The view out the front of the M Roadster, with the small bulge in the center of the hood and the broad shoulders of the front fenders, gives the illusion of a tight T-shirt stretched across brawny shoulders. Forty-somethings may have bellowed along to the basso profundo of a Shelby Cobra or Corvette Grand Sport, of the kind occasionally glimpsed racing on Wide World of Sports. This has been the M coupe's character since its introduction in 1998, and it remains intact with the modified 2001 model. But the real joy comes from the larger wheels and tires, which helped the Boxster S maintain a 0. Interior sound still measures higher than in the others except at full throttle, when the mid-engined Porsche outhollers it , but the difference is not objectionable.
If you do so, though, consider yourself warned. The standard Z3 models received a in 1999, however the appearance of the Z3 M was not changed. Those cars try to make it easy for you to drive smoothly. The elemental character of the M roadster does bring with it a few inherent niggles. But like a headstrong teenager, it resists manual control, overriding the driver with its own up- and downshifts.
This included 1,815 M Coupes for North America and 3,042 M Roadsters for North America. Understeer is present through most corners. The M had a different steering wheel, an entirely different gauge cluster with different colors and more gauges. From 1998 to 2000, the car used the engine from the E36 M3. But the M3 is the all-purpose performance car, with a dose of practicality from its back seat and ample trunk space. But when the E46 M3 came along in 2001, the M Roadster got a whole new engine, and this time it was the same engine for both the European and North American markets.
That engine was the S54B32, and it made 330 horsepower. The canvas B-pillars also create Conestoga-wagon-size blind spots. The steering is kart quick, too, but most testers felt it offered insufficient heft and feedback, leading some of us to overcontrol the car. By the end of our drive the logbook was overflowing with adulation. Oh, and he's ugly, too. There is stitched leather, thick carpet and silver-fobbed controls all done with a spare elegance that evoke a 1920s' Great Gatsby feel.
Our contestants hail from as far apart as Stuttgart, Germany; Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Spartanburg, South Carolina. M badges were added, obviously, and the car received M side mirrors. One sits tall in the saddle, with less car up around the shoulders. Even the Boxster's short gearing can't compensate for such an added burden. And may God bless Porsche for bringing that doodle to life as the Boxster S. All of a sudden you say, 'Gee whiz! The reduced horsepower is due to different exhaust systems in the two cars.
Though still snug enough to be intimate, there's a feeling of openness provided by the elegant, hooded instrument cluster that's situated dead center. It's easier to hang an arm out the window of an M or Z3 than in any of the others here. On the track, the car does expose some of its bulldog tendencies. Not so this time around. The springs have higher spring rates and the dampers have a more aggressive setting as compared to the Z4 M roadster.
The car achieved a lateral acceleration of 0. The difference in peak power and torque is due to the catalytic converters being located closer to the engine on the North American spec cars, which allows the catalysts to heat up faster and reduce cold start emissions. As sweet-sounding as that S engine is, its 250 horses are each burdened with 12. Our only small gripe with the engine is the metallic rasp that attends its thrust, which sounds as if every exhaust heat shield were loose and vibrating. The cramped two-seat M coupe gives up practical and aesthetic concerns for its solid structure and performance.
The S model amplifies all those virtues. By 140 mph, the Merc had broken free of the pack, pulling 1. Dial up the intensity of the driving, and an improved active-handling system comes into play. Not your parent's car, your mind's car. The Z4 M uses hydraulic power steering, unlike the electric power steering used by the rest of the Z4 range and has thick rimmed steering wheel. The Vette relies on old-fashioned pushrod V-8 displacement-5.
The Z4 uses the same limited slip differential as the E46 M3. The character of the first version was due largely to its ample torque, and with the modest increase in torque that peaks at a higher rpm 4900 rpm versus 3800 rpm , the M coupe doesn't feel much different when you're squirting around town. What kind of car did you drive when you were in elementary school? While admittedly not as graceful, swift and polished as the svelte Z8, its attributes as a sports car keep it proudly in the pack. The roof added an additional weight of 5 kg 11 lb as compared to the roadster. In this rarefied company, those few nits account for the M's five-point deficit relative to the winner, despite the fact that for some this fantastic engine makes up for almost any complaint.