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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > Z Series > E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)

E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:21 PM
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jtm964 jtm964 is offline
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Z3 M roadster or 986 boxster S ??

I have been playing with the idea of getting a convertible, and with only around 25K budget, I am thinking of either the Z3M or boxster S (2000 to 2003). If price and mileage are similar, which will be a better choice? If driven around town, is there a big difference between the S52 and S54 engine? thanks in advance for your opinions..
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:10 PM
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phrider phrider is offline
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1. Drove both a new S54 MZ3 and the Boxster S in 2002. I bought the MZ3, especially after hearing the repair issues on the Boxster.

2. Around town, there's no difference until you want to accelerate out of a problem on the freeway. Then I believe you'll be happier with the S54. This discussion has been repeated over and over and over, so you'll find lots of alternative points of view with a little search.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:35 PM
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jtm964 jtm964 is offline
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Other than the rear main seal leak, are there any other issues regarding the boxster ? I was told they are very reliable. True??
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  #4  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:42 PM
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peakpro peakpro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtm964 View Post
Other than the rear main seal leak, are there any other issues regarding the boxster ? I was told they are very reliable. True??

the RMS can be an issue....but otherwise reliability is good..

between a z3 and a 986...boxster wins hands downs..especailly the "s"
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2008, 07:05 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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A few years ago, my wife & I spent a week in Phoenix, and we rented a Boxster for the duration. After putting right at 700 miles on it, I reassured Sue that the M Rdstrs in our garage were safe. I most definately did not want to give up one for a Boxster.

The Boxster handles terrific, but I LOVE torque, which it does not display (unless you really STAND on it__ALWAYS). Given a choice, I'll always pick a front engined/rear drive car bristling with torque. Look at my signature

Sue at the Tempe Mission Palms:

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  #6  
Old 01-24-2008, 08:11 PM
BillCZ3 BillCZ3 is offline
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I don't know if Randy rented a Boxster or a Boxster S but you need to compare apples to apples. Randy has two M roadsters. I've had my Z3 Roadster over a year and I really like it but the Boxster has it all over the Z3.

As far as dependability, Porsche had some engine issues with the early Boxsters (pre-98) but Porsche bit the bullet and replaced the engines for the owners. BMW built Z3's with a subframe issue but is NOT standing behind their product, leaving owners with a bill for several thousand dollars to repair a BMW engineering mistake. Boxsters have proven, over the years, to be very trouble free. Consumer Reports recommends both the '07 Z4 and the '07 Boxster but the Boxster is rated highter for customer satsfaction and for resale value.

Bottom line: Both the Z3 and the Boxster are a lot of fun. Looks are subjective and I like the looks of both cars. But for performance and handling, the Boxster has the edge.

Good luck on the decision......
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2008, 09:53 PM
PaulGT3 PaulGT3 is offline
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I am not a boxster expert but I have driven a few. I have been around Porshce for awhile.
I have had a 97 911 TT, a 04 911 GT3 and now my 07 GT3. I spent alot of time goofing around at my dealer. I was going to buy a Cayenne but Test drove a X5 and found out the 4.8is was a better SUV. I was going to buy the wife a Cayman or Boxster and I love those cars, good all arounders. I drove a Z3 at my dealers a few years ago and the Boxster was clearly better. But a new Z4M is better than both the Cayman and the Boxster. The RMS is over blown issue but is still present even in the 997 GT3 but is fixed under warranty. If you get the Boxster try to get a CPO. Its a fun car to track too.
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2008, 08:20 AM
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jtm964 jtm964 is offline
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Thanks for the inputs. I have a Z4 M coupe and loving it. The convertible will be driven only for top down fun. (well, so is the M coupe)... I drove a Z4 3.0 loaner the other day. Its a very solid car, and the top is much better than the Z3... man...I am so greedy...
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2008, 09:41 AM
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bten bten is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtm964 View Post
I have been playing with the idea of getting a convertible, and with only around 25K budget, I am thinking of either the Z3M or boxster S (2000 to 2003). If price and mileage are similar, which will be a better choice? If driven around town, is there a big difference between the S52 and S54 engine? thanks in advance for your opinions..
I purchased a 2004 Z4 3.0i for a weekend top down driver. They can be had for the 25K budget you mention. It is a great car, and a lot of fun on BMWCCA weekend road trips.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2008, 06:34 PM
Roadzter Roadzter is offline
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I was making a similar choice last year but at a lower price point. I found the Boxster to be a more balanced handling car. It also had more cargo room for longer trips. I probably would have gone with the Boxster but found that there was consistently about a $4,000 premium for the Boxster on a like year/mileage comparison basis. I therefore opted for a low mileage '98 Z3 2.8. I did some tweaks on the suspension to change the balance and am pretty happy with the car. The Z3 has some peculiarities (like the potential chassis/diff mount cracking mentioned above), but it's a fun car and the motor (even the 2.8) is plenty torquey and powerful for most driving.
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2008, 07:59 PM
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M3Addict M3Addict is offline
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I've owned 3 Porsches and I've driven many a friends Boxster. Personally, the Boxster never did anything for me. Yeah, the brakes were good, but that was about it. In fact, I drove with my friend in his Boxster when I first took the M Roadster for a test drive. He's thinking of selling his car and getting an M like mine now.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2008, 09:13 PM
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Mein Auto: 2002 M roadster
Drive 'em both, buy the one that grabs you.

My own experience...

I drove a Boxster S before I bought the Z3 M. Drove them both on the same day, about an hour apart. It just didn't speak to me like the S54 does, but I'm admittedly biased like Randy toward a front-engine RWD car. I paid cash for the Z3 M, new, and could've done the same with the Boxster S but it just didn't warrant it in my opinion if similarly equipped (options on the Boxster S were very pricey). The Boxster S just wasn't an engaging enough drive for me for a seasonal *****it-purely-for-enjoyment car (the cargo space issue was moot to me). The engine was the deciding factor. At the time I also figured "A quality set of coilovers, second set of wheels/tires, hardtop, good aftermarket audio setup... still brings me in under the price of the Boxster S with options.". Even with Randy's work done I'm still ahead on that front, and I dearly love the S54 (bearing problem is fixable, the rest of the motor is a very nice piece of factory iron.. Wards agreed for several years running).

Obviously the used market is different, but given how easy the Z3 cars are to work on and my love for wrenching on the car, I'd very likely make exactly the same decision if I were buying used today. But drive them yourself, everyone has their own priorities/desires/tastes. Both cars are fun top-down vehicles, you can't really go wrong with either.
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2008, 10:31 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillCZ3 View Post
I don't know if Randy rented a Boxster or a Boxster S but you need to compare apples to apples. Randy has two M roadsters. I've had my Z3 Roadster over a year and I really like it but the Boxster has it all over the Z3.....
Well, that's a good point; it wasn't an S (though I tried to get one, it was reserved even before the __3__ months in advance of me reserving this one), it was a 2.7.

But, I have drive a Z3 2.8, and my decision would still stand, comparing the Boxster 2.7 vs the Z3 2.8.

Living with a sports car on a daily (or weekly, monthly) basis is a lot more than ultimate lateral G-numbers, which I don't deny that the Porsche has. But for somene like me that lives to do my own work on the enthusiast cars I own, I would become very quickly frustrated with the Boxster's engine access (and I have my own floor-lift). Let alone not being able to pop the hood and, at least, be able to LOOK at the engine.

To each their own, but my cars are safe from being traded for one...
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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
1961 McCulloch R1 go-kart Screaming Yellow
1995///M3 Coupe Dakar Yellow Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
2001///M Rdstr Steel Gray
2011 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue/Cinnamon
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2008, 03:03 AM
stormdk stormdk is offline
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The Boxster 2,5 and 2,7 are sub par, but the S version (had 2 of them, one manual one with triptronic 02) is a really great car. I would choose it everyday over the Z3M. Only letdown is the lack of horsepower. But in terms of handling, style, feel and sound the Boxster S is a truely great car.
Harder too choose when it comes to the Z4 M vs Boxster S 987.... . but I think I would still choose the Porsche...
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