BMW’s Z3 Coupé has always been one of the modern era’s most comically-designed cars, and today’s Nice Price or No Dice example is no different. Let’s see, however, if its price means makes it no laughing matter.
So yesterday was one of those weird conundrums where the comments didn’t quite match the outcome of the votes. The object of this divergence was a 1994 Suzuki Sidekick four-door that appeared to be in fairly decent shape. That factor led to many a comment noting that a three-grand price was about the limit for any running vehicle to be considered a deal, and the Suzuki’s uniqueness gave its $3,500 asking an added edge into that territory. It was strange then to see the vote hew to a 52% No Dice loss. I guess we’ll just have to get FiveThirtyEight on the case.
Before that, however, we need to look at this 1999 BMW Z3 Coupé. No really, we need to look at it. That’s one pretty funky looking car, right? Now, BMW has, over the years, released a number of cars with objectively questionable styling. Some, like the E65 7-series and E71 X6, felt like they were designed simply to evoke a visceral response to their mere existence—they dared you to hate them.
The Z3 Coupé, on the other hand, looks like it was designed by someone who laughs a lot. And yes, that’s not exactly the persona you picture when thinking about German auto industry types. The fact is, the Coupé was designed to address a number of the shortcomings of the Z3 roadster, which was getting beat up from beneath by the more agile Mazda Miata, and from above by the more capable all-around Porsche Boxster.
The Coupé didn’t do anything about the open car’s somewhat pedestrian rear suspension, but it did try and tamp that down with a body that offered almost three-times the torsional rigidity of its convertible sibling. To make the most of that new-found strength, the Coupés were offered exclusively with six-cylinder power.
This ’99 Z3 Coupé is appropriately enough, Arctic Silver over black leather. The Style 59 alloys are a nice accompaniment, although the aesthetic is marred somewhat by the right-rear wheel evidencing some curb rash. All the trim is intact, and the roundels all have their full complement of colors.
The interior looks almost as-new and completely stock save for a religious artifact hanging from the rear-view. There is some entry wear on the driver’s seat side bolster, and oddly enough also on the cigarette lighter’s insignia. Does that mean this was once a smoker’s car? It otherwise looks to be a nice place to spend your drive-time, but you should think about giving it the sniff test.
The ad claims the car “has been properly maintained and runs strong with no issues whatsoever.” The engine here is BMW’s M52 inline-six and, from the factory, that was good for 190 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque. That’s routed through a ZF five-speed manual and to a factory-installed limited-slip rear end.
The seller notes a few mechanical updates (or potentially down-dates depending on your opinion) that have been made to the car. The good stuff is an A/C system that has been imbued with a new condenser and seals.
The perhaps not so good stuff is the coil-overs and cold-air intake added by a previous owner. The seller has all the original bits that can go back on the car so it’s more an issue of an annoyance than of cost to return the car to factory specs.
The mileage is a meager 86K although the seller says that will go up incrementally since the car is doing daily driver duty. The title is clear and the registration is up to date.
This sounds like a pretty nice car and hence it’s no surprise when the seller claims to be in “absolutely no rush to sell.” Well, at $14,000, we’ll just have to see if any prospective takers might be in a rush to buy.
What do you think, does this Clown Shoe Bimmer look like it’s worth that $14,000 asking? Or, is that price a joke?
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Updated 3/4/22 with new details.