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The Hartge Z4 5,0 and Nürburgring
(Day one)

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<CENTER>Video big version: 40 MB here
Small verion here: here


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</TD></TR><TR><TD>Here is the E60 520i I saw in Stockholm.</TD></TR><TR><TD height=3694>


A June summer-Friday I took a flight down to Germany over the weekend. One reason was that Hartge have finished their Z4 5,0 powered by the well-known E39 M5 S62 engine. The other reason was a visit to Nürburgring and the unrestricted Autobahn.
Me and a friend met up with B8 Guru in the northern Germany on Friday and on Saturday we visited the local BMW dealership which had a premiere on the new E60 5-series. I have already seen the new 5-series in dark blue on the streets of Stockholm and already enjoyed the exteriour looks of it. But this time in Germany it was equipped with AC-Schnitzer aftermarket wheels which looked very good on the car. We took a spin in the 530d and noticed the active steering which takes some time to get used too. But the overall handling was better than the E39 5-series. Other things worth noticing is that the 520i now has dual exhaust which it never have had before.


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</TD></TR><TR><TD height=40>The new dials on the E60 5-series. Different...</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​
To test drive the E60 5-series you had too participate in some kind of biking competition which I lost to B8 Guru. I guess I have to loose my license more, stop driving and more biking instead…
Here is what B8 Guru thought:
"The testdrive was only around 15 minutes or so, which is not enough time to really familiarize yourself with a new car.
The car feels more nimble and better handling than the E39 - better chassis and suspension. This is very promising for the M5.

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</TD></TR><TR><TD>Here wwe have the 530i that is very nice with some nice AC-Schnitzer wheels. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​
The active steering takes a little getting used to. When you start out you are in for a surprise since you don't have to turn the wheel very much to make the car turn sharply. It is almost numb at low speeds. As you increase speed the steering gets heavier and of course the ratio change makes you feel "connected" to the road as on the E39. I have spent too little time with the car to say if I prefer the active steering, but it definitely is different. I don't know if the steering will be the same in the M5 as in the 530D. The chassis and handling is yet another milestone from BMW which speaks volumes for a sedan."
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</TD></TR><TR><TD height=40>Here is the E60 520i with dual exhaust. </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​
Saturday afternoon we left for Nürburgring in a rental, a Mercedes C270 CDI, yuck. However the new CLK. B8 Guru did not want to increase themilage on his two Alpina B8 4,6 so we took the rental. The top speed of the rental s officially 228 km/h and we reached a bit over 235 km/h on the speeedometer numerous times. Overall an econmical alternative when driving long distances but kind of boring.

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</TD></TR><TR><TD>Top speed on the rental CLK 270 CDI was only 235 km/h on the speedo, 228 km/h according to the factory.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​
We arrived at Nürburgring at around 9 o’clock were we met up Johan and two of his ring-friends at the church in Nürburg. We decided to meet at the church but to be politically correct we should have met at the BMW M Testcenter which is just oppposite the church. In the BMW M Testcenter we had the silver BMW M5 Ring-Taxi that replaced the silver former white M5. There were also an race-M3 on display. After we got over the shock of seeing Johan’s M3 basically without interiour and a roll-cage we proceeded to eat at the Ring-Taxi driver Sabine’s restaurant in the middle of Nürburg. We had an excellent dinner at her place. One of the discussions of the evening was if we could visit Hartge in Beckingen and Ruf Automobile in Pfaffenhausen all in one day. The day after (and some beers less) we concluded it was impossible and we had to save the Ruf visit for some other day. Very sad but more time for Ruf in the future.
We also asked if Sabine were interested in ”testdrive” the Hartge Z4 5,0 on the Monday when we should have it but she was booked fully that day. We didn’t talk too much to her since it seemed like a busy evening. We’ll do that some other day with some more beers is my guess. Sabine seemed to be in a happy mood and had a BMW-Williams F1 t-shirt.
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</TD></TR><TR><TD height=40>B8 Guru, some weird guy and Sabine and another weird guy drinking Weissbier at Sabines restaurant. The restaurant was decorated with trophies.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The following Sunday we drove with Johan on the ring. I went with him two laps which was an very FAST experience. We overtook cars and bikes alot of times as well as being airborne a couple of times. The M3 had roll-cage, R-tires and was lightened alot. Also 4-points harness belts felt very safy and you sat so fixed so you couldnt even open the glove compartement in front of you.
So Johan showed that cars are the ones at rule the Nordschleife. The only car who overtook us was a Radical which is a very extreme sportscar.
The weather was very hot so we decided to take the rental out for a spin outside the track to let the airconditioning cool us off. Just what we did parallell along the finishing straight of Nürburgrings Nordschleife. After half a minute a Polizei jumped out and stopped. Aha, routine check we thought. No, we were wrong. Apparantly we had speeded and went 89 km/h on a 50 km/h road. Great. Actually it was great since it was my friend who got caught. So I just sat in the passenger seat and recorded with the DV-camera and the digital still camera zooming in my nervous friend. But it turned out good since we just had to pay €30. After they checked his license and passport my friend try to dodge the ticket with some remorseful stories that did not work at all. The literally showed with their hands that they weren’t going to listen at all at that. However they would listen to €30 in cash instead of €89 later. Hmm, a Saturday evening and they cut the ticket by more than 50% if the got it cash. Interesting…


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</TD></TR><TR><TD height=40>This is what happens if you speed outside the track. 5 meters from the track to be exact... This straight is parallell to the finishing straight on N'urburgrings Nordschleife.






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B8 Guru and I went to the ”Adenaur Forst” section of Nürburgring that is a tricky section for most newbies on the ring. It was very interesting. Saw everything from powersliding Ring-Taxi BMW M5 to jumping VW Phaetons that takes ”short-cuts”. We have some of the highlights on the video here.


After the Sunday we felt it was time to move on towards Hartge in Beckingen, located near the border to Luxemburg. Very beautiful and sweeping Autobahn stretches. Hartge had book an hotel for us in Saarlouis which was a very beutiful little town.



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</TD></TR><TR><TD height=40>BMW M Testcenter Nürburgring. Interestingly all the testcenters near Nürburgring was not in Nürburg, possibly because it was only BMW M who realized early on that you have to have one near this demanding track. Now Jaguar and alot of others have outside the town of Nürburg.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​



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</TD></TR><TR><TD>On Monday we went to Hartge and met them at 8 o’clock in the morning. For some reason I did not have a problem waking up that morning. We were greeted outside Hartge and there was the silver Z4 was parked with Hartge 19 inch wheels and a very small and discreet 5,0 logo on the trunk. Also the Hartge front spoiler, rear exhaust as on the H50 (M5-powered M3) and also Hartge logos instead of the BMW roundel.


We got shown around the facilities and saw the Hartge Mini as well as the new 22 inch wheels for the BMW X5. Hartges tuning program for the Mini which gives in fact well over 200 HP. Also we had a look at the V8 M-Roadster which we tried on our M-Trip in 2001.


After the tour of the facilities it was time to pick up the newly washed Z4 5,0. It had a standard 2003 M5 engine and the base was a 2,5 liter US-spec automatic (!) Z4. That is why it had both mph and km/h units on the speedo and a revlimiter that was graded to 7000 rpms. So because it had an M5 engine you could go to the revlimiter all out. The M5 conversion was easier than the H50 conversion. On the H50 conversion you had to dissassemble the whole fron of the car in order to install the engine. Nothing in the engine compartement had to be removed as opposed to the H50 where the washer fluid container had to be removed to the trunk. On the Z4 it was possible to drop it right in. Alot of work was needed in order to get the exhaust to fit in the rear.



Here is the registrationpapers for the Z4 5,0 with a limited top speed of 300 km/h.


We make your BMW nicer, stronger and faster. I can agree on all of those three...


The Z4 5,0 had brakes of 380 mm in diameter which did a good job stopping this light car. It has 328 mm rearbrakes. The Z4 with the 3,0 liter engine only weights 1365 kg which is only three quarters of the weight of an M5. The official performance times are as follows:


0-100 km/h: 4,6 s


0-200 km/h: 14,1 s


0-400 m: 12,7 s


0-1000 m: 22,5 s


Top speed limited to 300 km/h.








Here we have Hartges new wheels, among others 22' wheels for the X5.





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Initial impression is that it’s a very driveable car and to be honest when driving in stop and go traffic and in very low speeds it did not feel any different from a standard Z4, only a heavier clutch.






I had big difficulties in leaving the key back to Hartge. We made a usual stop at a not so very German restaurant. We had a fast car so we should have that type of food too. Notice the "new" interiour design of the instrument cluster. Something that I do not understand since you can't see the speedometer as a passenger at all. Bad for filming from the passenger seat and maybe good for the wife or girlfriend so they can't complain at the speed!



Here is the Hartge Mini with Hartge exhaust. Perfect beginners car! So after some pictures of the Z4 it was time to hit the road. We went slowly through the small city centre and then out on the Autobahn with Johans E46 M3 tuned by Kelleners with special camshafts, exhaust and ECU which has around 370 HP at the engine. Also as mentioned above lightened (loud!). We had the roof, windows and the diffuser down on the Z4 5,0. Then the race was on in different speed intervals. At all speeds the Z4 5,0 pulled away. We were two persons in the Z4 and the M3 E46 was lightened with around 150 kg. The torque of the M5 was an enourmous experience in the Z4 5,0. It seemed that it pulled as hard on all gears no matter what speed of gear. You could be cruising in 50 km/h on sixth gear and still just floor it and attain illegal speeds in no time. It felt like it didn’t matter what gear you had.






Extremely low profile on the tyres. 9,5*19' offset 22 265/30 ZR19 Coninental rear and 8*19' offset 46 235/35 ZR19 Conintental front.




Here we make a short stop because the navigations is a bit confused. Naturally we didn't have a map with us... Notice how very discreet the 5,0 emblem is on the trunk. The V8-rumble is however not discreet.
The fastest we drove was a bit over 280 km/h due to traffic (and impaired hearing since the top was down). On the M3 we had 280 km/h and the Z4 5,0 still pulled away at those speeds, with the roof down! I saw 260 km/h when finishing 5th gear then put in 6th gear and the car still pulled as if it was 5th gear. Impressive! We also tried the 380 mm massive front brakes and for the light car it they were very efficient. ABS started to work at around 220 km/h braking with full force which is nice to have with this kind of power.
We took a short stop where we let Johan test the car and also had an opportunity to race a Porsche Boxster (not the S) that really was in for a surprise...





We used up 2 complete tanks in 7 hours. Oops.

We headed for the beutiful Mosel-region of Germany where we had some very nice roads. We took alot of clips for the video there. The Hartge Z4 5,0 is a very easy car to drive with no drama at all unless you push it. The Z4 has in fact better roadholding (according to tests performed on the Nürburgring and Hockenheim wthat the German car magazine Sport Auto) than the Porsche Boxster S so it is a good base to start from. But of course we had to test it witout DSC that required you to push the DSC for more than three seconds. If you only push it shortly (as on older DSC equipped cars) you will only deactivate the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control). DTC wil allow greater slip angles on the rear wheels up to 50 mph, like an extra safetynet. But we don't want that want we? I noticed the Hartge Z4 5,0 bit quite fast on the limit forcing the driver to be alert when he is up for some sideways driving.









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I think the SL500 got most surprised but the other BMW Z4 also seemed very confused by the V8-sound emerging from the Z4...

On the way back to Hartge i had the opportunity to race an E34 M5 shortly and a Mercedes SL500 (R230) which was very easy. too bad we didn't have the chance to race an SL55 AMG... We have to go back to Germany for some more Autobahn-driving!


8-piston calipers with 380 mm front brakes does only brake good they look good.

It takes Hartge approximatly 7 weeks to complete the conversion after you delivered your BMW Z4 to Hartge. Price is €97 917,24 including a BMW Z4 2,5 witout any optional equipment. €113 544,83 with every option including Hartge bicolour leather interiour.
To summarize the Hartge Z4 5,0 is like no BMW ever built. AC-Schnitzer made a Z3 V8 as well as Hartge but they aren't comparable in either roadholding, looks nor power. It's more butal than a Z8 but smaller. Feels like something between an M5 and a superbike. A fun bonus is that the majority of people will think it's a slow Z4 since we do not have an M-version yet. Just the very small and discreet "5,0" emblem will give the story away. Or the V8 rumble of course...
To see a test drive of the Hartge H50 which is the M3 E46 with an M5 engine go here and a suitable DivX player here so you can watch the movie.
We are working on the video from Nürburgring with Sabine in the Ringtaxi filmed from Brünnchen and Adenauer Forst. Also stay tuned for more reports. It may be come more films with the Z4 5,0 around the Autobahns in the western borders of Germany. Maybe an upcoming visit in a beautiful town of Pfaffenhausen. R. Turbo R.



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