When first launched in 1995 the new two-seater BMW Z3 roadster got a fairly damp initial reception. The retro styling wasn't to everyone's tastes, but much worse, it wasn’t the most exciting car in its class to drive. Although the hype about the car did mean there was still a 2 year waiting list if you wanted one. The car's performance from a 1.9-litre, 16-valve four-pot was the only engine choice available, and its 138bhp just couldn't provide the go everyone wanted which led to a lot of disappointed buyers.

The upgraded 189bhp, 2.8-litre straight-six introduced in '97 helped, but didn't really address the fundamental problem. The Z3's handling was actually very good. It used the same chassis as the brilliant E36 3-series, so it was highly capable. But neither of the engines had the power to really exploit it. It just wasn't as satisfying to drive as a BMW roadster should be. The Scientists and engineers in M-Division realised this was a problem and set to work on what turned out to be a masterpiece. The Z3's transformation into an M-car was relatively simple, with most of the hardware being lifted from the awesome E36 M3 Evo. Suspension, brakes, limited-slip diff, pretty much all of it. The rear track was widened too, so the rear arches had to be stretched out to cover the massive wheels.

New bumpers, a quad-exhaust system and new interior trim added to the specialness. But all of that hardcore hardware would have been pointless without a suitably brawny engine. As luck would have it, the M3's magnificent 321bhp, 3.2-litre, straight-six slotted in under the bonnet easily. The result? 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. More than enough to get the best from the Z3's fine chassis. And boy, could you. The chassis easily coped with the immense power and, sat almost on top of the rear axle, meant you could feel exactly what was going on underneath.. Many commentators went so far as to call it the best handling car in the world. The best got better when the M Roadster (as it was officially known) was joined by the M Coupe. The breadvan-like hatchback extension made it borderline ugly, if considerably more practical. Prices are quite strong and gradually going up, there are a pretty safe investment car if you find the right one.

This particular 1998 BMW Z3 M Roadster is an attractive and relatively low-mileage example of the firm’s distinctive sports car. Equipped with the ‘S50’ 3.2-litre straight-six from the E36 M3, this sonorous engine produces 316bhp and 260lb-ft of torque, controlled by a five-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. The odometer reads 53,000 miles.

The M Roadster and M Coupe were the halo models of the Z3 range. Despite the latter’s radical styling, both cars shared common parts from the A-pillar forward, as well as the doors and various interior parts. First registered on March 1998, this sporting roadster has been in the hands of the 5 previous owners and has only covered 2,000 miles in the last 7 years vendor for the last seven years.

Wearing its original shade of Estoril Blue metallic, this M Roadster presents in generally good condition with an even shine throughout. As a 21 year old car it is in good condition for its age and there no real noticeable dents, marks or chips that you wouldn’t expect.

The electrically-powered Blue fabric soft top is in good order, adhering tightly to the A-pillar when closed. It does have some modest discolouration lines  with age, as well as a few minor nicks in the fabric at various points. The BMW retains its distinctive 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, in staggered widths of 7.5in front and 9in rear. These are sat on Dunlop Sport max 225/45/17

The eye-popping combination of Estoril Blue and Black & Blue leather highlights the Z3’s unique design, with the seats free of rips or tears. There is noticeable wear to the driver’s seat outer bolster as seems to be typical of these smaller cars with large bolsters.

The car is fitted the BMW factory fitment stereo and CD player. The vendor reports that all switchgear is operational, with no pre-existing faults.

The service history is comprehensive up until 2015 where the car has only covered just over 1,000 miles in the last 5 years

1998 @ 19 miles PDI and delivery check 

1999 @ 5,084 miles Oil service

2001 @ 12,645 miles Oil Service 

2002 @ 18,914 miles Inspection 1

2004 @ 24,016 miles Inspection 2 and Brake fluid 

2008 @ 33,128 miles Oil Service 

2010 @ 40,423 miles Inspection 1

2012 @ 49,044 miles Oil Service and Brake fluid

2015 @ 51,870 miles Oil Service and Brake fluid

The most recent MOT test was on 15th June 2020 at 52,982 miles.

As a highly original example of the performance BMW, this Roadster is offered for sale with its complete set of BMW handbooks and detailed service history with a raft of invoices from main dealers. A soft top roof cover along with a bespoke car cover will be included, in addition to the tyre compressor in the boot.

Combining eye-catching design with a high-revving, naturally-aspirated soundtrack, this BMW Z3 M Roadster offers a wonderfully analogue driving experience. It would be an ideal addition to a collection of modern classics, not to mention an enjoyable companion on scenic drives on warm summer days.

The description of this auction lot is, to the best of the seller's knowledge, accurate and not misleading. Zoo Auctions completes all of the details about the lot from the seller and performs a level of due diligence through HPI checks and MOT history where available. However, it is the bidder’s responsibility to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the description and complete any checks they feel is necessary before bidding on an auction. Please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.

All vehicles are checked through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft and has no finance owing.