Product Type: BMW cars
Newest Review: ... brake lights. That is the one bad point i'd use to warn people away from the Z3. The servicing is BMW expensive, but can be done for les... more
Heads and tails above others in its class!
BMW Z3 2.2
Member Name: saint_zulu
BMW Z3 2.2
Advantages: Looks, performance, drivability, engine life
Disadvantages: Cost of servicing, envious stares.
I've owned my x Reg Z3 for around 6 months now, and piled about 10,000 miles onto it so far.
One word: OUTSTANDING.
The 2.2i came in to replace the short lived 2.0 model (which i owned for a short while), and serves as the replacement for the aged (and frankly not as good) four cylinder 1.8 and 1.9 models. BMW face-lifted the car, jammed a 6 pot under the awesome bonnet and kitted them out with some more goodies as factory standard.
Coming from a 1.6 mk1 Focus, this has been a driving revelation!
The 6 cylinder engine really puts out a fantastic purr, for a larger displacement engine its really quiet at idle, but still puts out enough torque from start to pull away from the lights with a cheeky cloud of rubber and a grin on your face. This is coupled with a relatively good MPG knocking around 28-35 depending on how heavy your right foot is, quite impressive for a car that weighs a whopping 1300KGs.
The biggest allure is, of course; the convertible roof. They're made from serious quality mohair and have the best sound insulation I've experienced in a convertible. (Verified with some 120mph track days!) While some people opt for a hard top which fits in place of the soft-top for the winter, I've found that the car has never been noticeably colder than my other cars in the snow and ice. Driving it in those conditions is another thing though.
In normal conditions with suitable tires (I've stayed with Pirrelli P6000's for a long time now) the car handles well in twisties and offers reasonably good stability when 'spirited' driving does break the back tires grip, probably down to the 50/50 weight distribution.
I drove my 2.0 in the snow last year and personally had some amazing fun. I wouldn't wish it on ANYONE who has limited snow/sliding-sideways-at-40-on-a-main-road-downhil l experience. The car simply has too much torque in first to be any use in low grip conditions, the rudimentary traction control often makes this even worse by cutting the throttle simulating lift-off; which can quickly see you leading the way with your brake lights.
That is the one bad point i'd use to warn people away from the Z3.
The servicing is BMW expensive, but can be done for less if you have a good relationship with a garage. The tires can, again, be expensive if you're not prepared to look around. I've found the best bargains in local tire shops rather than online conglomerates.
The rear window needs looking after (being plastic) but as long as you 'kink' it when the roof goes down, it'll last forever. In worse case scenarios; it zips out for replacement.
The Z3, including the old 4 pots all the way up-to the M Coupe; is bullet proof and a joy to drive (Forums suggest 300,000 miles before any concerning problems). Its becoming over shadowed by the face-lift Z4, but is worth its (considerable) weight in gold to own. If you can put up with driving 5 mph (or sideways) in the snow, putting aside little cash each month for servicing and of course putting up with envious stares from people who'll never own a convertible; you'll fall in love with these cars.
Worth every penny.
Summary: Top of its class at the time, well worth considering over the mx-5s and expensive Mercs.