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Old 08-11-2006, 01:23 PM
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New M Coupe

Since we are posting WSJ articles today. There was a small write up about the new M Coupe. While I did like the old ones the new ones look way better!
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by jwilburn
Since we are posting WSJ articles today. There was a small write up about the new M Coupe. While I did like the old ones the new ones look way better!
Can't get into the article without a WSJ subscription.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:20 PM
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Oh of course it doesnt work when I want it to. Thanks.

When the Driving Counts Most
August 11, 2006; Page W8
When people talk about sports cars, convertibles often come to mind. But avid drivers know that soft tops often result in wobbly cars, and that the best-handling vehicles require a fixed roof.
BMW's Z4 M Coupe handles well but rides stiffly.
Appealing to such hard-core drivers led BMW to create its new Z4 Coupe and a higher-powered sibling called the Z4 M Coupe, or simply the M Coupe for short. These cars are part of a niche market of driving-enthusiast machines that includes the Porsche Cayman, Chevrolet Corvette and Lotus Elise.
BMW's previous M Coupe, which the German car maker sold from 1999 to 2002, developed a small but devoted following, mainly because of its extraordinary road-holding ability and the keen way it responds to the driver. But its looks were controversial. Based on the older Z3 Roadster, a convertible model, the coupe added a long, high roof with a steep hatch at the rear -- it looked like the stunted offspring of a station wagon and an American Motors Gremlin from the mid-1970s.
The new M Coupe is curvier and better looking; its external shapes all seem to go together. Still, it's a striking vehicle that turned heads, not all approving, when we tried it out recently.
The BMW's rear view
With a body even more rigid than the old Z3-based coupe, the new M Coupe is a delight to drive on winding roads. Its 330-horsepower engine -- 53% more horses than the base Z4 -- revs quickly without a trace of hesitation, so acceleration to 60 mph feels even faster than the 4.9 seconds it actually takes. The motor growls at high speeds, yet sounds sweet just about all the time, even when idling. The engine is a rarity these days, a "straight six" that has its cylinders arranged in a row. (Most six-cylinder engines are V6s because they are cheaper to make and easier to fit under the hood.) The straight six creates a smooth, "long-legged" feel -- it has a wide band of power, so you can keep accelerating longer in the same gear without the engine struggling.
The M Coupe's cockpit is snug but feels a bit less crowded with two people on board than that of a competing sports coupe we tested this spring, the Porsche Cayman. All the gauges, switches and other controls are right where we expected them except for the button that locks the doors. It's on the center console, and from some angles was obscured by the hand brake.
Interior fit and finish are excellent. While the entire cabin of our test car was swathed in a monochrome charcoal color, it still had an attractive variety of surface textures, from a leatherlike dashboard top (actually a rubbery plastic) to portions of the instrument panel that appear to be woven.

Of course, the driving is what counts in a car like the M, and it is very satisfying. As a two-seater designed to carve roads, it has only a few rivals. Its compactness makes it feel nimbler and easier to weave through city traffic than, say, a Corvette, yet it is seems more substantial and comfortable than Lotus's Elise.
The Cayman is its closest competitor, but at $49,300, the BMW undercuts the Porsche's sticker price by $9,600. Still, the cars differ so in appearance and layout -- the BMW's engine is in the front, the Porsche's is behind the driver -- that it's hard to imagine many potential buyers doing a lot of cross-shopping. The Porsche's handling felt a bit nimbler, perhaps as a result of its midengine design and lighter weight. The BMW, in contrast, seemed slightly nose-heavy.
Still, neither car is likely to be practical for everyday driving. Not only do they lack a back seat and have limited storage space, but their rides are on the hard side. The BMW seems a better buy, though sports-car fans dyed deepest in the wool may balk at its 276 extra pounds over the Porsche -- the equivalent of driving around with an uninvited passenger and his luggage.
Jonathan Welsh answers questions about automobiles in "Me and My Car," a column in Wednesday's Personal Journal section. Email questions to [email protected].

Performance Anxiety

Here's how the BMW Z4 M Coupe compares with other sports cars.
MAKE / MODEL BASE PRICE ENGINE / HORSEPOWER ACCELERATION 0-60 MPH (SEC.) WEIGHT (POUNDS) EPA MILEAGE (CITY/HIGHWAY) BMW Z4 M Coupe $49,300 6-cyl./330 4.9 3,230 16/24 Porsche Cayman S $58,900 6-cyl./295 5.1 2,954 20/28 Lotus Elise $42,990 4-cyl./190 4.8 1,984 24/29 Chevrolet Corvette $43,690 V8/400 4.5 3,130 18/28 Audi TT 3.2 $40,640 V6/250 5.7 3,274 19/26 Backseat Driver

Here's what we liked -- and didn't -- about the BMW Z4 M Coupe.
WHAT WORKS WHAT DOESN'T The Outside The shape is striking, avoiding old model's station-wagon look. Viewed from the front at certain angles, the car's nose looks too long. The Inside Plain but attractive leather upholstery and lack of ornamentation give cockpit a clean, serious look. Some features, like a hard-to-reach compartment between the seatbacks, feel like afterthoughts. Under the Hood A traditional 3.2-liter "straight six" engine generates all the muscle one could want. Motor feels hyper, and to drive smoothly requires an especially light touch on the throttle. Behind the Wheel Many cars have sculpted steering wheels, but the M's thickly padded rim fit our hands beautifully. Ride was harsh and busy-feeling compared with the Porsche Cayman, which felt pleasantly firm. Over the Top Modern as it is, the M's shape recalls old favorites: the Triumph Spitfire GT6 and the MGB GT. Pop-up navigation screen was so unsightly and hard to use that we preferred unfolding our trusty maps.
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Old 08-14-2006, 07:30 AM
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All I see in the car mags are Z4M vs. Cayman tests; all with the Cayman squeeking out some narrow wins. I'd sure like to see a 6-speed Vette thrown into the mix. With both a price and horsepower/torque advantage, it should pretty much lay waste to both cars.
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