Roadsters became popular in the ‘90s with the Mazda Miata showing the way. As a result, all the relevant car companies wanted a piece of the action. Although BMW produced numerous convertibles before it, they never built any roadsters, so the Z3 was their first. Despite this being a relatively modern car, the Z3 possesses the classic roadster concept and analog driving feel.
In fact, it is a definite future classic, so maybe you should by yours today. To create the first Z3, BMW used an E36 Compact 3 Series platform and a rear suspension from the old E30. Next, they covered it with a sexy new open-top body. The result was a stylish convertible with two seats and a lineup of potent four and six-cylinder engines. Also, it had a low weight, giving it great driving dynamics.
The car was significantly more expensive than the Miata. However, it was also much better, faster and luxurious. They released the Z3 in 1996 in the middle of the roadster renaissance to an eager audience. It was one of the bestsellers in its class and a benchmark model in the performance and handling departments. The Z3 was especially popular in America.
Interestingly it was the first BMW they solely produced in their new South Carolina factory. Also, an appearance in the James Bond movie, GoldenEye, helped its popularity, too. BMW made close to 270,000 examples until 2002. So, for around $10,000 you can find a nice six-cylinder Z3 with all the luxury items. Look for one with a leather interior, climate control and ABS, which will make cruising down the coast much more enjoyable.