3.5 out of 5 3.5
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

An affordable used roadster with the emphasis on fun

BMW Z3 Roadster (96-02) - rated 3.5 out of 5
Enlarge 4 photos

At a glance

New price £18,835 - £35,845
Used price £2,465 - £24,555
Used monthly cost From £62 per month
Fuel economy
Not tested to latest standards
View pre-2017 economy specs
Road tax cost £280 - £340
Insurance group 29 - 38 How much is it to insure?


  • Retro styling is distinctive
  • Feels genuinely minimalist and sporting
  • Comfort is better than you'd expect


  • Smaller engines are unexceptional
  • Boot space is restrictive
  • Build can feel cheap in places

BMW Z3 Roadster rivals

Written by Richard Kilpatrick on

The rear-wheel-drive Z3 roadster was an upmarket alternative to a used Mazda MX-5 or MG TF. When new, it was neither as expensive nor as prestigious as the clever Mercedes-Benz SLK, but feels lighter and more involving to drive. Like the contemporary MX-5, the BMW Z3 took advantage of the 1990s trend for retro styling in a fun, fashionable way that appeals equally to men and women.

It's not a particularly exciting drive with the smaller engines, but the six-cylinder 2.8 and 3.0 units transform it, if you want something clearly different from the Mazda.

As a used buy, the impressively low prices erode its value as a style statement, but is it a true sports car? It's your decision, but plenty of buyers were sufficiently tempted to take the plunge, and there's a large stock of used examples to choose from now.

BMW Z3 front view

BMW Z3 Roadster rivals

Other BMW Z3 (1996 - 2002) models: