I'm the third - and likely last - owner of our Z3. Paid well under the $7,500 asking price (125k miles) when a BMW Dealer pre-sale inspection (do this!!) found $6k in bad rear trailing arms and old/cracked/leaking critical engine parts/seals. A good independent shop did it for $4k. Was it worth it? OHMYLORDYES! This is the Roadster my old Miata always wanted to be. Takes my breath away every time I open the garage, and again every time I open the throttle. The S52 engine is the best of the bunch. Just be prepared to pay a premium to fix all the nits that crop up. Resale values are rising for later models in good repair. If you find one under $10k this looker is definitely worth a 2nd look. *update* Edmunds asked for an updated review. The only thoughts to add are frustrations with a shot rear transaxle now, and the realization that while it's fun, it's not an investment. For the money I've invested in purchase and repairs I could have gotten a very nice used Miata, with fewer headaches. *update* Drive shaft replaced at 165k miles, $1,500. Still mostly happy.
First thing's first, and this goes without saying, the car is absolutely gorgeous. I found my 2001 on a Chevy lot, and it blew all of the modern designs of the new lines of Chevy out of the water. (except for the new 'vette, which the previous owner traded the z3 in for) Prior to buying this car, I only had practical experience driving a manual. It was years since I last tried. But within a week, I had it down with the Z3. This car performs so well, you can't help but drive it. The vehicle's handling is superb. You could do a turn on a dime with this thing, and NOW I understand why U turns and curved roads are just so damn fun to drive on. Nice low purr to the engine. The dealers told me the convertible top didn't work, but after actually reading the car's manual, I found out it worked just fine. The ride is smooth and the cabin noise is minimal. I'm not looking forward to the eventual repairs that I know are necessary for a 15 year old car, but I'll definitely thoroughly enjoy every day up until then. A couple of cons with my particular vehicle: Passenger side door won't open from the outside. In the car's maintenance history, there's a work order that showed repairing the door would be a $600 job that required disassembly of the whole door. Also, there's a slight leak in the roof on the passenger side. The CD player skips on bumpy roads. Minor inconveniences for a ride this exciting.
Had a 318i for 7 years- never a problem with repairs, etc. Only got rid of it because it had 100,000+ miles on it and was worried it might start breaking down. Bought the Z3 as a preowned vehicle - with warranty. Have had it in shop countless times, last time being it needed a new radiator - have had lots of repair issues, it is now just out of warranty and I am hoping it will not break down any more. Love the car, it's cute and fun but disappointed in repairs so far. Other BMWs superior to this one :(
I bought my 2001 Z3 3.0 a month ago & have loved every minute of it. Very nice ride & comfort for a roadster. The I6 is very quick & responsive. Very tight and solid ride with no rattles. Averaging about 24 mpg mixed highway and city. Very quiet for a convertible. Top is very tight.
It's the most fun I have had in a car, and I have driven a Porsche Carrera among other sports cars. The look of the car is the perfect blend of classic roadster shape and form with modern design and sleekness. It's not as fast off the start as I would prefer, but it has wicked acceleration at speed, dismissing some wannabe on the interstate while already doing 70 or 80. At 120 (the fastest I've dared take since it was a public road) it still has more to give. One time my wife and I were stopping in an art district shopping area. When we pulled over to park there was a young boy of 4 or 5 with his mother on the sidewalk, and through the passenger window we both clearly saw the boy say with a slow awe, "That's a *fast car*." That pretty much said it all; the classic yet modern look, with enough performance to back it up. It's pretty much a dream to own.