Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Is "heavy" steering normal in the Z8?

  1. #1
    Sport Button On Cytoboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    36

    Is "heavy" steering normal in the Z8?

    I'm a brand new owner and registered user. I had been driving a 997 C2S for several years before this car. I have never driven any other Z8's except for mine. It has 5000 miles from original owner, and comes with all service documentation.

    I find the ride of the Z8 fantastic, but the steering does take some additional effort compared with my Porsche.

    Is this normal, or should I be looking for an explanation? I don't hear any unusual belt or power steering pump noise.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    That is very normal. At the time they came out I think many BMWs had this heavier steering and over time they have increased the power steering boost. Now that my Z8 is the oldest car in my garage, when I drive it I, I find that I do think how heavy the steering is and it never used to bother me- I am the original owner of the car- got it new in 2000.

  3. #3
    I can second that, when I bought my GT3 I was amazed at the lightness of the steering, I constantly felt that the front was skimming the ground, and not planted on it compared to the feel of both my Z8 and M3, so I'm sure coming from a Porsche the steering of the Z8 will feel as heavy as a barge! Don't worry, it normal - but once you start to progress with the briskness of the 911 on twisty back roads you may want to ad stiffer sway bars to the Z8 - if you can't find the Dinan adjustable ones then the H&R set are good.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  4. #4
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,113
    Keep in mind the engine is sitting over the front suspension as is not the case in the 911, so the added weight up fron probably accounts for some of the "heavy" feeling.

  5. #5
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    This is a very good thought. I think you have the right thinking going on. But this is not the case. Its simply that at the time they designed the Z8, this is the amount of steering weighting BMWs had. Our 2003 X5 had the same weighting. Also remember, the engine of the Z8 is almost all behind the front suspension, hence BMWs (accurate) claim that the Z8 is front-mid engined.

  6. #6
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,471
    It does take me a while to get used to the heavy steering after driving the GT3 a lot. But, it feels perfect after about 10 minutes.

  7. #7
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,701
    After piloting the Exige, the Z8 feels like a yacht, which is not all that bad since it's the trip/cruising and date-mobile with the wife.
    thegunguy

  8. #8
    IMHO they make perfect stable mates, a rabid track rat and a Grand Sports Tourer - but then you knew I'd say that!
     
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  9. #9
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    awesome. you spoke of examples- thats the one!

  10. #10
    It is really because the older I get the less I want to drive really fast anywhere but on the track - nowadays when I'm in the Z8 I like to progress at a speed suitable to enjoy the scenery without too much fluster and bluster. Also the little Lotus is already my second, as as it nears the end of it's warranty it'll get swapped for a new one, while the Z8 will be with me forever. If I make a mad fortune somewhere along the way I might even hunt down a second Z8 once more - I'd really like to get one of the four remaining Midnight Metallic Blue/Saddle cars in Canada.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  11. #11
    Let me add that while the steering of the Z8 will naturally be heavier than the Porsches', there could be a mechanical defect. I recall on my earlier Z8 that the steering was heavy and I brought it up on one of the service calls at Irvine BMW. They replaced, I believe, the power steering pump and there was a considerable improvement.

  12. #12
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    229
    Regarding the heavy steering in the Z8 - one of the things I enjoy about driving the Z8 is the linearity of the controls - the steering gets progressively lighter as you speed up, the brakes always respond the same when you apply them. The same cannot be said for the M6 which is always trying to "help" its driver by second guessing how he would like it to respond - around corners you can sometimes spin the wheel with one finger, as it assumes you want full boost at low speeds. If you heel and toe the gas and brake, be prepared for some truly amazing stops as it looks at the speed you move your foot from the gas to the brake and modulates the braking response to this - do it too quickly and it assumes a "panic stop" and gives you full braking force as soon as you touch the pedal. Most of the time it guesses right, but it is like driving several different vehicles. For pure driving enjoyment give me an old-fashioned car like the Z8 with its linear, unchanging response.

  13. #13
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    This was my biggest complaint of the SMG. Too many wrong guesses. I agree with you on the linear point.

  14. #14
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    229
    I don't have the SMG - I waited until the M6 was avialable with a real transmisson

  15. #15
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    Did you have the DSC on, is your issue with the MDM?

  16. #16
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,701
    I hate to say, but I believe some of the M6 "bi-polar" nature may be due to your selection of the manual transmission. The S85 (I think that's the designation) engine and 7spd SMG transmission were designed in parallel to work tightly together. As I understand it, adapting the manual, mostly at the request of the US customers, was not an easy task, nor was it a welcome one. I'm betting that the adaptation of the manual did no see the level of engineering or testing that the original engine and transmission pair underwent. Thus, the manual has likely upset some of the electronic "harmony" of the systems, and the computer and control responses are likely not optimized with the manual as much as they are with the SMG.

    I must say that I was really impressed with my time in the M6 last summer in Italy. While it's definitely a heavy pig, its usability on tight alpine roads is quite amazing. Once you learn to deal with the understeer, the big girl was amazingly responsive and satisfying. I believe Andrew mentioned in his article that at speed all the high-tech systems begin to come alive and fly in formation. No doubt the M5 and M6 are a bit awkward around town, but at speed they're simply marvelous.

    My father also has one of the M5s, and I've had the opportunity to drive a fair bit on backroads, etc., and I've found that despite its additional mass, the M5 is easier to drive briskly than the Z8. I imagine this is due to the M5's bespoke suspension, brakes, etc versus the Z8's parts-bin hand-me-downs.

    If I can pry myself out of the Lotus, I might have to take the German cousins back to the track for a comparison.
    Last edited by thegunguy; March 6th 2008 at 14:18.
    thegunguy

  17. #17
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    I can only echo your sentiments in terms of driving an SMG equipped M5/6. If FWK had an M6 with the old software where the DSC could not be turned off and the MDM would come on instead (a software update is available to allow full DSC off) then this would make perfect sense- the gearing is probably too aggressive for what the systems are expecting. Btw- while we US customers might be a real PITA, ultimately we were all right about the SMG. Its not a good system. I believe BMW or its subs are more than capable of building a good automated system but I think warranty concerns caused most of our issues with SMG- eg, it seems to be too concerned with clutch life. If you try a modern Ferrari F1 system by comparison the difference is shocking. But those transmissions seem to go through clutches in 15-30k miles depending on whose driving. I have a feeling the new M-DKG (dual clutch) with drive logic is going to restore the promise of the SMG. Still for goof-off fun, the stick shift will always be my favorite. Another thing FWK might have been victimized by is the clutch delay valve... its terribly apparent in the new M3- another nod to the accounting department. Fortunately those are easy to correct.

  18. #18
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,701
    I am keenly interested in giving the new DCT a try. I saw the option finally pop up on the BMW website recently, and I'm hoping that one will arrive a my dealer soon for a test.
    thegunguy

  19. #19
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    Please let us know. Very curious.

  20. #20
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,471
    DCT? Care to enlighten me?

  21. #21
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    Dual Clutch Transmission. BMW is calling theirs the M DKG with Drivelogic- just like how SMG was SMG with Drivelogic. Audi/VW have had one for a few years but it could not handle much power and is called DCT- which is easy to remember since it stands for what it is- in English anyway. Im not sure how BMWs abbreviation works out (Dual Klutch Gearbox?) but Im sure its something in German. The hope is this will deliver a smoother, more consistent, as well as faster, shifting experience than the SMG, which could be clunky. I believe these transmissions, with the right control software could fool many people into thinking they are truly very close to an automatic- yet offer the fastest upshift times. Downshifts may be more similar to SMG times but downshifts were never considered SMG's weakness.

    for more- check out this page:

    http://www.howstuffworks.com/dual-cl...ansmission.htm



    According to World of Car Fans:
    http://www.worldcarfans.com/9080117....g-transmission

    7-speed double-clutch with DriveLogic

    The new BMW M3 Coupe, Sedan and Convertible will be the first to feature BMW's latest technological achievement. The M DKG is a seven-speed double clutch transmission with BMW M's DriveLogic.
    The new transmission is capable of even faster gearshifts which result in faster acceleration than the six-speed manual of the new M3, improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. The M3 coupe is capable of a 0 - 100 km/h time of just 4.6 seconds (0.2 seconds faster than the manual) while still using only 11.9 liters of fuel per 100 km.
    The transmission comes with an wide array of program choices, 11 to be precise. Five shift programmes in fully automatic mode, six in manual mode which are supplemened by the Launch Control program which will provide maximum use of every last horsepower from the 4.0 liter V8 (309 kW / 420 hp). We will have to wait and see whether this Launch Control is as capable as BMW claims.
    As the name says, the M DKG uses two clutches, both are oil-cooled, one is used for the uneven gears and reverse while the other is used for the even gears. One clutch is of course in use while driving, while the other is already pre-engaged. This is the big secret behind the double-clutch system, resulting in almost instantaneous gearshifts.
    BMW's Drivelogic system is capable of several different shifting options, ranging from F1 style as-fast-as-possible gearshifts to luxurious and smooth gearshifts for boulevard cruising. The transmission can be used through either a sports selector lever in the center console or aluminium paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.
    New BMW M3 owners will be happy to hear that the M DKG transmission is capable of taking some punishment on the racetrack.
    Press Release

    New seven-speed transmission adds performance, even more refinement to BMW M3

    Incomparably smooth, silky gearshifts in the blink of an eye, improved fuel economy and reduced emissions are just some of the benefits of the ground-breaking seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic that has been developed by BMW M GmbH for the new BMW M3 Coup?, Sedan and Convertible.

    On top of these benefits, the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to produce lightning-fast gearshifts that result in accelerative abilities exceeding those of the six-speed manual transmission version of the new BMW M3.

    The BMW M3 Coup? with M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, or 0.2 of a second faster than the manual six-speed version, while returning an average fuel consumption of 11.9 litres/100 km.

    As the world?s first seven-speed double-clutch gearbox developed for a high-torque, high-speed powerplant, the new BMW M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic simultaneously lifts refinement and efficiency to new levels while providing the driver with a wide range of options that adapt the system to the needs of the moment.

    The new transmission offers as many as eleven driver-selectable electronically controlled driving program choices.

    These include five shift programs in the fully automatic mode and six in manual mode, and are supplemented by a selectable Launch Control program that provides blistering off-the-line acceleration where the power from the 309 kW, 4.0-litre V8 M3 engine is transferred with maximum effect to the road.

    The heart of the new BMW transmission is the double clutch system that acts to smooth out gearshifts to the point that they are often only discernible by watching the rise and fall of engine rpm on the M3?s tachometer.

    Each oil-cooled wet clutch activates its own set of ratios - one is used for first, third, fifth and seventh gears, as well as reverse, while the other looks after second, fourth and sixth gears.

    Gearshifts are effected by the disengagement of one clutch and the engagement of the other, moving seamlessly from the ratio in use to the next, preselected ratio.

    The fact that the next ratio is preselected and engaged merely by activation of the clutch is the secret behind the amazingly smooth and efficient transition from gear to gear.

    Combined with the BMW Drivelogic system that, as well as offering the driver a choice of seven specific operational modes, is also able to determine the appropriate mode according to the current driving style, the new transmission?s multi-faceted nature allows it to offer anything from rapid-fire F1-style shifting to smooth, luxurious behaviour suited to relaxed boulevard cruising.

    The new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic also incorporates a Low Speed Assistant mode that operates when manoeuvring at speeds less than 5 km/h to significantly increase the smoothness and degree of accelerator control available to the driver.

    Gradient detection also means that the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to determine the appropriate ratios when travelling up or down hills.

    This avoids the "hunting" between gears so often experienced in regular automatics when travelling on undulating roads, while the appropriate selection of lower gears on downhill gradients helps maintain road speed by using the braking power of the engine.

    The new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic also offers the driver the choice of sequential operation via a sports selector lever in the centre console, or solid aluminium F1-style paddles on the steering wheel - right side for upshifts, left side for downshifts.

    The range of shift programs available to the driver means it is possible for the M3 to behave with the grace and aplomb of a luxury car, or with the knife-edge rapidity and precision of a racecar - or anything in between.

    In fully automatic D mode, the driver can select from five Drivelogic programmes that regulate both the gearshift speeds and the change points right through to the D5 mode where the engine is stretched close to its maximum rpm - depending on throttle position - on upshifts. In D1 mode, the M3 with M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is able to start off in second gear to help avoid wheelspin in slippery conditions.

    In manual mode, six different Drivelogic programmes allow a similar range of characteristics, with the added driver control provided by the ability to choose shift points manually. In S6 mode, the drive can also activate launch control by holding the shift lever in the forward position.

    In keeping with the overtly dynamic abilities of the new BMW M3, the M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic, as well as being designed for engine speeds as high as 9,000 rpm, is also able to maintain correct operating temperatures even in the most extreme conditions - including racetrack operation - through its integration with the engine?s cooling system as well as the fact it also incorporates its own oil/air cooler.

    The transmission?s interconnection with the engine cooling system also means a quicker temperature rise from startup, which contributes to reduced frictional losses and lower fuel consumption during the warm-up phase.

    Faster shifting, smoother, and contributing even more to fuel economy and minimalised exhaust emissions, the new M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic raises the bar for sophisticated, high-performance motoring to new heights.
    Source: BMW AG

  22. #22
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,471
    Thanks, I haven't been paying much attention to the new M3. The old SMG was a total waste of time IMHO. Sounds like it just might work this time, but I still think I'll stay with manuals for my "entertaining" cars. I must say, I had a plain Jane 5 series loaner a few months ago, and the automatic was very impressive, matching revs etc, nice.

  23. #23
    In the SMG's defense, it was brilliant at the track, and out on really fast back road drives, it only sucked in everyday use.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  24. #24
    Z8Mania
    Guest
    I wouldnt say it was brilliant- but it was good at the track and on more aggressive roads when you were more aggressive with it. Ultimately it always felt like the system was designed to protect the clutch and have it last beyond the warranty and maintenance periods of the car- of course this is merely my own speculation.