A history lesson…
In the Z3's heyday it was a major success for BMW and it continues to be a popular choice almost a decade after production was ceased. This gives the used buyer plenty of choice if they want to experience a nippy, distinctive looking roadster that doesn't bear a Mazda badge.
The first BMW Z3 hit the road in 1997, with a facelift being applied in 1999 before it was finally superseded by the Z4 in 2004.
Over the years BMW produced a dizzying array of Z3 iterations, from modestly powered models to all-out M range racers. It was even the car of choice for James Bond in Pierce Brosnan's first appearance as the British superspy.
Bang for your buck
While modern BMWs can feel a little overburdened with all of their technological gadgetry and mechanical complexity, the used BMW Z3 is pleasingly simple under the skin.
The original 1.9 litre model offers a modest 140bhp, but it feels faster thanks to the light weight and responsive gearbox.
BMW began to make traction control a standard feature on models launched late into the Z3's first year on the market, which helps to give the driver more control without detracting from the experience behind the wheel.
The second hand BMW Z3 looks great on the outside and is also well stocked within, although since this is a compact roadster you may find that space is a little cramped if you happen to be of a taller build.
What you'll pay
Expect to pay about £7500 for an original 1.9 litre used BMW Z3 from the 1997 launch year in the UK, with a 1998 model adding £500 to the asking price and an automatic gearbox further inflating the price by £250.
The more powerful 2.8 litre edition has become the more desirable BMW Z3 on the used market, although prices are not too much higher, with an £8000 example being considered a bit of a bargain.
If you want to invest in a rarer M coupe edition then you'll pay over £12,000, while the roaster version of this souped-up model is a little more affordable at £10,800 for a 1998 example.
What to check
While the Z3 is undoubtedly sporty, it attracted a more reserved buyer than some of its rivals and so those available to buy used will generally be in decent condition, which is a testament to BMW's workmanship.
For convertible models always check out the integrity of the hood and also see when the last service was carried out, since the car features internal diagnostics which should tell owners when to take it in to the garage.
If you are going for an M coupe or roadster take particular care, since these models need the attention of specialists.
Front brakes will cost you £45 and will need replacement after 30,000 miles, while door mirrors retail at £145 and you will pay £145 if you need to replace the windscreen. In all, the used BMW Z3 is not an expensive car to repair or maintain, given its nature.
How it drives
The Z3 doesn't ask much from drivers, which means you can sit back and enjoy the ride rather than having to stay on constant alert.
Those who choose the 2.8 litre version will get to 60mph in 6.7 seconds, going on to a 134mph top speed.