Clown Commuter: 2002 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe

So you want an affordable, distinctive yet practical car for your daily commute? Yesterday I suggested there might be more fun to be had for less money than the Golf Harlequin. Well, here it is: the Z3 3.0i Coupe. While the ‘clownshoe’ isn’t quite as spacious as the Golf, it does add a dose of practicality to a fun-to-drive and very unusual package. But while the market focuses on the M products, the more rare to find Z3 3.0i is an affordable option that will help you stand apart from the crowd.

Produced in Spartanburg in February 2002, this Topaz Blue Metallic example has seen better days, it’s got quite a few miles, and it’s an automatic. But that means it’ll be about as cheap as a clownshoe comes. Is it worth the price of admission – or, at the very least, is it worth the savings over a M?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe on eBay

Evergreen Forest, Part II: 1998 BMW M Roadster

Last November, I took a look at what was to me a very eye-catching and interesting M Roadster. The E36/7 is still a fairly polarizing design, but as with many models there are signature colors which help to make it both stand out from the rest of the crowd and, in some ways, make it more desirable. For the M Roadster and Coupe, color-matched interior was available on Imola Red, Estoril Blue, and perhaps the most outlandish color – Evergreen Metallic. Finding one of the twin Evergreens can be difficult; only a claimed 176 of color 358 Evergreen Metallic with the Q6EV Evergreen/Black Nappa interior were produced for the U.S. market. I looked at one in November of last year:

Evergreen Forest: 1998 BMW M Roadster

While that example was quite clean and, as what was probably a former press vehicle, it had an interesting history, the asking price was close to top-dollar for a S52 equipped car. But today I have a comparative point; another ’98 Evergreen/Evergreen M Roadster. But under the hood lies something a bit more potent….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay.co.uk

2000 BMW Z3 Coupe

So much attention has been levied upon the BMW M Coupe that it’s easy to forget there was a non-M version of the E36/8. Equipped with the grunty, 190 horsepower dual-VANOS 24 valve M52/TU in front, a manual gearbox in the middle, and a standard sport differential in the rear, the Z3 Coupe offered high fun factor that wasn’t really present at the original launch of the model. The M52/TU lightened the load as well, swapping the M50 iron block for an aluminum one also seen in the contemporary E46 model. That was coupled with the dynamic shape of the “Clownshoe”; polarizing in looks, but hardly forgettable no matter your opinion. These have become niche cars that buck the traditional SUV-laden commute, yet are reasonably affordable and eminently practical as a daily driver:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW Z3 Coupe on eBay

2002 BMW M Coupe

Following on to the 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe we saw earlier in the week, here’s a car at the other end of the E36/8 production run spectrum, the 2002 M Coupe. Enthusiasts know these are the ones to get, as the late model M Coupes are packing the desirable S54 engine. This example for sale in New Mexico is one of the few made without the sunroof, sure to please those looking for a track day hero.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M Coupe on eBay

1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe

For those bewildered at the fact that M Coupe prices are skyrocketing, here’s a pleasant surprise. A Z3 coupe with a 5-speed manual for right around $10,000. While it has over 100,000 miles on the clock, it looks tidy enough. It might not have the grunt of the 3.2 liter inline-6, but the 2.8 liter engine with its 190 horsepower is certainly no slouch in such a small package. This example for sale in Houston may be unassuming in Arctic Silver over black leather, but one go in the twisties will have doubters signing a different tune.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe on eBay

2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster

The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the model’s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bond’s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all – in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand – especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if you’re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the “S” motors in the front, you can still get quite a bit of sport in the 3.0:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster on Hartford Craigslist

2001 BMW M Coupe

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Another week, another S54 powered BMW M Coupe. As a follow on to the 2001 M Coupe that Rob featured two weeks ago, here we have a similar vintage M Coupe with less miles wearing the it’s original equipment alloy wheels. Just over 1,000 S54 engined M Coupes were produced, with 678 making their way stateside between 2001 and 2002. Fewer modern cars have had the collectability factor that these Bimmers had out of the box. How high will values go? That remains to be seen.

Click for details: 2001 BMW M Coupe on eBay

1999 BMW M Coupe

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I love the E36/8 aka M Coupe aka Clownshoe, and clown shoes are best in red, right? This beautiful Imola example has just 73k miles and has been well cared for by 3 owners. The previous owner addressed the well-documented potential rear subframe weld issues, and the only updates are light enough to not even be called modifications – air filter, headlights, stainless steel clutch cable, etc. It’s not quite perfect but pretty close, with a few minor scuffs and dings. It’s a 1999 model, meaning it has the 240hp S52 instead of the later S54 monster, but that’s mattering less and less these days and the prices of both head north.

Click for details: 1999 BMW M Coupe on eBay

1999 BMW Z3

Just the other day a friend of mine was complaining about the lack of “pure” sport coupes available on the used market for a reasonable price. They aren’t interested at all in roofless options which does eliminate fan favorites like a Mazda Miata, Honda S2000, or Porsche Boxster. I then asked, “well what about a BMW Z3?” and my perfectly reasonable question was met with a chuckle. I don’t know what it is about the Z3 that so many people so dislike but when thinking of driver focused sport coupes, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. M Coupes are more powerful and aggressive looking, but they’re also highly sought after, therefore the reasonable price part of the equation goes right out the window. I love the odd styling and the wonderfully simple interior. Driver position is amazing in these cars and they’re surprisingly functional as well thanks to the hatch. The Z3 roadster might be what comes to mind when the name is mentioned, but it is the coupe that is the real star.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe

I always felt a bit sorry for the BMW Z3 Coupe. It was introduced at a time when an M version arrived alongside of it and not surprisingly, it was the Motorsports version that made the bigger splash in the market. Even that car was at first a bit misunderstood, with some critics deriding the looks but others shining on to the performance it offered. The M Coupe has reached air-cooled 911 levels of popularity at the moment and as such, the Z3 Coupe can only stand to benefit. This early production Z3 2.8 Coupe comes to us from our friends at Sun Valley Auto Club and looks quite attractive in silver over red leather, with the desirable manual gearbox. If the M Coupe is a little bit rich for your blood, try this lite version instead.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe at Sun Valley Auto Club