The BMW Z3 M Roadster was a deeply under-appreciated car. When it was launched, it was sort of an unknown outside of BMW circles and even in BMW circles, it was looked down upon for being based on the bubbly “hairdresser’s car” that was the Z3. The Z3 was a great little sports car, one that was more fun than even some more powerful, bigger engined cars, regardless of your profession. To prove it, Car and Driver put it to the test, back when it was new, against two of the most exciting convertibles of its time—the Corvette Convertible and the Porsche Boxster.
In March 1998 issue of Car and Driver, the three convertibles did battle to see which one was best. But what was fun about the test was that all three were incredibly different machines. The BMW Z3 M was a straight-six-powered, front-engine, rear-wheel drive convertible with a short wheelbase, modest power, and nippy handling. On the other hand, the Corvette Convertible was a big, brutish, V8-powered, front-engine convertible monster. Lastly, the Porsche Boxster was a flat-six-powered, mid-engine, roadster. They hall had drastically different personalities (which can’t be said much anymore) and their own strengths and weaknesses.
Of the three cars, the BMW Z3 M Roadster was among the most fun to drive. Its engine revved beautifully and made great power, its steering was accurate, and its compact size made it a blast to drive. If there was a downside to its driving dynamics, it was its rear suspension, which allowed it to be too tail-happy. But it also had a great interior, a lovely driving position, and it felt high quality.
By contrast, the Corvette was a straight-line killer, made an incredible noise, and had loads of chassis balance and grip. However, its vague steering, massive size, and poor interior wind insulation made it a charming but frustrating convertible. And the Porsche Boxster was, well, a Porsche Boxster. Perfect steering, beautiful balance, a great shifter, and precise driving dynamics more than made up for its underpowered engine and high price tag.
But which one was best? Check it out.
[Source: Car and Driver]