While the Z1 roadster concept had 8,000 cars built in 1986, it was only ever really a testbed for BMW's Z-axle arrangement. It did show, however, that people were keen for the Munich-based company to produce a roadster for the masses. Competition from the likes of Mazda and Toyota with their roadsters also meant the time was right for the 1996 Z3. Using the usual BMW layout of a front-engined, rear-drive layout, the long and sloping Z3 hood hid a 116ci (1.8-liter) engine. The car cleverly used parts from other BMWs including the front suspension from the 3-series sedan and the rear semi-trailing arm set-up from the 3-Series Compact, though both were modified for a wider track. The 24-valve engine had adjustable intake runners to promote torque at low rpm and extra bhp higher up. It also was designed to minimize friction and gave the roadster good fuel economy.
BMW Z3 Specifications
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