HomeAutoHunterAutoHunter Spotlight: 1998 BMW Z3 M Roadster

AutoHunter Spotlight: 1998 BMW Z3 M Roadster

This BMW Z3 has the power of M


Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by, is this 1998 BMW Z3 M Roadster

The BMW Z3 is one of my all time favorite BMW cars, and I drove the one I owned on rallies, shows, and put 20k miles on it over a three year period. Mine was a 1996 1.9 liter model, but our AutoHunter Spotlight today is something altogether different, in fact so much so that it is almost a different model altogether. That is because it is an M model, which means not only does it look great and handle well, it also has a serious engine under the hood. This little roadster capable of speeds in excess of 150 mph. If that no longer sounds fast today, try doing 150 in a car as small as the Z3 and you might have a different opinion afterwards.

Now the Z3 M Roadster came in two both a first and second generation version. In essence the only difference between the two is that the first version of the M Roadster featured BMW’s S52 inline 6 cylinder engine, essentially the same engine as the U.S. spec E36 M3 with 240 hp. The second generation M Roadster featured the S54 under the hood, the more powerful and a bit more complex engine that was featured in the E46 M3. The S54 featured a sizable increase in power over the earlier engine with 315 hp. This looks good on paper and the prices for these later S54 equipped cars are higher, but the reality is that the difference in performance is only a one tenth of a second in the 0-60 and only 4/10s in the 1/4 mile. In addition, the S54 engine can be quite more expensive to service than the less expensive to buy first gen Z3 M Roadster making it, to me, the smartest buy of the two versions of these cars.

The car in question is one of these first generation cars, a 1998 BMW M Roadster that has covered only 51,748 miles since new and is powered by the BMW S52 3.2 liter, DOHC, 24 valve inline 6 cylinder backed by a ZF five-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. This example has been upgraded with European-style lenses, a stainless-steel exhaust system, Michelin tires, a $3,500 audio system, and a strut tower bar. Finished in Cosmos Black Metallic and equipped with a matching power-retractable top over a Black Nappa leather interior, this M Roadster is now offered with owner’s booklets, a first aid kit, and a factory tool kit.

The exterior of this M Roadster is finished in Cosmos Black Metallic paint and looks good. The top has had a new piston installed under the seller’s ownership. The seller notes blemishes include some small stone chips in the hood and a touched-up area on the rear bumper cover. This car rides on factory correct 17-inch Style 52 wheels wrapped in 245/40 Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The interior is described by the seller as optioned with heated Black Nappa leather bucket seats matched to the door panels, dash, center console, carpeting, and M-branded floor mats. Features include power windows, central locking, a three-spoke M Sport steering wheel, variable-assist power steering, cruise control, air conditioning, and aluminum pedals. The aftermarket Bluetooth-enabled audio system features a Pioneer touchscreen head unit, quad 240-watt speakers, and a Kicker 10-inch subwoofer. The driver side window motor has been replaced, and the driver seat is showing some wear per the seller. Overall the interior of this example looks very nice and just what you would expect a 56,000 mile car to look like.

Under the hood is the powerful and incredibly reliable BMW S52 engine. Within the last five months, the head gasket, thermostat, fuel filter, spark plugs, and spark plug wires were changed. In addition, the engine oil, transmission fluid, differential fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and hydraulic fluid for the convertible top were replaced. One other common aftermarket performance addition is a Racing Dynamics strut tower bar and an aftermarket air intake.

All in all this is a Z3 M Roadster I would want to own myself and the winning bidder is going to end up with a fun to drive and fast BMW Z3 M Roadster.

The auction for this 1998 BMW Z3 M Roadster ends Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 11:15 a.m. (MST)

Visit the AutoHunter listing for more information and photo gallery

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts