BMW Z3 M: Crock or classic?
Hello my friends, welcome back to my kitchen table, and welcome back to another episode of Crock or Classic, where I look at cars that may have been overlooked, yet might start to attain classic status in the years to come. A certain car that I would like to take a look at today is one that I had the pleasure of owning for about six months, and that is a BMW Z3 M, a car which, in my opinion, is not deserving of the amount of hate it recieves on a daily basis. However, in my opinion, this car is ready for a huge price appreciation in the coming years, which is why you should snap them up, as they might become out of reach in the coming years.
After having a trawl through the classifieds, I found that you can buy a 1999, 3.2 Z3 M Roadster for only £12,000. By comparison, instead of a sporty little cabrio number, you could buy a 2017 Ford Fiesta for £10,000. The difference of only £2,000 makes for a stark difference. Whereas the Fiesta will get you from A to B, it will do so with about as much flair and soul as techno music. The BMW on the other hand, for only £2,000 more, is a genuine driver’s tool that will make your experience enjoyable and gripping.
In 1999, when the Z3 M was first entering production, it sported a 3.2 litre engine that packed a rather modest 240hp. That’s fine, but if you place speed at paramount importance, then the models at the turn of the new millennium might take your fancy, such as the case with the 2001 model, where the 3.2 block was updated to another 3.2L, but this time with 315hp. So, if you are looking for the Z3 look and style with some more speed, then make sure the model that takes your fancy must have to have been built after 2000.
While German workmanship can be sworn by, the Z3 M has been known to let rust seep in a few places, namely the wheel arches and the spaces between the bodywork and doors. On the Z3 M I owned for six months, there were some questionable orange bubbles gathering around the aforementioned areas. However, models from a similar year and of a similar building style (such as the Mazda MX-5) rust in the same places, but the rust can be kept at bay easily with some acetone or WD-40.
When the Z3M was released in Europe in 1997, it packed the traditional BMW M50 engine, which was a conventional straight-six lineup with a 3.2 capacity. It was the last of its kind to be fitted with this engine, as it ceased production soon afterwards. Models fitted with this engine were produced from 1997 to 2000 and are the cheaper option on the Z3M spectrum. Come 2001, in models released after then, they were fitted with the then-brand new BMW M54, which produced more horepower and torque, and revs much higher (3250 rpm in the M50 compared to 4900 in the M54). These engines are gutsy and reliable, with the M54 remaining in production from 2000 to 2006 due to its great track record of reliability.
Having owned a 2002 Z3 M coupe (a similar one to the one in the header photograph) I can tell you that the driving experience is amazing. The straight-six engine pulls incredibly well (considering the car was over 11 years old at the time) and the suspension, while a little on the firm side (which is to be expected since it is a professional driver’s car) is still soft enough to provide some semblance of comfort, especially through tight corners.
The BMW Z3 M is a genuine gem of a car that was tragically overlooked at the time of its release, however it being overlooked and dismissed is a dream 22 years after its release, as the second hand prices are lovely and low. As said earlier, it’s either this or a Ford Fiesta. That is why I rate the BMW Z3 M as a definite future classic.
Thanks so much for reading, I know I was away for so long, about six months, but I’m back for good now I promise. Thanks a bunch and see you guys soon!