1997 BMW Z3 – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

1997 BMW Z3 1997 BMW Z3

Classic roadster ethos in a modern package

Debuting in late 1995, the BMW Z3 was a return to form for the Bavarian brand, continuing the lineage of the iconic 507, and the little more reserved than the wacky Z1.

The E36/7 Z3 was built alongside the E36 3 Series, with the Z3 pulling many of its underpinnings from its mid-size cousin.

The front suspension was derived from the E36 sedan, with the rear semi-trailing arm suspension borrowed from the E36 M3.

The engine was a new rev-happy 1.8lt inline-four cylinder, that would go on to live in the E36 318 for numerous years.

Design-wise, the classic roadster ideology is clear – with its rear-cab bias, sitting almost square in-between the axles, long protruding bonnet and short rear deck. The car was penned by Japanese designer Joji Nagashima – who also designed the E36 and E90 3 Series, and the E39 5 Series.

While originally sold only with the 1.8lt four – in 1997 the range was extended to include a 2.6lt six-cylinder model to properly compete with the Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK.

The car eventually went on to spawn the Z3M Roadster, and the cult driver’s car – Z3M coupe, affectionately known as the ‘Clown shoe’.

 This 1997 BMW Z3 features the 1.8lt four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Finished in black sapphire with black leather interior, the car’s exterior still looks good – reflecting its modest 91,666km odometer reading.

Recent service history indicates tyres, clutch and suspension have been seen to.

While this car is fitted with the range’s smallest engine, it’s a brilliant chassis, and BMW’s little fours are lauded for their ability and keenness to move throughout the rev-range.

Low-powered roadsters and buckets of fun, and at $12,700 – this Z3 would be a happy alternative to the usual MX5 experience.

The car is based in Tasmania, you can check out the full listing here!

 

Japanese Classic Car Value Guide home page

Muscle Car Value Guide home page

Sell your car for free right here

 

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition