1995 Z3: BMW of North America
1995 BMW E36/7 Z3 1.8 roadster #LA59383
1,796cc M43 inline four-cylinder
Arctic Silver metallic
BMW of North America
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey (since 1995)
As BMW’s answer to the Mazda Miata, the Z3 was designed for driving fun rather than high performance, and the earliest examples were powered by four-cylinder engines rather than one of BMW’s signature inline sixes.
In the US, the Z3 1.9 would be equipped with the new 1,895cc M44, which featured chain-driven dual overhead camshafts, and four valves per cylinder. With 138 horsepower and 133 lb-ft, the M44 allowed the Z3 1.9 to scoot from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, 9.7 with the optional four-speed automatic. The Z3 1.9 was equipped with power windows, 16-inch wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, and ASC+T traction control (on 1997 and 1998 models).
In Europe, the four-cylinder Z3s were built to an even tighter budget, making do with the earlier M43 four. With a single overhead camshaft and two valves per cylinder, the M43’s modest 116 horsepower gave the Z3 1.8 a 0-to-62 mph time of 10.5 seconds with the standard five-speed manual transmission. No automatic was available, and 15-inch wheels were standard. The car you see here, #LA59383, is a Euro-spec model, built in September 1995. It was the first Z3 displayed at the BMW Zentrum at BMW Manufacturing.
Four-cylinder cars departed the US lineup after 1998, but they remained popular in other markets. By the time Z3 production ended in 2002, BMW had sold 134,056 Z3 1.8 and 1.9 roadsters worldwide.