1998 BMW Z3 Roadster 1.9 from UK and Ireland


Great Fun - beware minor niggles though


Problems between 22000 and 40000 miles:

Power Hood failed

Drivers seat became loose on mountings.

ABS warning light comes on - usually when traveling at constant motorway speed. Stays lit for anything between 1 and 14 days then goes out again. Dealer can find no fault.

Problems in the last 5000 miles (wait for it)

Alarm failed - would not disable, had to drive around with siren going every five minutes and hazards flashing. Keys reprogrammed by dealer, fault reappeared three weeks later. New control unit required = £350.

CAT / Exhaust failed - should last for 12 years! Warrantied for 4 years, failed after 4.5 (typical!). Replacement cost £1349 from dealer (not had it fixed yet - not required until MOT!)

Fuel Gauge keeps flicking between full and empty when the tank is full.

Temperature gauge on trip computer keeps telling me it is -3.0 oC when it is at least 20 oC outside!

Bits of trim starting to fall off interior of car

General Comments:

Was thrilled to bits when I got the car, but the last year has been a let down with lots of niggly faults - and at less than 5 years old and 45000 miles it is not what I expect from a quality German car.

Love driving it, but it is not great for long motorway journeys. If you can afford it, make one your second car for summer days!

All the niggles are small - it has never failed to start or left me stranded, but I will not buy BMW again.

Currently looking to change it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st June, 2003

27th Mar 2004, 20:34

If your BMW Z3 has so many problems you should just sell it instead of putting more money into the car. BMW'S are fantastic cars and normally have limited problems. It just sounds to me that you bought a lemon.

2nd Jul 2004, 11:32

I think I bought it!!

17th Dec 2004, 04:03

OK I was planning to have a look at a Z3 on the weekend, '97 P reg with 20,000 miles on the clock, very low I thought, the car is going for £8750...

After reading the comments on the Z3 - I may choose to start looking at other cars.

18th Sep 2005, 12:36

I've owned a 2000 Z3 for 2yrs now (41000 miles) and haven't had a bit of problems. Sounds like yours might have been under water. Check its history...

13th Dec 2005, 11:29

I own a '97 Z3 2.8. This car also has some small "issues" But remember that you are spoiled with this car because it's so beautiful. If there is a so much as 1 little noise I'm immediately worried. But with our other car (VW) I don't have that problem because it's a boring car. So I could not care less.

Because a BMW is almost perfect you expect it to be TOTALLY perfect, which is off course nonsense..

No, it is not a highway car. And yes it's a bit more expensive then a Mazda MX5. But almost as much reliable and a lot better in performance and looks. If you don't care about that, don't buy it, and go for the Toyota starlet or some other boring faceless vehicle.

7th Jul 2008, 18:33

I have had my BMW 1998 Z3 for the past six months, and I have to say I love it. It has 65,0000 miles on the clock and still runs like a new car. If anyone is going to get a car, get a BMW. 23 miles per gallon freeway.

1st Aug 2008, 12:37

BMW is a safe bet!! Especially the Z series. When things go wrong, it's a rogue! Look at the alternatives!! They have there shortcomings. The sophistication of the bimmer marque cannot be emulated

28th Apr 2010, 11:32

I love my wee Z3. Had it for 3 years and not one bit of bother. Love love love it. It's a 2000 model, 65000 miles on clock, and still running fab.

1998 BMW Z3 Roadster 2.8 from UK and Ireland


Very very over -rated, bad handling


Major leaks in the boot, from somewhere.

Leaked in through the drivers door rubber seal.

Car wandered over the road even with the steering wheel kept still.

Clonk noise from the back axle.

Problems selecting reverse.

General Comments:

I was so upset about this car.

I hoped it would be all that I expected.

It was just awful. The seating position was poor and the offset pedals were very awkward. The gear box was OK, but my wife found reverse too difficult to select at all.

The handling was very wobbly and shaky. It stuck to the road well, but bounced around unbelievably.

I really feel that this is the worse car I have ever had. I am about to sell it and lose a lot of money, but I can't live with the leaks and bad handling any more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th May, 2003

24th Mar 2006, 15:28

Sounds like you bought a 'lemon'. I've had 4 of em' steadily gaining more power all the way. still sorry that you haven't enjoyed the car as much as others have though...

Very best regards.


28th Dec 2007, 18:50

Sound like you actually bought a car with some sort of rear damage... previous accident highly probable. Always take your car for a relatively long journey before purchase, B type road, highway etc.