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Z3 2.3 versus 2.8 years 1999+

8505 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  pelerojo
I am looking at getting a Z3. I see that in 1999 there were quite a few changes. It appears the base model 2.3 and enthusiast model 2.8 have less of a gap in features and upgrades as they did before. I test drove a Z3 before and appreciated the roominess and class that an MR2, Miata, and S2000 couldn't provide. I felt safer too. Its been tricky following the history of the changes with the Z3 but I have narrowed it down to a 1999+ Z3, 5 Speed - Manual.

Here are my questions:

  1. Does the 2.3 have the same suspension upgrades as the 2.8? If not, what are they?
  2. Are there any other significant differences in the chassis?
  3. Is there any advantages to the base model? Like weight difference allowing better handling?
  4. Please verify the quote below to be accurate.

"Another bonus of the new 2.3 model is that it incorporates the same chassis upgrades as the 2.8. These include beefier, more rigid semi-trailing arms and a 2.5-in. wider rear track; differently calibrated spring rates and re-sized anti-roll bars front and rear; and enlarged, strengthened wheel carriers and bearings. A specially engineered limited-slip differential enhances dry-road handling. And the front disc brakes are ventilated, versus the solid discs of the previous 1.9 model."​


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Any information would help. I am a newbie on here. I see them come and go on Craigslist; I would hate to miss the Year/Make/Model pass me by.
Troy, welcome to the forum... the 2.3 is just as "enthusiastic" as the 2.8. I know many people that have the smaller engined models and they aren't missing out on anything. Mine is a 2000 2.3L which i chose because of the updated rear end and interior.

Hope you make the right choice for yourself!

The 2.3 is actually a 2.5. Apparently, BMW wanted more of a spread between the offered 2.8 and the 2.5. Here's a link for some general information about Z3s.
1999 2.3l

It Depends on what you want to do to the car. I have completely redone my car. Suspension,Radiator, Pulleys, Brakes, Seats, Stereo, Bushings, Exhaust, Rims, Reprogrammed the ECU. I need to get it Dyno'd but it probably now has 200hp to the rear wheels with the AT. The car is alot of fun to drive.

If you want a bit more power I would look at trying to find a 3.0. The car is plenty spirited as a 2.3/2.5l but you have more options with the 2.8 or the 3.0 for modifications.

This is a great place to find info and discuss what you want to do with the car.
My 2001 2.5I is awesome and has plenty of peep.But I am going to upgrade with some Dinan Exhaust and CAI then get a ECU reprogram from Dinan.
IMO I drove both before buying a 2.8. Both a good engines but the extra low end power was key selling point for me. I ran mine for almost 9 years trouble free. the best part about these engines is they are very common so service and parts are readily available. The 99+ are good because I believe that is the first year of the sode airbags and a few other improvements. good luck.
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