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      06-27-2007, 08:26 AM   #1
aerisolphaln
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Off Topic...Good for BMW...RS4 Not So Good...

So given the absolute drought of information available on our beloved e92 M3, here is some interesting information from the latest print edition of Car and Driver.

Last November, C/D conceived of the Lightning Lap wherein they tested completely stock and street-legal versions of high performance automobiles available to North American drivers. The test track C/D selected was the Grand Course at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) as a substitute for the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which they do acknowledge as the most challenging track in the world. Essentially the magazine groups cars by price and compares their performance on the VIR by raw numbers and also offers subjective driving impressions of what it is actually like to pilot the machines around the course.

While 13 cars were tested, I will bring up 2 that are germane to this forum, namely the BMW e92 335i and the Audi RS4. First, the raw numbers. The BMW completed the 4.2 mile course in 3:10.5 while the Audi RS4 posted a time of 3:11.2. That's right, the 335i beat the RS4 by 7 tenths of a second - this was not lost on the writers at C/D.

Now, here are the quotes about how the 335 out-raced the more expensive RS4.

BMW 335i [with comparisons to BMW Z4M coupe]
"Between the two (Z4 M Coupe and 335i), you'd expect the 335i to be more supple over bumps, have vastly more interior room, and be as refined as a Lexus. But what floored us was that the 335i's best lap was 1.2 seconds quicker than the M coupe's. It's a case of neutral handling over outright speed...the 335i was nearly perfectly balanced everywhere and made up most of its time in the regions between the breaking zone and the turn apex. The 335i does everything remarkably well, which is why many at C/D think it's the best all around car in the world."

Audi RS4
"Although it shares its V8 engine with the RS8, the Audi RS4 didn't impart the same sort of driving satisfaction. It's a porky beast - at 3952 pounds the heaviest of the cars featured here...The closest comparative car this time around was the BMW 335i coupe, which also has decent-sized rear seats. The BMW was almost one second quicker around VIR, despite dramatically lower peak speeds on the straights. The RS4 simply overloads its tires too quickly when the steering wheel is turned. If it weren't for the four-wheel-drive system ensuring that the power can be applied early at corner exit, the RS4 would have been even further behind..."

That's some pretty amazing work by the 335i, beating out the Z4M coupe AND the RS4, which looks to be a pretty poor target for the M3 after this comparison.
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      06-27-2007, 08:57 AM   #2
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Nice read. Thanks.
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      06-27-2007, 09:59 AM   #3
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335i vs RS4

Well, if the E90 & 92 M3s are not faster under the same conditions I think there will be some BMW engineers out of jobs! The new Audi drivetrain layout in the S5 that moves the engine rearward about 5" should help a little on the understeer for the next generation, but they really need to work on weight, which is tough with a couple hundred pounds of drievtrain hardware for the rear wheels.

Thanks for the post--waiting for my mag.
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      06-27-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Perhaps the track is more about balance rather than power.
I guess it is the same reason why a Formula-1 car will be so dominant on one track and struggle on another.
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      06-27-2007, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW / Oregon View Post
Well, if the E90 & 92 M3s are not faster under the same conditions I think there will be some BMW engineers out of jobs! The new Audi drivetrain layout in the S5 that moves the engine rearward about 5" should help a little on the understeer for the next generation, but they really need to work on weight, which is tough with a couple hundred pounds of drievtrain hardware for the rear wheels.

Thanks for the post--waiting for my mag.
That was also my guess. The RS4 was understeer at some corners due the nature of this particular race track, while the 335i has advantage with its rear wheel drive configuration.

However, if in racing, the result might differ than the solo result.
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      06-27-2007, 10:55 AM   #6
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Looks like the M3 better be targeting the C6 Corvette...

There were several surprises in this class—and the biggest was the astonishing performance of the base Corvette equipped with the Z51 package. The Vette was a returnee to VIR because we experienced a data problem with its quickest lap last year. We had to publish its second-quickest lap time (3:09.3) then, which we didn’t think represented the car’s capabilities.

Those suspicions were dead on, because this time around the Z51 blazed around the course in 3:03.6, nearly six seconds quicker. That time bests those of the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo, cars that cost more than twice as much as the Z51’s base price. As we’ve learned, Corvettes are lap dogs when it comes to obeying commands from the helm, and they have wonderful fade-free brakes and benefit from a smooth 400-hp V-8. But they initially feel spooky, partly because the steering is a bit numb. Once a driver learns to trust the Vette’s chassis, the Chevy can embarrass almost any other car on the track, even if it isn’t as confidence inspiring as a Porsche 911.

With the 2008 C6 having an additional 30-36HP and 24-28 lbs. of TQ, they could be seeing times of 3 minutes flat. For reference the Z06 was the only car to break 3 minutes with a time of 2:58.2
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      06-27-2007, 11:28 AM   #7
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Great news

It is definitely true that some tracks favor a classic front engine/rear drive layout over a more powerful but heavier AWD such as the Audi. A couple of points worth mentioning. As we know the 335i does not have a LSD. On a tight track the LSD would have a substantial effect on the cars time. Porsche admitted a LSD on the Cayman would make it faster than a 911 on many tracks!

Comparing the E92 M3 to the 335i, just on the chassis side, we will get:
-much faster/better steering, feel and performance
-less unsprung weight due to an almost full aluminum suspension
-better brakes and brake cooling
-stiffer springs, more performance damping (+EDC as an option)
-stiffer chassis overall
-LSD
-much higher performance tires

Not even mentioning the engine, these things alone will offer a huge lap time benefit for the M3 vs. the 335i's already impressive time/chassis. The 335i is a fantastic starting point for the M3!
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      06-27-2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Comparing the E92 M3 to the 335i, just on the chassis side, we will get:
-much faster/better steering, feel and performance
-less unsprung weight due to an almost full aluminum suspension
-better brakes and brake cooling
-stiffer springs, more performance damping (+EDC as an option)
-stiffer chassis overall
-LSD
-much higher performance tires

Not even mentioning the engine, these things alone will offer a huge lap time benefit for the M3 vs. the 335i's already impressive time/chassis. The 335i is a fantastic starting point for the M3!
you would think that those things would contribute to it having a better laptime, but for some reason this magazine rated the z4 m coupe as being slower than the 335 when the z4mcoupe definitely has all those advantages over the 335. makes me pretty skeptical of the magazine's testing. don't get me wrong, the 335 is a great car - i just have a hard time believing some of those results.
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      06-27-2007, 12:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jworms View Post
you would think that those things would contribute to it having a better laptime, but for some reason this magazine rated the z4 m coupe as being slower than the 335 when the z4mcoupe definitely has all those advantages over the 335. makes me pretty skeptical of the magazine's testing. don't get me wrong, the 335 is a great car - i just have a hard time believing some of those results.
The Z4M has the old front suspension set up same as the E36, which caused understeer.

335i has better aerodynamic and downforce at higher speed than the Z4M. Not to mention more torsional and bending rigidity of the E90/E92.
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      06-27-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
It is definitely true that some tracks favor a classic front engine/rear drive layout over a more powerful but heavier AWD such as the Audi. A couple of points worth mentioning. As we know the 335i does not have a LSD. On a tight track the LSD would have a substantial effect on the cars time. Porsche admitted a LSD on the Cayman would make it faster than a 911 on many tracks!

Comparing the E92 M3 to the 335i, just on the chassis side, we will get:
-much faster/better steering, feel and performance
-less unsprung weight due to an almost full aluminum suspension
-better brakes and brake cooling
-stiffer springs, more performance damping (+EDC as an option)
-stiffer chassis overall
-LSD
-much higher performance tires

Not even mentioning the engine, these things alone will offer a huge lap time benefit for the M3 vs. the 335i's already impressive time/chassis. The 335i is a fantastic starting point for the M3!
Plus those almost flat torque band of the new V8 S65, making smooth transition coming in, during, and out of the corner, keeping the body stable and balance
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      06-27-2007, 12:17 PM   #11
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Not clear

Quote:
Originally Posted by jworms View Post
you would think that those things would contribute to it having a better laptime, but for some reason this magazine rated the z4 m coupe as being slower than the 335 when the z4mcoupe definitely has all those advantages over the 335. makes me pretty skeptical of the magazine's testing. don't get me wrong, the 335 is a great car - i just have a hard time believing some of those results.
With a totally different chassis (Z4M vs. E92) I am not so sure you can make the claims about Z4M being better or improved relative to E92 in the same way that the E92 M3 will be clearly improved compared to the 335i.

In fact I think this lap time test points out some weaknesses of the Z4 chassis.
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      06-27-2007, 12:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
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With a totally different chassis (Z4M vs. E92) I am not so sure you can make the claims about Z4M being better or improved relative to E92 in the same way that the E92 M3 will be clearly improved compared to the 335i.

In fact I think this lap time test points out some weaknesses of the Z4 chassis.
Some of you will already know my car (Z4M Coupe) that was featured in EVO magazine last year. The problem does not lie in the Z4M's chassis, the body rigidity of the Coupe is more than the E92 335i.

My car was substantially improved by two things; firstly the Z4M comes fitted with Series 1 Continental SportContacts, these are horrible tyres some 4-5 years out of date and no longer on sale. The current version of these tyres is the SportContact3 (i.e. 2 versions on). BMW fitted these to the Z4M because at the time Continental could not supply the SportContact2s for such a small volume of cars. In other words BMW compromised. I and subsequently many other owners have changed these to Pilot Sport 2s (on 19" CSL rims) and the grip and steering response is considerably better.

The second improvement, which was again very obvious to anyone that has driven a Z4, was to fit the standard BMW strut brace across the strut towers. This comes straight out of BMW's parts catalog for the Z4 and instantly allows the front and rear end to feel balanced when loaded up in a corner. Without this the front struts move under cornering creating a dislocated feel between front and rear axles and causing the rear end to snap away into oversteer.

Two very basic improvements (that BMW should have made themselves) that I am quite sure would have reversed the comparison with the 335i. Other track tests even between standard 335i and Z4MC have borne this out, so the results in C&D are a combination of the particular track plus the poor configuration in which BMW provide the Z4M.
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      06-27-2007, 12:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2m3 View Post
The Z4M has the old front suspension set up same as the E36, which caused understeer.
The Z4MC has the same front suspension as the E46 M3 CSL, not the E36 M3. In fact the Z4M is basically a E46 M3 on a shorter wheelbase.
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      06-27-2007, 01:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
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The Z4MC has the same front suspension as the E46 M3 CSL, not the E36 M3. In fact the Z4M is basically a E46 M3 on a shorter wheelbase.
that's what i've been finding in my research too, but if somebody could point out where it's been said differently i'm more than interested. the non-m z4 models do have similar suspension to the z3, but the Ms are being quoted as being "identical in many respects to the chassis and suspension of the BMW M3"

that's also not mentioning that the z4 m coupe outperforms the e46 M3 on the track with ease as documented in multiple reviews i just read through. i would hope we can all agree that the e46 M3 outperforms the 335 on a track.

i just don't see how the 335 would perform better than the m coupe...and if it does, why race teams aren't using it instead of the m coupe
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      06-27-2007, 01:42 PM   #15
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don't have time to upload pic and attach it to the forum but for those of you who are intrested in seeing how the track looks like (I think) it is this pic right here.

http://www.na-motorsports.com/Tracks/VA/images/vir.gif

that may help figure out why the 335 "outperforms" Z4MC
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      06-27-2007, 01:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steved View Post
The Z4MC has the same front suspension as the E46 M3 CSL, not the E36 M3. In fact the Z4M is basically a E46 M3 on a shorter wheelbase.
DO you mean the Z4MC has same strut/spring/swaybar as the E46M3 CSL?

My understanding is all 3 series from E36 and E46 has same front arm suspension set up consisting of the lower control arm (or C arm you might call it) and tie rod wiht variance on the bushings (offset or in the middle). Starting from the E90/E92, the 3 series have the same front arm suspension set up from the 5 series.

I am not referring to the strut/spring set up.

Iam open for correction for any inaccuracy here.
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      06-27-2007, 01:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_bazeepaymon View Post
don't have time to upload pic and attach it to the forum but for those of you who are intrested in seeing how the track looks like (I think) it is this pic right here.

http://www.na-motorsports.com/Tracks/VA/images/vir.gif

that may help figure out why the 335 "outperforms" Z4MC
you know that the z4 m coupe is faster than a stock 335 in a straight line right? i assume that's what you were referring to by posting the track configuration.
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      06-27-2007, 01:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steved View Post
Some of you will already know my car (Z4M Coupe) that was featured in EVO magazine last year. The problem does not lie in the Z4M's chassis, the body rigidity of the Coupe is more than the E92 335i.

My car was substantially improved by two things; firstly the Z4M comes fitted with Series 1 Continental SportContacts, these are horrible tyres some 4-5 years out of date and no longer on sale. The current version of these tyres is the SportContact3 (i.e. 2 versions on). BMW fitted these to the Z4M because at the time Continental could not supply the SportContact2s for such a small volume of cars. In other words BMW compromised. I and subsequently many other owners have changed these to Pilot Sport 2s (on 19" CSL rims) and the grip and steering response is considerably better.

The second improvement, which was again very obvious to anyone that has driven a Z4, was to fit the standard BMW strut brace across the strut towers. This comes straight out of BMW's parts catalog for the Z4 and instantly allows the front and rear end to feel balanced when loaded up in a corner. Without this the front struts move under cornering creating a dislocated feel between front and rear axles and causing the rear end to snap away into oversteer.

Two very basic improvements (that BMW should have made themselves) that I am quite sure would have reversed the comparison with the 335i. Other track tests even between standard 335i and Z4MC have borne this out, so the results in C&D are a combination of the particular track plus the poor configuration in which BMW provide the Z4M.
I suspect that the primary advantage the 335 has vis a vis the Z4M is weight distribution.
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      06-27-2007, 01:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerisolphaln View Post
So given the absolute drought of information available on our beloved e92 M3, here is some interesting information from the latest print edition of Car and Driver.

Last November, C/D conceived of the Lightning Lap wherein they tested completely stock and street-legal versions of high performance automobiles available to North American drivers. The test track C/D selected was the Grand Course at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) as a substitute for the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which they do acknowledge as the most challenging track in the world. Essentially the magazine groups cars by price and compares their performance on the VIR by raw numbers and also offers subjective driving impressions of what it is actually like to pilot the machines around the course.

While 13 cars were tested, I will bring up 2 that are germane to this forum, namely the BMW e92 335i and the Audi RS4. First, the raw numbers. The BMW completed the 4.2 mile course in 3:10.5 while the Audi RS4 posted a time of 3:11.2. That's right, the 335i beat the RS4 by 7 tenths of a second - this was not lost on the writers at C/D.

Now, here are the quotes about how the 335 out-raced the more expensive RS4.

BMW 335i [with comparisons to BMW Z4M coupe]
"Between the two (Z4 M Coupe and 335i), you'd expect the 335i to be more supple over bumps, have vastly more interior room, and be as refined as a Lexus. But what floored us was that the 335i's best lap was 1.2 seconds quicker than the M coupe's. It's a case of neutral handling over outright speed...the 335i was nearly perfectly balanced everywhere and made up most of its time in the regions between the breaking zone and the turn apex. The 335i does everything remarkably well, which is why many at C/D think it's the best all around car in the world."

Audi RS4
"Although it shares its V8 engine with the RS8, the Audi RS4 didn't impart the same sort of driving satisfaction. It's a porky beast - at 3952 pounds the heaviest of the cars featured here...The closest comparative car this time around was the BMW 335i coupe, which also has decent-sized rear seats. The BMW was almost one second quicker around VIR, despite dramatically lower peak speeds on the straights. The RS4 simply overloads its tires too quickly when the steering wheel is turned. If it weren't for the four-wheel-drive system ensuring that the power can be applied early at corner exit, the RS4 would have been even further behind..."

That's some pretty amazing work by the 335i, beating out the Z4M coupe AND the RS4, which looks to be a pretty poor target for the M3 after this comparison.
What C & D issue was this in? I do not recall seeing this article.
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      06-27-2007, 02:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I suspect that the primary advantage the 335 has vis a vis the Z4M is weight distribution.
the z4 m coupe has almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution - 50.2/49.8
compared to the 335 coupe's near 50/50 weight distribution - 51.2/48.8 (manual)

z4 m coupe tech data here: http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/M/z4mcoupe/techdata
335 tech data here: http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/3/335icoupe/techdata.htm
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      06-27-2007, 02:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jworms View Post
the z4 m coupe has almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution - 50.2/49.8
compared to the 335 coupe's near 50/50 weight distribution - 51.2/48.8 (manual)

z4 m coupe tech data here: http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/M/z4mcoupe/techdata
335 tech data here: http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/3/335icoupe/techdata.htm
Looks like I was wrong. Thanks for the info!
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      06-27-2007, 03:07 PM   #22
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E36?

Quote:
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The Z4M has the old front suspension set up same as the E36, which caused understeer.
The E36 is not known for bad understeer. Almost all cars are "tuned" from the factory with mild to dramatic understeer for safety concerns. Just with tire pressure and a sway bar you can dial an E36 perfectly to neutral with no under nor oversteer characteristics.

You do remember that the E36 M3 was crowned in a big magazine test as "THE best handling car", regardless of price?
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