Used 1998 BMW M Review




what's new

BMW's Motorsport division creates a meaner version of the Z3 dubbed the M Roadster. The M comes with 240-horsepower 3.2-liter inline six and rides on a stiffened version of the Z3 chassis with sticky 17-inch rubber mounted at each corner. The result is something like a German translation of an old big-block Cobra.

vehicle overview

The Z3, introduced in 1996, has seen unflagging popularity with young and old alike. It seems that wherever we take this car a crowd quickly forms to ask questions about its performance and drool over its lovely shape. Changes to the Z3 lineup for 1998 include the addition of the Z3 coupe (we have not yet received formal press information on this car) and the introduction of the M Roadster, a heavily breathed-upon version of the Z3 that is designed to compete with Porsche 911 Cabriolet head-to-head.

So, what's so special about this car? Obviously, the thrill of open-air motoring in a European two-seater is appealing to any baby boomer that owned an MGA, MGB or TR-6 when they were going to college. Even better, the Z3 will undoubtedly be more driveable and comfortable than their counterparts of yesteryear. Twentysomethings are attracted to the Z3 because of its undeniable sex appeal and attainable price. Everyone else loves it because it's a BMW; that means spirited driving and a wagonload of prestige. The fact that the Z3 shares the 3-Series platform, engine and many components bodes well for the car's performance and safety.

The editorial staff at Edmund's has had a number of good-natured arguments over the character of this car. Some of us look at the Z3 and see a Miata rip-off. Others see a car that will fit quite nicely into BMW's M division, giving us some of the most exciting drop-top driving to be found on this side of the Italian Alps. We all think it's cute.

The 1998 Z3 is beautiful, and the inclusion of new high-performance coupe and roadster models round out the lineup quite nicely. If you don't have kids to haul around and love to drive, this is the car for you.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.