The Z models have been part of the BMW line-up for about 30 years now. The first one has an appropriate name too, the Z1. The Z stands for Zukunft which means ‘future’ in BMW’s mother tongue, a clear indication as to why this breed of roadsters was created. Arguably, the BMW Z1 had some interesting successors over time, including the Z3 and the Z4, but also extending to the king – the Z8.

The guys from BMW Group Classic decided to the the Z1 and Z3 roadsters out for a spin. They even set up a competition between them, arguing about which one is better. The Z1 is definitely the more special car because it was developed from the ground up to be a different breed. It features interchangeable plastic body panels, it rides on an E30 platform and has doors that hide into the car’s body. Those are features you won’t find on any other car.

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Even the reasons behind the retractable doors show the different times when this car was designed. According to Cristoph, when the Z1 was put together, the engineering team behind it wanted to be able to put out a cigarette on the asphalt while driving the car, without having to open the doors. How far fetched is that explanation?

As for the BMW Z3, it’s cool in its own way too. This was, after all, the first Bond car from BMW and it did fascinate a lot of people. Unlike the Z1, the Z3 rides on the E36 platform which means it is also a great driving car. It has a completely different design and lost the folding doors. The best part about it is that you can rent these cars if you want to. You can go on the BMW Group Classic website and rent one or two out to see how they compare yourself. Once you’re done, come back and tell us which one is better.