1997 BMW Z3 Roadster 1.9
Stunning looking, practical convertible
I was in the market for a 2 seater convertible, and I test drove a MGF before buying the Z3. The MGF felt much cheaper in comparison, with cheaper materials and a less solid feel. It also did not feel as quick as the Z3 (although on paper it is quicker - especially in VVC tuned form).
The Z3 feels like a quality package, even though it is a 1997 car, it looks really classy - red leather interior, nice plastics, and a 'solid' feel. You feel safer in the Z3 than in most convertibles.
With the Z3, you have to really rev high to get the most performance, and it feels quick without being fast. It is very easy to spin the rear wheels on quick starts - this is perhaps the reason BMW put the traction control on as standard the following model year.
The car does feel a bit like a normal sporty saloon to drive, but the overall quality, amazing looks and excellent fuel economy make it a really good city car (parking is very easy in such a tiny car).
It makes more sense with the top down - with the top up it seems more noisy with the wind noise getting a bit tiring. A hard top would be a good investment for the winter months. It is perhaps one convertible that appeals equally to men and women. All this and they hold their value well!
Highly recommended - but if you want a pure sports car you may want something else. But this car is an excellent compromise between looks, practicality and economy.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th November, 2007
I too own a BMW Z3 Roadster, but an auto. Owned it since 2004, after buying it from a dealer for $30k with 74K on the clock.
Mine is black and it's nicknamed the "Batmobile" as it's black. I drove it over the Nullarbor from Melbourne to Perth. She has pulled nearly 200 KPH.
The mechanical problems I have had with it was the key cylinder breaking, and it took an auto locksmith to take the steering column out to remove it. Another problem was it idling. Some mechanics thought it was a PCV value, another said it was the harmonic balancers, and my BMW Specialist thought it was the manifold seals; turned out to be the alternator not fully charging. Did two batteries in this time. One of the alloy rims split as it was fitted with 17 inches, and to get reconditioned, it cost me a grand for all four.
The interior is getting a bit ratty as I have my dog ride with me, but due to the chassis being a convertible, it twists at times; this is a common problem.
Now she has 135,000 on the clock and no major problems, but a few smaller ones.
I was lucky enough to find a BMW specialist in Perth that does not do unnecessary work, and is reasonable in charges.
This car is a cult classic. It has cost me work due to petty jealousy. It still looks like an $80,000 car.