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Hi Everyone,

Sorry for what may be seen as a silly question but I had to ask since I am rather new to the BMW roadsters. What are the major differences between the Z3 and Z4? I only ask because I am thinking about purchasing one of them the for a weekend/spring/summer car and I kind of like both of them.

I like the size of the Z3, it looks quite a bit smaller, but I also like the more modern look of the Z4. Is one more reliable than the other? Are there some model years to avoid? My budget would be $20k max.

Thanks In Advance!
 

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The Arkleyologist
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Two distinctly different cars...Z4 is a much more sophisticated (and complex/expensive to maintain) vehicle than the Z3...The Z3 is based upon technology from the 1980's and is a less sophisticated car..more of of a continuation from prior British sports cars. If you want a cruiser for the interstate etc. the Z4 is your way to go.. if you want a throwback tossable sportscar with some degree of comfort, the Z3 would be my choice.
 

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2002 Z3 Here

I still have my 2002 Z3 Roadster - last year they made them - & it still runs great.

It still in great shape since it's garaged & I still love it.

Fred
 

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You can drive a Z3 with your elbow resting comfortably on the door. On the Z4 the sill is too high to do that comfortably,
 

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The Arkleyologist
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On the plus side...that automatic is the steptronic...a five speed automatic that could be shifted "manually" too..it was only offered in the 2001/2002 model year...a big improvement over the prior model years...had it on my 2001 z3 coupe...I liked it
 

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I have the same car but mine has M package with sport seats, 5 speed and wood grain interior. I paid $8250 with 59K a couple of years ago
 

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I researched both models. Put down a deposit on a pristine 2003 Z4, but backed out after reading about 500 complaints about sticky steering lock up in hot weather. BMW went to an electric assist steering in the Z4 and apparently it took a few years to work out some of the bugs. Also, the Z4 interior had a metallic-plastic look to the interior. The Z3 has a wood inlaid veneer trim. The Z4 plus was the glass rear window as opposed to the Z3 plastic window. I ended up with a 2000 Z3 purchased in late 2017 with 33k miles. No regrets so far.
 

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Z3 vs Z4

Original owner of a late production (May 2002) Z3. Not once have I regretted going for the Z3 vice waiting for the Z4 for one principal reason: the Z4 was/is ugly and the Z3 still looks great (sorry Z4 guys but its true).
 
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