Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

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Desperado
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Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 18:21

I've got a conundrum, I had a Z3 1.9 many years ago and had to sell it for family reasons, since then I've moved around different cars and ended up travelling high miles (about 30K a year). I currently run a BMW 330ci 3.0 (E46) which is a fine car indeed and I've taken the decision to move back to a BMW roadster. I instinctively thought of the Z3 and started looking for 2.8 and 3.0 models as I really enjoyed my Z3 previously. Then the wife pointed out I could get a Z4 3.0 instead. I'm just not sure. they both have the same M54 engine as I currently have so I know what to expect there and I've had a Z3 before but should I pay extra for a Z4? The Z3 has a timeless retro design which I like but the Z4 is bigger and slightly more modern.

Whichever I end up with I will have it LPG converted to keep running costs down, I had my E46 converted and it is excellent.

The real question is Z3 2.8/3.0 or Z4 3.0 - Z3 is a little cheaper to buy, Z4 is newer - what would you do if you had to choose between the two?
?

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by beerbelly » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 18:45

you will probably find a lot more z4,s to look at as 2.8 and 3.0 z3 are quite thin on the ground . imo although the z4 is a more modern car and probably a better drive it just doesn't have that classic sports convertible look (im sure z4 owners will strongly disagree )

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by gookah » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 18:48

I have had a Z3 3.0 Sport, a 2.5 litre Z4, and a Z4M.
If you like tinkering and the community, go for the Z3.
I found the Z4 was a colder place to be, with a heater that wasn't as efficient as the Z3, but I did like the roof and gadgets.

I have a Z3 2.8 now, and I think they are more fun, seem to get more compliments and appreciation.
I find that the Z3 owners tend to be enthusiasts and more community minded. Most Z4 owners can't even be bother to wave.
ps..... they are not all like that, I was one at one time :D
I suppose a few on here are OK too....... :cheers
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 19:07

I'm certainly a tinkerer and quite happy to tackle most jobs. I do high mileage so I won't be going for anything too expensive, but it has to be clean. I'm kind of teaming to a z3 again as z4's are more expensive being newer and as said here the Z4 appears to have lost the classic roadster looks.

There seems to be a lot more z3's around unfortunately
An awful lot at 1.9'S and 1.8's

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Rafolian » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 20:41

Z3 every time!!!

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Dino D » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 22:33

I would check out both for comfort and refinement if you doing 30k per year..
Not sure how much more refined the z4 is over the the z3 but when doing 30k per year it might make notable a difference...
Don't forget about the 2.8 Z3, more plentiful and cheaper than the 3.0.

I had a 330i on lpg too many years ago, was great but the 45l donought tank I fitted was a bit small.
It drank oil, one thing I didn't like about the 3.0l when doing big mileage, too frequent oil top ups!quite quaint and a real throwback to the the past have to top up oil all the time!
My 2.8 doesn't use any.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 22:36

Yes, sorry meant to say I'd consider a 2.8.
My 330ci drinks oil, about 1 litre every 1000 miles which is almost once a week. As it's now on 170k, I just put in 5w 40 to save some cash and it's quite happy

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Topperz » Sat 17 Jan, 2015 23:39

3 it's a magic number
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Jonttt » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 00:10

Have you ever driven a Z4, if not the question is irrelevant as only you can answer it by driving both cars.

However, for what it's worth doing 30k pa I would go for the Z4. The Z3 is more fun but that is not its main purpose with that mileage, it's greater refinement you need which is what the Z4 was designed for IMHO ie more refined but less character / fun.

Good luck with your search which includes actually test driving a Z4 :wink:
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Bonzo » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 00:13

Z3 for me, I just like the look of them and everything about them, but not the Z4.

By the way Topperz, you won't be seeing me on .org for a while, I've been a naughty boy! :?
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by billz » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 08:18

I had the 3.0 Z3 before we got the 3.0 Z4 and as Jontt says they are completly different cars. We have driven round Europe in both cars and for this doing 2 weeks and 3.5k + miles the Z4 is the more comfortable option and the Euro Cruises are effortless, with the Z3 hitting the corners and short shifting is what they are all about. I have done most passes in the Alps and the Z3 was the best to drive them. My wife uses the cars as daily drivers but only does around 25 miles a day and did not find the Z3 uncomfortable in any way. She actually says it was better in the snow and gave her more confidence to drive than the Z4 does in bad weather.
From my experience if you are using either as a daily driver, even if you are doing 100 miles + per day then either are as good as the other but for me the Z3 puts a bigger grin on your face during driving and when you get out of it. The Z4 well its like driving a 3 series but with 2 seats
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by TR4man » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 08:59

Z3 every time

But I don't understand why it has got to be a 3l model only to then convert it to LPG?

Why not get a 1.8 or a 1.9 for the economy.

If you buy a bigger engine only to then convert it seems a little self-defeating to me. Also when it comes to eventually sell, I can't imagine that an LPG sportscar will appeal to many (if any) potential purchasers.

I use my 2.0l 6 cylinder Z3 as a daily driver and it covers close on 30,000 miles a year - they are well up to it.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 09:02

I will admit I've not driven a Z4 but was really just looking for real world opinions. I will do when I actually find one to test.

The reason for wanting a bigger engine and then convert it to LPG is that it's nice to have the power in reserve and when you are on the motorway you will naturally fit at fewer revs. I've had a 1.9 Z3 and would prefer more.
My current 330ci engine is great and it's what I know. I would happily consider a 2.8 also though to ensure plenty of choice.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by maurice the martian » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 10:16

Yeh the M54 eng is great , ive got an E85 3.0 auto, an it goes like hell, an still ret on av 30mpg on runs, I too had a 330i same engine an traded it in may as ont school runs it ret 19 mpg ,got an 11 reg a c'max 1.6 d, wish now I had converted the 330, as I had lpg cars before and tbh found no difference to the performance,
I prefer mi Z4 to mi Z3 anyday but 3.0ltr is the way to go, well for me anyway,
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by lightning » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 13:43

What's your budget for a Z3/Z4?

You should be able to buy the best Z3 3.0 for the price of an older well used Z4.
One other thing, the Z3 is likely to depreciate less, as they are now l think as cheap as they will get.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 14:11

I wasn't planning on spending an awful lot, maybe £4K on a Z3 or £5K on a Z4.
The Z3 should be Sept/Oct 1998 (i.e. so it's the face-lift model) and a Z4 should be 2004 onward.

I don't care what millage they have done simply because I'd be adding a lot to them anyway. Don't mind what value they hold, although appreciate that a Z3 has already hit bottom.

I enjoy projects and I enjoy tinkering. I like character over comfort.

I want an auto which really narrows it down and I really want to hold out for heated seats BUT I'm happy to retrofit sports seats if the heating loom is already in place (can't remember from previous ownership).
I do find the Z4 interior a bit dreary to be honest and I just have this feeling a Z3 ticks more boxes than a Z4, although Mrs J thinks a Z4 is better.

Specifically on a Z3 now, can people please remind me:

1. What was the month/year that the facelift model was introduced, I seem to think it was October 1998?

2. What year did they introduce ODBC2 connections, was that with the facelift? Pre facelift had the round socket under the bonnet right?

3. I assume both round socket and ODBC2 are INPA compatible for diagnostics? I have INPA already and the cables for my current BMW.

4. Was the electric roof ever standard from a date onward or was the default always manual?

5. From memory the Z3 has a space saver spare wheel, is this right?

6. From memory the roof folds into it's own compartment, not into the boot void? As such the boot is always fully usable regardless to the roof being up or down? I plan to go for a larger capacity cylinder LPG tank not a doughnut so I don't have to fill up every single day (like I do now), I don't mind loosing all boot space apart form a slither but I need to ensure easy access to the battery.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Jonttt » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 14:31

Desperado wrote:I wasn't planning on spending an awful lot, maybe £4K on a Z3 or £5K on a Z4.
The Z3 should be Sept/Oct 1998 (i.e. so it's the face-lift model) and a Z4 should be 2004 onward.

I don't care what millage they have done simply because I'd be adding a lot to them anyway. Don't mind what value they hold, although appreciate that a Z3 has already hit bottom.

I enjoy projects and I enjoy tinkering. I like character over comfort.

I want an auto which really narrows it down and I really want to hold out for heated seats BUT I'm happy to retrofit sports seats if the heating loom is already in place (can't remember from previous ownership).
I do find the Z4 interior a bit dreary to be honest and I just have this feeling a Z3 ticks more boxes than a Z4, although Mrs J thinks a Z4 is better.

Specifically on a Z3 now, can people please remind me:

1. What was the month/year that the facelift model was introduced, I seem to think it was October 1998? 04/99 production so reg date can vary.

2. What year did they introduce ODBC2 connections, was that with the facelift? Pre facelift had the round socket under the bonnet right? I think it was from 04/99 but can't remember 100%

3. I assume both round socket and ODBC2 are INPA compatible for diagnostics? I have INPA already and the cables for my current BMW. Yes you can buy a convertor for the cable

4. Was the electric roof ever standard from a date onward or was the default always manual? Officially they where an option but UK cars tended to have them by default. Hard to find a facelift without and the 3 litre may have been standard anyway from memory.

5. From memory the Z3 has a space saver spare wheel, is this right? Yep (///Ms have none)

6. From memory the roof folds into it's own compartment, not into the boot void? As such the boot is always fully usable regardless to the roof being up or down? I plan to go for a larger capacity cylinder LPG tank not a doughnut so I don't have to fill up every single day (like I do now), I don't mind loosing all boot space apart form a slither but I need to ensure easy access to the battery. Yes
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 17:21

Very useful info, thank you.

Probably my last question for now, has anyone found a way to replace the OEM headunit with something with a screen?
I seem to remember the only real option was either a single din unit or a single din with a fold out screen but that would obscure the center vents.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by billz » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 17:28

You can retract the screens when not in use so as not to obstruct the vents.
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Brian4 » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 17:30

1. Face lift was 2000
2. OBD connection is on z3 but access to all components is via the 20 pin connector.
3. Yes you need the converter cable
4. I think the 3.0 were all standard elec roof.
5.Yes space saver but unless it has been replaced I wouldn't trust it see some horrific pictures of owners neglected spares.
6. Yes the roof folds into a space behind the seats but not into the boot space. and the battery is under the carpet right hand side.


My opinion but 30 k in a Z3 each year does get a bit wearing on the ears so would look for the comfort of a Z4. also some say the standard z3 seats get a bit uncomfortable after a while so the sports seats are a better bet. The auto box on the facelift is a better box that the prefacelift (steptronic).
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Davejue1 » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 18:24

I'll double what Brian says regarding the seats. 2 hours driving and my back gives me jip. I love everything about the Z3 tho and have no inclination to change to a 4. I only use mine on nice days through spring and summer but I think 30k a year would take its toll on you and the car. On your mileage alone I'd go for a 4.
Good luck with your search. :)

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 18:27

I once drove my z3 1.9 from the Isle of Wight to Oban in Scotland in one run (stopping to refuel), sure I was a little stiff but the seats are much better than what you get in any VW, Audi or Skoda! I would be getting sports seats though.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by TR4man » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 19:24

Never found the standard seats uncomfortable on the journeys I do (remember I'm doing similar mileage as to what you anticipate) and I'm a 6ft, 54 year old slightly overweight miserable git.

Some of you that do find them uncomfortable must be some right geriatrics!

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 19:29

It must be the height and weight combo, I'm in that category also at being 6ft and a bit porkey.
I had standard seats in the Z3 but wished they were sports seats. I'm all for fitting something else if I can find something good and can make it fit.

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Vic-Z3 » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 21:45

I am 54 and still just touching six foot, not started the inevitable downward decline as yet, as my dad has at 91.
I find the Z3 Sports Seats to be fantastic and the inclusion of the heat through the back is a godsend, as I suffer
with a dickie back that don't like me sitting down for prolong periods.
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by beerbelly » Sun 18 Jan, 2015 23:29

I drove ours with sports seats from zebruge to 70 miles past perpignon in southern France in one hit just stopping for fuel with no comfort problems so id say the sports seats are quite good .probably shouldn't have done the whole journey with the roof down tho

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Woody1000 » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 15:26

Buy my Z3 3.0 sport !
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by roadvoyager1 » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 16:23

Quite a dilema you have. For looks and smiles it would be the Z3 for me. For the miles you do I would think that the Z4 may be more refined.
I have a 1999 Z3 2.8 manual and can add a little to the questions you ask.
Desperado wrote:I wasn't planning on spending an awful lot, maybe £4K on a Z3 or £5K on a Z4.
The Z3 should be Sept/Oct 1998 (i.e. so it's the face-lift model) and a Z4 should be 2004 onward.

I enjoy projects and I enjoy tinkering. I like character over comfort.

Specifically on a Z3 now, can people please remind me:

1. What was the month/year that the facelift model was introduced, I seem to think it was October 1998?

2. What year did they introduce ODBC2 connections, was that with the facelift? Pre facelift had the round socket under the bonnet right?

3. I assume both round socket and ODBC2 are INPA compatible for diagnostics? I have INPA already and the cables for my current BMW.

4. Was the electric roof ever standard from a date onward or was the default always manual?

5. From memory the Z3 has a space saver spare wheel, is this right?

6. From memory the roof folds into it's own compartment, not into the boot void? As such the boot is always fully usable regardless to the roof being up or down? I plan to go for a larger capacity cylinder LPG tank not a doughnut so I don't have to fill up every single day (like I do now), I don't mind loosing all boot space apart form a slither but I need to ensure easy access to the battery.
1. Face lift was 2000, however, the M52 was changed to M52TU engine around October 1998, certainly my Feb 1999 has the M52TU. The 2.2ltr and 3ltr engines came in with the facelift. If you want a pre-facelift model it will have to be the 2.8ltr.
2. My car has both 20pin circular socket and a further OBD socket under the steering column. The latter has, I understand a more limited selection of functions that can be checked.
4. I believe the 2.8 got the electric roof as standard.
5. Yes space saver spare wheel. Many including mine have sat in a wet plastic underfloor carrier for years and are not really fit for use.
6. There is a separate comparment behind the seats. The battery takes about a quarter of the boot width and you will need to cut the floor mat to give access with an LPG tank in place.

If you decide the Z3 is for you I would suggest looking for a late '98/early '99 similar to mine. It seems that BMW were trying to keep up sales and at this time and selling cars with several options included, e.g. Sprots seats, extended leather etc.

Happy hunting. :)

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Robert T » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 20:18

Desperado wrote: 1. What was the month/year that the facelift model was introduced, I seem to think it was October 1998?

2. What year did they introduce ODBC2 connections, was that with the facelift? Pre facelift had the round socket under the bonnet right?

3. I assume both round socket and ODBC2 are INPA compatible for diagnostics? I have INPA already and the cables for my current BMW.

4. Was the electric roof ever standard from a date onward or was the default always manual?

5. From memory the Z3 has a space saver spare wheel, is this right?

6. From memory the roof folds into it's own compartment, not into the boot void? As such the boot is always fully usable regardless to the roof being up or down? I plan to go for a larger capacity cylinder LPG tank not a doughnut so I don't have to fill up every single day (like I do now), I don't mind loosing all boot space apart form a slither but I need to ensure easy access to the battery.
1. Z3 facelift was April 1999 (that's the build date, not the model year, as no-one ever knows when the model year runs from to). Build date is on a sticker on one of the front suspension strut towers.

2. ODBC is a computer database API. OBDII standardized the connectors for car diagnostics. Not sure what date the Z3 got the underdash connector, and I think it appeared in some countries before others, however it is largely irrelevant! The only thing you can access through the OBDII connector is the engine. For everything else you need to use the round 20-pin connector under the bonnet. There was an electronics update in September 1998, and from then on you can use an ODBII to BMW 20-pin adapter cable to access the car's modules - this is what I use with INPA on my 01/99 built car.

3. Yes, but see above. The only module connected to the OBDII port is the engine. For everything else you use an adapter cable and the round 20-pin connector.

4. Depends on model, year and county, but I thought the leccy roof was standard on the pre-facelift 2.8 in the UK. It was definitely an option on the pre-facelift 1.9. The standard features changed that often, you'd need to check a brochure from the time. Best bet is to get the last 7 digits of the VIN and put it through the VIN decoder.

5. All Z3's had a spacesaver except for the ///M, which had a can of gunk, a compressor and a prayer book.

6. Yes, this is the case on the Z3.

Cheers R.
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 20:22

Thanks Chaps,

All very handy and a good refresher from owning a Z3 a number of years ago.

No, as I do more miles than most I was thinking I may sacrifice more boot space for an LPG tank, this means the battery would need to be relocated, is there anywhere else suitable for it to live I wonder?

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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Robert T » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 20:27

On early cars they managed to squeeze the battery under the bonnet. Not much room in any of the bigger engined zeds up there. It is actually below the boot floor in mine, so it shouldn't impinge an LPG tank, but I'd be wary having it that close to a metal tank. There are jump start terminals under the bonnet for charging/starting, so the battery doesn't need to be accessible. The fuel tank is strapped to the underside of the car - might be worth seeing if you could use that space somehow, as it should be fairly easy to remove.

Cheers R.
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Re: Choice, Z3 3.0 or Z4 3.0

Post by Desperado » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 20:55

Thanks,

I'd be keeping th fuel tank as all LPG cars start on petrol and can run on petrol whenever they want, they only switch to LPG when up to temperature or when instructed to.
The reason I say about relocating the battery as if there is a whopping big tank above it which is fixed to the floor, there would be little room to actually get the battery out if it was to need replacing for any reason.

I know people have managed to squeeze it all in but not so sure.

As it happens it may be academic. My current thinking is to keep my E46 and run it in the winter and buy a 1.9 Z3 for the sunny days, so no need to fixate on fuel economy or an LPG conversion. Just need to accept that on the days when I drive my E46 to work I wouldn't be able to drop the roof when the sun comes out. Ho hum

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