After gas went sky high in mid-2008, I started looking for a commuter car, but also wanted fun. After some research, I decided on a Z-3, and looked on Auto Trader and E-Bay for a good one. I was fortunate to find a 1997 with the 2.8 six cylinder, five speed and only 42,000 miles. After nearly a year, I can tell you this was a great choice. Plenty of performance and drop top fun, plus a solid 26.8 mpg. I bet the 4 cyl are even better mileage, but the 6 is awesome. These cars have some quirks, like a sloppy seat track that allows you to slip forward and back on braking, but overall the car is a great value. Unfortunately, you aren't likely to find a good one at the Edmunds price.
6 cylinder performance. Easy top operation. Styling is superb. Larger interior than competitors. Simple dash layout.
Tighter seat tracks. Radio and speaker upgrade is almost a must. Better convertible top rear window design, glass would have been perfect, but it is too late for that.