Woodcliff Lake, New
Jersey - One might say that BMW's taut little roadster, the Z3, launched
a whole movement and initiated a welcome revival of the traditional
sports car when it was introduced in 1996.
that time, small sports cars were simply being neglected by most
carmakers, and very particularly by carmakers known for elevated quality
standards. The Z3 definitively changed that state of affairs.
the Z3's debut, direct competitors of BMW have joined the segment of
high-quality, yet not prohibitively priced, sports cars. BMW itself has
steadily evolved the Z3 from the Z3 into a Series, moving from the
initial 4-cylinder roadster to a line of 6-cylinder roadsters and a
unique coupe. Along the way, Z3 design and technology have been updated
and product content expanded.
2001, this successful line of sports cars takes another significant
evolutionary step with the introduction of new engines, a new and
sportier automatic transmission, and further equipment upgrades. Each of
the three Z3 models for 2001 also has a new name:
roadster 2.5i - replacing the 2000 roadster 2.3, this most
affordable Z3 model has 14 more horsepower (184 hp) under its long
hood and newly standard foglights and cruise control; it offers a
new Sport Package as well, combining special wheels and sport seats
at value pricing. At $31,870 including destination charge, the 2.5i
base prices exactly like its 2000 counterpart. (When adjusted for
added equipment, all 2001 prices are actually down - not even
considering the engineering improvements.)
roadster 3.0i - superseding the 2000 roadster 2.8, this more
powerful roadster is even stronger for '01. Its engine is enlarged
from 2.8 to 3.0 liters, and develops fully 32 hp more than before
(now 225 hp). Its standard wheels and tires are upgraded from 16-in.
to 17-in., the front brakes are larger, and exterior styling is
freshened. At $38,470, this top roadster model is up just 3.6% over
coupe 3.0i - BMW's interpretation of the classic Gran Turismo sports
coupe has the same new 3.0-liter engine as the roadster 3.0i, as
well as the new 17-in. wheels/tires and larger front brakes.
Interior design upgrades introduced in the roadsters for '00 now
appear in the coupe as well, and it has its own distinctive new
front-end look. At $38,270, the coupe 3.0i is up only 3.1% from the
'00 coupe 2.8.
three new models share certain significant enhancements:
inline 6-cylinder engines, in two sizes, with significant
automatic transmission - a 5-speed STEPTRONIC unit replaces the
selections - new choices for every model.
interior trim - formerly optional on all models; now standard on
cupholders - these were a BMW Center-installed accessory last year.