his past weekend a few wichitoppos and I went out to LA for a pseudo-bachelor party. I rented a Z4M off of Turo. After driving nearly 400 miles in it and then returning to my FRS in Wichita I can safely say I like the Scion more.
The Z4M is an intriguing car. Relatively lightweight rear wheel drive liftback coupe with the highly praised S54 6 cylinder out of an M3. The engine is certainly the highlight here, with the smoothest power delivery of any car I’ve driven delivering more than sufficient shoves to the back under throttle.
On the amazing winding roads around LA the car handles well enough, but somehow I didn’t leave the weekend feeling all that impressed. While it certainly responds well to steering input, the feel is essentially non-existent. Heavily weighted, but artificially so, reminding me of driving my former S550 Mustangs.
The clutch pedal, unfortunately, also eerily reminiscent of an S550. Unfortunate because the clutch in an S550 is horrible. Heavy, vague, with an awkwardly high release point. The transmission itself didn’t help either, with that typical BMW rubbery feel that takes far more effort than it should to slot into gear.
In the canyons, the car shined. Everywhere else, it squeaked, creaked, and rattled. The ride is, at best, harsh. The cabin dark and lacking any rear or side visibility. I kept thinking the mirror was aimed down but it was simply the awkward straight line cut of the rear window obscuring my view.
While I’m certainly glad to have experienced a rare car, it seems an experience best left in Los Angeles. Hopping in my Scion to go to work this morning was rewarded with a beautifully light clutch and steering that actually communicates where the wheels are. The weight difference is noticeable, the Scion is delightfully light and nimble in comparison to the dense Z4M.
BMW aside, the trip was fantastic. Beautiful weather, wonderful views, and delicious food.