Used 1997 BMW Z3

1997 BMW Z3
List price range
1997 BMW Z3


  • It has an easy to use top and is very fun to drive, with a well-balanced chassis and outstanding brakes.


  • The engine is a bit weak, as are the stereo speakers.
BMW Z3 years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Contrary to our predictions, the excitement over the Z3 is not dying down. After one year on the market, the beautiful Z3 still causes a stir whenever it makes an appearance on the streets of our fair city. To ensure that the Z3 retains its superstar status, and to fend off increasing competition from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, BMW has dropped its formidable, six-cylinder powerplant into the engine compartment of the country's most coveted roadster. The only toy more popular in the United States is the elusive Tickle-Me-Elmo doll.

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 who owned an MGA, MGB or TR-6 when they were in college. Even better, the Z3 will undoubtedly be more driveable and comfortable than their counterparts of yesteryear. Twenty-somethings 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 wagon-load 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.

Though winter is upon us, our enthusiasm for the Z3 is not waning; every time a Z3 passes us on the way to the grocery store we turn green with envy. Mercedes and Porsche are releasing affordable roadsters this year, too, adding even more excitement to a long-forgotten segment of the automotive industry. Despite the competition, however, we think that it will be hard to top the Z3.

The 1997 Z3 is beautiful, and the inclusion of a six-cylinder engine-equipped model, makes the car an even more desirable mode of transportation. If you don't have kids, or have the money for a totally impractical toy, this is the car for you!

1997 Highlights

BMW makes its 190-horsepower six-cylinder engine available in the Z3 2.8.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 BMW Z3.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

WOW What a Car
Truly my favorite sports car!! I have owned many including Corvettes, Trans Ams, Z28s, Mustangs, and MG Midgets, but this one takes the cake. Although I still own a 1970 Corvette (rarely driven these days), I still lust for the fun per mile that my Z3 delivered. My wife and I were looking for a sports car for my fortieth birthday back in 2005 and stumbled onto this Atlanta Blue 2.8 5 speed with tan interior. One test drive and the rest is history! The performance, economy, power, looks, and driving pleasure makes this my most fun since my old MGs (when they were running properly). I owned this car for five flawless years and drove the he'll out of it.
Oldie but fricken goodie
The 1997 Z3 1.9L straight-4 is really a unique find, at a great price. I would not pay more than $8,000 for one with around 80,000 miles on it, which is the car I got for myself. Incredible value for a truly zippy and economical car! Lots of fun to drive, and a real head turner for those of us who are into that type of thing. Dark green with tan interior and top is the way to go. Engine without a drop of any fluid on it. Very tight gearbox for a manual transmission, will get you up to 40 miles per hour as quickly as need be. Perfect commuter car!!!
BMW Z3 2.8 - one of the best roadsters
Rob P,06/15/2007
I bought the '97 Z3 2.8L with the M body style, wide tail and tires, the first year of this style. I think this body is a classic. The Z4 is a bit crisp for me. I have owned my car for 10 years and have had no problems other than a minor driver's seat rail play (seat slid back/forth) which I got fixed under warranty. In 2000, I compared this vs. my neighbor's Porsche 2.5L boxster he wanted to sell me and this vintage of the two cars didn't render a big difference. I felt the BMW 2.8 had more power than the Boxster and handled as well when I pushed both on a very windy back road. There is a huge difference between the 4 cyl and 6 cyl BMW. Once I drove the 2.8L, I said no to the 4 cyl.
older car new bmw fan
Purchased this 1997 bmw z3 with 147400 miles on the clock and fixed lamps out and several small problems , just a little tlc along with struts and rear shocks, carrier bearing on the driveshaft had to be replaced to take care of vibration, tire balance is very important on this car . wal mart balance lifetime for 9.,00 per tire is a deal. long story made short after service we drove the car 2000 miles trouble free on the blueridge parkway most of the time in fifth gear, this 2.8 with the 5 speed gear box is simply the most fun we have had in a car in years and is still a head turner, the car now has 150000 miles on the clock and oil level is still full. this thing is a keeper.
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Features & Specs

20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
138 hp @ 6000 rpm
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
190 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 1997 BMW Z3 features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 BMW Z3
Used 1997 BMW Z3 Overview

The Used 1997 BMW Z3 is offered in the following submodels: Z3 Convertible. Available styles include 2.8 2dr Convertible, and 1.9 2dr Convertible.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 BMW Z3?

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Which used 1997 BMW Z3s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 BMW Z3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW Z3 for sale - 5 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $24,368.

Find a used BMW for sale - 2 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $25,167.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW Z3 for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $15,039.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 11 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $12,600.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 BMW Z3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW Z3 lease specials