Z4 M Part 7
This is it, the grand finale. An all-out track shoot-out with three completely different, yet wisely modified modern enthusiast cars. Each fit perfectly into the "OEM Plus" category. We took our Project Cayman X51 and Project Z4 M to the track for direct comparison to an intelligently modified Porsche 911 (997) Carrera S to wrap up two exciting project car series in one wild swing.

Let's set the stage: In this writer's humble opinion, the Porsche 911 is the benchmark to which all other sports cars are compared. The original plan was to test our completed Project Cayman X51 with its big brother, the 997 S. Just for fun, we decided to bring Project Z4 M into the mix, as its performance progression over the past two years has been extremely successful. Thus, we end up with three high quality machines, and each with different engine/chassis layouts. How close will this contest be? And which one will reign supreme?

The Format
On the same day, with the same weather conditions, same track, same driven line, same test driver, same data measuring equipment, and all vehicles on R-compound tires, we go about the task of blasting each vehicle around Race City Motorsport Park's two-mile, 11-turn road course in Calgary, Alberta (unfortunately, the 'Ring wasn't within our budget). Using the Traqmate GPS acquisition system we were able to collect a lot of hard data during our test day: lap times, velocity/distance data, and lateral/longitudinal g-force data, all in order to make some accurate quantitative assessments regarding our contestants.

The Test Driver (a.k.a. The Bloke)
Our hot shoe/test driver for this event is former Australian Porsche Cup driver, Steven Tory. We know him by many names, "Sideways," "Sparky," and "The Bloke" to name a few-we'll stick with the latter and keep the other unmentionables to ourselves. The Bloke was instructed to drive each car with the same level of anger, avoid the curbs, and, most importantly, keep them off the concrete walls. And he did just that... good on ya, mate.

2006.5 BMW Z4 M Coupe
Layout
Front engine, rear drive
Weight Bias: 50:50
Curb Weight: 3,240 lb

Options
Premium package

Engine
3.2-liter inline six, stock power 330 hp

Engine Mods
Full Supersprint exhaust (step headers, metallic cats, X-pipe, Power Loop mufflers), K&N panel filter with OEM charcoal unit removed, OEM software

Peak Power
365 hp (dyno proven)

Driveline
Six-speed manual, OEM LSD

Suspension
KW Suspensions V3 coilovers, TC Kline camber plates with custom 3mm spacer, OEM anti-roll bars

Brakes
Brembo GT assemblies with 355mm/345mm two-piece rotors (f/r)
Wheels
Forgeline ZX3-R, 9x18, 10x18 (f/r)

Tires
Nitto NT01 R-compound, 245/40, 275/35 (f/r)

Exterior
N/A

Interior
CG-lock

Final Costs
$49,000 + $21,000 (mods)= $70,000

The underdog -BMW Z4 M CoupeIn Part 1 of the project series, we compared the Z4 M Coupe with the Porsche Cayman S. However, with a factory horsepower rating of 330 hp, it is entirely possible that BMW had its sights set on the entry-level 911, with the 997 Carrera and 997 Carrera S rated at 325 and 355 hp, respectively. So perhaps the bargain-priced M Coupe is not at all out of its league here. In addition, Project Z4 M has been subjected to several well-executed modifications.

For the price, this car absolutely rocks.

The contender-Porsche Cayman SThe original plan for this project car was to de-throne the mighty 997 S and encroach into GT3 territory with no regard for time or cost. Our "science project," as we affectionately refer to it, is now blessed with a 997.1S X51 crate engine and a menagerie of other track-ready bits and pieces. The result is quite spectacular, but is it enough?

2008 Porsche Cayman s
Layout
Mid engine, rear drive
Weight Bias: 46:54
Curb Weight: 3,150 lb

By Doug Neilson
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