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Old 05-18-2012, 11:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Z3 ownership questions

My family has owned several BMWs (e36M3, 520i, 745) and I'm interested in purchasing my first. I'm thinking about a 2001-02 Z3 3.0L 5-speed auto (I know, I know).
As the group that knows about these things, I thought the forum could provide me with advice and overall impressions about the car, either by owners or by reputation. I'm curious about the ride comfort, any common failures (coolant system, back window) and when they fail, what can I fit into the trunk (toaster, fax machine?), top maintenance/aging, actual experienced mpg, what it is like on the highway and anything else you think is important or want to tell me. The z3 would be used for driving fun (I already have a really fast car) and around town. Thanks for your expertise
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The Z3 is actually quite similar to the E36. They share the same M52 engine. Which for maintenance purposes makes it easier. The maintenance is no different between the two. It's lighter then an E36 so expect a little better mileage.

I've never had the opportunity to drive one but I hear the handling is excellent. As for trunk space I'm not sure but it's not huge.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My father has a 98 Z3 and I have to say, the handling is incredible. not a big fan as far as space though as i am 6,3" but i've always had a smile on my face through the turns. it is also very reliable, has been for me anyway.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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trunks is an unknown quantity at this point
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kokogeo View Post
My family has owned several BMWs (e36M3, 520i, 745) and I'm interested in purchasing my first. I'm thinking about a 2001-02 Z3 3.0L 5-speed auto (I know, I know).
As the group that knows about these things, I thought the forum could provide me with advice and overall impressions about the car, either by owners or by reputation. I'm curious about the ride comfort, any common failures (coolant system, back window) and when they fail, what can I fit into the trunk (toaster, fax machine?), top maintenance/aging, actual experienced mpg, what it is like on the highway and anything else you think is important or want to tell me. The z3 would be used for driving fun (I already have a really fast car) and around town. Thanks for your expertise
What car did you go for in the end? I like the Z3 but I think the rear window is a bit too weak, always gets damaged.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Why not the Z4, instead of the Z3? Unless it's an issue of cost, I'd go for the later, zippier model.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Do some searching on Z3 differential repair on youtube. There have been some problems with these cars in that the spot welds securing the differential to the trunk floor have broken loose. So any car you check out, look in the trunk under the carpet and be sure the spot welds are not cracking loose. Look real close. There is info on this on the internet if you search differential Z3 repair. If spot welds are loose, there may be cracks in support members underneath the floor.

BMW was trying to say they notice some of these problems in the larger 3.2L engine cars, but the problem has shown up across all models years, and in some of the smaller 1.9L engine cars. BMW says it may be from rough driving also, but I consider hitting Chicago pot-holes rough driving also.

The 1.9L engine is considered underpowered for the car, and the 3.2L is considered overpowered for the car. That is why I opted to stay with the 2.8L which owners says is about right.

But I love driving my 1998 Z3 2.8L.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I read from reviews of owners that opted to trade in their Z3 for Z4 that they wish they would of kept the Z3, which they thought was more fun to drive and felt more sporty.

I looked at a Z4 before buying the Z3. Thought the Z4 felt and looked more like a luxury sports car, without the zip. The Z3 was closer to the fun and drive of my 1969 MGB.
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