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      04-19-2011, 08:58 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chemgeek View Post
People out there really like the 3.0L NA engine? I find it to be a joke every time I get a loaner. ...and the roar of the 3.0L NA? Really??
You just don't know how to appreciate the refinement of the N52.. too bad for you, dude.
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      04-20-2011, 02:46 AM   #90
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I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Rather than force our hand with this new engine, BMW should offer it as an option in the US and see what the take rate is before ditching the N52 completely. Introducing the N20 in the X1 makes complete sense and it would also be great if they could introduce a 320i and 120i at slightly lower price points so this engine can make its own market.

I also think the Z4 is a terrible car for introducing this engine. You can talk about Miatas and TTs all you want, but the Z4 starts at $48K in the US which means they're really $55K on dealer lots with decent options. Whether deserved or not, the reputation that 4 cylinders have in this country will make it hard for BMW to sell a lot of $50-55K 4 cylinder sporty/luxurious convertible. Unlike a GTI, the N20 engine does not match the established image of the Z4.

And a few other points of reality:
  • BMW hasn't even suggested the an N20 equipped Z4 will weigh less than an N52 equipped Z4. The bare engine may be lighter, but once all the cooling bits are in, I think it'll be a wash or perhaps some truly neglible savings. If significant weight savings were part of the deal, BMW would be promoting it front and center. That they're not is very telling.
  • NVH and aduio quality will undoubtedly suffer compared with the N52. When BMW goes out of their way to supress the sound of the engine or worse, cover it up with artificial noise, you know that they know the sound isn't pretty. Again, maybe fine for an X1, but not for a Z4.
  • As others have mentioned, I'll only believe the additional mileage claims when I see them. EPA figures have gotten more accurate since their recent formula adjustment, but they're still not real world accurate. My wife and I took a road trip in her 328xi Sports Wagon (automatic). Even with some windy weather, lots of hills and a relatively heavy foot, we averaged 25MPG. Do you really think we would get much better mileage with an N20 in the same 3,900 lb. car under the same conditions? I'd bet 1 MPG improvment at best, which is not enough to make me switch from a lovely NA I-6.

BMW needs to consider its U.S. heritage and how much their identity is based on NA I-6s and RWD. Give us the NA I-6 option option, BMW, or watch customers like me leave the brand.
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      04-20-2011, 08:04 AM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
I also think the Z4 is a terrible car for introducing this engine. You can talk about Miatas and TTs all you want, but the Z4 starts at $48K in the US...
It's a fair point. I was curious so I checked on Edmunds. Here's the current prices:

2011 Audi TT Roadster: $41,300
2011 BMW Z4 Roadster: $47,450

So you are right, the Z4 commands a premum of about $6k vs. the TT. That's not insignificant by any means. However, I would suggest that the we wait to see if BMW charges less for the Z4 28i than they had been for the Z4 30i. I think that although price drops are rare, especially with BMW, in this case there is actually a good chance it will come down especially when you consider that they opted to call it a 28i vs. a 30i. Clearly they are aware that the immediate impression the consumer will have is that this model slots in a little below the old model. A cooresponding price drop would be expected.

Also, remember, the car has more power than the TT does, though performance may be on par (I didn't check performance comparisons against the current 30i for that matter).

Quote:
And a few other points of reality:

BMW hasn't even suggested the an N20 equipped Z4 will weigh less than an N52 equipped Z4.
Yes, I absolutely agree with you that weight savings will be minimal at best, and perhaps none at all. That part was always a red herring to me. Typically BMW marketing snow job, that one.

Quote:
NVH and aduio quality will undoubtedly suffer compared with the N52.
My guess is that BMW has determined that those buying the entry level model are not usually the ones who pay a lot of attention to such things. That said, I think we should wait to hear the final product to see what they've come up with.

Quote:
My wife and I took a road trip in her 328xi Sports Wagon (automatic). Even with some windy weather, lots of hills and a relatively heavy foot, we averaged 25MPG. Do you really think we would get much better mileage with an N20 in the same 3,900 lb. car under the same conditions?
Unfortunately, the EPA numbers are what matters most. EPA test procedures are still woefully inadequate. And the CAFE system is broken at a fundamental level at best, and at worst it actually acts to contradict its claimed goals. It is completely conceivable to engineer a motor that offers better EPA results than another motor and yet offers no better real world results, and I'm sure this happens often. Sure, you also don't want to let customers down by not meeting their observed fuel economy expectations. So, I think that it will be no worse than the N52 in that regard. Maybe no better, no, but no worse either. The win is that they boost their CAFE thereby cutting costs.
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      04-20-2011, 03:28 PM   #92
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      04-20-2011, 09:01 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
My guess is that BMW has determined that those buying the entry level model are not usually the ones who pay a lot of attention to such things. That said, I think we should wait to hear the final product to see what they've come up with.
That's kind of my point -- I don't think anyone buying a $50-55K car thinks of it as an entry level model. I can understand that mentality for someone buying a 1 Series to save some money over a 3 Series, but there's nothing entry level about a Z4 with any engine. At Z4 prices, the engine is supposed to be smooth and sound good.

And as you said, I highly doubt the price will go down, so that will not help.
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      04-21-2011, 07:26 PM   #94
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Does anyone really buy a roadster to get good gas mileage, give me a break. I bought a 335d as a daily driver and yes mileage was a consideration, but not the only reason I bought the car. I also wanted the performance and handling of a BMW. If you want great gas mileage, buy a Civic hybrid or a Prius. I don't see much of a market in the US for a 4 cyl Z4. Surely BMW isn't trying to compete with a Mazda MX-5.
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      04-21-2011, 08:37 PM   #95
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I have to say, I am disappointed in BMW. Nothing against turbo-4 engines -- I have owned them in numerous sports cars over the years -- but what sold me on the s30i was the lovely inline six engine. It's a gem, and has a long heritage that has defined BMW. I wouldn't have even shopped the Z4 if it was sold with a turbo-4, and certainly not in the $50-55K range. They are delusional. I am sure sales will suffer.

BTW, I wouldn't even mention the TT in comparison. Pricing aside, it is not in the same class as the E89 Z4. It stacked up a little better against the previous generation.
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      04-22-2011, 12:17 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I have to say, I am disappointed in BMW. Nothing against turbo-4 engines -- I have owned them in numerous sports cars over the years -- but what sold me on the s30i was the lovely inline six engine.
We're in the same boat. My wife had an Audi A4 Avant, but when her lease was up, she wouldn't buy another Audi because the newer Avant model only offered a turbo 4. It wasn't a terrible engine, but nowhere near as smooth and sweet as the N52 and it just sounded cheap for a car approaching $50K. She had no plans to look at a BMW, but the turbo 4 only Audi pushed her into BMW's arms and we got her a 328xi.

Likewise, I would have never bought my old Z4 coupe if it came with a turbo 4. Then again, maybe BMW figures we won't abandon them because Audi and Mercedes are offering turbo 4s in place of 6s on their lowest powered models.

If we can't handle the turbo 4, where do we turn? Infiniti?
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      04-22-2011, 07:44 AM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
That's kind of my point -- I don't think anyone buying a $50-55K car thinks of it as an entry level model.
That may very well be true, but my point is that I'll bet BMW figures that engine sound is not a high priority for most (not all, no, but most) of the folks who do not opt for the highest performance engine offered for a given car. Even so, they are taking measures to address the sound and smoothness.

Quote:
And as you said, I highly doubt the price will go down, so that will not help.
I actually think that there is a decent chance (maybe 50/50) it will come down given the model name change. If they had kept the 30i name I would have said "no way" for sure.

I understand the points you (and otherts) are making - I too favor a naturally aspirated motor. But I am willing to accept that the most likely scenario here is that BMW sales won't be hurt by the move to an all turbocharged lineup at all. In fact, I firmly believe they will increase. I too will be looking elsewhere when it comes time to replace my M3, but as you say in your other post just above, the number of options is dwindling fast. It is not unlikely that, in the not-so-distant future, all but the most expensive sports cars will have forced induction (or be some sort of hybrids, or both).
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      04-22-2011, 05:59 PM   #98
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Our car prices get impacted a lot by the strength / weakness of the dollar...

Currently the Aussie is at an all time high against the greenback - (and also doing well against the Euro) which is making it a great time to buy a European car.

How does the US market get impacted by the US dollar dropping in value?
Is it something you guys factor into the car prices?
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      04-22-2011, 06:01 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
...they are taking measures to address the sound and smoothness.
What are they doing to address smoothness? I imagine they're using fluid-filled motor mounts or whatever the latest traend is there, but what else can they really do to make a 4 cylinder not feel like 4 cylinder? Especially in comparison to one of the smootest engines available, the belovd N52.
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      04-23-2011, 12:43 AM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
What are they doing to address smoothness?
I doubt tht smoothness was a concern, with the introduction of the N20. As usual BMW is primarily addressing the other German competition. Which also introduced, their new SLK, at the NY auto show.

"The 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 will be available in the showrooms in the U.S. starting in June 2011. Mercedes-Benz did not go in to the details about the powertrains that will be used. It is expected that a new generation of direct-injected four- and six-cylinders will be standard and connected to a reprogrammed 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission."
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      04-23-2011, 11:02 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
What are they doing to address smoothness? I imagine they're using fluid-filled motor mounts or whatever the latest traend is there, but what else can they really do to make a 4 cylinder not feel like 4 cylinder? Especially in comparison to one of the smootest engines available, the belovd N52.
The best option would be balance shafts, but they do bring tradeoffs including friction and weight, and their effectiveness really depends on other specs (bore vs stroke, etc).

It's not impossible to have a sweet 4 cylinder -- the engine in my S2000 is an example. But once you start using forced induction and other tricks to really increase the effective displacement, the engines can turn into beasts that make all sorts of rude noises and vibrations. The turbo 4 in our Acura RDX is an example. Half the time it sounds like an air conditioner pump. Many buyers like the turbo whooshes and seem to think its a great high tech engine, but that particular vehicle would have been way better with a V6. I don't see any benefit to the turbo 4, not even fuel economy. Wringing the life out of a four to make it work in a heavy vehicle usually doesn't fly in my book.

Oddly, the best combo I've owned was a Subaru Outback XT in 2005. Though the H4 is known to be rumbly (as many flat 4 and 6 motors are) it has perfect balance (like the straight 6) and was awesome with a turbo. I still wouldn't pay $55k for that kind of engine in a Z4 though.

Last edited by skier219; 04-23-2011 at 11:07 AM.
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      04-23-2011, 01:41 PM   #102
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In most cases the smoothness of a turbo 4 is related to its non-turbo base motor. If it is good, the turbo can be. I've owned may types of motors over the years. The last turbo 4's were in Dodge Daytona's in the 80s. They were very good for the time but got noisy and rough above 5000 RPMs. I now appreciate a motor that is smooth all the way to a 7000 or 8000 RPM redline. But the broad torque curve of a well tuned turbo is nice too.
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      04-23-2011, 06:39 PM   #103
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Saw the Atacama Yellow Z4 2.8 at the New York Auto Show this morning during a BMWCCA preview. They had the hood release taped over so you couldn't pop the bonnet. The marketing guy said it was a prototype and they couldn't show it. My guess is that it was a rebadged 3.0i and that the turbo 4 was not under the hood.

Why "launch" the car if the major feature of the model is not viewable ?
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      04-24-2011, 12:02 AM   #104
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Need to prevent the public from falling into that empty space between da turbo and the radiator. I heard they haven't have any luck finding Al Gore yet.

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      04-24-2011, 02:12 AM   #105
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I've driven and ridden in lots of 4 cylinder cars over the years, both NA and turbo. None come anywhere close to an N52 in terms of smoothness or sound quality, though the latter is subjective.

Larger displacement NA 4s that make enough power to be useful in a sporty car vibrate too much at idle and usually have other points in the rev range where they make themselves very obviously known.

Turbo 4s can make good power with smaller displacement, of course, but as another poster pointed out, you often get to hear the plumbing noises more than the engine. I completely agree that the Acura RDX's engine falls into this category (a friend had one for a while -- it was a terrible match for that car) and the 2.3 Turbo in my old MazdaSpeed 6 fell into this category as well.

We haven't even talked about the strange, inconsistent throttle response that many turbo 4s suffer from. When it comes to physics, there is no free lunch. There are a lot of compromises involved in trying to replace a smooth, refined inline 6 with a turbo 4, but I've yet to see any tangible benefits.

The 2.0T engine in the current Audi A4/A5 is heralded as one of the best turbo 4s available in terms of power delivery and smoothness. I drove 3 cars with that engine, 2 automatics and one stick, and I really disliked it on every level. I don't see how BMW's engine can be worlds better, but I guess we'll see.
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      04-24-2011, 02:55 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
I've driven and ridden in lots of 4 cylinder cars over the years, both NA and turbo. None come anywhere close to an N52 in terms of smoothness or sound quality, though the latter is subjective.

Larger displacement NA 4s that make enough power to be useful in a sporty car vibrate too much at idle and usually have other points in the rev range where they make themselves very obviously known.

Turbo 4s can make good power with smaller displacement, of course, but as another poster pointed out, you often get to hear the plumbing noises more than the engine. I completely agree that the Acura RDX's engine falls into this category (a friend had one for a while -- it was a terrible match for that car) and the 2.3 Turbo in my old MazdaSpeed 6 fell into this category as well.

We haven't even talked about the strange, inconsistent throttle response that many turbo 4s suffer from. When it comes to physics, there is no free lunch. There are a lot of compromises involved in trying to replace a smooth, refined inline 6 with a turbo 4, but I've yet to see any tangible benefits.

The 2.0T engine in the current Audi A4/A5 is heralded as one of the best turbo 4s available in terms of power delivery and smoothness. I drove 3 cars with that engine, 2 automatics and one stick, and I really disliked it on every level. I don't see how BMW's engine can be worlds better, but I guess we'll see.
100% agree.
Spec-wise, turbo 4 sounds good and may work to those who don't care about throttle response or idle. But, it is still 4 cylinders, nonetheless.
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      04-25-2011, 07:22 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
The 2.0T engine in the current Audi A4/A5 is heralded as one of the best turbo 4s available in terms of power delivery and smoothness. I drove 3 cars with that engine, 2 automatics and one stick, and I really disliked it on every level. I don't see how BMW's engine can be worlds better, but I guess we'll see.
BMW's won't be worlds better. But as the VAG example shows, you don't need the world's greatest engine to garner lots of sales. But you do have to build the cars that most people want. Unfortunately for enthusiasts, it seems that more people actually want a four cylinder engine rather than a naturally aspirated I6.
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      04-25-2011, 09:25 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
...it seems that more people actually want a four cylinder engine rather than a naturally aspirated I6.
How did you deduce that? Do you really think American BMW buyers are clamouring for a 4 cylinder in place of the N52? I don't.

The only way to know for sure is to sell both engine options side by side for at or near the same price and see what happens.

I know that the take rate for Audi's V6 in the A4/A5 was low enough that they dropped it their US lineup from, but that engine was heavy, inefficient, and not particularly powerful or smooth. And remember, price wise, Audi's V6 models tried to compete with N54-equipped BMWs and they weren't even a close comparison.

I definitely wouldn't attribute Audi's sales gains to their 4 cylinder engine alone. The A4 and A5 have come a long way and they have a newer body style compared to the current 3 Series which is growing a bit long in tooth. Also, I think Audi attracts more people to their brand that care a bit less how the car drives, so the 4 pot is fine for them.
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      04-25-2011, 10:12 AM   #109
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You are probably right - people are not expressly demanding a turbocharged I4. But I'm sure that they are demanding more performance and better fuel economy at the same time. And based on the reviews we seen so far, the N20 will accomplish both.
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