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1999 BMW Z3

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1999 BMW Z3 Review

A perfect ride for the car lover.

Reviewed by Automotive on


It is very rare that a vehicle comes along that makes such an impact as the Z3 model. Featured in a Bond film, the model was generally sold out before the production runs are started. It has been celebrated as a great car for drivers who love performance, and the 1999 BMW Z3 takes it another step forward. BMW has undertaken two major changes to make the 1999 Z3 model one of the most desired vehicles in recent decades.

The introduction of a Coupe model along with a new 2.3-liter engine move this already-desired vehicle even higher up the list of driving enthusiasts. With a relatively modest price tag, the Z3 provides bargain performance. It’s not cheap, but the performance quality for the cost may be the best on the market. If not the best, at least able to challenge cars like the Porsche Boxster for less damage to the wallet.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible, hatchback
Engines: 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder, 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: BMW Z3 2.3 Convertible, BMW Z3 2.8 Convertible, BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe

What's New

The 1999 BMW Z3 welcomes two major changes. In the engine department, the 138-horsepower inline four cylinder is replaced by a 170-horsepower inline six cylinder. This change makes even the basic 2.3 model an entertaining drive with formidable power. The second major change is the introduction of the Coupe model, allowing customers an option for a hardtop with a stiffened frame and more cargo room. In addition, the Z3 received a redesigned tail and upgraded interior material. All models also come with a new-look steering wheel and standard side air bags.


The 1999 BMW Z3's front end is the same on both vehicles, and it looks noticeably longer on the Coupe. The hatchback of the Coupe is also quite abrupt and seemingly without the usual BMW style. Instead, it looks almost as though the rear end of a Civic hatchback was grafted on. The redesigned rear end is wider and less busy than in previous years.


The 1999 BMW Z3 upgraded the interior. New materials were used in the components, upgrading from the overused hard plastics in previous models. Ergonomically, the Z3 is sound and easy to use. There is adequate room for two adults in the passenger cabin. Cargo space is quite limited in the Roadster, but the Coupe has a respectable amount for a small sports car. Visibility is fine in the Roadster, although the rear window is slightly small. All-around visibility is better in the Coupe, although the side pillars produce some blind spots.

Performance & Handling

The 1999 BMW Z3's performance is very good across the model line, with the Coupe being an extremely well-performing model. All of them can make it to 60 mph in under seven seconds. The design of the Coupe and the inherent body-stiffening cause it to handle extremely well during maneuvering, which is necessary, given that the 2.8-liter engines puts out 193 horsepower. The Roadster 2.3 meanwhile produces a respectable 170 horsepower from its new 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder, giving the base model much better acceleration and speed than in the previous models. An updated suspension makes the Z3 one of the best handling small cars on the road.


Like 1999 BMW Z3 is attentive to safety concerns. As it is a small, high-powered car, BMW has given it a great number of features to help protect the passengers from high-impact crashes or rollovers. Both models come with standard driver and passenger front and side airbags. Mechanically, the Z3 comes with standard four wheel anti-lock brakes and a very sturdy traction control system.

EPA Fuel Economy

BMW Z3: 17/24 mpg city/ highway

You'll Like

  • Superb performance and handling
  • Reliable
  • Reasonable price tag

You Won't Like

  • Exterior styling
  • Lack of cargo space
  • Fuel economy

Sum Up

A perfect ride for the car lover.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Porsche Boxster
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata

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