Miata Alternative: 2000 BMW Z3 Roadster – Sold?

by | Sep 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

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October 23, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

September 28, 2022 Update – The seller just reduced their asking price by a substantial four large from $12,500 to $8,500. The seller wants their Z3 to find a new home before fall. This is a great price that will likely sell this car very soon.

September 18, 2022 Update – The seller just replaced their expiring Craiglist ad with a fresh listing.  The pictures and the already reduced asking price of $12,500 remain the same in it. However, the seller now mentions recent brake work and a synthetic oil change.

August 16, 2022 Update – The seller just replaced their expiring Craiglist ad with a fresh listing.  In it, the pictures, description, and already reduced asking price of $12,500 remains the same.

July 24, 2022 Update – Just ten days after placing their second Craigslist ad, the private seller took the odd step of raising their asking price from $10,500 to $12,500.  That may be a sign that the seller has been receiving low-ball offers.

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 bad. This Z3 was originally listed in June 2022 on Craigslist in Brewster on Cape Cod, 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 travel in enthusiast circles, it can be easy to forget that a car can wear multiple hats. The Z3 is lumped in among BMW enthusiasts with the M Roadster, a true performance model. However, the rest of the Z3 line is an accessible, mostly affordable assortment of top-down machines with 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 some exploratory work 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?   


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