1998 BMW Z3


  • In excellent condition inside and out
  • Hard-top supplied
  • 2.8-litre engine

The Appeal

Intended as BMW’s entry into the 1990s roadster revolution, the Z3 had the best-possible announcement of its arrival on the scene when it featured in the 1995 (Pierce Brosnan-era) James Bond film Goldeneye. By the time it went on sale in the UK in July 1996, demand outstripped supply and the cars were attracting a premium. 

Z3s were all built at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina; the car was based on the 1994 318Ti Compact – and designed to be built in large volumes. Early UK cars were powered by the 1.9-litre 16v engine, while the rest of Europe got the base-model 1.8-litre. In 1997 the 2.8-litre engine (as featured here) appeared to counter accusations that the car was too slow. The M52 VANOS straight-six unit powered the rear wheels via the ZF five-speed gearbox, and the car could do 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds.  

In total more than 50,000 2.8-litre Z3s were produced before the model was replaced by the Z4 in 2002.

A slow-starter in the modern-classic market, the Z3 now has a significant following and values are on the rise. Reliable and practical to run, with good parts availability (as so much of the car was shared with the contemporary 3-series), it offers value-for-money, top-down motoring fun. 

S529 ADP has clearly been well looked-after and comes with the added advantages of a hard-top, (originally an optional extra), air-con, heated seats and a heated rear window.        

The History and Paperwork

  • Full service history
  • All original manuals in their folder
  • MoT until March 2023
  • Two sets of keys
  • Original invoice
  • Numerous recent invoices 
  • Current V5

First registered in August 1998, the V5 records five previous owners prior to the vendor, who purchased the car in June 2021. The original service book records regular servicing at appropriate intervals, and there is a sizable folder of paperwork as well as all the original manuals and booklets. 

The vendor bought the car as something to enjoy in his retirement, but feels that he doesn’t use it enough and has decided that the time has come to pass it on to a new owner  

The Interior

  • Seats, carpets and dashboard all in very good condition
  • Heated seats
  • Electric seats
  • Air conditioning 
  • CD autochanger
  • Excellent door panels

The interior of the car belies its 24-year lifespan; it’s clearly a car that has had a cherished existence in the hands of careful owners. The seats and door panels share a smart two-tone beige-and-black leather upholstery, and while there is some wear on the bolster of the driver’s seat (only to be expected in a car of this age), these are generally in excellent order. The driving position is comfortable and offers good visibility, even through the soft-top, thanks to a large rear window panel. 

The dash and centre console show very few marks or scratches and, while the carpets have some signs of wear, they are generally very good. 

The car boasts a range of costly original optional extras, including heated seats which have electric controls, air-conditioning, and a heated rear window that the vendor believes works on both the hard-top and soft-top windows. 

The boot contains a CD autochanger, while the boot-liner is clean and in good order. Beneath the liner there is a set of original tools and a recently replaced (January 2022) battery.    

The Exterior 

  • Hard-top in first-class condition
  • Soft-top mostly unmarked
  • Smart black paintwork
  • Great chrome and badges
  • Monsoon car cover supplied

The car looks smart in its black paintwork which, apart from one scratch on the rear wing, is mostly unmarked. There’s no evidence of rust or damage.

The chrome, badges and brightwork are all in excellent order, while the lights have no cracks or damage.  

All four wheels appear to be undamaged and the tyres have plenty of tread. 
The soft-top is in remarkably good condition for its age, although the rear window has a scuff across the middle of it and the vendor has carried out some minor repairs around this. Meanwhile, the hard-top has been stored separately and has been, it would seem, rarely used. 

The vendor will also supply a Monsoon car cover, that cost around £200, with the car.    

The Mechanics 

The 2.8-litre version of the Z3 is widely considered to be the model to have, and is definitely the one most likely to achieve lasting classic status. This example starts on the first turn of the key, and the engine sounds lovely. The vendor assures us that it drives beautifully with no issues, and he has thoroughly enjoyed driving the car to classic events at Goodwood and other venues.

The service history attests to the fact that the car has been diligently looked after, and the vendor reports that he had an additional engine-oil change carried out in June 2022, and dealt with two advisory matters arising from the last MoT – the rear struts were replaced and the headlamps adjusted. 

The vendor also had the air-conditioning recharged in June 2021. 
Under the bonnet, everything is clean and tidy and again appears to have been well cared-for. 


A fast-appreciating modern classic, the Z3 has taken a while to catch up with its contemporaries (MX-5, Boxster) from the 1990s back-to-basics roadster market, but it’s definitely a car whose time has finally come. This one is an outstandingly good example that has clearly been owned by careful and considerate owners. With the reassurance of that full service history, this is a car to be driven and enjoyed.

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All items in this listing are sold on an “As Is - Where Is” basis. Photos and listing descriptions should be used as a guide only.  Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information in this listing and Car & Classic performs a level of due diligence prior to the auction, we do not warrant the accuracy of the listings. The seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. Inspection is highly recommended prior to bidding. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1998
  • Make BMW
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 67,456 Miles
  • Engine size 2793
  • Town Yateley
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
51 bids
  • do•••• £9,000 23/09/22
  • Sn•••• £8,999 23/09/22
  • do•••• £8,900 23/09/22
  • Sn•••• £8,800 23/09/22
  • do•••• £8,700 23/09/22
  • do•••• £8,600 23/09/22
  • AS•••• £8,500 23/09/22
  • do•••• £8,499 23/09/22
  • AS•••• £8,400 23/09/22
  • AS•••• £8,300 23/09/22

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