Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback

2001 BMW Z3
List price range
2001 BMW Z3


  • Superb road manners, sexy shape, lots of standard high-tech goodies, brand cachet.


  • Some cheap interior bits, roadsters have a plastic rear window, significantly less expensive two-seaters are out there.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Many are attracted to Z3s because of their undeniable sex appeal, brand cache and attainable price. But really, everybody who loves to drive loves the Z3.

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 to drool over their lovely shapes.

The Z3 lineup consists of three sportsters: the base Z3 Roadster 2.5i, Z3 Coupe 3.0i and Z3 Roadster 3.0i. The Z3 Roadster has an upgraded 2.5-liter, six-cylinder engine that now makes 185 horsepower while meeting low emission vehicle (LEV) standards. Z3s outfitted with larger, 3.0-liter, 225-horsepower six-cylinder engines are available as coupes or roadsters.

Z3 Roadsters feature L-shaped taillights with clear turn signal lenses, fully lined tops, and sculpted rear flanks. The capable sound system is actually audible at speed and clear instrument gauges, plus an analog clock, give the interior a classic look. Some carefully chosen upgrades in interior plastics would go a long way toward improving the Z3's value equation. And what's with the plastic rear window on roadster models when a $12,000 cheaper MR2 provides glass and a defroster?

The 2.5i gets four-wheel disc brakes, a limited-slip differential and 16-inch V-rated performance tires as standard equipment, while the 3.0i cars have larger brakes and new 17-inch wheels this year. A smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission is standard on all Z cars, but this year a five-speed Steptronic automatic, capable of being manually shifted, is optional. All Z3s have a leather-wrapped M-Technic sport steering wheel and standard Dynamic Stability Control, which senses when the car is veering from its intended path and selectively modulates engine torque and the antilock brakes to bring the car under control.

Driving BMW's Z3 cars is a phenomenal experience. Even the most basic Z3 Roadster, with its powerful inline six and ventilated front-disc brakes, is a blast. Only at high speeds does the 2.5 feel winded, but opting for the larger displacement 3.0-liter six in the 3.0i Roadster solves that problem. And for those who must have a rigid structure and protection from the elements, the 3.0i Coupe is a hoot.

With superb steering and excellent brakes, any Z3 is fun to drive and own. Despite their prowess, however, pure performance freaks will want to step up to the M Coupe and M Roadster, which offer increased power and superior handling.

Slotted comfortably between the bargain Mazda Miata/Toyota MR2 and more expensive machines from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, there is a Z3 to suit anybody's needs. Certainly the thrill of open-air motoring in a European two-seater is appealing to any baby boomer who owned a sporty little convertible while in college, but those seeking a scalpel sharp roadster this price range will want to check out Honda's ultra-capable S2000. The Z3 Coupe 3.0i makes sense for Snowbelt dwellers who have greater storage needs and like a bit of "funk" with their "sport."

Thirty-somethings are attracted to Z3s because of their undeniable sex appeal and attainable price. But let's face it: Everybody who loves to drive loves the Z3.

2001 Highlights

Engine displacement in the 2.8 Roadster and Coupe is bumped from 2.8 liters to 3.0 liters. An associated horsepower and torque increase, along with bigger brakes and larger 17-inch wheels and tires, accompanies the new engine. The base 2.5-liter engine also sees a 15 horsepower increase. An optional five-speed Steptronic transmission with manual shifting capability is now available.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 BMW Z3.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

My little "ugly" coupe
lawrence thompson,01/04/2006
I bought my 2001 Z3 coupe about a year and a half ago. It has never stopped turning heads (one of the reasons I bought it in the first place). The car performs the way one would expect a BMW to perform... with elan and enthusiasm. The styling is what I love about the car, above performance. It's been described as looking "like a high top tennis shoe", but that's usually with an appreciative smile. The car has been very reliable, as one would expect from this manufacturer. I expect I'll keep this car forever... after all, since the coupe is no longer manufactured, it will only become more unique with the passing of time.
Most Fun w/o a women involved
Z3 Coupe is fast and responsive. Point and shoot steering. Great in the rain. More curb appeal than a Ferrari. No mechanical problems / only routine maint.
Bought the car because it is so unique, not allot of people have one. Many may not like the way it looks, but I think it looks great. Added some DINAN upgrades and WOW, nice improvement! The car really involves you in driving. Met plenty of people at work and at the gym who first don’t like the coupe, but soon tend to change their mind. Its easy to follow the crowd, I wanted a car that helps me stand out.
I Miss My Girl
I bought my car in 2001 brand new! In 2009 some hater totaled it in the blink of an eye. I literally cried for 3 days. I didn't lease it I bought it as an investment. I had it 8 years and 3 of those years it was paid for. I loved driving my bimmer - we were one. Her turning ratio was fantastic, pickup speed fabulous and just and all around classy car.
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Features & Specs

19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed manual
225 hp @ 5900 rpm
See all Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback features & specs
More about the 2001 BMW Z3
Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback Overview

The Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback is offered in the following styles: 3.0i 2dr Hatchback (3.0L 6cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback?

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Used 2001 BMW Z3 Hatchback Listings and Inventory

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Can't find a used 2001 BMW Z3 Z3 Hatchback you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW Z3 for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $12,670.

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Find a used certified pre-owned BMW Z3 for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $10,357.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 11 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $10,116.

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Should I lease or buy a 2001 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