Today I am driving a 2006 BMW. Z4 M. I have had a few encounters with the said 4 M previously, notably when I owned one for about six months. I also reviewed one on the channel last year. However, they were both coupe A’s and so for a few different reasons. I’M, very, very happy to get behind the wheel of this first off. It is quite obviously, not a coupe a. Secondly, when I reviewed that coupe a it was on roads that were less than ideal for that kind of car today, I’m on my home turf, and so this is going to be the perfect scenario for seeing whether I judge this car right or if I’ve been A little bit too harsh on him, this particular car also has a couple of very subtle modifications, and while that branch is getting quite low now it has an even turi carbon intake, courtesy of the very good people at the Evolve and a hayward and Scot bakbox. That thus far, is it no other modifications to the car. So to recap, for those who don’t know what this is, this is the Zed 4 M Roadster codename e85 for the coupe, a 4e 86. It is based on the first generation said four, and it has the s54 engine from the e46 m3. However, it doesn’t have quite the same gearbox. These came exclusively in a manual 6 speed, which was a ZF unit. Unlike the key track, you got an e46 Music.
These did not get the warmest welcome when they came out, as is often the case with any sporty convertible. Comparisons were drawn with the Boxster and the moment you do that. You set a car up for failure because, in terms of all round ability, the Boxster is brilliant, it is pretty unbeatable, I mean it’s a mid engine car and the moment you compare a front with a mid engine car. You got a pretty flawed comparison on your hands, however. The Zed for M did win some brownie points back, namely with that engine, which is a very, very characterful and zingy lump and people really did miss it by the time these were in production. The e46 m3 was done, it gives it a real, proper British old school roadster vibe make some lovely noises, and I have to say that the modifications performed on this one are, I think, pretty necessary because they just they just don’t, sound – that great as standard very Typical of BMWs of the period it’s pretty punchy, though pools reasonably well from about to an hour 3000 rpm, which is surprising, considering it’s only a 3.2 liter engine without any sort of forced induction, helping it along. Of course, if you’re used to the modern be 58 Rs 55 engines, you might be a little bit disappointed, but this is one of the true old school greats. However, in my experience, not all s 54 s are built equal. Some have really impressed me some of not this one feels pretty good, pretty good, indeed, I’m, very thankful to its owner John, for bringing this out last minute.
His particular car is also finished in my favorite color Interlagos blue stunning shade and the gearbox once you’re on the move, it’s pretty good it’s, a very short throw. He also put a different gear knob on it, the zhp knob, which is shorter and heavier, and I think, that’s, a very good idea, but it’s actually decent it’s when you’re in town, when you try to just move around at low speeds, a Zed for a I’m. Always just felt like a brick walk would child. They did really did it just it. Didn’T want to go to school today, but when you thrashed it, it was magnificent Music. Now a few things to know about this F for M, and indeed the regular said for as well it’s pretty cramped in here now I’ve got a little bit of movement on the seat left, but there’s, not a lot of room between my legs and the steering Wheel, if you are long of leg, you may struggle getting into this. My s2000 has absolutely no adjustment whatsoever on the steering wheel and yet there’s more room in that car. The s2000 feels like a much roomier car and that’s very, very good. You wouldn’t expect that to be the case, but it is. You also feel like you’re sap a lot further down in this with a much higher bonnet line and it’s, not really a problem. Visibility with the roof down is, of course, excellent. One of the problems of the coupe a is that whenever you take any cards meant to be a convertible and turn into a coupe.
A your rear visibility will suffer I’m sure this is probably rubbish with the roof up as well, but roof down is what this car is designed for. There are a lot of other things. I really really do like about this car. The interior feels quite special everything’s. Pretty high quality, the layout is different enough from a regular 3 series for it to feel like something of its own special. This car has the flip up nav screen, which at one point in time, was a very desirable option and now, of course, is just laughably out of date, but fortunately it can just be made to vanish. Oh all, right, I saw him out the other day. Applause in terms of fuel consumption, this cars are gon na has got an average of twenty four and a half since the last time that he reset the trip counter, and, I would say, that’s a pretty honest average. These guys can do a little better, but only a little. They are not an economical car. Treating the gearbox more like an old school Italian one actually seems to work quite well for it. You can shift through the gears very fast if you want to, but for driving around at normal speeds, taking a little bit longer than you think you should actually seems to really help it. I think that exhaust system has been judged just about right because it makes a pleasant, sound, but not too much of it.
The boot in the z4 M is actually not too bad, either. Of course, it’s down on capacity compared with the coupe a but it’s about. Even with the s2000, which is to say it’s a little bit bigger than you might expect, if you’re used to say some hardtop, convertibles, it’s, actually very decent, and this cars onna also has an Audi r8, which is far far worse on space. In the BMW tradition of old, you have a proper limited slip differential at the back and the other button down here, which you can also press. Should you so desire? Is the sport one? Now I don’t go anywhere near sport because I think you’re all it does. Is ruin the throttle response in the regular said, for it actually did a little bit more because those had electric steering and there were a couple of things that BMW M division changed when they built the z4 M first off, they gave it hydraulic power steering and That, probably due to the fact that this uses an engine which I don’t think ever went with an e pass system, they also ditched the run flat tires that BMW fitters standard on the rest of the set for range. In theory. That should have meant that these were a great handling, good steering field car with a real, an oblique compliant ride, especially as they came with only 18 inch wheels from factory, but in the coupe a I just never ever found that to be the case.
Is this roadster any different to what I remember let’s find out Music, Music, Music Music? The suspension feels perhaps a a little less harsh than my memory would dictate, but the car feels still unnecessarily bouncy the front end also doesn’t feel quite as tight down as I would like it to now. Perhaps I have been spoiled with the many many different cars that I get to drive on a regular basis, but there’s just a there’s. A disconnect is that there’s a moment of hesitation, more of one than I would deem acceptable in a car like this it’ll go around these corners very happily, but I don’t really have that much in the way of confidence in the car. My hydraulic steering is direct enough and you can tell that it’s doing the job, but it’s just not feeding back the information. The whole thing feels like it’s just a little bit disconnected. However, there is a solution to this it’s, not an obvious one. You see the way people want to drive. This car is a little bit like this Music and this just isn’t the said forums happy place. It’S, not you start to throw around and it becomes all a little bit uncertain. It’S constantly being asked difficult questions and it’s being all political on me, it’s, giving me very vague answers on everything and dodging the questions I’m asking of it. But if you just Ratchet it down a little bit – and this is where the roadster differs greatly from the coupe – a zipper coupe a only made sense when you are thrashing the living daylights out of it, but the Roadster thanks they’re handed level of interaction, especially with This exhaust on it works far better as a seven or eight tenths car.
That engines got a really good spread of torque it’s, not the fastest, but the way you should drive this car is like this. Enjoy the power change gear gently tip it in bit: more torque change gears slowly or a bend I’m going to change again unnecessarily now, annoyingly with that sport button, not active heel and toe isn’t, always as easy as you might think, and you need a really firm Press on that pedal and if you’re not trying to brake at the same time as you’re revving everything becomes that little bit easier. You got oh here’s a little bit of straight and I’m doing 45 mile an hour I don’t want to enjoy it lovely, really Pleasant. Then you begin to flow with the car, then it all begins to make so much more sense. Then you kick back a little bit. You start to enjoy the scenery. This is one of my favorite bits of this test room. Look at this absolutely glorious at straight 6 is just burbling away in the background everything right with the world just part for us all, and it feels and sounds almost like a classic British sports car Music historically brakes have always been an M car weak spot, but For Road use, these are actually very good and if memory serves, they are pinched straight from the m3 CSL. So they’re pretty good items are standard same for the steering rack, not that it seems to have helped blissfully.
Unlike a lot of Porsches. This car is also geared very sensibly, and that means that you can enjoy that engine just a little bit more. You can rev it out just a little bit more often without doing silly speeds. You can still improve the set for a lot, but the issue I have with the coupe a is in many ways not actually unique to the said 4 M Coupe a coupe. A is always something’s, gon na, be or feel like a much racier car, something that yours expect to be a sharp thing, a real good handling vehicle and it simply isn’t, which means it can just get a little bit annoying. You take the roof out of the equation and suddenly I find a lot of forgiveness for the car. The Zed 4 M is still deeply deeply flawed, one of BMWs biggest missed opportunities. I mean they just they just can’t get sports cars right. It is a nervous tic that they seem to have it just just can’t be done, but this is very enjoyable who put this tree here. This is a stupider look at this. I cannot see anything at this bend. I got a car at a big, long nose and I’m just gon na slowly edge it out until I can either go or somebody swipes off the front of the car stupid. Some of you may remember that I drove a while ago, the later EI t 9z, for with the 35 s drive, is up whatever it was call, which is the closest that BMW came to recreating the Zed 4m in that generation that’s a very different car with A totally different character to it and in many ways that is a superior cruiser there’s.
A lot I like about that car. But it says still more of a sports car edge it’s, an imperfect thing and as a car to thrash I’d say I probably actually enjoy the s2000 a bit more. But then you need to because the s2000 just doesn’t have the pull from low down that this does, which i think is fairly obvious. To be honest, and if I’m being completely honest, steering is also an s2000 weak point as its suspension, but in a very very different way. I keep talking about the s2000 because I own one, but because also these days, you’re, probably looking at reasonably similar money for Aniston or a Zed for running costs on one of these are gon na, be a bit higher it’s gon na drink, more servicing. These old units is not the cheapest. The big service, in particular costs a lot of money because you are supposed to do the valve adjustment on these and a lot of people don’t. So if you get a buy one check that that’s been done, this car is on just shy of 54000 miles and I have to say it feels very well screwed, together as well. This car may have been assembled in South Carolina, but, unlike many BMWs not built in Germany, doesn’t seem to have suffered all that much for it. I know it’s not a perfect model, but this particular example feels very tight overall if you’re able to buy an M car – and you can be satisfied with the fact that you don’t want to thrash it all the time.
The z4 M Roadster is well worth looking into. I once said: if ever I was going to buy another said 4m would almost certainly have to be a roadster and I’m glad to say that that is still an option. That is very much on the table, because this is a far far more enjoyable car in this kind of condition than the coupe a it really is thanks for watching. Please like comment below subscribe.