1997 BMW Z3 – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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!


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