Miata Alternative: 2000 BMW Z3 Roadster – STILL $10,500
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July 14, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the seller replaced their original listing with a new Craigslist ad. In it, the description, pictures, and $10,500 asking price all remain the same.
The BMW Z3 has all the hallmarks of being a future collectible convertible. With classic looks, generally decent reliability, and true two-seater packaging, you can bet the original Z3 will someday feel like a vintage MGB does today. The Z3 came in a few different flavors, and while everyone loves the S52-powered M Roadster, the seller’s car is the middle-of-the-range model equipped with a torquey 2.8-liter inline-six. This is a step up from the 1.9-liter base model 4-cylinder, and while the base model is certainly an earnest performer, more power is never a bad thing. You’ll find the Z3 here on Craigslist in Brewster on Cape Cod in Massachusetts for $10,500. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows us that the seller is asking for reasonable money given the average sale price now is clocking in at just over $17,000:
If you are serious about buying this classic Z3, you can start the conversation by emailing the seller here. When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their BMW featured here on GuysWithRides.com.
If you travel in enthusiast circles, it can be easy to forget that a car can wear multiple hats. Among BMW enthusiasts, the Z3 is lumped in with the M Roadster, which is a true performance model. However, the rest of the Z3 line really is an accessible, mostly affordable assortment of top-down machines that are heaps of fun to drive with fairly low maintenance costs. The four-cylinder Z3 is oftentimes available for very short money – usually $8,000 or less – while the 2.8, six-cylinder cars like this one fetch a bit more, right in line with the seller’s price. Given the Z3 is based on the E36 chassis architecture, parts costs are very low and everyone knows by now that the fit and finish won’t be the greatest. However, if you’re cross-shopping one of these with a Miata, you may find the Z3 still feels more solid, especially if the rear subframe issues have been previously resolved. Rust isn’t generally a problem at this point, but you may find a lot of the cars you look at have been neglected and are in need of both mechanical and cosmetic restoration. However, with a manual top and no i-Drive to contend with, expensive repairs of the electrical type generally aren’t a problem.
The Men & Motors YouTube Channel features this test drive of the 2000 BMW Z3 to see improvements had been made over the launch model:
With great colors and the meaty six-cylinder under the hood, the seller’s car has a lot going for it right out of the gate. The optional BBS-style wheels are also a favorite feature for anyone who is shopping for a Z3, and the accessory luggage rack on the trunk completes the look that says this is more of a quiet morning cruiser than a track-day bruiser. The seller calls the mileage low for the year, but I’m not so sure it’s much of a selling point with 130,000 miles on the clock; at the very least, you’ll want records at that mileage indicating the cooling system has been gone through as every E36 has a must-do maintenance bulletin consisting of replacing the water pump, thermostat, and the plastic expansion tank. Rear subframe issues have also been known to affect Z3s, so there’s some exploratory work that should be done before plunking down the cash. Even if there’s no paper trail for these items, the work is pretty straightforward and the parts are plentiful. If there aren’t any records, use it as a chance to bargain down! This is one of those cars that will likely look cheap in a few years when all the good ones disappear.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“I have a really nice low mile for the year Z3 roadster in British Racing Green over saddle leather. This is the famous 2.8 liter M52 inline six motor. A really great driver’s car. Tires and brakes are great, manual top and back window in great shape also. Inspected until July 2022. Enjoy this summer and beyond..”
Classic status achieved: has the original Z3 become enough of a household name to be considered a modern classic?