BMW Z3 M Coupes & Roadsters Gold Portfolio, 1996-2002.
The Z3 broke new ground at BMW. Surprising as it may seem for a company whose reputation depends so heavily on sporting performance, there had never before been an affordable two-seater roadster in the Munich manufacturers range. Roadsters had certainly existed, witness the magnificent 507 of the 1950s, but affordability was a new criterion. Not that the Z3 was ever cheap. In a roadster market re-opened by the Mazda MX-5 at the end of the 1980s, the BMW was always a premium priced contender. Yet nobody complained; the marque’s reputation was such that buyers were happy to pay high prices just to have the blue and white roundel on the snout of their affordable roadsters. It was only to be expected that BMW would move the Z3 up market once it had become established. In the beginning, all Z3s had either 1.8 litre or 1.9 litre four cylinder engines, but it wasn’t long before a six cylinder 2.8 litre alternative was offered. And later, both four cylinder and six cylinder cars took on larger capacity and more powerful engines, a year after the Z3 reached its mid life point and was facelifted. Right at the top of the range came the M Coupe and M Roadster, which were not introduced until 1997, three years after the first Z3s hit the streets. Bringing the Motorsport divisions formidable 3.2 litre straight six to the party, though in different states of tune for the US and the rest of the world, these cars broadened the range massively and took it right out of the cosy realm of the affordable two-seater into the expensive indulgence bracket. Now that the Z3 is no more, having given way to the Z4, even the top models will gradually become more affordable on the used car market. No doubt the M models will always remain more expensive than the rest, but the range will continue to offer something for everybody. An excellent sports car that broke new ground for the Munich manufacturer. It contains road & comparison tests, new model reports, a buying used feature plus full technical & performance data on all the 4 & 6 cylinder Z3s, M Roadsters & Coupes. Engines covered: 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0 & M 3.2.
Engels, paperback, 2004, 160 pagina’s, Brooklands Books.