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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 and coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2013, 08:14 PM
kayjay kayjay is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 z3
Z3 which one to buy???????

Hi my name is Karl,,, first time caller! I leave in the morning to test drive a 2.3 hard top, a 3.0 and an M roadster 98,99,2001 yr. I want the hard top but may be swayed with the larger motor. I guess the question would be , does the 2.3 have sufficient power in hill and dale, Im skinny and my wife is skinny, but if I'm in the hills is the 2.3 going to be gagging and struggling ??? I could go with a soft top but prefer the shell....and I guess I'm not really a motor head ,,,,, more of a cruiser. your experience is appreciated.. any pros and cons?????
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2013, 03:56 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
These are 12+ years old cars. Buy the one in the best condition.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2013, 06:09 AM
AustinZ3 AustinZ3 is offline
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Mein Auto: Z3 2.5i Roadster
When you say the 2.3 is a hardtop, do you mean the hatch back coupe or the roadster with the hardtop?
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2013, 06:32 AM
vintage42's Avatar
vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayjay View Post
... I leave in the morning to test drive a 2.3 hard top, a 3.0 and an M roadster 98,99,2001 yr... may be swayed with the larger motor... does the 2.3 have sufficient power in hill and dale... is the 2.3 going to be gagging and struggling ?...
I drove an M and a 2.3 before I bought my 1.9 based on low miles, perfect condition and ease of driving.
It is hard to answer your question about sufficient power. It sounds like you are used to, and expect, and may even need, a lot of power. The 2.3 was more than enough for me, but I suppose doing a high-speed uphill 2-lane pass in the mountains at high altitude might make it struggle a bit. If that is a problem, then the 3.0 or M would be better. But big Zs with low miles and perfect condition are costly.
It looks like you live in flat New Orleans. The 2.3 should be adequate for any hills in the southern US.
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  #5  
Old 07-08-2013, 06:43 AM
wrench13 wrench13 is offline
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Mein Auto: Z3, 2.3
A 2.3 is really a 2.5. With the hard top ( which is another $1500 ), and maintained in top condition, I can't see that power would be an issue. THe 3.0 motor is bigger and is a tank too, from what I've read, but go by better condition and RECORDS OF MAINT. I personally have stayed away from the M's, more maintenance, more likely hood of previous owner beating the **** out of it, and dumping it when the problems are too much $$$ to fix. A PPI at a GOOD dealer is a excellent idea.
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2013, 08:52 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
formerly updmst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinZ3 View Post
When you say the 2.3 is a hardtop, do you mean the hatch back coupe or the roadster with the hardtop?
The coupes only came with the 2.8L, 3.0L, S52, and S54 engines. The 2.5L engine, badged as a 2.3, was not offerred in a coupe.
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2013, 09:11 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
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Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
Quote:
Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
...
I personally have stayed away from the M's, more maintenance, more likely hood of previous owner beating the **** out of it, and dumping it when the problems are too much $$$ to fix.
...
My experience is just the opposite. I've never seen an M that has been beaten to death. But I've seen plenty of "low price" Z3s that have been neglected to death, which are dumped when the needed repairs are too much $$$.

I'm not saying an M has never been beaten to death, but I've never actually seen one.

Also, the only problems I've had with my M are the "standard" Z3 problems.
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2013, 09:36 AM
DANSZ3 DANSZ3 is offline
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My first Z was a 96 1.9/5, 134,000 miles Silver/Black and on a 10 scale it was an 8+ at 15', closer it was a 6-7, GREAT car PLENTY of power and 26 + mpg LOCAL.
I sold it a few weeks ago for $6 k,
I started looking for anther one right away and found an 01 2.5/5 56,000 milesTopaz/Tan $9000. this one is a 9+ from 15' closer its a 9...(included was, an aftermarket upgraded stereo, a Bentley manual, the tonneau, a wind stop and a top cover, has new brakes, water pump, spark plugs, needed 2 tires, just has a few light scratches. AND THE SUCKY BMW CLUTCH MECHANISM...which the 1.9 did not have)
My feeling is that if THIS one has the 1.9, I would have bought it anyway..the 2.5 looses 5 mpg and I have yet to "need" the extra? power...I just wanted the later more "civilized" model..(interior roof liner, nicer dash,lower miles, etc)
So, don't worry about the 1.9...IMHU its plenty of power...(unless it's automatic, then all bets are off)
Good luck in your search
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2013, 03:40 PM
kayjay kayjay is offline
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well made it back , thanks for the input guys but it boiled down to the tightest ride which suprisingly turned out to be the 1998 black m roadster. though I did here a slight clunking in the rear end in 1st or second if I " for lack of a better word jerked the rear end around'' at slower speeds but that may be normal or maby a worn bushing . But man what a clean car. inside and out no road rash on paint suspension was relatively stiff in the rear " wich it was realy not in the other two. one owner low miles decent price! Only issue ( top motor dosent work) but they agreed to look at it . cant be that hard to fix... I'll spell check lter..
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2013, 05:28 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmcintyre View Post
... I'm not saying an M has never been beaten to death, but I've never actually seen one...
First I drove a 2000 2.3 with 35,000 two-owner miles, which had some CARFAX, water leak and driving problems that made me keep looking. Then I drove a 1999 M which may have been beaten to death, though I knew nothing about Z3s to tell. It was sort of ratty, had 60,000 miles, a strut bar, wide worn tires, and a lot of stuff in the trunk was missing. There was clunking in the rear end on bumps. It drove like a big Ducati I once tested, and I thought it would be unpleasant to live with.
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  #11  
Old 07-08-2013, 05:36 PM
vintage42's Avatar
vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by DANSZ3 View Post
My first Z was a 96 1.9/5, 134,000 miles... GREAT car PLENTY of power and 26 + mpg LOCAL... So, don't worry about the 1.9...IMHU its plenty of power....
It does, for you and me, but maybe not for the OP who is very concerned about power. The 1.9 is peppy, lively, spirited, etc. but does not have real power over 60 mph.
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2013, 05:59 AM
Prinz Eugen Prinz Eugen is offline
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Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 Z3 M
Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmcintyre View Post
My experience is just the opposite. I've never seen an M that has been beaten to death. But I've seen plenty of "low price" Z3s that have been neglected to death, which are dumped when the needed repairs are too much $$$.

I'm not saying an M has never been beaten to death, but I've never actually seen one.

Also, the only problems I've had with my M are the "standard" Z3 problems.


I agree, I bought a 2002 m with 7,500 miles 2 years ago. It is in perfect condition and with the big motor it has power to spare. Resale on the M is much better, I can get more for it now then what I payed for it 2 years ago.
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2013, 06:56 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
formerly updmst
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 634
Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayjay View Post
well made it back , thanks for the input guys but it boiled down to the tightest ride which suprisingly turned out to be the 1998 black m roadster. though I did here a slight clunking in the rear end in 1st or second if I " for lack of a better word jerked the rear end around'' at slower speeds but that may be normal or maby a worn bushing . But man what a clean car. inside and out no road rash on paint suspension was relatively stiff in the rear " wich it was realy not in the other two. one owner low miles decent price! Only issue ( top motor dosent work) but they agreed to look at it . cant be that hard to fix... I'll spell check lter..
Sounds like a winner. But I would definitely get a Pre Purchase Inspection. Most likely the clunk is a minor issue (loose sway bar end?), but could be a major problem. Point the clunk out to the shop.

"One owner, low miles, decent price" all sounds good. But our caring owner hasn't bother to fix the top motor? Hmmm, perhaps, he has ignored other issues? Just more reason to get the PPI.

Have the service records been saved? Without service records, I always assume the car has been on the deferred maintenance plan and needs major ($$$$) servicing.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2013, 09:32 PM
kayjay kayjay is offline
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Location: nola
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 z3
oh yea it gets worse .got back to the dealer "heater bank circuit 2 sensor 2 right before I drop the money in the guys hand ..... such a nice car, it fricken glows it shines so much ..a car with that much shine cant have mechanical issues....
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2013, 09:33 PM
kayjay kayjay is offline
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Location: nola
 
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Mein Auto: 2002 z3
I give up I'm going buy a Pacer....
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