Miata Mx5 - BMW Z4 Compare

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Hi,
Many reviews of the Z4 - a great roadster in its own right - write that the car has a tendancy to understeer and for a sports car enthusiast lacks the
feel that translates the road through the steering wheel.
The new MX5 which obviously in a different price bracket, is more of a hardcore sports car, but of course gives up much of the refinement, beauty and quality that goes with the Z4.
I would appreciate it if people could comment on this - and anything else they feel worthy of note. Unfortunetely where I am BMW dont have a Z4 for testing so I have no means of comparison. I am looking mainly at the 2.5siA.
Thanks,
Alex
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2.5siA? As in automatic? Why bother. Both of those cars should be manuals, that's most of the fun in driving them. The Z4 will be a much faster car, a little more room, and looks better too. (yea, I know, but I actually like Bangle's designs.)

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Let's be perfectly clear about this: *EVERY* production car in the world is engineered to exhibit understeer. (Well, a Lotus Elise might not be... but we're talking fewer than a handful of cars.) Understeer is a desirable trait for most drivers because it's generally safer for them. Rear-engined Porsches exhibit understeer. My NSX and my wife's Boxster exhibit understeer. Lamborghini's and Ferraris exhibit it (according to C&D).
Given that, and having looked at the last MX5 review in Car & Driver that says it has "benign understeer", I doubt that is a substantial difference in the amount of understeer these two cars exhibit. In fact, the Z4, having more power, will be able to exhibit *MORE* oversteer (the opposite trait). Buy what you like; I know lots of people like MX5's. The Z4 is more powerful, faster and slightly plusher riding, and more comfortable and quiet than the MX5. Only you can tell if the extra $10K is worth it.
FloydR
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You can have the camber adjusted to remove the understeer, and that's something you have to do with every car out there nowadays. There are numerous posts about this on www.z4um.com.
As for the steering, I think reviewer's complaints are more due to the writers only driving the car for brief periods. The steering is light with electric assist and if you're not used to it there's a tendency to over-correct and grip the wheel too hard because you expect more effort.
epbrown -- "Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car; most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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Thanks for your replies. As for the Z4 2.5A - I was of course referring to the manual - but the price list shows 'A' - have no idea what it stands for!
One more question - do any of you know how the MX5 and Z4 compare in terms of depreciation? (I realise several variables are at play here including the country & the transmission, but any thoughts woud be appreciated - thanks!)
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Jim
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I expect to see early Z4 prices plummet in the next couple of years as more and more come off-lease onto the used market. And it's due to be replaced in late 2009, which will further drive down prices. I could be wrong - the press seems to be turning around on it's appearance, and I've always gotten favorable responses to the car. It might be more of a hit as a used car - it is certainly a great value as one.
epbrown -- "Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car; most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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Depends on where you are in the depreciation curve, but consider this...have you ever driven the two cars with over 100K. The difference in them new is very much exagerated.
Leonard
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Leonard Caillouet wrote:

Personally, I can't see myself driving either one of these cars 100k miles. Two seat roadsters are great 2nd or 3rd cars to take out only on sunny days.
So unless you are buying one with high mileage, who cares. If you are looking for a daily commuter car I'd be looking in an entirely different direction...
--
-Fred W

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On Sun, 04 Jun 2006 08:44:28 -0400, Fred W

    The Z4 is essentially a 2-seat version of the BMW 3-series; same engines and running gear, stiffer chassis, a few tweaks to make it sportier. There's no mechanical reason it can't rack up miles as reliably as my 325i from the same year. High mileage cars aren't common since they are usually 2nd cars, but they'd be no more problematic than a 3-series with similar miles.     epbrown -- "Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car; most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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Just curious... Do you mean that the differences are exagerated when they are new and that they disapear over time making them less different, or that the differences when new become even more exagerated when they accumulate miles?
Thanks
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The difference in build quality and ride is very much exagerated when they are aging. We shopped last year for a used car for my son drove Mazdas and BMWs. Wen ended up with a 97 Z3 with 80K miles. The Mazdas did not age nearly as well. The newer product may hold up better, but I suspect the trend will be similar to previous years. In general, my experience has been that Mazda product ages out much more poorly. When I was selling used cars I would be happy to sell a high mileage BMW, Honda, or Toyotal product. I would stay away from Mazda.
Leonard

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I have similar experience. I have looked at a lot of Miatas. Most of them at 10years old have pretty ragged interiors and the motors are suspect. I bought a base Z3 that had not been pampered and it was a lot more car for only a little more money.
Leonard Caillouet wrote:

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If you're looking for a sports car, the new Mazda MX5 2.0 Sport is very close to the BMW 2.5 in performance, but beats it hands down in handling and economy as well as being more fun to drive hard. The Z4 is a big improvement on the Z3, but still more of a sporty tourer than out and out sports car.
--
*I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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thanks for your responses.
Its really come down to the MX5 or the new Audi TT (launched as a '07 model in the US I believe), but no matter how much the TT improves in the enjoyment of the drive, I very much doubt it is a competitor to either the MX5 or the Z4.
As someone already pointed out - the difference in RWD/FWD as a means for oversteer is now harder to find since manufacturers put safety up first. Still, the TT's FWD/Golf platform says a lot about its potential for enjoyment, and how Audi believe the TT fits the segment - if at all.

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Beauty?
Good God man, put on your eye-glasses before you spout nonsense like that again!

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Yup, if you dare to ask .... go get the Miata, it's a nice car.
When you grow up, drive a BMW, after that, you'll never ask again.
Charles U' Farley wrote: : Beauty? : : Good God man, put on your eye-glasses before you spout nonsense like that : again! : :
:: Hi, :: :: Many reviews of the Z4 - a great roadster in its own right - write that :: the :: car has a tendancy to understeer and for a sports car enthusiast lacks :: the feel that translates the road through the steering wheel. :: :: The new MX5 which obviously in a different price bracket, is more of a :: hardcore sports car, but of course gives up much of the refinement, :: beauty and quality that goes with the Z4. :: :: I would appreciate it if people could comment on this - and anything else :: they feel worthy of note. Unfortunetely where I am BMW dont have a Z4 for :: testing so I have no means of comparison. I am looking mainly at the :: 2.5siA. :: :: :: Thanks, :: :: Alex
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wrote:

That's rather an ignornant, kennel-blinded statement.
The Miata is an excellent car in its own right. The biggest advantage it possesses is that it is many hundreds of pounds lighter than any of the BMW Z cars, and to some of us, light weight is the *primary* virtue of a sports car. Its build quality is outstanding, and its powertrain is bulletproof -- probably more so than the BMW's. It can be easily (and much more cheaply) track-prepped to be just as competitive in its class as any Z-car.
When you consider price, most people would describe the Miata as a better value than any Z car. I am considering a new roadster right now, and I know I do. But then I'm loony enough to consider a Caterham as well. 8;)
Buying a BMW Z car, unless done for entre to a specific competitive class in autocross or track, is not done for compelling sports car reasons -- it is done for other qualities, which have more to do with luxury and comfort than street performance.
-- Larry -1995 Miata R, with as many track as street miles -2005 330i
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You mean the Z4 is an old man's car? The MX5 certainly ain't.
--
*Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Thu, 15 Jun 2006 19:48:06 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

    Actually...     People are always claiming the MX-5 is a "chick" car, but I almost never see a woman driving one. Usually, I see older guys in them - the sort who look to have had an MG or Triumph when they were younger and are sentimental enough to remember it fondly, but wise enough not to repeat the experience. :)     epbrown -- "Everybody wants a normal life and a cool car; most people will settle for the car." Chris Titus 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black, 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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