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Z3 and Z3M Buyers Guide for Bertini GT25

Discussion in 'Z3 Roadster & Coupé' started by Anthony Cherry, May 30, 2014.

  1. Anthony Cherry

    Anthony Cherry Zorg Guru (I)
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    I am putting together a simple buyers guide for the Z3 and Z3M for my Bertini GT25 website and for an upcoming issue of one of the Kit Car magazines.

    I have trawled the forums, Wiki, Parkers and used my personal experience of the 5 x Z3's I have owned to put this together so far.
    But i would really appreciate any input to obvious mistakes i have made and and additions to the things to look out for when buying a Z3 and which are the best models to own.

    Also any favourite modifications would really help for the guide.
    here is what i have so far: - i will edit as suggestions are made
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BMW Z3 and Z3M Buyers Guide

    BMW Z3 1996-2002 Assembled in South Carolina USA

    1.8 118 bhp 10.1 secs 1295 kg (1999-2002)
    1.9 140 bhp 9.2 secs 1275 kg (1996-1999)
    2.0 150 bhp 8.6 secs 1345 kg (1999-2002)
    2.2 170 bhp 7.6 secs 1345 kg (2000-2002)
    2.8 193 bhp 6.7 secs 1360 kg (1997-2000)
    3.0 231 bhp 5.8 secs 1360 kg (2000-2002)
    3.2 321 bhp 5.1 secs 1450 kg (1998-2002)

    (2.3, 2.5 units were used in the USA)
    (4 speed autos were available - these are slightly heavier and slower than the 5 speed manuals)


    4 pots are a little under powered but are lighter but can be supercharged along with the six cylinder cars
    2.2, 2.8 and 3.0 engines offer an exciting drive
    3.2M engines are FAST and FUN but can be a handful in the wet and most don't have traction control
    2.8s had wider rear wings and axles


    2000 Facelift changed:
    all models had wider rear wings and axles
    remote central locking
    headlining in hood
    rear light / boot shape
    wider rear arches and bumps over the wheels
    some had clear lenses to headlights and indicators
    chrome headlight rings
    redesigned boot and boot brake light
    DSC dynamic stability control replaced ASC traction control
    a few interior modifications

    Z3Ms
    they have the s50 engine with 321 bhp (post 2000 cars were given the s54 engine with 325 bhp)
    they share the same rear wings as the 2.8 wide-body but have a shorter rear axle and run rear wheels with a crazy low offset.
    most Z3m's do not have traction control like many of the other six cylinder Z3's. (post 2000 models do have TCS)
    all Z3M's have a LSD - these were an option on the Z3's
    they benefit from uprated suspension, bushes and chassis
    (this reduces the rear end droop experienced under acceleration on the higher power Z3s)
    the Z3m has a colour coded interior dash


    Common problems and things to look out for:
    Generally the Z3 is an excellent car with great reliability!.... but look out for:
    rotten sills, mini front wings, rear wings and lock on rear boot
    Vanos problems characterised usually by loss of power at low revs and a funny sound for the front of the engine. (Mr Vanos can help repair these)
    rear cross member and boot floor spot welds coming loose due to flex from the diff in the Z3M, 3.0 and 2.8 - check the boot floor for broken spot welds
    electric hoods which are common on the higher spec. cars can often be temperamental
    bonnet release mechanism often stick and need to be kept greased
    each electric seat uses 2 motors. these can sometimes fail, also the rail bushes can become worn - check the seats in all directions
    the clips on the side of each seat that funnel the seatbelts often brake
    The wing mirrors can be affected by corrosion
    Water/condensation in the boot - often caused by faulty weather gaskets
    Check roof for signs of water penetration - if leaking then it is often just the hooks that need tightening
    rear plastic windows on the hood is difficult to replace - but there is usually a crease along the window this is a common unavoidable problem
    check for accident damage, resprays and panel gaps
    BMW engines are usually sound if well maintained with a good service history
    (however viscous coupling and the water pump are well worth looking at changing around 80,000 miles along with the guibo/flex disc)
    Bushes tend to wear also especially the top mounts - this can be a good opportunity to install a polybush kit.

    Best Modifications:
    Bilstein or Eibach shocks and progressive lowering springs
    Poly bush kit
    Butt Strut system (ok with a lowered Z3 but clearance can be an issue with a lowered Z3M)
    Braided clutch hose on z3m
    induction kit (simota carbon airbox comes recommended)
    reinforcement to the rear crossmember
    (this mounts the rear diff - Randy Forbes USA do a kit)
    twin ear rear diff

    Price guide (UK Summer 2014)
    The prices change a lot depending on the time of year and the quality of the car.
    1.8 and 1.9 cars can be as cheap as £1500 - but a nice low mileage example can be close to £3000
    2.2, 2.8 and 3.0 cars seem to start at £2500 and rise to up to £4500 for very well kept examples with low miles.
    The Z3Ms can range between £6000 and £10,000 depending on the condition.

    Wheels and Wheel options
    BMW Z3's came with 16 or 17 inch wheels. 18 and 19 inch will fit with lower profile tyres.
    Avoid the run-flat tyres that come on many second hand sets of BMW wheels
    BMW Z3s had 5x120 PCD with 72.5 centre core
    Z3 & Z3M have a front ET of 41
    widebody and facelift Z3's have a rear ET 37
    slimmer body Z3's have a rear ET of 41
    while Z3M an ET of 8
    However as standard the Z3 wheels did not 'fill the arches' well so 10mm hubcentric wheel spacers enhance to look of the standard wheels

    Wheels for the Bertini GT25
    The Bertini front and rear width is the same as the Z3M and wide-body 2.8, so all wheels designed for a Z3 will fit the Bertini
    Most BMW wheels will fit – but wheel spacers may be required
    (Z4 108's on the blue Bertini have 25mm rear spacers and 15mm front spacers)
    (BMW style 32 18" deep dish alloys (7 series) on the Z3M Bertini also use 25mm rear spacers)
    (BMW style 32 18" deep dish alloys (7 series) on the Z3 Bertini do not need any spacers)
    (BMW style 32 18" non deep dish alloys (3 series) require 25mm spacers on the rear and 15mm spacers on the front on the Z3 based Bertini)

    Tips for buying a Z3 or Z3M for converting to a Bertini GT25
    Ensure you buy the car you want with the engine you want.
    (The small premium you pay for a facelift or bigger engine may be worth the longterm investment)
    Ensuring the retained features of the car are in good condition can save you lots of money in the long run.
    A car with a hood in good condition is advantageous
    Doors in good condition with minimal dents etc
    A good quality and well maintained interior can save you doing a retrim!
    Buying a car in the colour you wish to have your bertini can save a lot in the paint shop! Or at least a similar colour can help cut the cost.
    There is a temptation to by a crash damaged or write off car. However the resale value of the unused Z3 parts is high so this rarely makes economic sense.
    A nice set of 18 or 17" alloys in good condition of an expensive audio system can save money if you wish to retain them in your Bertini.
     
    #1 Anthony Cherry, May 30, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
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  2. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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  3. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
    Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator British Zeds

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    Z3M's weren't "face-lifted"

    There were three engine versions depending in where you are in the world. Europe started off with the S50, and then changed to the S54. North America had the S52 (250ish BHP for a while and then changed to the S54.
     
  4. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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    Above......^

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. badman gee

    badman gee Guest

    The s50 did get minor changes. Early ones had no aircon (as standard),no roof lining, non chrome headlights and no headlight washer jets.
     
  6. Cooper

    Cooper Zorg Guru (IV)
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    Damn, that's nasty.
     
  7. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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    Almost only on ///M cars. Always check before handing over the $$$
     
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  8. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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  9. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
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    BMW Z3 (1996-2001) Model History
    • 1995 : The Z3 appeared in the Nieman Marcus Christmas catalogue.These cars were all Atlanta Blue with beige upholstery
    • 1996 : The first demonstrators arrived at the dealers in March of 1996.
    • 01/01/1997: Z3 1.9 rear-drive Roadster (140 bhp), 5-speed gearbox or 4-speed automatic,ABS,PAS,alloy wheels, central locking, electrical windows and mirrors, electrical seat adjustment,airbag. Options include air-conditioning , ASC+T traction control, leather trim & electrical hood
    • 01/08/1997 : Z3 2.8 (193 bhp) launched. Equipment as 1.9 plus ASC+T traction control, limited slip differential, electrical hood, leather upholstery, larger 16-inch Z-Star alloy wheels, trip computer
    • 01/09/1997 : 1.9 now has ASC+T traction control system.
    • 01/01/1998 : Smaller M-style leather-trimmed 3-spoke steering wheel. Option ; Aluminium hard top with heated screen
    • 01/05/1998 : M Roadster 3.2 spec as Z3 2.8 plus four exhaust pipes, air-conditioning, 2 airbags, heated electrical mirrors.
    • 01/09/1998 : M Coupe launched, specification as M Roadster.
    • 01/04/1999 : Special edition 'Orinoco' and 'Fiji' 1.9 and 2.8 launched.
    • 01/07/1999 : Z3 1.8 and 2.0 launched. Restyled rear end, chrome-rim headlamps, chrome-rim instruments.
    • 01/02/2000 : 2.0 Cosmos, Velvet, Aegean and Mora editions (all £26900).
    • 01/09/2000 : Z3 2.2 (170 bhp) and 3.0 (231 bhp) launched.
    • 01/02/2001 : Z3 2.2 Sport and 3.0 Sport launched. 2.2 Sapphire and Titanium editions (both £25950 new)
    • 01/03/2001 : Revised M Roadster and Coupe with 325 bhp engine, DSC III stability control system, uprated brakes.
    • 02/12/2001 : The 250,000th Z3 roadster > Jet Black with a red top and Mugello red seats with black inserts. The console is trimmed with red birchwood and the roll bars are black leather in front and red leather in back held together with red stitching
    • 2002 : An in-dash CD player was newly standard for 2002.
    • 06/28/2002 : Production of the last Z3 roadster.
    • 2003 : BMW's Z4 replaced the Z3
     
  10. Anthony Cherry

    Anthony Cherry Zorg Guru (I)
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    i have added a few more sections and edited and added bit as recommended by you guys and ZRoadster.not too....

    have i made any mistakes in the wheels section? or missed anything out?