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nderwater
nderwater Reader
7/29/10 8:33 a.m.

In short: the 6cyl cars are notably faster than a Miata but the handling, while still good, isn't as responsive. The cabin is a more upscale and slightly roomier for tall people. Parts costs, insurance and labor rates are higher. Part for part, Z3 mods are generally more expensive than Miata mods, but the car responds well to them. The choice engine swaps are the 240hp and 330hp engines from the M Roadster/Coupe, but for the price and hassle you might as well just get an M to begin with.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
7/29/10 8:35 a.m.

So, if you were going to replace the shocks/struts/springs anyway, would you start with a Miata or a Z3?

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 8:49 a.m.

the four cylinder 1.9 Z3s do handle noticibly better than the heavier 6 cylinder cars.. but then you are down to Miata levels of power at roughly 140hp.

Looks wise, you cannot beat them.

While I have not priced miata parts, I know the parts for my 318ti (Which uses the same rear suspension as the z3) were about the same as what i paid for parts for my old Hyundai Tiburon. It is labour where they get you.. the good news is.. german cars are usually pretty easy to work on as they are laid out in a mostly logical way

MrBenjamonkey
MrBenjamonkey Reader
7/29/10 9:02 a.m.

Have you driven a Z3? I ask because I took one for a spin recently and it handled, uh, uniquely.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 9:19 a.m.

the rear trailing arms on the z3 do not take kindly to lifting the throttle mid-corner. It is one of the few modern cars that will reach out and bite you hard.

You are also sitting WAY back in the car.. The one time I had one out, that took some getting used to

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog HalfDork
7/29/10 9:24 a.m.

Its like a heavier, costlier, uglier Miata that breaks depreciates more.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 9:41 a.m.
Junkyard_Dog wrote: Its like a heavier, costlier, uglier Miata that breaks depreciates more.

I would think it is at the bottom of it's depreciation curve by now.. it can only go up.

As for breaks more often.. my Ti (which is about as complicated as the Z3) has been one of the most (if not THE most) reliable car I have owned. It has never broken and left me walking.. or even, aside from a fuel pump.. inconvienced me.

I will give you heavier.. and looks are subjective

ansonivan
ansonivan HalfDork
7/29/10 9:52 a.m.
MrBenjamonkey wrote: Have you driven a Z3? I ask because I took one for a spin recently and it handled, uh, uniquely.

This is true of cars with worn stock suspension... they feel positively frightening and said feeling is amplified by the fact that the driver sits just ahead of the rear axle. With fresh sport suspension or the M treatment Z's are an absolute blast to drive, rear steering joy.

Adding a limited slip makes a world of difference, e30 and e28 diffs will fit the Z3, used diffs are $100 - $300.

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/29/10 10:20 a.m.

Can you put a price on experience and the collegial sharing of that experience? There is so much Miata knowledge on this forum and others across a range of topics -- to me, that's worth any advantage the Z3s (with the exception of the Ms) have over a Miata. If there are any advantages at all.

I have both a Miata and an E36 M3 -- parts are comparably priced for both. I'd suspect that would be the same for the Z3.

nderwater
nderwater Reader
7/29/10 1:18 p.m.
ZOO wrote: I have both a Miata and an E36 M3 -- parts are comparably priced for both.

-- does not compute -- After years of owning both, it's been my experience that Miata parts are notably less expensive. My M3 is my 5th BMW and my NB is my second Miata.

2002maniac
2002maniac HalfDork
7/29/10 5:47 p.m.

Interesting fact, the 2.8 and 3.0 sixes have aluminum blocks. No weight penalty over the 1.9 4-cyl

11110000
11110000 New Reader
7/29/10 5:56 p.m.

1.9L Z3 can haz supercharger?

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Reader
7/29/10 6:07 p.m.

In reply to 11110000:

I believe that is correct. Someone correct me if I'm mistaken.

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/29/10 7:02 p.m.
nderwater wrote:
ZOO wrote: I have both a Miata and an E36 M3 -- parts are comparably priced for both.
-- does not compute -- After years of owning both, it's been my experience that Miata parts are notably less expensive. My M3 is my 5th BMW and my NB is my second Miata.

To be fair, I've only replaced things such as tie rod ends, rotors, pads, and such on the M3. Nothing has shocked me price wise, and again, nothing has been significantly more than what I spend on the Miata. I've had the M3 for six months, and the Miata for 8 years, so perhaps I am still in for some future shock .

Maybe car parts are more expensive in Canada, too.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 7:37 p.m.

it's been my experience too... except for items that are model specific.. most BMW parts are not shockingly expensive. in many cases, they are quite affordable.

MrBenjamonkey
MrBenjamonkey Reader
7/29/10 7:50 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: the rear trailing arms on the z3 do not take kindly to lifting the throttle mid-corner. It is one of the few modern cars that will reach out and bite you hard. You are also sitting WAY back in the car.. The one time I had one out, that took some getting used to

They don't take kindly to mid corner bumps either. Ask the salesman who sucked the seat cover up his bum ....

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 7:57 p.m.

I have a 318ti on coilovers... I know ALL about the rear semi-trailing arm suspension on the Ti. I actually prefer it over the multilink the sedans and coupe's have

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/29/10 8:37 p.m.

I bought my Miata from a guy who also had a Z3. He said that if he had to choose between a Miata and Z3 in the same condition he would definitely take the Miata every time.

racer_ace
racer_ace Reader
7/29/10 8:38 p.m.

My Mom had a 1.9 liter 4cyl Z3 for a few years. I tried to convince her to get a 1.8 liter NA Miata but she had her heart set on the Z3. Based on my experience with her car I would skip over the 4cyl Z3s and go for the straight 6. Compared to the Mazda 1.6 and 1.8 the BMW motor revs, shakes, and sounds like a tractor engine.

I will say this however, the Z3s brakes were fantastic.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
7/29/10 10:53 p.m.

it has always been my opinion that BMW strangled the m42 and M44 so as not to compete with the 6's. Consider that the 2.0 6 that they have (had) produced 150hp and the M44 was limited to 140? this seems especially true when you look at the convoluted path the air takes to get into the engine

On my 318ti.. the stock air intake was on the passengerside of the radiator.. it then ran through a corrigated plastic tube up and over the back of the radiator to the airbox on the driver's side.. and then it went into the dual stage intake.

the Smaller m42 (1.8) made the same HP and torque as the M44.. but it's intake was right behind the driver's side headlight.. just like on the 6 cylinder cars... why would BMW redo the entire air intake tract unless it was to strangle the 1.9 down below the levels of the smallest 6 cylinder cars?

fastmiata
fastmiata Reader
7/30/10 8:06 a.m.

We've noticed at least in Tn that most of the Z3's dont have the removeable top option. In other words, the people who own them rarely put the top down and let the wind blow thru their hair. While I am attempting to be humorous, it may also have an effect on the costs of top maintenance if it hasnt been operated in many months.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
7/30/10 8:16 a.m.

All you need to know is that a Z3 is basically a 2 seat E30 with the brake and engine swaps you were going to do anyway. Get the M model with the S52 (you won't find an S54 333hp car unless you get really lucky, there were only 800 imported here).

If you have ever driven an E30 at the limits of adhesion - the mid-corner behavior won't surprise you at all. Its a BMW trailing arm car and does exactly the same things only with tons more grip thanks to better offsets for squeezing bigger rubber underneath.

Ultimately, they are not as poised at the limit as an M3 and won't be able to keep up (mod 4 mod) but that shoe shape is dead sexy and the odd handling is way more fun when its not a points race.

GI_Drewsifer
GI_Drewsifer Reader
7/30/10 8:42 a.m.

I eyed Z3's long and hard when I was car shopping this time. I checked out a few in El Paso, and maybe it was just these ones, but the interior did not look like it had held up well. Nothing obviously wrong, but just looked very very worn.

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
7/30/10 8:47 a.m.

Z3 M Roadster is one of the scariest cars i have ever driven.

Greg Voth
Greg Voth Reader
7/30/10 9:22 a.m.

I loved the M Coupe I drove. Looks wise I would take one over the Miata. People have been swaping 5.0 into the E36 and E30 now. It is possible it would work for the Z3. http://www.e36v8.com/

I would watch out for the typical BMW stuff, worn or non functioning interior, cooling system redo, suspension redo at 100k. I was looking for an E36 vert to drop a 5.0 into. All I could find under $4k had a worn interior and/or non functioning top, window regulators etc. Of the half dozen or so cars I looked at none of the tops worked and at least one of the windows did not work.

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