Make / Model Search

Car reviews - BMW - Z3 - 2.8 convertible

Our Opinion

We like
Strong, smooth engine, nimble handling, quality feel
Room for improvement
Looking a little dated

4 May 2001

BMW's 2.8-litre Z3 does complete justice to the two-seat sportster's suggestively muscular looks. The pumped-out wheel arches and restyled front end fill the car out better, while inside, leather trimmed seats and dashboard lift the overall ambience - although it is still a bit dark and drab with the soft-top in place.

The chrome highlights around the instruments and on the big light switch on the dash, as well as other places, are a bit over the top to some eyes.

Equipment includes heated seats and cruise control.

The soft-top on the 2.8 is power operated and folds up and down very quickly but you do have to manually lock and unlock it from the top of windscreen.

But it is what is under the bonnet that really counts.

The twin camshaft, in-line, 2.8-litre, six-cylinder engine, also used in 3 Series and 5 Series, is turbine smooth and provides bags of power. It still prefers to have a few revs on board before it really gets into its stride.

Anything over 2500rpm and the Z3 hauls itself eagerly down the road.

And it makes a nice noise doing it with a fruity growl on the over-run.

The manual gearbox is light and easy to use. The ratios are well chosen with the driver able to stroke the car up through the gearbox at a fair clip. BMW claims the 2.8-litre hits 100km/h from standstill in 7.1 seconds.

Drive the six-cylinder hard and obviously there is a fuel penalty. This means many trips to the petrol pump as this model gets only a small 51-litre tank.

Performance is up compared to the superseded four-cylinder and so is the handling with the all-independent suspension better tied down to improve grip and precision.

The suspension has also been rejigged to cope with the bigger 17- inch wheels and tyres.

The big boots ensure the 2.8 sticks like chewing gum to a school desk, at least in the dry.

In the wet even the big tyres have trouble coping which is why most drivers will welcome the standard traction control.

This system uses the brakes and then a cut in engine power to eliminate wheelspin. The good news is that it can be switched off for tail-out motoring.

Handling is good, although the big tyres do make the car feel a little agitated as it tramlines quite strongly.

Understeer is not evident at low to middle speeds but the Z3 can be nicely balanced by using the abundant power of the in-line six.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Z3

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here