Sound wise the S2000 was disappointing, the 350Z was excellent however. I'm guessing the M will be nearer the 350Z :)

There is a red roadster with hardtop on PH just now for what looks like a reasonable [starting] price from a dealer.

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