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#1 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 11:12 AM
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Question Shopping For A Z3 - Looking For Advice

Hey, first time poster here.

I am looking for a 6 Cyl Z3, but am not sure what years, and which motor, to look for. A good friend has a '99 M, which is a fantastic car, but I am thinking the M might not be as fun to drive around town for me. However, I love that console! What I am looking for is a motor that is super sweet, super silky, super smooth, and very easy to drive. I am not tracking the car, so I am not interested in performance per se (assuming that even the smallest 6 provides more than adequate performance for the street). How different are the various engines? Are there any years and/or motors that stand out as better or worse than the rest?

Any input you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Regards, John
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 02:21 PM
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dear john you are wrong big time about (assuming that even the smallest 6 provides more than adequate performance for the street).
well the smallest V6 are model +2000 2.0L which provide u only 150hp which is fair if it was in a Japanese car but in bmw,,,,hell no,,,
z3 is a heavy car its about 1400Kg and 150 wont move it smoothly!! (im saying that coz i have z3 2.0L V6) (u can check out my car if u click my name)
anyway the best for u is 2.2i its around 170hp and its almost the same prize as 2.0

good luck bro
note: please dont judge my English coz its not my first language
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 04:48 PM
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Always better to shoot for the later model years. Look at the 2001 or 2002 model yars (2002 was the last year of the Z3). The 3.0 is preferred, but the 2.5 will still move you nicely. The best Z3-///M models are the 2001 and 12002 years where they had a 3.2L S54 engine from the M3 in them and were therefore beasts. Mots of these cars are very smooth and in today's times, at least the non-M cars can be had for a pretty reasonable price (recession can be you friend..!). I donlt know exactly what you plan to spend, but a Z3 is a wonderful car that will serve you well. I bought mine new and babied it throughout and then supercharged it and put in $30K+ in mods to get it near 300hp. My mods list should be in my virtual garage on Bimnmerwerkz still. Add on a Remus sport exhaust and you are pretty up to date. If you are really interested in a SUPER Z3, and are serious, I might consider selling mine since I have a new baby, a rare and customized supercharged M3 as well as an E90 328xi so my Z3 has less and less purpose for me (no back seat!). Private message me for more information if you want. Good luck - happy hunting and I hope you find the right car for you! Ciao.


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#4 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 04:23 PM
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I've test-driven a '99 2.8 and I own an '01 3.0. Both engines are very smooth, but, obviously, the extra 40 or so horsepower and additional torque of the 3.0 is noticeable. My 3.0 engine has been stone reliable; all that's been replaced is the water pump. The car mags tested the 3.0 at something in the high 5 second range to 60 mph. How fast do you need to go and how quick do you need to get there? The 3.0 is not a Corvette or a Porsche hunter.

But, the truth is that the Z3 was developed as an inexpensive platform, for a 4-cylinder 150 hp engine. Smarter folks than I have commented that the more power you add to a Z3, the more evident the limitations of the chassis and suspension (trailing arms in the rear!) become. In my car and the other more powerful versions, BMW dealt with the issues of a the trailing arm suspension (drop throttle oversteer) by specifying staggered wheels and tires -- with the big fat ones in the rear. If you hustle the car around the curves, you can feel what the suspension is doing behind you, even though the car fundamentally understeers if you keep the power on. I've never had the car bite me in the ass, but I've never severely tested it by doing something like hitting the brakes hard in the middle of a curve.

The Z3 with either 6 is a nice car and a fun, satisfying ride . . . but I think efforts to transform it into the "ultimate sports car" by goosing up the power are bound to be disappointing. I don't know that the M version, with the 340 hp motor, was a particularly successful car, even though it was stinking fast.

Frankly, I would have bought the '99 with the 180 hp 2.8 liter 6, except that it was "arrest me red" and I've owned one red car already. I ended up getting a better deal on my '01 (silver), but the reason I bought it over the '99 was not because of the different and more powerful engine.
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-19-2010, 06:31 PM
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Understood on all but with proper upgrades to suspension - the Z3 can indeed handle more power well. Only the 1996 1.9L engine was reallyow like 159 hp and BMW steadily increased it through the years all the way through the 2002 final
production year which I have. I agree with you also that there are limitations and that while the Z3 is a pretty car and drives very nicely - it is surely not a P-car hunter. That said, I have both stood on my brembo big brake kit in the middle of a turn (story is on Werkz - was going with a GTO at the time and ran out of road! ) as well as taken the car to 150mph. The supercharger and real power live in the upper RPM's and dont help a ton off the line. My car "Squats" down when boosting and having seen it - it is very exciting. All in all I love the car but have come to recognize limits - and that the only way I could get the power I'd like a d am now used to is thru a serious turbo or an engine swap. Without that - she is a terrific and fast fun car but she is no ///M car - let alone a Dinan blown one.

So - I disagree on some points as I'd gladly get the bigger engine given the choice - I wasn't when I got mine - story thread is on Werkz somewhere...there are plenty of improvements to make if you choose - but there are ultimately limits. The ///M version is a very powerful car with a great handling, great power to weight ratio - but it is more $$$ and has it's own issues. If you like the car - you will decide what changes are right for you. Good luck and enjoy the ride!


2008 ///M5 with Eisenmann race exhaust "Athena"
2013 VOLKSWAGEN Tiguan 2L Turbo
RIP 2005 Dinan ///M3 S3-R+ Vert w/hardtop- 6-speed, DINAN SC - race kit, race headers, etc.
RIP 2002 Z3 Roadster 2.5i - VF Supercharged, 5-speed, Brembos etc.
Turkey ///M Car Fleet Commander
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