1999 BMW Z3 Review


Pros & Cons

  • These are some of the best cars available. Great engine choices, superb steering and brakes, and reasonable prices make Z3 cars stand out among offerings from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
  • Limited trunk space means that you will always travel light. Small gas tank means that you will stop frequently for fuel.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$1,057 - $2,329

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

The Z3, introduced in 1996, has seen unfaltering popularity with young and old alike even as the line has grown to include more models. It seems that wherever we take these cars, a crowd quickly forms to ask questions about performance and drool over their lovely shapes. The Z3 lineup now consists of three sportsters: the new 2.8-liter Z3 Coupe, Z3 Roadster 2.3 and Z3 Roadster 2.8.

The Z3 Roadster 2.3 has a 2.5-liter six-cylinder engine that replaces last year's four-cylinder engine, and makes 170 horsepower while meeting Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards. This year, the Z3 gets wider rear bodywork, a revised suspension and new bumpers. The excellent Z3 2.8 Roadster is unchanged for 1999, save for the addition of side airbags.

The Z3 Coupe 2.8, new this year and based on the Z3 Roadster 2.8, comes powered by a 2.8-liter, 193-horsepower, six-cylinder engine that also meets LEV standards. Options on the vehicle include an on-board computer, heated seats and heated mirrors. Rear storage areas are accessible through a hatchback rear door. BMW's new closed-body sports car is priced at $36,770, making it attainable to a large number of consumers.

So, who's going to buy these cars, anyway? Obviously, the thrill of open-air motoring in a European two-seater is appealing to any baby boomer who owned a sporty little convertible when they were going to college. The solid little coupe, however, makes sense for snowbelt dwellers who like a bit of funk with their sport. Even better, the new Z3s will undoubtedly be more durable and comfortable than their counterparts of yesteryear. Thirtysomethings are attracted to Z3s because of their undeniable sex appeal and attainable price. Everyone else loves them because they are BMWs (translation: spirited driving with a wagonload of prestige.)

The 1999 Z3s are beautiful, and the new coupe rounds out the lineup quite nicely. If you don't have kids to haul around and love to drive, this may be the car for you.

1999 Highlights

The Z3 2.8 Coupe is new, side airbags are now standard on all models and a 2.5-liter inline six replaces the 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine on the entry-level roadster.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1999 BMW Z3.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

99 Z3 Roadster, 2.3, 5 spd manual
Great solid car, extremely reliable for me. Bought it with 122k on it, sold it with 140k. Needed front suspension parts replaced, which is no surprise with that many miles, but did the work myself and found that aftermarket parts are cheap online. Only real issue I experienced was the airbag light came on. Good gas mileage, and the straight 6 cylinder motor sounds awesome! Stereo is absolutely horrible. Mine did not have the optional Harmon Kardon stereo, which I assume is better. Would recommend this car - very classic and sexy looking exterior. Simple interior.
THIS is BMW quality?
My '99 Z3 (bought Feb '08, 48K miles) still looks great on the outside and powertrain has held up well. Surprised that interior plastic parts are so chintzy, such as loose power drivers seat, cup holder cover, and cracked/broken seat belt restraint and parking brake handle. Radiator fan shroud also cracked and broke off. 6-CD changer in trunk has poor tolerance for bumps. Would not have expected all these issues at 49K miles.
12 years later and it still turns heads
I leased this car new in 1999 and it was so great I bought it at lease end in 2002. Now 2012 and all I have done is add a front strut brace (highly recommended and simple to install) and the car is still the best I have owned. Steel Grey, chrome package, with chrome wheels is unbelievable. I store it in the winter. Never seen snow, barely seen rain. 30k miles. And i drive it hard, run it to rev limiter regularly, etc. It's like driving a go-cart, not for all but for enthusiasts really great. Fun to drive, amazing exhaust note and the engine runs easy at 4k and will just hang there between shifts. Even today, as 12 year old car, people stop and look and ask. Timeless for sure.
Best sports car for under $10,000
Ged Eustis,03/05/2019
2.8 2dr Convertible
I've owned my 2.8 roadster for three years. I drove it as is off the used lot as my daily driver for two and a half years and never had a single problem. Made several 600-plus mile trips, very comfortably with luggage (I'm 5'10", 200lbs). It cruises smoothly on the interstate at 70 or even at 100mph. Plenty of power for passing or squirting through traffic in town. Get's about 26hwy/17city. This car does not like bumpy streets, so I don't recommend owning one in an area with lots of bad roads. The ride is very rigid with decent comfort on most smooth streets. The car feels more powerful than I expected before driving one. The chassis is very well planted and the drivetrain delivers thrilling performance. It's about as fast as a v6 mustang, but the size of the vehicle makes it much more nimble and and the noise and vibration, and connectedness to the road is unmistakably German and makes for a much more thrilling drive. It feels like an old 911 or M3. I feel like I lucked out selecting this car. It has surpassed my expectations and checked all the boxes in what I look for in a sports car. I spent around $4,000 last month refitting the car with a new top, new shocks, new clutch and flywheel, brakes, rotors, tires and a tune up, because I intend to keep this little gem for a while. This is one of those cars you miss when it's gone and BMW won't be making any more of these naturally aspirated, straight six, analog, manual transmission cars.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1999 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 1999 BMW Z3

Used 1999 BMW Z3 Overview

The Used 1999 BMW Z3 is offered in the following submodels: Z3 Hatchback, Z3 Convertible. Available styles include 2.8 2dr Coupe, 2.8 2dr Convertible, and 2.3 2dr Convertible.

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Find a used BMW Z3 for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $22,981.

Find a used BMW for sale - 3 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $18,758.

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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.

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Check out BMW Z3 lease specials