RE: BMW Z3 3.0i: Spotted

RE: BMW Z3 3.0i: Spotted

Thursday 9th May

BMW Z3 3.0i: Spotted

It took five years, but the Z3 finally came into its own with a 231hp straight-six and LSD



By and large, the BMW Z3 was not a car revered by driving enthusiasts; not until the Z3 M Coupe came out, anyway. The roadster was not sharp enough to offer the dynamism of a Mazda MX-5, not powerful enough to challenge the Porsche Boxster and arguably not special enough to justify a premium sticker price. They sold well because a compact German convertible has appeal even if it’s a flawed one - but it wasn’t until BMW added more power that those seeking open-top thrills could really get excited.

When the 3.0i was launched in 2000 with 231hp, things took a major step forward. With the 21st century variant we now not only had an extra 186cc under the bonnet to produce 39hp more than the older 2.8 six range-topper, but there was also a standard-fit Torsen limited slip differential, updated suspension and more modern electronic stability control. The looks were also altered, with clear indicators and new taillights, and larger 17-inch wheels filling the arches more effectively, especially when fitted to wide-body cars.


With the 24-valve motor, performance was now genuinely quick. 62mph came in six seconds – six tenths better than the 2.7 Boxster – and top speed was 149mph, so the 3.0i had no trouble keeping up the pace. Handling was also improved, although Stuttgart’s two-seater still held an advantage when pushed to the limit, leaving BMW’s rival to play a more laid-back role. But it also couldn’t claim to be a comfortable cruiser, as it wasn’t as forgiving as a Mercedes SLK, which itself was never overtly plush.

Time has helped justify the 3.0-litre Z3’s shortcomings, though, because it’s quickly been adopted as a modern classic. Perhaps it’s the combination of a long bonnet, compact footprint and retro side intakes, but the Z3 appears far more vintage than most cars from 19 years ago. The interior’s simplicity helps the cause, even if the buttons and switches feel less sports car and more 1990 BMW parts bin than anything else. The leather seats are, at least, very supportive and the noise of the inline motor ahead applies a suitably silky soundtrack.


Unlike many MX-5s from this era, Z3s, particularly those of six-pot form, have largely escaped extensive modification. Although many owners have attempted to right some of the standard car’s wrongs with parts available on the aftermarket. A former custodian of today’s Spotted, for example, has gone through the trouble of fitting polybushes to the Z3’s suspension, as well drilled and grooved brake discs. This wide-body car also comes with a hard top matched to the body’s Topaz Blue paint, although the latest owner says they’ve only used the car regularly between April and September, so it’s possibly had little use.

You might expect a roadster of this age to be showing more signs of wear, but this 78,800-mile-old car appears to be in fine shape, and with new discs and pads from a recent service, it looks ready and waiting for its next owner to take on the upcoming summer.


SPECIFICATIONS - BMW Z3 3.0I

Engine: 2,979cc, inline six
Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 231@5,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 221@3,500rpm
MPG: 30mpg
CO2: 228g/km
First registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 78,800
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £6,250

See the full ad here

Inspired? Find for a BMW Z3 here

Author
Discussion

helix402

Original Poster:

4,596 posts

123 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I don’t think the wheels suit the car, they also look to have an odd sized tyre.

ruprechtmonkeyboy

419 posts

28 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I looked at a Z3M Roadster a few years back. The driving position in these is odd, you sit far too high up so feel like you are sitting on the car rather than in it if you get my drift.

Jamescrs

252 posts

6 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I think time has been kind to this car and looking at the pictures now I think it's actually a very good looking car, I wasn't a huge fan when they were new

Ryvita

451 posts

151 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I was always of the opinion / had been told, that the 2.2 M Sport was the one to have? I believe it also has the LSD and the suspension tweaks? 170BHP, so slower, but also somewhat lighter and less weight over the front wheels improving the balance?

Certainly, prices seem to be independent of engine (even down to the 1.9s... Some silly priced dealer examples): https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

Edited by Ryvita on Thursday 9th May 08:26

DailyHack

484 posts

52 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Aged rather quite well now these, and are refreshing to see in a world of metal blobs, 1.9 is the sweet pick of the bunch in my eyes.
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shalmaneser

3,586 posts

136 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Ryvita said:
I was always of the opinion / had been told, that the 2.2 M Sport was the one to have? I believe it also has the LSD and the suspension tweaks? 170BHP, so slower, but also somewhat lighter and less weight over the front wheels improving the balance?

Certainly, prices seem to be independent of engine (even down to the 1.9s... Some silly priced dealer examples): https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

Edited by Ryvita on Thursday 9th May 08:26
I'd doubt there's much in the way of weight difference, the block and head are the same casting (M54) and the only difference is the bore and stroke...

Both engines are likely a lot lighter than the Z3M engines (S52 and S54) as they were both iron blocks.

I'd have to say I think this car looks really smart, it's in a great colour too!

cerb4.5lee

11,379 posts

121 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I wasn't really that keen on these when they were first around, I quite liked the 6 cylinder ones for the engines though. Whereas now I find them strangely appealing.

cerb4.5lee

11,379 posts

121 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
helix402 said:
I don’t think the wheels suit the car, they also look to have an odd sized tyre.
I'm not a fan of the wheels either and they just don't look right for the car for me.

Leins

6,680 posts

89 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I never knew these came with an LSD. Must be the last non-M BMW to have one as standard (Z8 and MINIs excepted)?

Renn Sport

2,760 posts

150 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Ryvita said:
I was always of the opinion / had been told, that the 2.2 M Sport was the one to have? I believe it also has the LSD and the suspension tweaks? 170BHP, so slower, but also somewhat lighter and less weight over the front wheels improving the balance?

Certainly, prices seem to be independent of engine (even down to the 1.9s... Some silly priced dealer examples): https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

Edited by Ryvita on Thursday 9th May 08:26
Really they came with a LSD? ... not the larger engined cars?

That's interesting.

daveco

3,695 posts

148 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
I thought it was only the M versions that came with an LSD?? confused

Drove a 1.9 version of these, at 1150kg they move along nicely even with little horsepower.

GroundEffect

11,332 posts

97 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Ryvita said:
I was always of the opinion / had been told, that the 2.2 M Sport was the one to have? I believe it also has the LSD and the suspension tweaks? 170BHP, so slower, but also somewhat lighter and less weight over the front wheels improving the balance?

Certainly, prices seem to be independent of engine (even down to the 1.9s... Some silly priced dealer examples): https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

Edited by Ryvita on Thursday 9th May 08:26
My parents have a 2.2 Sport Edition. It's a lovely thing.

derin100

5,123 posts

184 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
ruprechtmonkeyboy said:
I looked at a Z3M Roadster a few years back. The driving position in these is odd, you sit far too high up so feel like you are sitting on the car rather than in it if you get my drift.
Agreed! And, if you're tall you end up looking like Noddy.

derin100

5,123 posts

184 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
E85 Z4 is just a much better car.

cerb4.5lee

11,379 posts

121 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
daveco said:
Drove a 1.9 version of these, at 1150kg they move along nicely even with little horsepower.
I remember having some fun in my Z4M with a 2.2(I think) Z4, and while I was trying to get the power down off a roundabout the 2.2 Z4 just sailed off into the distance. I remember thinking from that day on that sometimes less is actually more.

pSyCoSiS

2,443 posts

146 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Was also not a fan on these until I had a ride in a 2.8 wide body a few years back.

The engine really suited the car, the bonnet looks long and muscular from the driving position and raises nicely when you floor it.

I can only imagine how much fun the M54 3.0 with the LSD would be.

Definitely will be very sought after cars in a few years time.

daveco

3,695 posts

148 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
daveco said:
Drove a 1.9 version of these, at 1150kg they move along nicely even with little horsepower.
I remember having some fun in my Z4M with a 2.2(I think) Z4, and while I was trying to get the power down off a roundabout the 2.2 Z4 just sailed off into the distance. I remember thinking from that day on that sometimes less is actually more.
Very good point. I owned a 318ci before moving onto the 325/330 models and I had a very distinct memory of how little inertia or body roll there was in tight corners when driving the 318. A late model with the 2.0 litre 140hp engine 318 would be a match on a technical track against a 330 imo.

derin100

5,123 posts

184 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
daveco said:
cerb4.5lee said:
daveco said:
Drove a 1.9 version of these, at 1150kg they move along nicely even with little horsepower.
I remember having some fun in my Z4M with a 2.2(I think) Z4, and while I was trying to get the power down off a roundabout the 2.2 Z4 just sailed off into the distance. I remember thinking from that day on that sometimes less is actually more.
Very good point. I owned a 318ci before moving onto the 325/330 models and I had a very distinct memory of how little inertia or body roll there was in tight corners when driving the 318. A late model with the 2.0 litre 140hp engine 318 would be a match on a technical track against a 330 imo.
I had a similar experience years ago, in my E30 M3 being chased by my friend in his E30 318is. I just couldn't lose him!

helix402

Original Poster:

4,596 posts

123 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
The original 1.9 had an lsd as standard. If you’re tall you won’t fit well in a Z3.

AMGSee55

111 posts

43 months

Thursday 9th May
quotequote all
Looks really nice - as others have said it has matured well and I love its comparatively simple interior. Colour's nice too - not overstated. A lot of fun in the sun for £6K! cool