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E30 M3 Cab v 944 S2 Cab v Alfa RZ Cab

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    E30 M3 Cab v 944 S2 Cab v Alfa RZ Cab

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    Alfa RZ / BMW M3 Cabrio / 944 S2 Cabrio: Classic Cars
    Convertible Exotics in a Classic Car Comparison
    The fresh air season has started! We present three sporty youngtimer convertibles with completely different characters, which had exotic status in their day: the Alfa Romeo RZ, the BMW M3 and the Porsche 944 S2.

    Alfa RZ, BMW M3 Cabrio and Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio are almost the same age, almost equally strong, even have a lot in common technically - and yet their characters are as different as day and night, as the Classic Cars comparison impressively shows!
    Is that art or is it going away? The Alfa Romeo RZ does not need to move a meter to the BMW M3 Cabrio or the Porsche 944 S2. The classic cars comparison to steal the show. It is enough that it just stands around and goes beyond our aesthetic standards. The RZ justifiably carries his nickname "Il Mostro" - the monster. It looks like a concrete block, a roughly hewn monolith, inspired by cave drawings from the Stone Age and granite stelae by modern sculptors. It looks rugged, sharp-edged and weighs tons from every angle. Its shape counteracts the delicate, feminine elegance of classic Alfa Romeo sports cars. With its fat ass, it ridiculed the slim Alfa Spider from the sixties and seventies. You get in like a bath tub, squat up to your neck in the tub and expect that the water will run in as soon as you turn the ignition key. But the tub stays dry and instead of a rushing waterfall, you now hear the buzz of a swarm of bees. That can't possibly be the engine, you think. A monster like this should come to life with a shattering rumble. You expect it to spit and roar and roar, at least as loud as an Alfa TZ without an exhaust, that's what it owes to its real name. The "Z" in Alfa Reomeo RZ stands for Zagato, and for Alfa Zagato stands for a Finale furioso optically and acoustically with wide-open throttle valves and brute noise level until everything that could dampen the noise dissolves in dust, at least as loud as an Alfa TZ without exhaust, it owes its real name.

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    Instead, you snap to attention as your ears perceive the nuances in the speed-dependent scale of this V6 cylinder engine, which is obviously more committed to the fine arts. The characteristic of the accelerator pedal is unmistakably committed to the dynamics, the unit reacts so spontaneously to every movement of the big toe, as if telepathic forces were involved. The rev counter reveals that everything is going right: So far, there have only been 3,500 rpms, and that also explains why the Alfa Romeo RZ is not picking up nearly as fast as its engine sound suggests. The maximum torque is only available from 4500 rpm and the V6 takes some time before starting to climb to this summit. In other words, there is little going on around the bottom, the Alfa Romeo wants to be revved. Then it’ll willingly delivers its performance, accentuates its work with a very melodic exhaust fanfare and proves with its driving performance that this work of art consists of much lighter material than initially assumed. Now it would be good if you had got used to the strange seating position and the unusual dance steps in the footwell - the stiff clutch, the brake pedal buried deep down in the cave, the feather-light accelerator pedal. The Alfa Romeo RZ only behaves monsterically when it is anything but masterly thrown into fast corners and then gets pointed as the driver's courage leaves him: Under high lateral acceleration - and the RZ can withstand more than 1.0 g in corners. You just lightly press the accelerator pedal, and the massive-looking stub tail transforms into a wildly rotating humming top.

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    THE OPEN BMW M3 MAKES PUFFED CHEEKS

    That is about the moment when the too-sweaty Alfa driver gathers and notices that a BMW 3 Series Convertible that followed a long way off now appears in the interior mirror to fill the mirror frame. At the next hairpin, the BMW cheerfully starts to overtake and pulls past before the Alfa accelerates hard. Only now, at second glance, does it reveal itself as a BMW M3 with its broad-cheeked fenders. Such an encounter will hardly ever take place on public roads, both models are too rare for that. Alfa and Zagato struggled to produce 278 copies of the Alfa Romeo RZ, and BMW also put no more than 786 BMW M3 convertibles on the wheels. Even in the case of BMW, the design did not necessarily make a positive contribution to the spread. While the closed M3 credibly gave the basic model of a competent racing touring car, the Cabriolet looked like a backfish treated with too much botox in the search for an adventurous patron. But this fried fish is washed with all water and knows what is important! It receives its occupants with board-hard sports seats that are not very comfortable. but offer plenty of lateral support and it reads every wish from the tip of the toes and fingertips of the driver. The BMW M3 Convertible exemplarily follows the selected steering angle, maintains its composure even on uneven roads and, at the express request of the accelerator, delivers a test of its ability that is not easily forgotten. This only 2.3 liter four-cylinder is nominally no more accelerative than the Alfa, but as the engine rpms increase, it always moves handily out of the speed cellar. With 5000 rpms, it feels like a company of brownies throws the last ballast overboard, and the BMW M3 Cabrio gets a kind of second wind. The longer you are with him, the more you grow with him. The magic of the E30 series unfolds its effect. No other three-seater concentrates so well on the essentials, the precision of driving without distraction due to styling frills. It feels like a tool that was designed precisely for its function. You don't look at him as devotedly as the Alfa, you grab it, take it in your hand and get started. While the BMW driver is indulging in the trade and without thinking, it strikes out with the M3 in the landscape; a Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio follows completely unspectacularly like a shadow, and the driver works out in his head whether he has to refuel again this week if he continues to shift into the next higher gear at 4800 rpm at the latest.

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    PORSCHE 944 S2 CABRIO IMPRESSES in QUALITY & DURABILITY

    If you could measure the driver's pulse rate, it would match the speed level of his Porsche engine. Only those who have never looked under the hood of a Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio first think of a four-cylinder and have already underestimated it. Those who know it better think of three liters of displacement and 280 Nm of traction at 4100 rpm, when Alfa and BMW barely release two thirds of it. The Porsche is not a daredevil, it slows out of idle somewhat, but it accelerates hard between 3000 and 5000 rpms that there is no need to call up the last power reserves. Alfa and BMW don't drive him away either. The chassis follows the instructions of the steering just as shrugging. In contrast to the Alfa RZ, the Porsche 944, also configured with a transaxle style drivetrain, it is very well balanced; its self-steering behavior remains committed to neutrality right into the limit. If you want to experience over or understeering behavior, you have to provoke it willfully. The steering manages with three turns from stop to stop, small impulses, fine adjustments are enough to keep the Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio exactly on course. Appropriately, the Porsche garnishes its concept with suspension and noise comfort that almost reaches limousine level. It has excellent comfort seats, the seating position is significantly lower than in the Alfa Romeo and further back than in the BMW, which is the only one that has to offer space for four adults. The Porsche has only two emergency seats in the rear. They are shaped deep enough to positively hold travel bags in place and are only suitable for children up to 1.40 meters tall as part-time jobs.

    There are several reasons for the exceptionally good all-round properties of the Porsche 944 S2 convertible: After the prototype was presented in 1985, the Porsche engineers had four more years to tune the production car because the production process was so tedious. With the Alfa, the same process took less than a year and a half, so there wasn't much time to recap. Porsche also had a 911 Carrera Cabrio in its program, a wonderfully unreasonable, very emotional model for Swabian conditions. The Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio undertook the task of creating a contrast program: just as quickly, but with more comfort and less stress.


    944 S2 CABRIO NOT AS EMOTIONLESS AS ACCUSED

    Exactly this distribution of roles was almost fatal for the 944. Because it sounds so sober, many believe that it is not fun. Because it is so easy to control, many believe that it is not a sports car. Because it is suitable for long distances, many believe that it is too good. Because it is so thoughtful, it is said that he lacks emotion. In fact, the Porsche 944 S2 Cabrio is the coolest, most reserved athlete in this trio. It can do everything, but one thing he cannot do: pull the ground under your feet with enthusiasm. But it is a thoroughly reasonable convertible, which is still widely used after 30 years due to its high long-term quality and is relatively cheap to trade. His undeniable qualities as a sports car only came into play,if this round of comparisons were extended by a Mercedes 300 SL from the R129 series. As far as the market value is concerned, the 944 S2, which is still widespread despite the moderate number of units, is the only financially tempting offer in this round - provided that there is no major work to be done.

    Nobody will seriously complain about lack of emotion in the BMW M3 Cabriolet. The exemplary agile engine, the perfectly switchable sports transmission and the extremely sensitive steering are worth a test drive. Whether the rarity value justifies a much higher investment than for a 325i Cabriolet depends solely on the size of the available budget. The combination Cabriolet plus M3 does not automatically double the attractiveness. Would also be a slim Alpina B3 2.7 Cabriolet, the BMW M3 Cabrio easily got off the ideal line in terms of style.

    The Alfa RZ clearly remains the king of emotions in this trio. To meet him with reasoning standards would be to deny his unique character. Looking alone is not enough, you have to drive this car to understand it. It breaks with all conventions, puts the taste sensation to the test, requires high investments in purchases and repairs - and, ultimately, arouses the greatest pride in ownership; you have to drive this car to understand it.

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    #2
    Cool article? Great cars.

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