1997 BMW Z3 Roadster 1.9 from Australia and New Zealand


Stunning looking, practical convertible



General Comments:

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

24th May 2013, 05:06

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.

1997 BMW Z3 Roadster 1.9 1.9 from North America


Aw-inspiring drive


While racing with a couple of friends on bad roads the radiator started to leak and so had to get it replaced. The rear plastic window is really cheap always cracks. Weather sealer on convertible lets in rain sometimes and it drips on my lap between the glass and the top.

General Comments:

A lot of people looks at a car and if its stylish well mostly likely buys it. People who really know about cars think of something else. Not how the car feels, but how you feel in the car. Is every point thought of. How do you make it corner. Can you push it to the limit to which it is built. Can you hear and feel the engine. The vibrations of the muffler.

Over all... it's a pretty decent car. Made a bit on the cheap side due to it mostly being based on the BMW 318i model.

Excellent car design. Definitly turns heads. Never a major machanical problem has accured. Speedy..fast..attractive.. stylish.. Sexy ..vulgar... and to the point. A true ROADSTER...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th February, 2006

3rd May 2006, 06:40

Dude! ahaha! You say its stylish sexy and all good, and then you go on to say it's "vulgar". Dude.

21st Jul 2009, 19:49

Test drove a 97' (191,000 miles), total dog, I had three mid eighties Dodge Colts (Mitsubishi), 25% more power and crisper handling, maybe they should make them in Germany.

25th Jul 2009, 17:05

191,000 miles even a BMW will be tired. Test drive something with half that mileage.