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Picked up a 1998 M Roadster

Discussion in 'Z3 M Roadster & Coupé' started by Ibanez, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Ibanez

    Ibanez Newbie

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    Well I made a purchase two weeks ago and I'm picking it up this Saturday since i'm back from vacation. I'm new to the forum but very active on M3Forum and Bimmerforums from time to time. I've always been a lover of the M Roadster/Coupe since I first saw them. So it's been high on my list for a fun sunny day car. Figured I'd post my experiences since I considered a couple other cars before concluding on the Roadster. Looking forward to getting to know more about the car and coming to the seasoned people here for help and advice. I also own a 2013 328i XDrive and 2011 M3 Sedan, so this is the 5th BMW i've owned. Previously owned a 2002 330Ci and 2005 M3 Coupe.

    I spent about 12 hours on a Saturday driving around with a schedule in hand to visit and drive at least 4-5 cars that were on my test drive list. There were only a handful of cars that I was truly considering. I really wanted to try everything out so I knew that if I purchased something I would regret not trying the other car which could have possibly been exactly what I want.

    List:
    • Boxster S
    • Z3M Roadster
    • Z4 3.0
    • Miata MX-5
    • Honda S2000
    • E46 M3 vert


    Cars I test drove...


    1st Car: Honda S2000 ~$19K

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    http://www.emgautoonline.com/web/used/Honda-S2000-2008-Avenel-New-Jersey/8478702/

    In the photos the car looked amazing. Mostly all stock, just a few minor mods and a stupid wing. Loved the white on red. They also had a 07 red/black which was tempting but someone bought it. Anyways, when I arrived immediately the car was not in acceptable shape, the corners of the top were worn and ripped and the seats looked like they certainly had 92k miles on them. For an 08 that was a lot of miles. But I wanted to test drive it anyways. It didn't appear to have any suspension mods, just an aftermarket steering wheel.

    The Ride... only way I can put it is, perfection! Really mean it. The steering, the ride quality, connection to the road, the height, seating position, and transmission, LOVED all of it. 92k or not, it rode amazing. The transmission I could flick with my pinky, unbelievable easy and super fast shifting. I felt like I was riding on rails around turns. Anyone who has driven one must know this. The power is OK, def could use more but I didn't find it underwhelming. If you ever debated getting one and you want a great drivers car, get a Honda S2000!

    I had no interest in that one but there is one in chicago that I could have shipped that was perfect.


    2nd Car: 2003 BMW Z4 $17K

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    Guy was selling since he just picked up a new black RS5. Not a bad upgrade. After shooting the s*** about the RS5 I took the Z4 for a spin. Car was immaculate for an 03. He repainted the bumper and hood to get rid of dings, was a real BMW guy and I could tell he was anal about the car. Coming from the S2000 it's a completely different car. Really nothing similar. Much more refined and more of a cruiser than a sports car IMO. The manual reminded me of my 2002 330ci, probably the same tranny. Overall the interior left a lot to be desired IMO, very bland and the seats were meh. Almost no support and you slide all over the place like you're on a bench seat. Those M seats are a must. The S2000 ride blew away the Z4 IMO. They felt very similar in speed, but the 3.0 lacked torque too and took jamming on the pedal to get going. Turns didn't feel very stable and the back end seemed to hop around a lot on bumps. Maybe the 65k miles did a toll, but overall I was under impressed.


    3rd Car: Mazda Miata MX-5
    $14K

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    http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail.jsp?listingId=122795920

    This was the grand touring edition with a 6MT and LSD. Was really excited to take this out since it had 170hp and i've heard all the miata hype. I'll cut to the chase with this car. It sucked ass. Literally, completely unimpressed. Car had 46k on the clock and it might as well been a boat in water as far as handling is concerned. I have no doubt that you throw an after market suspension on this car and it will ride like the S2000, but in stock form hell no. Also I wasn't a fan of the transmission. It was very notchy and didn't want to go into gear easily. Compared to the other two cars the tranny was terrible. Power was mediocre too. I really didn't see the desire for this car. Maybe the older mazdaspeed was a hoot or it's expected that in stock form this is just a cruiser but to have fun with it you have to mod the hell out of it. But I don't want to do that. I want to drive a car off the lot and not have to beef it up to enjoy it. Car needs a turbo and stiff suspension.


    4th Car: 2011 Porsche GTS :D $84K

    Turns out that in my quest to find the perfect car for me, I really wanted to get in a newer Porsche and have been contemplating selling the M3. I'd never driven a 911S much less the GTS. To satisfy my porsche problem I had to take one out. Porsche of Conshocken PA just got a GTS in with 18k on the clock asking 84K. Took that baby out for a nice test drive, 6MT, 408hp. I"ll tell you it was awesome, that sport exhaust and sport chrono button just make the car amazing! I wouldn't miss my M3 for a minute with the sounds that came out of that car. They had a great run through some twists and turns and I really liked the car, a lot. But for the price, I didn't think I liked it that much. It really secured my need for a 997TT when the time is right. Def a fun car and a little faster than the M3, but with the rear engine I did feel it starting to play a lot and the tail kick out. I think the TT is the right way to go or the 4S for that matter to offset some of the rear play and keep the front wheels pulling the car. IMO anyways.


    5th Car: 1998 Z3 M Roadster

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    So after my long haul into PA, after the Pcar dealer and to my final destination I got to see the M Roadster. 1998, 52K miles, asking $18K. Wife hated the car in photos, however in person it was a different story. I said it before and i'll say it again, i've been lusting after this car since I first saw it in existence. The deep dish rear wheels the wild colored interior and the wide rear stance. I was very impressed with the condition for a 15+ year old car. All the paint looked original, 3 owners, one owner had it for 9 years. Overall the car was very well pampered and taken car of by all the owners. The undercarriage was insanely clean, almost zero rust, obviously garage kept mostly. Gave it a good look over and took it for a spin. Man o man, it rode just like I imagined. Raw, powerful, tight and just awesome. As good as the S2000?, tough call, probably not. S2000 was tighter. BUT this car had much more torque, chirps 1-2nd gears, tranny was spot on and a delight to shift. Rear end was just enough tail happy but you could really feel the car. Steering was spot on and very responsive. Very easy to feel how the car was responding. Riding with the top up is OK, def more road noise, but that's expected. The stereo actually wasn't even bad. Previous owner put a decent head unit in and hard wired blue took into the car!

    Out in PA there was nothing but back roads full of twists, turns and ups/downs. I felt like I was on vacation in this car already. The car loves to be pushed and driving it hard is easy and fun. IMO for the looks department, it's just a stunner and in Imola red... I really couldn't get over the amazing condition of the car. Other than the electric sideview mirrors sounding like machine gun fire there was no complaints. Not to mention the Z3M really has a timeless vintage look IMO. I love that, it's just going to be a classic and a head turner no matter what it's age. The S2000 is a head turner... for guys who are 18 and are looking to find something to strap a silver muffler with blue tips onto with a Greddy sticker.

    They actually had a Boxster (2000) model there, but it was a non-S and at that point I was exhausted and it really came down to the S2000 vs. Z3M.


    It was a really tough call, but at the end the Z3M made it easy with it's looks and overall performance. Also 52K on a super clean 16 year old roadster??? I couldn't pass it up. Wife was 100% sold and now wants to learn stick just so she can drive it. I might teach her... not sure yet. This is my new baby. Provided it stays clean and in good shape I don't think i'll ever sell it. M3 would go first for a Pcar. There was only a couple small issues with the car. Fix the seatbelt holder, realign one of the bumpers better and that's it.

    I'm beyond stoked, so when I get back from Italy i'm off to pick up my new ride this saturday now that i'm back from vacation! Can't wait!!

    Only thing I have to do is pull up the floor mat to double check the rear welds, but everything looked perfect under the car in the photos they provided me. I had created another thread here...

    http://zroadster.org/forum/threads/buying-an-m-roadster.3354/


    And for the photos.....




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    wife loves it!
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    #1 Ibanez, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  2. Ibanez

    Ibanez Newbie

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    more photos



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  3. badman gee

    badman gee Guest

    Welcome to the forum first.

    Very nice car and best colour for an M car.

    I had an imola one a few years ago, it was only 4 years old at the time.

    I made the mistake of selling it, and regretted it for a long time.

    I now have another which is well loved.

    Enjoy

    Mark
     
  4. Aceman

    Aceman Moderator
    British Zeds 3rd Party Trader

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    Looks lovely just a shame you guys didn't get the S50 engine in the States as it is an absolute beast.

    1st job on the cards from the above pics as a badge refurb me thinks. :p
     
  5. badman gee

    badman gee Guest

    Yes the engine is different, less power.

    :(
     
  6. Ibanez

    Ibanez Newbie

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    thanks guys, yes i'll be getting a new badge lol, just ordered the clear tail lights and side markers. Also needs a ZHP shift knob. The S54 engine came in 2001-2002. I'm happy with the 240hp from the S52
     
  7. badman gee

    badman gee Guest

  8. Aceman

    Aceman Moderator
    British Zeds 3rd Party Trader

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  9. Ibanez

    Ibanez Newbie

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    I might need the side marker ones, I already ordered an OEM rear badge thanks!
     
  10. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
    Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator British Zeds

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    Wow, that's a great write up.

    Pictures never do the car enough justice, but that looks a very nice ///M indeed. Congrats.

    Gary
     
  11. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
    Dutch Zeds The M44 Massive

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    Good read......welcome from too..........:beer
     
  12. Macca

    Macca Zorg Guru (II)
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    And it's a welcome from me to. Nice car by the way.
     
  13. Boysie

    Boysie Zorg Guru (I)
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    Nice car
    Great write up
    Welcome
     
  14. Mint

    Mint Zorg Expert (I)
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    :welcome: from me too. A great read, photos and she looks superb, you are obviously very pleased..
     
  15. Brian4

    Brian4 Zorg Guru (IV)
    British Zeds East Anglian Crew

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    That's a great looking car but don't let the wife get too comfy in that seat. What are the forums like in the US?
     
  16. swamper

    swamper Zorg Guru (V)
    M Power

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    looks stunning...
     
  17. bessieblue

    bessieblue Zorg Guru (II)
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    nice colour, looks in good nick.
     
  18. Freds Dad

    Freds Dad Zorg Addict

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    Looks fantastic and a great write up. I'm sure you'll enjoy it for years to come.

    Just one thing, is the drivers seat belt guide broke or is it the photo angle?
     
  19. joey

    joey Zorg Addict
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    lovely car and great write up..

    think you made the right choice, the honda does look a bit sterile in comparison to the Z..