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Discussion Starter #1
Got to drive a Z4 the other day and the comparison with my coupe with uprated suspension (shocks, springs, sway bars and 3 chassis stiffeners) was interesting.

I'd driven one back when I was looking all over the place for a Z4M coupe to buy, but none were to be found, and the ride wasn't as good as the Solstice, but handling was very good and steering no worse than the Solstice (which isn't as good as the Boxster or for that matter just about any unassisted steering system).

Revisiting the Z4 was interesting. My Solstice coupe with suspension mods handles better, and obviously stiffer, but I also prefer the feel of the Solstice over the BMW, which seems a tad choppier even with its stock suspension.

Too bad Pontiac had to go the cheap route when they made the Solstice coupe and economized by basically tacking a removable roof panel on the already certified convertible body to save the money it would have taken for recertification as a true coupe model.

Not that I'm complaining - we are lucky to have received the Solstice coupe in whatever form, but the Z4 coupe achieved more than double the torsional stiffness of the convertible by adding the fixed roof. It would have been pretty interesting to be able to compare the handling of a true fixed roof Solstice to the convertible! But then again, it would probably be a difference that would only matter to the 1% of owners that care about ultimate handling behavior.

Guess the closest we could come would be comparing stiffness figures of an unmodified Solstice with one that has a roll cage fitted for racing, but that wouldn't be a fair measure either, as you'd expect that to be significantly stiffer again than a street version fixed head coupe.
 

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I agree that the Z3 has very attractive looks, when it is parked without a driver. When it is occupied by any normal size driver, it looks like it is 9/10 or 7/8 scale and the car is being worn by the driver. Come to think of it though, some of the old British sports cars of the 50s and 60s now seem to have that same look.

When I saw the my first Z4, I had sahein's reaction. I thought it was ugly. Over the years I have gotten accustomed to the warts; the car has grown on me, and I now think it is one of the most attractive and is especially well proportioned.
Never drove one so I have no opinion on ride or handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Z4's styling is edgy, for sure, and I can see why anyone might prefer the more conventional lines of the Z3. In my case, I am really a coupe fan, which means that the chop-tail Z3 really doesn't do a thing for me - looks too much like any number of Japanese 'hot hatches'.

Maybe my ideal combination would be something that never existed - the smooth styling of the Z3 mated to the good looking coupe body that the Z4 had (excepting only that razor edge styling, if you don't like that). For me, though, the styling of the body sides is an acceptable small penalty for the over all attractive coupe shape, very much like the Solstice coupe in many ways.

I'm probably way better off not having found a Z4M coupe (they made only about 4000 odd) in terms of long term cost.

BTW, if you hate edgy styling, you'll really hate the Z4 Coupe Zagato.... BMW Drops New Video Footage of Z4 Zagato Coupe - Carscoop
 

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I prefer the looks of the Z3 much more than the Z4. Z4 is one of the ugliest cars on the road in my opinion.
I strongly disagree with you. I feel that the Z4 is one of the only cars on the road that as good looking as the Solstice. I find the Z3 to be very boring looking.

Bob
 

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The Z4's styling is edgy, for sure, and I can see why anyone might prefer the more conventional lines of the Z3. In my case, I am really a coupe fan, which means that the chop-tail Z3 really doesn't do a thing for me - looks too much like any number of Japanese 'hot hatches'.

Maybe my ideal combination would be something that never existed - the smooth styling of the Z3 mated to the good looking coupe body that the Z4 had (excepting only that razor edge styling, if you don't like that). For me, though, the styling of the body sides is an acceptable small penalty for the over all attractive coupe shape, very much like the Solstice coupe in many ways.

I'm probably way better off not having found a Z4M coupe (they made only about 4000 odd) in terms of long term cost.

BTW, if you hate edgy styling, you'll really hate the Z4 Coupe Zagato.... BMW Drops New Video Footage of Z4 Zagato Coupe - Carscoop
Bill, check out the ultimate Z. It's the Z8. I cruised with one at the Penticton car show this spring! Only built like 5600 of them over 4 years.
 

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Got to drive a Z4 the other day and the comparison with my coupe with uprated suspension (shocks, springs, sway bars and 3 chassis stiffeners) was interesting.

I'd driven one back when I was looking all over the place for a Z4M coupe to buy, but none were to be found, and the ride wasn't as good as the Solstice, but handling was very good and steering no worse than the Solstice (which isn't as good as the Boxster or for that matter just about any unassisted steering system).

Revisiting the Z4 was interesting. My Solstice coupe with suspension mods handles better, and obviously stiffer, but I also prefer the feel of the Solstice over the BMW, which seems a tad choppier even with its stock suspension.

Too bad Pontiac had to go the cheap route when they made the Solstice coupe and economized by basically tacking a removable roof panel on the already certified convertible body to save the money it would have taken for recertification as a true coupe model.

Not that I'm complaining - we are lucky to have received the Solstice coupe in whatever form, but the Z4 coupe achieved more than double the torsional stiffness of the convertible by adding the fixed roof. It would have been pretty interesting to be able to compare the handling of a true fixed roof Solstice to the convertible! But then again, it would probably be a difference that would only matter to the 1% of owners that care about ultimate handling behavior.

Guess the closest we could come would be comparing stiffness figures of an unmodified Solstice with one that has a roll cage fitted for racing, but that wouldn't be a fair measure either, as you'd expect that to be significantly stiffer again than a street version fixed head coupe.
So you have the DDM works front frame brace, the mid-rear drivetrain tunnel reinforcement and the rear pro beam? I was discussing this in another thread, and being a newb, I did not realize the DDM back bone was thick aluminum, I just saw 3/8ths' plate under there. In any case, we also talked about the rear coupe portion being something other than steel since a magnet does not stick to it, but to your point, even though these add on's were not stock, they surely have helped chassis stiffness tremendously, and when you think about it, having the removable coupe roof AND the low-to- ground weight adds for chassis stiffness probably are the better way to go anyway, unless you are racing a vehicle and a rollcage is a requirement.

Edit: besides, if you want to discuss going the cheaper route vs. some competition, brakes should be at the top of the order. In the end, the miata is cheaper and most of the vehicles that have the higher end appointments (brakes, interior, etc) cost quite a bit more at the time. As I recall in comparison's I did the z4 was around 8-10k more over a coupe GXP. The 370z, audi tt, boxster, H2000, are all great comparisons.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Bill, check out the ultimate Z. It's the Z8. I cruised with one at the Penticton car show this spring! Only built like 5600 of them over 4 years.
I'm not as keen on the appearance and styling of the Z8, although I admire the cars, which were hugely expensive and still are, if you can find one. Were I to spend that much on a car, it would probably be on an NSX, which I also like a lot. But I'll admit that if a great deal on a Z8 had ever fallen into my lap, I might not have been able to resist it.

So you have the DDM works front frame brace, the mid-rear drivetrain tunnel reinforcement and the rear pro beam?

Edit: besides, if you want to discuss going the cheaper route vs. some competition, brakes should be at the top of the order. In the end, the miata is cheaper and most of the vehicles that have the higher end appointments (brakes, interior, etc) cost quite a bit more at the time. As I recall in comparison's I did the z4 was around 8-10k more over a coupe GXP. The 370z, audi tt, boxster, H2000, are all great comparisons.
I have the Probeam and Backbone from DDM, but used an LV front brace - I always considered the one sold by DDM to be needlessly intrusive in valuable engine bay space - which is moot now anyway as they have (wisely) taken on manufacture of the LV brace as well.

Not sure what you mean about brakes. The Kappa doesn't need better/bigger brakes (although many people do that as a style statement), it needed better brake pads. I use EBC RedStuff and have been happy with them. Stock pads were the usual compromise fitted to suit 'most people'.


At the time I bought my car in the autumn of 2009, I could have picked up a 2 year old Z4 coupe for about the same price had there been one locally available, which made it an option for me. I also test drove the S2000 (a hoot to drive, but for me, lukewarm styling), the 350Z (nicely engineered but very 'heavy' styling at least to me), and for fun a Miata - but not enough power or nice enough styling (plus I wanted a coupe) in the last. I was going from a Fiero GT I had turboed to c. 300 BHP that I have owned for 20 years and would not have considered anything with significantly less performance. Thats why it had to be the Z4M or nothing, as there was really nothing else that was a good looking coupe with good handling and comparable performance to what I already owned. Or if there was, I missed it! It had been a long time since I had seen a new sports car that had interested me (since 1989 when I bought my first Fiero, a 1987, which I drove only until I could find a 1988 - significantly superior suspension - to do what I'd wanted to). I didn't want to miss out getting something and the number of sports cars was declining, and some of the survivors were becoming more sedan-like.

I've never regretted buying the Solstice coupe - having a great time with it.

Edit - realized I hadn't commented on your other German options. The Audi handling didn't appeal, nor did the waty they went about it. I have a client that is an Audi dealer and they are always trying to get me to buy something. They showed me the TT with the God-awful interior done up to look like a baseball glove complete with fake leather lacing etc. How do you take that seriously? The Porsches are a very worthy car. Another client owns a Cayman S and while I liked it, they were hugely more expensive even used, than a new Solstice.

I saw the Solstice coupe, went out and found one to test drive and made a deal on the next day and drove one away with only 6 km on it (it hadn't been used as a demo) that weekend, having ordered the GMPP kit before I took delivery of the car. The chassis mods took longer as I had to assess the handling, but the answer to the question 'Would you like more torque and power, fully warrantable for $500?' was pretty obvious.
 

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DDM does offer the venom brace upfront now, totally out of the way. On the brakes if it's just pads making the braking distances longer than the competition that would be great. In doing some research the solstice braking 60-0 was in the 119 ft range. As a comparison a corvette is 97ft, 370z was like 102, and all the other cars I mentioned in my prior post (z4, audi tt, miata, s2000) were below 110ft. So if it's pads holding it back ok. But like the z4 as an example...it also has a bigger front rotor, vented rear rotor (larger).
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Not sure whether anyone has done stopping distance tests with different pad materials on the Solstice stock brakes. If anyone knows of any, please post as I'd love to have a look at them.

I think that the heat shedding capacity of the Solstice system would be less than the BMW or the Corvette for sure - the question is whether that would ever matter in any conceivable street situation. I was a tad surprised to see that the Solstice used solid rear rotos - my 88 Fiero has vented all round. It doesn't seem to affect poerformance, so I guess it was a sensible choice.

I am quite pleased with the EBR redstuff pads - much better initial grip, and low dust to boot, as well as better fade resistance. I believbe that a number of other manufacturers also offer alterantives - I've used Porterfields on the race cars and Hawk does a good line too.

It is instructive to reflect on the fact that GM obviously assessed North American drivers differently than they did European ones and gave the latter better pad material on the Opel version of our cars.

Let me know if you come up with any Kappa-specific pad test data!
 

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Not sure whether anyone has done stopping distance tests with different pad materials on the Solstice stock brakes. If anyone knows of any, please post as I'd love to have a look at them.

I think that the heat shedding capacity of the Solstice system would be less than the BMW or the Corvette for sure - the question is whether that would ever matter in any conceivable street situation. I was a tad surprised to see that the Solstice used solid rear rotos - my 88 Fiero has vented all round. It doesn't seem to affect poerformance, so I guess it was a sensible choice.

I am quite pleased with the EBR redstuff pads - much better initial grip, and low dust to boot, as well as better fade resistance. I believbe that a number of other manufacturers also offer alterantives - I've used Porterfields on the race cars and Hawk does a good line too.

It is instructive to reflect on the fact that GM obviously assessed North American drivers differently than they did European ones and gave the latter better pad material on the Opel version of our cars.

Let me know if you come up with any Kappa-specific pad test data!
I was trying to find something too, have yet to find anything. I do plan to use one of the pads you mention and call it good as I won't be autocrossing this car or even hitting twisty roads hard enough to need the constant on/off heavy braking that could result in brake fade (this was the issue brought up by the various mag. articles during comparison testing).

I can tell you that the Solstice front/rear brakes are 11.7" vented/10.9" solid rotor, compared to z4's 12.8vented/11.6 vented, so there is a substantial difference here and although the z4 is a little heavier, it outbrakes the solstice by 15ft. The larger brakes would add slightly to the overall vehicle weight, and cost...pontiac had to compromise in some places to keep the vehicle at that low price point.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I was trying to find something too, have yet to find anything. I do plan to use one of the pads you mention and call it good as I won't be autocrossing this car or even hitting twisty roads hard enough to need the constant on/off heavy braking that could result in brake fade (this was the issue brought up by the various mag. articles during comparison testing).
Yeah, I've been through it all before on street and race. I find that people tend to over-spec for what use they'll really put the car to. They buy big brake packages and hard racing pads when they don't need them, and when there may be some downside (in the past, at least, the more fade resistant pads also didn't work as well until they had been applied a few times). Finding a balance is what we need on th street. Let me know what you end up with and post what you feel about them for future reference.

I was unhappy about the stock pads when I first drove the car hard on a nice winding sports car road, diving into the corners fairly deeply. Tad scary when they didn't grab hard immediately, nor stop as quickly as I'd expected. The EBC reds are much closer to what I consider ideal, but I'm not saying that some others aren't as good or better (didn't go for the yellows some people do as they are really a racing pad - or for heavier cars, maybe street - with much more dust than the ceramic reds, and any additional heat tolerance wasn't really needed for hard street use with a 3,000 lb. car, was my guess).
 

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Yeah, I've been through it all before on street and race. I find that people tend to over-spec for what use they'll really put the car to. They buy big brake packages and hard racing pads when they don't need them, and when there may be some downside (in the past, at least, the more fade resistant pads also didn't work as well until they had been applied a few times). Finding a balance is what we need on th street. Let me know what you end up with and post what you feel about them for future reference.

I was unhappy about the stock pads when I first drove the car hard on a nice winding sports car road, diving into the corners fairly deeply. Tad scary when they didn't grab hard immediately, nor stop as quickly as I'd expected. The EBC reds are much closer to what I consider ideal, but I'm not saying that some others aren't as good or better (didn't go for the yellows some people do as they are really a racing pad - or for heavier cars, maybe street - with much more dust than the ceramic reds, and any additional heat tolerance wasn't really needed for hard street use with a 3,000 lb. car, was my guess).
I'll have to get back to you on this thread with regard to existing pads. This is actually the wifes car that I suggested to her (vs. a solstice convertible n/a). Problem is playing with performance stuff has to happen with just me. She is not into any heavy braking and high speed turns, makes her sick. :cryin: It is what it is, she just wants a little fun cruiser. Which is also why I'd never mess with upgrading rotors, calipers, etc. I saw a thread on SS hoses that firm the pedal, and of course 4 wheel brake bleed with quality fluid, and main thing being new pads one day. But the car will see like 4k a year, and I'm not spending money on pads that don't need replacement at this point, we just spent another grand on soft targa and front license plate bracket (required here in colorado). Oh, this car will rarely if ever see a wet road as well. In winter we are lucky here in Colorado, there are plenty of days during winter where you have sun (it's cold for sure) and no snow in weeks, so all the crap is up off the road and you can get the car out for a short drive to keep everything (like battery) fresh. She drives a Subaru Forester as her daily driver.
 

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I was trying to find something too, have yet to find anything. I do plan to use one of the pads you mention and call it good as I won't be autocrossing this car or even hitting twisty roads hard enough to need the constant on/off heavy braking that could result in brake fade (this was the issue brought up by the various mag. articles during comparison testing).

I can tell you that the Solstice front/rear brakes are 11.7" vented/10.9" solid rotor, compared to z4's 12.8vented/11.6 vented, so there is a substantial difference here and although the z4 is a little heavier, it outbrakes the solstice by 15ft. The larger brakes would add slightly to the overall vehicle weight, and cost...pontiac had to compromise in some places to keep the vehicle at that low price point.
As an update to this, it appears that the EBC red or Hawk ceramic pads should take care of a good portion of this 15ft difference keeping stock rotors, so that's good news. To add to this, when it's time for new rotors, I found that Power Slot rotors (and probably others), not only make a slotted front rotor of the same stock size, but their rear rotor is also VENTED. Part number 126-62094SR or L, $85 ea. and free shipping right now. A stock solid rotor would probably not be much less, so that's a good upgrade there, along with performance pads, should be very nice braking and you can dump that solid rear rotor.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/PSR-126-62094SR/
 

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As an update to this, it appears that the EBC red or Hawk ceramic pads should take care of a good portion of this 15ft difference keeping stock rotors, so that's good news. To add to this, when it's time for new rotors, I found that Power Slot rotors (and probably others), not only make a slotted front rotor of the same stock size, but their rear rotor is also VENTED. Part number 126-62094SR or L, $85 ea. and free shipping right now. A stock solid rotor would probably not be much less, so that's a good upgrade there, along with performance pads, should be very nice braking and you can dump that solid rear rotor.

Power Slot 126-62094SR - Power Slot Slotted Brake Rotors - Overview - SummitRacing.com
Thanks Shadofax!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes, thanks. The ventilated rotor would be a nice upgrade when the time comes to replace rotors.
 

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As an update to this, it appears that the EBC red or Hawk ceramic pads should take care of a good portion of this 15ft difference keeping stock rotors, so that's good news. To add to this, when it's time for new rotors, I found that Power Slot rotors (and probably others), not only make a slotted front rotor of the same stock size, but their rear rotor is also VENTED. Part number 126-62094SR or L, $85 ea. and free shipping right now. A stock solid rotor would probably not be much less, so that's a good upgrade there, along with performance pads, should be very nice braking and you can dump that solid rear rotor.
I just installed the Hawk Ceramics and Powerslot rotors on the front, with Hawk HPS and stock rotors at back. Too soon to really tell, and it may be that they're not fully bedded yet, but like wspohn says the ceramics are a little 'whoa' when cold - at least for now. Not really scary 'whoa', but when I get to the end of my driveway, it's a bit like "Oh yeah, I got to remember about these new pads when cold!"
 

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I just installed the Hawk Ceramics and Powerslot rotors on the front, with Hawk HPS and stock rotors at back. Too soon to really tell, and it may be that they're not fully bedded yet, but like wspohn says the ceramics are a little 'whoa' when cold - at least for now. Not really scary 'whoa', but when I get to the end of my driveway, it's a bit like "Oh yeah, I got to remember about these new pads when cold!"
yea, I can't remember now if it was the EBC or Hawk stuff I was reading that warned that it can take some time for the bedding...perhaps as much as 1500 miles. So you didn't go ahead and do the powerslot rear vented rotors, I assume you just didn't feel the expense was justified if your rotors were still in serviceable spec? Did you do a writeup on your front rotors? I'd assume this is a pretty easy task (changing out rotors front/rear on a Solstice).
 
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