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Cost Containment & Packaging... (archive)

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Posted by bmv on January 10, 2000 at 11:37:08:

In Reply to: rear suspension posted by Paul Ebeyer on January 10, 2000 at 00:30:32:

This is just my view, but I believe we can trace BMW's decision to use the older E30 trailing arm rear suspension vs. the multi-link, as used on the E36, to two parameters: Cost Containment; and, Packaging.

My understanding is that the ///M Roadster has a rear suspension similiar to the E30 series cars rather than the E36 ///M coupes and sedans which is supposed to be superior.

True...For all Z3s, not just the ///M.

I heard there just wasn't enough space available at the rear of the ///M Roadster to accomodate the E36 rear suspension. Do I understand this correctly?

Not quite. Recall that the Z3's internal code = "E36/7". Why wouldn't there be enough real estate to accommodate it? The *problem* is that two of the links with the E36 rear suspension would consume alot of the forward trunk capacity.

european car is currently running a series on Suspension Basics that uses pictures and text of both to highlight the differences. Nice read, BTW.

Also, does the Z3 ///M Coupe (and/or 2.8) have the same rear suspension as the ///M Roadster and if not, what system does it have?

No, they all use the same.

The other prime motivation was cost. It seems clear that when they signed-off on the '96 1.9's setup, they were faced with a hard MSRP price point of $30K, which led them to using a system already amortized.

Once their engineers were locked into the platform's hard points, the subsequent *developments* appear interesting, if not amusing. To wit, or witless:

  • If the initial $30K price point is accurate, then, preversely, we have the Miata in part to thank for;
  • It helps to explain the afterthought look of the '97-'99 2.8s & '99 2.5s rear quarter panels (Giving opportunity to entrepreneurs, e.g., Keith and his SGs);
  • The ///MZ3's wheel & Tire specs; and,
  • Finally, leading to the MY'00 butt lift.

    ~ bmv

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