Manufacturer Brochure - 1998 BMW Z3 Roadster
|1998 BMW Z3 ROADSTER SERIES: 4- AND 6-CYLINDER MODELS WITH NEW REFINEMENTS FOR 1998|
Jun 3, 2004 17:14:48|
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The success of BMW's Z3 roadster, first introduced in 1996, has become one of the legends of the contemporary automobile scene. After making its debut to an eagerly anticipating world, the original 4-cylinder model achieved virtually instant stardom among critics and customers alike; then, in 1997, a second model, the 6-cylinder 2.8 model, was added, turning the Z3 roadster into a Series in the BMW sense.
To put the Z3's market success into some kind of numerical perspective: From launch through the end of September 1997, more than 29,000 roadsters have been sold in the U.S. By the end of October 1997, 100,000 roadsters will have been built, meaning that approximately 70% of the production in Spartanburg, South Carolina, have been exported to other countries.
Now, as it enters its third model year, the Z3 roadster Series offers a number of interesting and attractive refinements. In two stages, beginning with April 1997 production of the 1997 models and now with introduction of the 1998 models, functional and safety-related changes have been made and new standard and optional features have been added to the equipment list.
Once again for 1998, two models are available. The Z3 roadster 1.9, as the original model is now called, is powered by BMW's lively, economical 1.9-liter 4-cylinder engine. As the upscale model, the Z3 roadster 2.8 is powered by a special version of BMW's spirited and smooth 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. A widened rear body section, upgraded suspension and more standard equipment also help distinguish the 2.8 model from the 1.9. Both models could easily be the illustration for a dictionary definition of "sports car": 2-seat roadsters, sleek and exciting, offering esthetic delights and driving pleasure.
A STRATEGY OF ONGOING PRODUCT IMPROVEMENTS: MID-1997 CHANGES AND NOW THE 1998 MODELS
A number of refinements flowed into the Z3 production line in January 1997. From that time onward, the bodies of all Z3 vehicles were prepared for BMW retailer installation of a new Rollover Protection feature, which now becomes standard on 1998 Z3 models. Gas struts are now added to the softtop linkage, making it easier to lower or (especially) to raise the top. Two midrange speakers have been added to the standard 6-speaker audio system, and a new Harman Kardon audio system is now available in both models.
ROLLOVER PROTECTION AND REFINED ESTHETICS
For 1998, Rollover Protection is standard on both models. This consists of two structural steel hoops, one behind each seat, finished with an attractive Drained molded-plastic material. With these, BMW has aimed at putting a robust structure behind the roadster's cockpit while retaining a trim appearance. And speaking of appearance, the windshield (A) pillars, previous in matte black on Z3s, are now finished in body color.
NEW POSSIBILITIES IN WEATHER PROTECTION: POWER SOFTTOP AND REMOVABLE HARDTOP
In addition to the gas struts that make operating the standard manual softtop easier to raise and lower, BMW has added two new possibilities for the roof over Z3 occupants' heads. One is a power-operated top, which is available an individual option or included in a new Premium Package that also includes wood interior trim and (in the 1.9 model) leather upholstery. The other is a removable hardtop, which is available for retailer installation to give the Z3 an attractive "closed coupe" appearance inside and out while enhancing weather protection. Made of fiber-reinforced plastic, the hardtop can be set in place or removed easily by two persons.
As of December '97 production, the power top and wood trim will also become available as stand-alone options.
HARMAN KARDON AUDIO SYSTEM: PREMIUM SOUND FOR THE Z3 ROADSTER
In the 1998 model year, the Harman Kardon audio system is standard in the 2.8 model, optional in the 1.9 model. With 10 speakers versus the now standard eight, this system offers higher audio power and extensively upgraded components, including:
14-mm tweeters and 25-mm midrange speakers in the front doors (2 channels)
1 30-mm woofers in the side panels under the dash (2 channels)
One 65-mm midrange speaker behind each seat (2 channels)
Two 1 30-mm subwoofers, centered behind the seats (2 channels)
Speed-dependent frequency contouring (equalization)
Increasing subwoofer volume with vehicle speed (up to a maximum of +6 dBA)
Parametric equalizer bands and individual high- or low-pass filters for each channel
Split-band auto distortion limiting
Full protection against adverse conditions including thermal overload, over-voltage or short-circuit.
In either Z3 model, tile Harman Kardon system (as well as the 1.9's standard audio system) can be combined with an available retailer-installed 6-disc CD changer.
DETAIL INTERIOR REFINEMENTS TOO
Attention has been devoted to refining the Z3's cockpit as well. During the 1997 model year, an elastic net was added to the footwell area as a convenient storage spot for sunglasses, maps and the like, and a mirror was added to the driver's-side sun visor.
New for 1998 are optional sport seats, which feature more prominent side bolsters and enhanced thigh support. These retain the same power adjustments as the standard seats, which are 4-way driver's/2-way passenger's in the 1.9 model, or 4-way on both seats with leather upholstery (leather is optional in the 1.9, standard in the 2.8).
EXCLUSIVE EDITION Z3 2.8
During October 1997, a special run of Exclusive Editions of the Z3 2.8 will be built, featuring -
Cross Spoke (Y Spoke) alloy wheels
Dakar Yellow exterior (an M3 color)
Heated seats, driver's door lock and windshield-washer jets
Cobra Black leather upholstery with Lemon Yellow seat piping.
With the Exclusive Edition, Z3 enthusiasts will have the opportunity to acquire an extra-sporty, highly distinctive roadster just as exciting to look at as to drive.
Z3 ROADSTER: PORTRAIT OF ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR SPORTS CARS OF OUR TIME
It's no wonder the Z3 roadster has been such a hit. After all, this trim little 2-seater embodies everything one expects of a sports car: romance, adventure, an exciting look, pure driving pleasure. At the same time, it offers the traditional BMW virtues of quality, reliability, solidity and safety engineering - not to mention the prestige that these virtues have generated over the years. And even with the considerable refinements incorporated over its two years of production so far, it's still available for under $30,000. In fact, despite the product improvements and upgraded equipment, Z3 prices are unchanged for 1998: $29,995 for the 1.9 model, $36,470 for the 2.8 (including destination charge).
Thanks to its BMW heritage, the Z3 chassis combines sports-car dimensions with supple and tenacious running gear. "With the top down, at any speed, on any road," commented Automobile Magazine in August 1997, "the Z3 [1.9] provided the type of classic driving pleasure that only a two-seat roadster can." Cornering capabilities as high as 0.93g have been reported for the 1.9 model with its standard 16-inch wheels and tires (and 17-in. Sport wheels and tires are optional on the 2.8!). But even that impressive figure doesn't capture the way a Z3 responds to its driver's commands. That has to be experienced firsthand.
Under the Z3's hood is a choice of BMW power that the same Automobile Magazine report - written at the conclusion of a 12-month, 31,822-mile test - characterized this way: "Perhaps BMW has taken a smarter approach than any of the new roadster manufacturers by creating a gorgeous body and providing engines for it appropriate to any customer." The 1.9 model is powered by a dual-overhead-cam 16-valve 4-cylinder engine of 1.9 liters, delivering a responsive 138 horsepower to accelerate it to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds with its delightfully precise 5-speed manual transmission. Another attraction of this little jewel of a powerplant is its EPA mileage ratings of 23-mpg city/31 mpg highway (22/31 with automatic transmission).
As the step-up Z3, the 2.8 model has a dual-overhead-cam 24-valve 2.8-liter 6-cylinder engine, with cylinder block and head of aluminum to preserve the Z3's excellent weight distribution and handling. This engine imparts high-torque and ultra-smooth power delivery that can move the Z3 from rest to 60 mph in just 6.3 sec. with manual transmission. Of this engine, AutoWeek's December 30, 1996 issue declared that "It transforms the car with wonderful, wide bands of torque in every gear."
The 2.8 model is also distinguished by its chassis engineering. Specifically designed semi-trailing arms at the rear give a 2.5-in. wider rear track; spring rates are calibrated to the 2.8's weight and weight distribution; front and rear anti-roll (stabilizer) bars are larger; the wheel carriers and bearings are strengthened; and a limited-slip differential helps apportion torque optimally to the two rear wheels. As a bonus over the 1.9 model's already generously dimensioned 4-wheel disc brakes, the front rotors are ventilated on the 2.8. Altogether, it's a typical BMW approach to vehicle engineering: The chassis and powertrain are carefully and conscientiously matched to each other. "The Z3's handling lets you use the six to really drive the car around corners and traffic," concluded AutoWeek in that December 1996 report.
A SPECIAL BONUS FOR Z3 OWNERS: SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE IS INCLUDED
In selecting a new car, almost everyone is concerned with operating costs; perhaps many of the youthful buyers attracted to the Z3 will be especially so. Here the Z3 scores at the very least a triple hit. For starters, it offers excellent fuel economy - especially the 1.9 model, but with EPA ratings of 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway (manual transmission), the 2.8 model also has a moderate appetite for fuel. Beyond this, all scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles is included in the base price of each Z3 roadster. Owners wishing even more predictability in their service outlays can upgrade the prepaid BMW Maintenance Program to cover scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles, or even full maintenance (including many wear-and-tear items) for 3/36,000 or 4/50,000. (Naturally, some exclusions apply.) And finally, there's the BMW Limited. Warranty, which provides 4-year/50,000-mile basic coverage and 6-year corrosion coverage without mileage limit.
BMW IN NORTH AMERICA
BMW of North America, Inc. was established in 1975, at which point the company assumed marketing and distribution responsibilities of BMW automobiles in the U.S. from the previous private distributor. Motorcycle marketing and distribution was added in 1980. Since then the company's North American operations have grown to include marketing, sales and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada; a South Carolina manufacturing operation; a design firm in California; and various other operations throughout the U.S. and Canada. BMW is represented in North America through a network of more than 375 automobile and 190 motorcycle retailers in the United States and Canada. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the brand's North American headquarters, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.