The BMW Z3 turns 25: time to know its history

The BMW Z3 turns 25: time to know its history

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25 years ago one of the first BMWs was manufactured outside its native country, it was the Z3 produced at the North American plant in Spartanburg, and which responded to the roadster segment by the Munich firm more than 40 years after that mythical 507, designed precisely for the American market and which almost brought the German brand to ruin. However, the Z3 would become a winning hand with almost 300 thousand units manufactured.

Inspired by the 507 of the 50s

The lines of the Z3 were created by designer Joji Nagashima inspired by the 507 of the 50sas can be seen in its very long bonnet, a very short rear and a driving position practically on the rear axle, all wrapped up in contained dimensions of 4,050 mm in length, a formula that years later would be repeated by a muscular car Z4 with the intrinsic stamp of Chris Bangle, its side gills being the most characteristic elements of this first roadster of the modern era.

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The Z3 was not characterized by great refinement or excessive luxury, it was only focused on providing the best driving experience, although it is true that it has a slightly more GT character than a Miata. However, at the beginning was heavily criticized for resorting to a rear suspension scheme based on the previous E30 3 Seriesin addition to the poor performance of its four-cylinder engines with powers of 114 and 143 hp.

BMW listened to the criticism and its response was not long in comingin April 1997, just two years after the start of Z3 production, fitted it with the 193PS 2.8-litre six-cylinder (M52B28), as well as coming up with an astonishing Z3 M roadster that used the S50B32 of 3.2 liters and 321 CV of the M3 E36, both versions receiving a specific set-up, even more radical in the M. In 1999 the range of engines would be restructured taking advantage of a small facelift with new optics and a more muscular rear. As an access engine, a 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine with 117 CV would emerge, giving way to six-cylinder versions with 150, 170 and 231 CV, with the 325 CV M being the top of the range again.

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An unforgettable Z3 Coupé and James Bond’s car

However, the Z3 roadster is known to be the car driven by famous British spy James Bond in the moviegolden eye in 1995, thus falling the responsibility of promoting this new model on the figure of the actor Pierce Brosnan. This gave rise to the manufacture of a total of 100 limited units edition 007 (when initially the forecast was 20) for the American market. However, this special edition would not be the only one throughout its seven years of history, as BMW Individual made it possible to enjoy others, although without a doubt, the most common. Sports Editionwith 17-inch wheels, a self-locking differential, a 15 mm lowered suspension and M sports seats, it is already palatable enough for any petrolhead.

For the end I wanted to reserve the special BMW Z3 Coupea car of which only 18,000 unitsand that has aged like good wine, since it was a model that at the beginning it was very undervalued in the second-hand market and that it was possible to acquire for only a few thousand euros, but that over time has been able to appreciate as it deserves. We can find this Z3 Coupé with the 2.8 and 3.0-liter versions of 192 CV and 231 CV, in addition to their corresponding M versions with 321 and 325 CV.

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