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BMW Z3 side view

Year (of specifications) 1996 - 2002
Engine(s) 1.8, 1.9 4 cyl, 2.0, 2.2, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 3.2, 6 cylinder
Transmission 5 spd manual, 4 spd auto, RWD
Max speed -
0-60 -
Horsepower 189 hp (2.8 inline 6 cylinder)
weight -

The BMW Z3 was introduced in 1996 as the company's first mass-market convertible sports car. It was an extremely popular model for BMW, and over 40,000 were sold within 18 months of going on sale.

At the time the Z3's styling was quite a head turner, and its retro themed design has coped pretty well with the passage of time. This has had the effect of keeping resale values relativley high.

The Z3 was initialy offered with a 138 horsepower 1.9 4 cylinder engine. But this was quickly complimented by an increased choice in powerplants including more powerful straight-six units.

The BMW Z3 was developed from the E36 platform of the 3 Series. The resulting platform is sometimes referred to as the E36/7(roadster) or E36/8(coupe). The rear semi-trailing arm suspension from the E30 was used rather than the more sophisticated multilink suspension from the E36.

As a fun little roadster the BMW Z3 was in a market with many other vehicles which were much cheaper and more entertaining. The Mazda MX5 (Miata) for example. Although the Z3s build quality and rust proofing was significantly better than most of its competitors.

A much higher spec model with a 315 horsepower straight six engine appeared in 2001 with the arrival of the Z3 M Roadster. But that's not really a budget sports car!

Related external links:
BMW Z3 / Z3 M owners site (

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