1996 BMW Z3

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1996 BMW Z3

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Available in 1 styles:  Z3 2dr Roadster shown
Asking Price Range
$3,464–$11,844
Estimated MPG

23 city / 32 hwy

Average Ratings

Overall

4.4 out of 5

Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

5 out of 5 people recommended this car.


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    1-5 of 5 reviews

Z3 as a first car? Well yes, actually.

by Tigerdog from Sunny San Diego | July 11, 2014

As our teen will be driving daily to school, we began our search for a commuter car. His criteria: manual transmission, convertible or removable top prefered (actually required by law here in Southern California, I think.) Our criteria included relatively good gas mileage and reasonabe maintenance and reliability. The initial list included Honda Del Sol, Miata, Toyota MR2 - usual suspects in the inexpensive fun runabout category. Z3 was not on the list until we caught a few salient facts: - most Del Sols are beaters, automatics or on salvage titles . High mileage examples still command premium prices despite this. - MR2s and Miatas command higher than expected prices even with >150K miles. - Z3s depreciate so lower-mileage cars are more affordable than higher-mileage versions of the competition, at least around here - Z3 1.9 has surprisingly good fuel economy (23-24 mpg around town, 33 highway for us) Plan on replacing suspension bushings - not a cheap proposition but every BMW more than 10 years old needs this at some point. The design of the suspension means worn bushings will contributed to wander, "rear steer" and tramlining on the freeway. Our pre-purchase inspection found this issue so we weren't surprised after the fact. We made this repair; it was expensive but it transformed the handling and the car is much safer for it. The 1.9 four is peppy, able to get out of its own way without having so much power as to scare the parents of a teen. I spoke to multiple BMW techs who indicate it is one of the most reliable powerplants BMW has made. The 5-speed smooth and the clutch light and positive. Our teen learned to drive the manual with only a couple of lessons. I drove both the 2.3 and 2.8 six cylinder variants before we purchased our Z3, and actually enjoyed the 1.9 more. It felt lighter and provided more responisive cornering without the 6's added mass over the front axle. The interior is cozy, not cramped, and even a 6'2" driver can find a comfortable driving position. There is a variety of options and trims available, too, so look around to find what you really like. The Z3 has good online forums and a strong enthusiast following, too, so maintenance tips and known pitfalls are well documented. Look for and read one of several "what to look for when buying a used Z3" documents and learn while you are searching. We've owned the car for almost a month and are, so far, very happy with our new commuter? Does the teen like it? Absolutely! The biggest problem is getting it away from mom and dad.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


Love this car

by classy mamma from Hurst, Texas | December 26, 2011

Not what I expected IT WAS BETTER love this car good milage about 21 22 car get a lot of attention easy to get in and out of traffic

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Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


bmw z3

by fourcylinder from | April 26, 2011

Car had some real issues; I bought the manual (fit it) and went through it and fought all the problems. As usual. the mechanics on these BMW are great; the electronic not so great. A nice car for a reasonable price.

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Super Model Looks:Excellent Roadster for the Money

by Teleny from Eastern PA | October 15, 2010

I have had a 98 z3 for two years after lusting after one when I was in grad school. I bought it as a gift to myself, and the car has been a great value, draws admiring looks and people often tell me it's beautiful. Among tThe pros are the show stopping looks. It has the classic short deck, long sexy hood that is super sexy. I think the car looks best in the metallic colors, although black and red can work well also. I have a 1.9 manual and while it is certainly not fast, it has enough power and excellent balance to be great fun on winding roads. I would avoid the 1.9 automatic, b/c I can't imagine it would be powerful enough to get the job done. I test drove a 2.8 and 2.3 and found the smaller engine not much more powerful than the 4cylinder. The 2.8, 3.0 and M versions are way faster. The gear shift is excellent-short and snickety. The steering yeilds good road feel and although not as 'alive' as an unassisted unit, is very good. The suspension is suprisingly supple and copes with all manner of road imperfections, while also being stiff enough to be good in the curves. There is some scuttle shake-the platform is essentially e30 (BMW claims it's e36 but I have my doubts) and not as solid as it could be. Reliability-particularly on the 4 is very good. Z3s tend to have pretty predictable problems: window guides, interior trim, radiators need to be replaced at 100,000 miles, water pumps, etc. Mainly maintence kind of stuff. If you look on a BMW forum you can get a run down on these minor issues. I hear the 6s have more problems, but keep in mind z3s are at the tail end of bullet-proof BMW build quality. So these cars are capable of some pretty big miles. Downside-the interiors were exercises in cost cutting. Kind of cheap for the money they cost new. I particularly hate the cheap carpet-my E30 3 series has really plush carpet. Still, everything is functional, although the Ms are a bit garish in the inside if you ask me. The WORST feature, although easily fixed is that the factory exhaust leaves the car SILENT. A roadster (try classic Alfa, Fiat MGB) should have a rasping, burbling engine note. Not so with BMW's little beauty. We call it 'quiet hour.' Even after an after market ANSA muffler it still is kind of lame when it comes to that crucial part of the roadster experience. On the other hand, part of the 'problem' is that the little 4 is soooo smooth that you'd think it a six or eight. So it's not entirely a strike against the Zed. Overall, the z3 is a great little roadster. Excellent value, handling, adequete to sensationional acceleration, stunning looks and BMW cachet. You can't go wrong here....

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My best car ever

by Classy Lady from Union KY | October 3, 2010

If you ever want a car that actual makes you feel good this is the one for you. It is just a joy to drive, where ever I go people make great comments about my Z3, it is now 13 years old and looks like it rolled off the assembly line yesterday. I have had many other cars but never one that gives me so much pleasure.

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Comfort
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Does recommend this car



    1-5 of 5 reviews

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