The Z3 would represent many firsts for BMW; as the first roadster to not only be marketed in the United States by the brand, it would also be the first vehicle produced new in the U.S. Using proven ingredients from the celebrated E36 and E30 3-series models to underpin the chassis and power the car, and a beautiful neo-retro design by accomplished BMW designer Joji Nagashima, the Z3 was an immediate hit upon its arrival in 1995.
True to form, 1997 would see the introduction of a high performance M-division variant of the Z3, the Z3M Roadster. The Z3’s distinctive retro styling was further enhanced with motorsport derived, aggressive design cues. The changes were not skin deep, however; the Z3M initially received the smooth 240HP S52 inline-6 from the E36 M3, and was subsequently upgraded in 2001 with the more potent and desirable 315HP S54 inline-6 borrowed from E46 M3. Sending power to the rear wheels through an engaging ZF 5-speed manual gearbox, the Z3M was met with immediate praise, and was an instant hit right out of the gate.
Car and Driver magazine would honor the Z3M Roadster with a place on their coveted “10Best” list, while Top Gear’s Tiff Needell ranked it the Best Handling Car, beating out the Ferrari 360 Modena in a head-to-head comparison, “It’s the car you can do just what you want with. For smile on the face enjoyment, this is hard to beat.” Today, the Z3M Roadster has achieved cult status. They are lauded by the BMW enthusiast community as one of the best driving modern BMWs, thanks to its stout S54 engine, lively and engaging handling, timeless looks, and excellent build quality.
Purchased at Competition and Sports Cars in Greenwich, CT, this one-owner Z3M Roadster, chassis 82581, has received thorough and regular servicing throughout its life, and has covered only 30,935 miles since new. Presenting impeccably today in the rare and exemplary colorway of Alpine White III over a supple red and black Nappa leather interior, this example also comes with the much sought after Hardtop, as well as an original period-correct interior-matching Motorola flip phone. Exceptionally maintained and cared for, and available with all records and documentation from new, this Z3M is the ideal choice for weekend jaunts with its beautifully retro open air driving experience.