All posts by Mitchell Weitzman

BMW, Please Don’t Change the Z4 Concept

We’ve all seen it before. A Manufacturer brings out a stunning concept car at an auto show, becomes the adoration of the press and public and then either 1)  kills it or 2) kills it. Now there are two ways a company can kill a concept car. They can decide to simply not build it. Infiniti is well known for releasing lavish concepts as part of a ‘design study’ that say, “Oh yes, this is what we could build, but we won’t.” Then why bother?

The second way of killing a concept is  to completely and utterly destroy the original design language of the concept. In short, ruin and make ugly. Or worst, boring. So when I first saw the Concept Z4 (Will it actually be called Z4? Or maybe Z5? or the Zupra?) in person at the Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance in August, I was wonderfully excited to see a BMW that really didn’t look like a BMW. Gone is the they-all-look-alike stigma of recent BMWs. Here is something fresh. If it didn’t have a kidney grille on it, I wouldn’t know it was a BMW.

I will admit, the proportions are pretty eerily close to a Corvette, but that’s no such bad thing. This is a good looking car. Extravagant yet also restrained, meaning there’s no excess amount of vents and spoilers, yet it just looks expensive. Though, looking at the pictures again, it almost has an element of ‘flame surfacing’ to it along the doors…in no bad way though.

I love the new lower front fascia, a new interpretation on the now classic BMW M  tri-intake arrangement. I love how that one line flows uninterrupted from the front fender vent all the way to the tail lights, and then becomes part of the tail lights. As Jonny Lieberman told me, and I must agree with him, it is a bit “Bitey” with its pronounced, oversized kidney grilles. They do give it some presence indubitably.

And my favorite part: The interior. How has a production car not had an asymmetrical interior? That is, half the interior is an orangey tan, the other is black and using different materials. Seeing it with the naked eye, it is freaking cool, all professionalism aside. Please! Please, please, please make it to production with an optional  interior of this nature. I’m just imagining it now, optional blue for driver and white for passenger. Or Black and red. The possibilities are endless! As Shia LaBeouf would say to BMW: “Just do it!”

I have my worries though. I feel BMW might take away those deliciously thin rear lights, the interior, and put a corporate front fascia on it. Recently, there was a leak on the internet of a production 8 Series. There were two small photos, but if they are accurate, then BMW has indeed tamed the also daring 8 Series Concept into something all too pedestrian and without any original flair. I hope it was fake, because if it’s real, i know the same treatment will befall this new Z4. Please, BMW liven it up a bit, make something crazy. Make something a little less German.

Inside Origin Autoworks

Vinyl wrapping vehicles seems to be all the rage these days. The idea is you can make your car any unique color imaginable while preserving the paint beneath. If you’re an owner of a $400,000 Lamborghini, you wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to find rock chips now would you. There’s a reason many hypercars are rocking wraps.

How is this not a factory color? Let’s call it BMW Frozen Dakar

Wrapping has become very popular in the BMW crowd as well. Here in the greater Sacramento area, Tyler Curley runs the company he founded, Origin Autoworks, a premier wrapping and detail service. Tyler started wrapping  two years ago on his own car for fun. After the success of his own creation, his friends asked him to do their cars as well. Soon, he turned his hobby into a fully-fledged business.

Wrapping has brought many a cool car into his studio; His second car he ever wrapped was a Ferrari 360. A huge chunk of his clientele happen to be BMW owners as well. Luckily, Tyler was kind enough to share photos of several  BMW’s he has wrapped the past couple years. M4’s, M5’s, M6’s, he’s done them all.

More recently, a friend had his entire E46 M3 wrapped by Tyler in a stunning electric blue. Originally a Carbon Black car, the striking blue sets it apart from the crowd with a serious whiff of exotica. All panel edges are of a beautiful detail from Tyler with zero signs of bubbling nor stretch marks. This is some professional quality stuff.

Tyler also has recently started detailing cars, providing paint corrections to remove swirls and scratches and ceramic coatings. If you have a Jet Black BMW, you know the pain of swirls. Ceramic coatings have proven to be much more durable than traditional waxes with a serious shine along with it to protect from the elements. They can last several years instead of only several months.


Ceramic Coating applied to 2018 M4 Competition Package

I asked Tyler about cost as well. Most full vehicle wraps are in the $2,500 range, a fraction of what more established shops will charge, who can charge upwards of $5,000. Now for those wanting to do simple roof wraps though, it’ll run only about $200. I’m currently trying to talk my friend into having his silver E46 M3’s roof and mirrors done in black. It represents an easy and cheap way to dramatically transform the look of your street fighter.

However, the best part about vinyl is the fact it’s completely reversible and will keep the paint underneath looking like new for years to come. Plus some like to change it up a bit too. Maybe you’ll want your car red for a couple years, grow tired of it, and then try blue instead. The possibilities are endless.

You can find Tyler here at his page: Origin Autoworks

This car was actually chrome before. Wrapping allows ability to change up colors


How are those Cooper’s Doing?

I have not exactly been the best at updating how my Cooper RS-3 G1’s have held up the past several months. So I thought about it: why have I not written more about them? Tires are a pretty important component of the performance car after all. Then it hit me: It’s because they’ve been so damn good. Seriously, it came to a point where I didn’t know what else to say about them.

Last I checked in, it was winter time, and the G1’s handled the California rain onslaught with ease. Credit to the all-season design. Living in the Sacramento region, we received the gift of well over 30 inches last season. Over THIRTY! Normally, Sacramento gets the south side of twenty, so this past year has been wet to say the least. I didn’t mind, however, as I saw more chances to perform subtle oversteer corrections through corners. Yes, they did disconnect a little on roads with an inch deep of standing water, but besides that special circumstance they were quite amiable. Cruising at 70 MPH in the rain? No problem. Even when I did hit the deeper puddles, the car tracked straight and true right through it.

Then summer came with the heat. I literally do not think I ever got these tires to squeal, that’s how much dry grip they possess. My ZHP would show serious body roll in spirited driving and yet the rubber was dead silent, as if they were saying, “oh come on! Let’s go!” They’re named the G1 as to say that they can carry 1 G of lateral grip. And I believe it; They far outperformed the capabilities of my ZHP’s stock chassis and suspension.

Communication through the wheel was terrific as was steering response. The steering could be a bit busy, wandering a bit on the road sometimes but that’s more down to the fact the odometer rolled over 140,000 miles. They were far less meandering than the aging Sumitomo’s fitted prior. Furthermore though, the Cooper’s were dead quiet at speed and comfortable as heck over bumpy roads. Larger impacts of road reflectors and potholes still could cause a shudder throughout though, but that’s to be expected.

But the best part was the tread wear. Even after about 8,000 miles, the tires looked brand new. Wear was very even throughout as well, being not even close to halfway worn. On a staggered setup like on the ZHP, Cooper guarantees the tread life to 25,000 miles, a number that should be attained with ease. On a square patter, that number rises to an astounding 50,000 miles as long as you rotate tires.

So there you have it: Cooper’s Zeon RS-3 G1. For an everyday tire with some serious performance, and longevity, it’s a world class affair. And it’s an all-season compound too, that’s why it works so good in the inclement weather too. Price is quite competitive too and they’re available now on Tire Rack, so if you’re in the market for some rubber, put these on your shortlist. Well done, Cooper.