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we went to a BMW sponsored cancer benefit in our new Solstice and had the opportunity to take a Z4 out for a spin.

The most obvious difference is the power of the 3.0 I-6 in the Z4. As you would expect, it completely outclasses the Solstice. The fact that i'm driving my new Solstice with a light foot for now and I felt no need to be gentle with the Z4 made the difference more obvious, but there is no denying the Z4 is signifcantly stronger.
The Z4 was riding on low profile-probably run flat- tires. that combined with a stiff suspension made you aware of every expansion joint or bump in the pavement. On wide sweeping on ramps, the Z4 stayed securely planted at extralegal speds, but with a fair amount of body roll despite the stiff suspension.The Z4 steering was curiously vague- it went where you pointed but the feedback in the steering effort was somehow missing. Very unBMW in my opinion, but i'm calling it like i drove it. The Solstice, by contrast soaks up little imperfections in the road with without the jolt to the posterior. Pushing the Solstice around a wide sweeping turn is much more satisfying. The Solstice's grip is equally tenacious, but it goes through the corner in a much flatter and composed manner. Little niggles and bumps get soaked up and the chassis never loses it's set as it arcs through the bend.

The cabin was much slimmer side to side than the Solstice. The solstice gains space from the hips up due to the relatively larger center tunnel. For me, the center tunnel of the Solstice is ergonomically just right in height and width to serve as armrest area and seems a well integrated element of the solstice interior. The Solstices seats are at least as wide, maybe wider, at the hips. In ergonomic terms, the Solstice is a much nicer place to be. The BMW has the advantage when it comes to amenities. The power seats adjust with the push of a button in directions that the Solstice seat does not go.... something that was brought to my attention by a 5' tall friend who took asked for a phone book when she sat in the driver seat.

I won't comment on the styling because I think the Z4 is the worst example of BMW's new styling direction and i think the Solstice is drop dead gorgeous.... so my final word on exterior style is "no comment'.

We love our BMW 323i. Anyone who is looking for a sporting coupe or sedan needs to drive a BMW 3 series before they buy anything else.
As far as the Z4 is concerned, i'd advise the opposite. Anyone considering a Z4 needs to drive a Solstice. Despite the apples/oranges price point, the Solstice is a superior car in many ways that really are important to people who love to drive.
 

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A 2.5 Z4 would be a fairer comparison on the omph scale.

But thank's for the comparison because size-wise at Z4 is closer to a Solstice.
 

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The biggest difference between Z4 and Solstice....

Price!
 

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cdb said:
...The Z4 was riding on low profile-probably run flat- tires. that combined with a stiff suspension made you aware of every expansion joint or bump in the pavement. On wide sweeping on ramps, the Z4 stayed securely planted at extralegal speds, but with a fair amount of body roll despite the stiff suspension.The Z4 steering was curiously vague- it went where you pointed but the feedback in the steering effort was somehow missing. Very unBMW in my opinion, but i'm calling it like i drove it. ....
You are very perceptive, cdb - the run-flat tires are very harsh for the Z4.

On the steering - welcome to the unavoidable feel of "column-mounted, electric power steering." Even BMW has a difficult time getting it to feel right.
 

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"Holey video game mania, Solsticeman!"

solsticeman said:
On the steering - welcome to the unavoidable feel of "column-mounted, electric power steering." Even BMW has a difficult time getting it to feel right.
So, all of the "feel" of the steering on the BMW would be synthetic force-feedback? Holey videogame mania, Solsticeman!

Driving that machine is going to be great for the Sega generation, they'll already know what the steering feels like from the arcades. Just watch, you'll see them adopt the driving style of the dirt track sprint car racers and "saw" the steering around every turn to get the feeling of numb understeering scrub transferred to their seat cushions.
 
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