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E30 S54 vs Z4M?

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    E30 S54 vs Z4M?

    After getting rid of my E30 in 2015 I always hoped to pick up a clean shell and build it with an S54, 6 speed, 5 lug swap, etc. But now work is always busy and free time is difficult to come by. Am I crazy in assuming ponying up more $ for a Z4M coupe would net me a similar driving experience to an E30 S54, without all the hard work?

    Anyone drive them both and can comment?

    #2
    I really like the Z4M coupe. I don't think you can go wrong - it's basically an E46 with some upgrades from the E90 generation, but a smaller, stiffer chassis - although it's definitely heavier than an E30 would be.
    Build thread

    Bimmerlabs

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      #3
      Originally posted by Andy348 View Post
      After getting rid of my E30 in 2015 I always hoped to pick up a clean shell and build it with an S54, 6 speed, 5 lug swap, etc. But now work is always busy and free time is difficult to come by. Am I crazy in assuming ponying up more $ for a Z4M coupe would net me a similar driving experience to an E30 S54, without all the hard work?

      Anyone drive them both and can comment?
      Haven't driven both, but if free time is hard to come by, I would opt for a turn-key Z4M 100%
      Originally posted by wholepailofwater
      Q
      :devil:


      WTB: Dove Grey e36 Front Door Panels (2 door)

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        #4
        S54 E30 has loads more useable space and will be noticeably lighter as well as subjectively better looking. The Z4M is a much stiffer and a better overall chassis.

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          #5
          I think Z4M is better in many ways, but personally I prefer E30 S54

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            #6
            I'm getting old, so turn key Z4M for me!
            My e30: OEM+ with M30B35

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              #7
              Originally posted by nando View Post
              I really like the Z4M coupe. I don't think you can go wrong - it's basically an E46 with some upgrades from the E90 generation, but a smaller, stiffer chassis - although it's definitely heavier than an E30 would be.
              Agree with this I drove the Z4M coupe when it was brand new and its a blast. its also got a lot more creature comforts than the E30 will have and it will handle better (well depending on what you do to the E30).

              I love my S54 E30 but I will say its a ton of work to get it perfect and make it feel like it was meant to be in there. Many swaps I have seen is just an engine dropped in a shitty shell, they are fast but are really horrible from a daily stand point. So unless you are going to go all out with your swap I say Z4M.
              Euro Delivery Thread///E30 Project Klaus

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                #8
                If you're limited on free time the answer is clearly Z4M.
                2000 A4 1.8TQ | 1988 325is | 1976 280Z | 1953 CJ3B

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                  #9
                  Could always get a Z3M...
                  Simon
                  Current Car:
                  -2003 Mini Cooper R50 (daily)
                  -2002 MR2 Spyder (project)
                  Previous Car Count : 24 ... and climbing...

                  Make R3V Great Again -2020

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                    #10
                    I vote Z4M as well. I'm in my mid 40's and although I love E30's and have an S52 swapped car...with 5 cars and 2 kids I also have less time to keep up with all the things these 30 year old cars need. Sometimes I think about S54 swapping and other times I just think about picking up an entire E46 M3. I haven't driven a Z4M but I've heard great things about them.
                    Last edited by reelizmpro; 06-29-2020, 11:53 PM.
                    "I'd probably take the E30 M3 in this case just because I love that little car, and how tanky that inline 6 is." - thecj

                    85 323i M TECH 1 S52 - ALPINEWEISS/SCHWARZE
                    88 M3 - LACHSSILBER/SCHWARZE
                    89 M3 - ALPINEWEISS II/M TECH CLOTH-ALCANTARA
                    91 M TECHNIC CABRIO TURBO - MACAOBLAU/M TECH CLOTH-LEATHER

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                      #11
                      Another one here for Z4M....getting my swap to a standard I am happy with has literally taken years. I like it...but it's been a journey. And I'm finding parts tougher and tougher to get hold off (especially anything desirable). Also remember the S54 isn't a young engine any more.

                      Get a Z4M and get out and enjoy it.
                      JUNGL3



                      1990 "333i" Sport

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                        Could always get a Z3M...
                        Z3s are cool as well, but a Z3M with an S54 will be a lot more expensive and much harder to find.
                        Build thread

                        Bimmerlabs

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by nando View Post

                          Z3s are cool as well, but a Z3M with an S54 will be a lot more expensive and much harder to find.
                          Also the Z3 M didnt all have S54s the early ones had S52s, there only 1100 total (not just US total) Z3M Coupes made with S54s so very rare and expensive. Also they are detuned over the regular S54.
                          Euro Delivery Thread///E30 Project Klaus

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                            #14
                            tuning them back to full power isn't a big deal. It's the same computer and engine, and MSS54 has been hacked for years now. But yeah, unless you only like the Z3, I can't imagine picking that over a Z4.
                            Build thread

                            Bimmerlabs

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                              #15
                              He said he wanted an E30 Driving Experience... just throwing it out there.

                              But add me as another vote for Z4M.

                              The most recent S54 E30s have sold for over $20k on the bottom end so I think the Z4M is a much better value in that price range
                              Simon
                              Current Car:
                              -2003 Mini Cooper R50 (daily)
                              -2002 MR2 Spyder (project)
                              Previous Car Count : 24 ... and climbing...

                              Make R3V Great Again -2020

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