When this car first came out I was in grad school and was smitten by the styling. So once I graduated and got a job, I bought one!!! It's an awesome little roadster. It corners flat and with the 1.9 you don't have enough power to really make it loose it's composure. The 1.9 z3 has adequate power with the manual transmission and very good handling. I'd avoid the automatic b/c the engine does not provide enough torque. Having test drove a MR2 spider and a Miata, I prefer the Z3. It's better looking, better value and is extremely comfortable. Oh and my gas mileage has to be around 35mpg. I drove a 2.3 (slight improvement) and a 2.8 (seriously quick), but in the end preferred my 1.9
The styling still gets a lot of admiring looks even after all of these years. The car is well built and reliable. BMW does a great job with steering systems (it steers a lot like a 3) and it has a solid feel. Great mileage. It's a blast to drive and actually makes me look forward to go into work!
Better cup holders, the power tops all break (the 3 series as well!) and you don't really need them anyway. The interior is a little subpar for a Bimmer.