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      01-03-2013, 12:59 AM   #1
jetpilot747
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M3 vs 370Z (Soley for track purposes)

I believe the 370Z is at least ~300 pounds lighter when both interiors are fully stripped. The 370Z can definitely run with the E92 M3 in Grand-Am Racing. Which car do you guys think would be a better car option for the regular consumer like us? Discuss.
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      01-03-2013, 01:16 AM   #2
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I'm confused, you said regular consumer and solely track purposes ... ? Very different vehicles for regular consumer car and track day car.

Both are good street cars and nice on the track, especially with a few light mods, but there are more rewarding/purpose-built "track only" specials to be had for E9x, 370z money. Think Porsche (Cayman R, S, 996/7 GT3), Lotus, etc.

Professional racing isn't really an indication of how well the cars will perform in an individual owner's hands because the ruleset is made to equalize the car (weight equalization via ballast, allowed mods, even restrictor plates in some series). The cars should be competitive. Also the drivers make a world of a difference.
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      01-03-2013, 02:10 AM   #3
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simply "stripping" a car doesn't make a car more balanced with less weight and feel.

i'm also a bit confused with this comparo, but i can say for sure whether stripped or not track tuned or not the M3 has so much potential than the 370Z.
the Engine itself is far better than the one in 370Z.

i never felt 370Z as a good "80~90% track dedicated" car.

For that money and the major track tool purpose, i'd just get a used lotus elise (not exige...the price too high), better brakes and better tires and just run miles and miles on track driving.
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      01-03-2013, 02:44 AM   #4
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My track car is a 350z and although it is quite capable for casual track days (can't vouch for actual racing)... It wouldn't be my first choice if I were to buy a car specially for the track. There's pretty much three cars that I see a ton of at the track, miata, s2000, and e36 m3. It's easier to make more power than to strip weight.
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      01-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smmmurf View Post
I'm confused, you said regular consumer and solely track purposes ... ? Very different vehicles for regular consumer car and track day car.
People without a racing team like us but want a car just for racing.
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      01-03-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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The M3 is a far better car with a far better engine but at half the price, a 370z probably make an excellent track car!!
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      01-03-2013, 12:19 PM   #7
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The VQ engine is capable of putting down ~370 WHP with bolt ons though. Doesn't the e92 m3 max out at around 390ish WHP without being stroked or forced induction?
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      01-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetpilot747 View Post
The VQ engine is capable of putting down ~370 WHP with bolt ons though. Doesn't the e92 m3 max out at around 390ish WHP without being stroked or forced induction?
Some s65 owner have made a bit more then 400whp with bolt-ons. But 370whp for the VQ is really impressive!!
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      01-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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I would suggest a 350Z over the 370Z. The 370z has overheating issues when running on the track. You can fix it with aftermarket cooling systems but the car is just not as durable as the older 350Z.
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      01-03-2013, 12:52 PM   #10
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For a track-only car? I second the Miata/S2000 posts... Also C5Zs can be had for way under $20K... and you'd (probably, not sure of your track experience) be faster than either the 370Z/M3.
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      01-04-2013, 05:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Z K View Post
I would suggest a 350Z over the 370Z. The 370z has overheating issues when running on the track. You can fix it with aftermarket cooling systems but the car is just not as durable as the older 350Z.
I bet to differ on this point. I've seen a piston comparsion between the variious incarnations of the VQ35, and the VQ37. The VQ37's pistons are forged due to the much higher rpm redline.
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      01-04-2013, 05:49 PM   #12
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IMHO, if you are going for a dedicated track car, try and get one with a dry sump oil system.
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      01-04-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killerfish2012 View Post
I bet to differ on this point. I've seen a piston comparsion between the variious incarnations of the VQ35, and the VQ37. The VQ37's pistons are forged due to the much higher rpm redline.
I don't see how good a motor that overheats when driven spiritedly is any good.

The VQ37 may last longer under boost or other forced induction but under stock conditions, I'll take the motor that doesn't overheat when I want to drive fast.

Let's not forget the 370Z's insane road noise when you are driving. It sounds like you are sitting in an 80s Pathfinder with the interior removed. I have to yell to talk to the other person in the car when driving. The 350Z is much more civil.

Last edited by Z K; 01-04-2013 at 06:26 PM.
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      01-04-2013, 07:09 PM   #14
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Whenever I drive a 350/370z I feel like I'm driving a truck. At least that's what the engine and transmission feel like to me.
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      01-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #15
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No doubt the M3 would be the faster car, but I think the 370z would be a better track car simply because it has cheaper parts and is cheaper to maintain. But yes, many other options for the price.
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      01-04-2013, 08:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z K View Post
I don't see how good a motor that overheats when driven spiritedly is any good.

The VQ37 may last longer under boost or other forced induction but under stock conditions, I'll take the motor that doesn't overheat when I want to drive fast.

Let's not forget the 370Z's insane road noise when you are driving. It sounds like you are sitting in an 80s Pathfinder with the interior removed. I have to yell to talk to the other person in the car when driving. The 350Z is much more civil.
Two words: "oil cooler". Even the 350Z needs one at the track, just do a search on their forums. The 370Z is BA at the track, and in smaller tracks, without very long straights, can even beat the E90 M3. Here is a clip of a guy, who I rode with at a race track running a 1:51. He is an intermediate level driver, and the fastest I've seen a stock M3 go at this track is 1:55.

370Z stock except for Stillen CBE, high flow cats, and an aftermarket oil cooler (1:51)


Stock E92 M3 running it's typical time (1:55)
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      01-04-2013, 11:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z K View Post
I would suggest a 350Z over the 370Z. The 370z has overheating issues when running on the track. You can fix it with aftermarket cooling systems but the car is just not as durable as the older 350Z.
Next time try knowing what you're talking about before putting your foot in your mouth
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      01-04-2013, 11:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z K View Post
I don't see how good a motor that overheats when driven spiritedly is any good.

The VQ37 may last longer under boost or other forced induction but under stock conditions, I'll take the motor that doesn't overheat when I want to drive fast.

Let's not forget the 370Z's insane road noise when you are driving. It sounds like you are sitting in an 80s Pathfinder with the interior removed. I have to yell to talk to the other person in the car when driving. The 350Z is much more civil.


ANY motor can overheat on a track.You don't think the S65 motor would also overheat and shut down if the M3 didn't come equipped with an oil cooler? The only mistake Nissan made was not fitting the 370z with an engine oil cooler, and that's a mistake that can be remedied easily with an aftermarket cooler for less than $500.

As for road noise, he's interested in a race car, not a boulevard cruiser. As for the whole part about having to yell for your passenger to hear you, give your head a shake and stop being so full of shit. Yes, there is a bit more road noise. Surprise surprise, it's a SPORTS CAR! Sports cars are supposed to be noisy. but it's hardly the interior of an f16 fighter jet. I had no problem whatsoever talking to my passengers without yelling or hearing the music of the sound system. 1980's Pathfiner my @$$. But hey, if you don't like noise, then perhaps you would prefer to drive one of these instead.
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      01-05-2013, 01:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetpilot747 View Post
I believe the 370Z is at least ~300 pounds lighter when both interiors are fully stripped. The 370Z can definitely run with the E92 M3 in Grand-Am Racing. Which car do you guys think would be a better car option for the regular consumer like us? Discuss.
As others stated, there are plenty of good choices for cheap track cars to also take in consideration, including s2k, miata, c5 z06 corvettes, 350z, e36 m3, and i may also add older subaru sti and lancer evo too and also mazda rx7.

If you are set on a 370z or m3, then let me help you out. First of all, ignore the rants of the badge whores and snobbish idiots on this forum. Unlike most people here, I actually owned a z for 2 years and took it to the track regularly just like i take the m to the track now. In fact it was only when the z got totaled in an accident that i got the e90 m3. Here I am in the M

And the Z



So let's compare the two cars.

Firstly, let's get the obvious out of the way. What the M easily trumps the Z on is comfort, refinement, luxury, practicality, and daily drivability. One is a noisy cramped back to the basics sports car, and the other is a bigger softer luxury grand tourer. Of course none of this matters in a race car. And anyway if you really plan on racing an M3 then you would surely get rid of the sound insulation and the luxurious interior anyway. It's the easiest way to reduce weight and gain performance.

When it comes to the drivetrain, both are good. Contrary to what some say, the VQ37 is a damn good engine. A 3.7 L engine that revs to 7500 rpm, produces 330 hp (easily increased to 360-370 hp with intake, exhaust, and tune) and 270 lb ft of torque. It runs on garden variety 5w30 oil (though synthetic is preferred, and a thicker oil is better for a race application). It doesn't burn as much oil as the M3 engine, and yes it actually has a dipstick! And more than that, the engine is cheap too! (How much does that S65 cost again? ) Yes the engine is noisy and thrashy, but nothing is perfect. If such trivial issue is the biggest complaint, then you know you're getting a good engine. The gearbox is a bit clunky, but no more so than the M3 gearbox. Actually the shifter on the Z was at least a bit more direct and less rubbery than the one in the M, which arguably is one of the worst shifters in any modern performance car. At least the Z comes with a proper shift light. Thanks for nothing BMW And if you opt for the sport package, you get that awesome synchrorev match feature so you don't have to worry about heel and toe downshifts anymore.

As for brakes, I can't comment on base model because I had the sport package. With that you get 14 inch front and 13.8 inch rear rotors, i.e. bigger than the m3 rotors! You also get 4 pot front and 2 pot rear calipers. With proper pads and brake fluid, the brakes were pretty good and fade resistant. They are powerful enough to stop the Z on a dime and stay consistent lap after lap. by contrast, the m brakes are garbage. Even with pads and fluids I still got more brake fade than the z, and the pedal was inconsistent and gave little feel and made modulation difficult. They just don't inspire confidence. Perhaps it has to do with the calipers being cheapo single piston sliding calipers, or the pads being microscopic in size. And I'm sure the excess fat on the M doesn't help either. The M rotors are ok, but you really must have a bbk for any serious racing. so that's an added cost to keep in mind. by contrast, the z sport package brakes with proper pads and fluid and cooling ducts can suffice if you aren't doing any prolonged sessions or on a track that is excessively demanding on the brakes.

As for performance, the M has a slight advantage in acceleration. The Z is plenty fast, but the M has more power, and despite the weight penalty still has a small edge in a straight line. As for handling, both cars feel and handle similarly. But I personally find the M's steering to be a bit lacking in feedback and a bit over-assisted, even in sport mode. The Z's steering felt a bit more connected and a bit less artificial to me. As for cornering, both cars have mild understeer which can be shifted back to neutral with a bit of throttle. But the Z had a bit more camber at the front. So, the understeer was a bit easier to deal with. The excess weight (in addition to the longer wheelbase) really makes its presence felt in the M. The understeer is more pronounced. And the M is definitely more sluggish than the Z during fast transitions and S turns.

Overall, I found the M to be marginally faster on big tracks with sweeping turns and long straights. But on slower, more technical tracks which emphasize handling, the lighter and more compact Z is just as fast as the M, and may even be a bit faster too! For your reference, I timed myself to be about 1 second a lap faster in the M at shannonville and cayuga, and no faster at all at mosport ddt.

And lastly, maintenance and repairs are definitely much cheaper on the Z than the M. And that's important from a cost containment perspective. Not to mention that like any japanese car, the Z has a much bigger aftermarket for parts than the M, and you don't have to sell your house to afford those parts either, like you have to do with the M.

Oh I almost forgot. The idiot dumbass jap engineers who made that cheap rice noisy Z forgot to drill a ginormous hole in the powersteering reservoir cap. So unfortunatley, when at the track driving, it doesn't coat your entire engine bay with some nice, fresh, shiny powersteering oil like our fine "german engineered" "masterpiece" M3 does!
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      01-05-2013, 01:23 AM   #20
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Overall, I found the M to be marginally faster on big tracks with sweeping turns and long straights. But on slower, more technical tracks which emphasize handling, the lighter and more compact Z is just as fast as the M, and may even be a bit faster too! For your reference, I timed myself to be about 1 second a lap faster in the M at shannonville and cayuga, and no faster at all at mosport ddt.
Stock 370Z vs Stock M3?
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      01-05-2013, 01:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Stock 370Z vs Stock M3?
yes, with just brake pads and fluid for safety reasons of course, and with an oil cooler for the z. I was eventually going to go with a supercharger and then it would have been bye bye M3. but the car got wrecked.
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      01-05-2013, 02:08 AM   #22
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I have a 350z that I track and DD occasionally. All cars will have heat problems when pushed hard on the track but my personal experience is that the M3 is more prone to heat issues overall. I wouldn't describe the Z as having a truck like motor I'd say its more of a muscle car feel, and IMHO the tranny feels better than the M3 one.

Like I said before if I'm buying a car specifically for the track it'd be something small and light like a miata. Adding power is easy but you can't shrink a cars proportions and you can only remove so much weight
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