Monday, September 03, 2007

Carrera BMW Z4-review

Carrera has given slotters a pair of "night and day" liveries with the new BMW Z4's the Red Bull car is as loud as the BMW Motorsport livery is subtle. Both cars represent themselves very well.
The blue on the Red Bull car is on the money and the printing on the car is perfect.

The white BMW Motorsport car is simple and plain when you sit it next to the Red Bull car but with the plain livery you can admire the body lines and details that stand out more.

One detail that does stand out in fact is the rear end treatment. I've pulled many photos from BMW Motorsports (used with permission BTW) and the photos of the real car you can see the outlets for the tailpipes as well as the vents on the back bumper are very different as well. I haven't done too much searching on the internet to see if the Carrera car is actually incorrect in it's treatment on the rear end, but I actually like the details on the Carrera car better in anycase.

One aspect that jumps out at you when you look at the cars is the rear wing that seems to hang behind the car about a hundred feet. It's a good model of the actual car (and I'm very pleased that it's modeled correctly by Carrera) but I'm thinking it won't be long before there is a run on orders for replacement wings for these cars...there's no way it will last long out there...but wow it looks nice, eh?

There is one aspect of the design of the car that I will point out as incorrect, the wheels on the real cars are concave, the slot car's wheels are convex...I'd prefer that Carrera had give us the concave wheels. And the tires do hang outside the wheel wells a bit too much, a bit more on the Red Bull car than the white car.

Flip the car over and you see the now standard new 2 magnet design. As well as the new motor pod. I think the pod that Carrera has developed has got to be the best single improvement to the Carrera line. A few turns of just one screw and out comes nearly everything that you need to lube...and all without having to remove the body. Maybe it's just me but EVERYTIME I turn the last screw tight on the body of a slot car I remember that I forgot to put a drop of oil on something. The pod on the white car was a very tight snap fit and didn't want to seat easily, but a slice with a knife and that was fixed.

Inside the car you see the lights and circuit board and an extra plug that's unused that I feel safe in assuming is an open plug for the eagerly awaited Digital 132 system. Also you see the E500 motor, which may or may not be a misprint. I'm thinking it's a new designation for the E200 but the motor now has a lube hole in the endbell...but then I'm probably the only one thinking about this E500 vs. E200 thing as much as I am.

A number of slotters have talked about the new guide, it's large (which may be an understatment). I have only tested the car on my plastic track, not the wood track which has a very tight hairpin at one end. I have to say I like the nice solid feel to the guide, the guide has "Zero" wobble. It does have limited travel but it does have a nice self-centering "snap" that lets you marshall it quickly.

100 laps of testing on my Carrera track gave me a pretty good picture of the car's performance, in a word, "solid." Out of the box the car would easily do 2.8 second laps which put it as fast as recent AutoArt releases, the Scalextric TransAm Jaguar, which means it's in good company already. I did just a bit of sanding on the rear tires and that showed two important things. The first was the tires were pretty flat on the wheels and the second was the wheels don't wobble...I'm a huge fan of that! After the sanding the car did feel a bit faster and the times showed that. I now was able to do a fastest lap of 2.5 seconds which put it well ahead of the AutoArt cars I've tested on my track, and neck to neck with the performance of the new Carrera Corvette C6.R.

The cars are heavy, much heavier than I expected them to be. The weight seems to be low enough that it doesn't adversely effect performance. The cars don't feel top heavy, and actually feel quite agile on the track.

Overall Carrera has done a good job giving slotters a new car to race. The performance of the Z4 is solid, the design of the car is solid, the execution of the paint is solid...these are good slot cars on all accounts.

Dave Kennedy
Publisher, Slot Car News

1 comment:

alex said...

What about the tires grip?
"made in Carrera" ice effect?