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The Mercedes-Benz SLK, Mazda Miata, Toyota MR-2 Spyder… With these models, sports cars started to be seen on the roads again. The 1990s marked their revival. At least one more car, from BMW this time, should be included to the list, though – the BMW Z3.

The BMW Z3 was produced between 1995 and 2002 as a roadster and coupe (since 1999). The car is the first vehicle by the German manufacturer built in the U.S. as well as their first roadster that entered mass production.


The 2002 BMW Z3 (where ‘Z’ stands for ‘Zukunft’ meaning ‘future’ in German) exists in two versions – roadster and coupe, both of which turn heads. The BMW Z3 roadster differs from roadsters by other manufacturers. It’s appealing and powerful, sporty and cosy at the same time. The BMW Z3 also looks unusual, even funny with its long boot and too short rear end. Both roadster and coupe have smooth, rounded lines. It contributes to the cars’ sleek appearance.

At the front between the fog lamps, there’s an air intake while underneath the Z3 has a massive spoiler that’s an essential attribute of sports cars. Between the halogen headlamps, BMW’s outstanding double ‘kidney’ grille is seated.


The seats in the 2002 BMW Z3 roadster are covered with leather or leatherette. They are rather comfortable (a little hard, though) with good lateral support provided, but soon it becomes obvious that they are inappropriate for really well-built people.

Change the roadster for the coupe, preferably with the Sport package (optional), and you’ll understand how different the cars really are. The BMW Z3 coupe, running on cross-spoke composite wheels, offers much more supportive and sportier seats that are heated in addition. However, a passenger may have restricted side knee room: when the car’s turning to the right, their knee may be set against the door pocket. The steering wheel is 3-spoke and wrapped in leather. All the gauges and controls are simple to operate, easily accessible, and are placed exactly where you expect them to be.

Powertrain and Features

The 2002 BMW Z3 uses the engines introduced in 2001 as a part of the car’s facelift: a 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder DOHC engine that generates 225 hp (powers the BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe and Roadster that run on 17-inch wheels with 4-way adjustable leather seats, Harman/Kardon sound system, and CD player offered) and its 2.5-litre version that’s capable of producing 184 hp (powers the Z3 2.5i Roadster that employs 16-inch wheels, leatherette seats, 2-way adjustable passenger’s seat, and 4-way power-adjustable driver’s one). If you still lack in power, opt for the Z3 of the M series available both as a coupe and roadster. They come with a 3.2-litre 315-hp engine under the bonnet.

The engines the manufacturer offers are coupled with a standard 5-speed gearbox and optional 5-speed Steptronic transmission.

The automaker equipped all the BMW Z3 models with 4 airbags (2 front and 2 side), electronic stability control, and anti-lock braking system as well as anti-theft system among other things. If you want more, you can select from a power-detachable hardtop, heated (sports) seats and rear windshield, huge air intake at the front, cross-spoke composite wheels, and aluminium inserts.

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