Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

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warhammer23
Joined: Sun 16 Feb, 2014 22:28
Posts: 50

  BMW other

Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by warhammer23 » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 02:42

Hello.

Looking to buy a Z3 and started to do my 'homework'.
I'd only had manual bmw's and i'm curious how are the autos on the Z3s, just to cover all options/possibilities.

Mainly interested in the 1.9 M44 and 2.8 M52 in my area & price range but open to all engines also the 2.0/2.2/3.0

So, any specific details i should know, recalls, it shouldn't do that, avoid that etc.

Any input is of great help.

Thank you.

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Davejue1
Joined: Sun 22 Sep, 2013 08:25
Posts: 1249

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Mansfield

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Davejue1 » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 07:56

Hi, I can't say just on the BMW boxes by older auto boxes generally were quite unreliable, a lot different to the standards we get today. What I can tell you tho is the Z3 is a drivers car and my personal opinion would be to get a manual model. Mine is a 2.8 manual and I still grin every time I drive it, maybe an auto wouldn't be quite as much fun? Of course everybody is different and I'm sure some will say get an auto which is of course fine, this is just my opinion. Test drive both and try a 1.9 and the 6 pot engines and see which you favour. :drive :cheers

Cheers
Dave
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"Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional!"

warhammer23
Joined: Sun 16 Feb, 2014 22:28
Posts: 50

  BMW other

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by warhammer23 » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 09:43

I feel the same way regarding the manual.
Just curious about the auto's reliability from that period on them.

gookah
Z Register member
Joined: Thu 07 Aug, 2008 10:51
Posts: 2722

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by gookah » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 12:07

My wife had a Z3 1.9 auto with the M44 engine, when we checked the paperwork the gearbox had recently been 'refurbished' at a cost of £1800, (a month before it was sold to us), everything on the test drive was fine so we thought it was OK. However 4 months later it became very notchy and clunky during normal driving, and the warranty was not transferable to a new owner.
We part ex-d for a manual Z3 shortly afterwards.
Manual gearboxes are more reliable. easier to get hold of and cheaper to fix.
Makes me wonder why it was sold just after paying £1800, as the dealer wouldnt have given them much more for the car, unless the owners suspected something, or had issues with the warranty.
I would never buy another, James May drove a 1.9 auto in one of the Top Gear specials and slated the gearbox, from my experience I have to agree.
However, many on here have them without issues.
My thought is £500 to fix/replace a manual with lots around, £1800 to refurb an auto, and good luck trying to find a replacement when you need one.
Last edited by gookah on Wed 30 Jul, 2014 17:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Z3 1.9 Sport Progress Journal (Wifey's)

I have an element of 'M-styling' on my car, If that's a good enough reason for the manufacturers to adorn a 320 with the M badge, then its certainly a good enough reason for me..

DC
Joined: Tue 15 Sep, 2009 18:31
Posts: 559

  Z3 roadster 1.9
Location: Inverness-shire

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by DC » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 15:42

My 1998 1.9 M44 is silky smooth and changes quite acceptably for a 16 year old car, not like James May's at all.
Good quality fuel is a must to get the best out of it and never less than 36 mpg over the time I've owned it.
36000 miles to date, 13000 done by me.
Definitely not for sale :)
More power would be wasted on me with an open car and where I live but if you want thrills I would go for 2.8 or 3 litre.
Dave.
Dave. 1998 Arctic Silver Z3 M44 1.9 Automatic

Mugs
Joined: Wed 07 Aug, 2013 02:26
Posts: 341

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Mugs » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 15:57

i have had a few autos in my time but only two have been BMWs.
i prefer manual, my wife only likes autos so if we share a car then it is an auto.
i have found the BMW auto box to be (touch wood) a reliable box with no issues to report. the gear change on our 1.9 z3 isn't the smoothest when in kickdown but under normal acceleration seems smooth enough. i found it exactly the same with my E30 325i so i think it must be an older BMW autobox thing?
i have had bad experiences with Audi autoboxes and looking on the internet it seems they have problems with both the tip and DSG boxes.
i have only heard of a couple of people having issues with the 'older' BMW autoboxes so i believe they are a good reliable box if you don't mind slightly jerky gear changes on kickdown. i believe there may have been slightly more issues with the BMW tiptronic box but i'm not 100% sure if they could be classed as unreliable or troublesome.
i would have more concerns buying any diesel car than a BMW with an autobox (but that's from my experience)
try one and see what you think......i much prefer being in an auto when there is any sign of a traffic jam or just for a lazy drive but as others have said, a real drivers car (especially the M) needs a manual box.

warhammer23
Joined: Sun 16 Feb, 2014 22:28
Posts: 50

  BMW other

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by warhammer23 » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 16:17

Thanks a lot for the info and feedback guys.

Yes, also want a manual especially if i can get the straight 6s.

Wanted to cover every scenario so thanks again.

fast_dps
Joined: Sun 08 Dec, 2013 21:03
Posts: 14

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by fast_dps » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 21:08

When I acquired my 2.8 last year it was equipped with the auto box and I will admit to having some concerns but have been pleasantly surprised, just needed to re-programme the brain to the variances of driving an auto. Cruising on motorways and A roads it makes for easy driving but want to get by a slower vehicle and its simply a case of putting the pedal down, the car squats, grips and takes off like a rocket! Yes, sometimes I miss the fun of changing up and down through the gears.
As an aside I have just ordered a BMW 320D as my company car and opted for the auto box which is now 8 speed as it is quoted as being more efficient and therefore lower benefit in kind tax. How things change with technology!

Ultimately I agree it is personal choice and the main thing is to enjoy the drive!

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2115

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Del » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 21:28

I think a lot of auto boxes fall foul of the BMW "filled for life" propaganda with many owners terrified to change the oil for fear of it causing the box to blow up :D . I've seen many posts where the performance of this generation of auto box was greatly improved by a fluid/oil and filter change. However, I would guess that the auto box option is best suited to the bigger 2.8/3.0 engines.

robf
Joined: Fri 20 May, 2011 13:43
Posts: 16

  Z3 roadster 2.2i
Location: auckland

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by robf » Thu 31 Jul, 2014 04:53

Hi, I agree with Del's post about "for life" auto fluid.
I have an 2001 2.2 M54 engine with a GM auto box.So not exactly what you're asking about.Should you get an auto box I would suggest changing the fluid and filter ,depending on K's.The changes are quick and smooth,no lag and in sport mode :D .If you get a six cylinder (way to go) check when and if the vanos valves have been replaced.Tramlining can be an issue but greatly remedied by firmer bushes on the wishbones.
Good luck rob

Rafolian
Joined: Wed 27 Feb, 2013 08:41
Posts: 547

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Rafolian » Thu 31 Jul, 2014 07:49

My 328Ci which I had before the Z had a steptronic box, and after 162k miles was still working faultlessly.

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BonBon
Joined: Tue 08 Jan, 2008 21:10
Posts: 1168

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by BonBon » Mon 27 Mar, 2017 18:11

For reference - mine just died at 347,000km.
Unfortunately is costs 1000 quid here to get one from a breaker.

alec.m
Joined: Tue 05 Oct, 2010 20:01
Posts: 533

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Lymington

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by alec.m » Thu 30 Mar, 2017 07:51

I spent a long time looking for a 3.0 manual but never found the low mileage / colour combination I wanted. I ended up with a 3.0 auto with the tiptronic box which I find a delight to drive. In sport mode it goes through the gears really quickly, I doubt if you could change gear manually as fast. It`s fun to drive in manual mode too. The only criticism I have is that it is a tad slow to drop a gear if you try to use the gears to slow down. The electronics that control it have set parameters to allow it to change down but if you learn those parameters it`s not a problem.

Vanne
Joined: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 21:37
Posts: 60

  Z3 coupe 2.8
Location: Christchurch

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Vanne » Sun 02 Apr, 2017 09:17

Have had 4 zed3's, 3 with auto boxes, one with manual. Ill never drive a z3 again with a manual box (unless its an ///M). I have my Z4 for that. Cruising and spirited cruising in the z3 is just perfect with an auto, just perfect and love it a lot. the pick out of the lot is the last one with tip-tronic. its a hoot. :)

seasurfer
Joined: Sat 22 Aug, 2009 14:02
Posts: 1724

  Z3 roadster 2.2i
Location: South Lakes, Cumbria

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by seasurfer » Mon 03 Apr, 2017 19:43

Hi, i have the 2.2 Sport Auto 2001 and the gear changes are very smooth, love it to bits and wouldnt contemplate a manual ever again, suits my driving and our local roads perfectly.

So as you say, its up to each drivers preference, OP have a test drive before you choose, will help make your mind up.
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Warrior
Joined: Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02
Posts: 378

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: Automatic gearboxes realiability question on all Z3

Post by Warrior » Mon 03 Apr, 2017 23:38

I've got the 3.0i with an auto box. Another nod for the tiptronic box :)

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