BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe E36/8 (1999)

Additional information

by DeliCARtessen

Sold for: 14.000

Absolutely a future classic.


M52TUB28 – 2793 cc – 6 cylinder naturally aspirated


192 hp


168.000 km


Manual, 5 speed



Owners until now

Three owners, current and two previous



Body Style



Yes, after contacting DeliCARtessen

The Story

In September of 1997, during the celebration of the “International Motor Show Germany“, considered the biggest motor show in the world, BMW presented to the world the Z3 Coupé model, a closed version of the existing Z3 Roadster, both developed on the E36 3 Series platform.

According to one of Jalopnik website’s fantastic articles , the Z3 Coupé was not conceived as we might imagine new car models are sprung to life, the result of meetings of important businessmen and hundreds of pages filled with balance sheets and economic costs. Instead, it was developed by a group of the brand’s engineers, who designed and built it in their spare time and in some inexplicable way, managed to convince the top management that they should take it into general production.

Whether or not this curious story is true, the result was a muscular and powerfully striking model, of which around 18.000 units were built. It did not seem to do badly for the brand, since the model that replaced it (the Z4) also came with its Coupé variant.

The unit that we present here today for sale, configured in a sporty combination of Hellrot red exterior and black leather interior, was manufactured in the Spartanburg factory of South Carolina, United States, in March of 1999, and delivered to its first owner in Germany where it spent its first four years. The engine chosen was the 2.8 liter inline six widely used by BMW (code M52 (TU)), recognized for its high reliability, high performance and moderate consumption. This unit was ordered with the 5-speed manual gearbox. (ZF S5-31)

The car was imported and registered in Spain, in October 2003 and sold to its current owner in March 2004 who has enjoyed it until this day.

The car came out of the factory with a long list of extras, among which stand out:

  • Electric and heated leather Sports seats
  • Electric sunroof
  • Limited slip differential at 25%
  • Airbag for driver and passenger
  • Side airbags for driver and passenger
  • Alarm
  • Green stripe on the windshield
  • Air conditioner
  • On-board computer
  • Harman-Kardon sound system
  • M leather steering wheel

Additionally, its owner added to this list:

  • Replica BBS wheels in measures 8 × 18″ for the front axle and 9 × 18″ for the rear axle
  • Suspension composed of Bilstein B12 shock absorbers (B8 shock absorbers + Eibach springs)
  • Eissenman sports exhaust
  • Reinforcement bar between turrets
  • Radio-Navigator Becker Traffic PRO High Speed
  • Original BMW roof rack

The car equips Dunlop SportMaxx tires in measures 225/45 R18 on the front axle, and 255/35 R18 on the rear. The condition of the tires is good, there is no irregular wear and they have approximately 70% useful life left. The tires on the rear axle however, do show a bit more wear in the center area which is partially due to a defect mentioned down below.

In addition to the rims that are installed, the car will be delivered with a second set of original 16” BMW rims, with which the car came out of the factory. This set of rims wears a set of Pirelli PZero tires in size 215/60 R16 for both axles. These tires have a lot of wear and should definitely be replaced.

The brake discs and their corresponding pads were changed in 2016 when the car had 163.000 km, so they only have 5.000 km of use.

As can be seen in the wonderful photographs taken by Pablo Bayo (@airmadrid), the state of the painting is exceptional on all its panels, there are no visible impacts or dents and the car in general shows a spectacular shine. The tires have no parking markings and are in an impeccable condition.

Inside, the car is also in a very good condition. All its equipment works correctly, and there are no parts that show irregular wear. The leather is in a very good condition, although in the driver’s seat shows signs of use a little more pronounced than the passenger seat. Pedals, steering wheel and gear lever are also in a very good state, a symptom that the vehicle has spent much of its life stored in a garage, protected from rain, cold or sun.

Aesthetically, the car only has a couple of points where the paint has some slight defects. One of them is on the hood, and the second one is on the front bumper, just under the right headlight, typical of slight contact while parking.

From the mechanical point of view, the car is completely up-to-date. Recently (with 164.000 km), a very extensive revision was carried out where, in addition to the corresponding change of oil and filters, discs and brake pads were replaced as well as brake hoses (installing metal hoses), Castrol brake fluid and spark plugs.

On this same maintenance job, the entire suspension was replaced, installing Bilstein B12 shock absorbers composed of Bilstein B8 shock absorbers with Eibach springs, and all the suspension silentblocks were changed to those corresponding to this model of the Meyle brand, as well as the differential’s silentblock of the Powerflex brand.

The car has an exhaust silencer installed of the Eisenmann brand, which gives a noticeably sportier sound to the car. These mentioned modifications to the suspension, the Eisenmann silencer and the 18” rims, are all upgrades that are duly approved and included in the vehicle’s technical sheet, so it does not present any problem at the time of passing the corresponding annual review in the ITV.

The Z3 models, especially in their more powerful variants (2.8 and ///M engines), have over time a notable defect in the suspension turrets on both the front axle and the rear axle. Due to a design problem, the strains on the body are especially taxing on these points, and since these models now have several years behind them, it is very common to see problems of this type in these cars.

This unit was not exempt from this, and at the time of the photographic report, cracks in the turrets of the front suspension were detected. Once the problem was brought to the attention of the owner, he decided to take the car to probably the best BMW Z3 restoration expert in Madrid ( MTA Motorsport ), who produced an extensive and professional report on the state of the body and the geometry of the suspension of both axes. In the photo gallery we include pictures that are part of said report.

On the rear train, no cracks or detachments of the bodywork stringers were detected, although it also had variations in the geometry of the suspension, which is why the tires show irregular wear.

Once a work plan was submitted by MTA Motorsport, the owner agreed on the complete repair of the front train, that basically consisted of:

  • Repair of structural damage in the front area
  • Reinforcement of left cracked area with added plates and re-soldering of left and right detachments
  • Placement of M-type turret reinforcement plates
  • Re-adaptation of turret bar modifying the supports and placing adequate screws
  • Replacement of front trapezoidal silentblock
  • Soldering and re-positioning of the front bridge
  • Correction of all the camber and caster values of the front area, centering and setting the shock absorber anchors
  • Alignment and centering of the steering rack

Regarding the rear train, since it showed no breakage, no action was taken on it. In the extensive gallery of photos, we have included numerous photos of the before and after state of both axes. In short, the front train was completely repaired and is now in perfect state.

Below we show some photographs taken by MTA Motorsport of the initial state, during the restoration process and its final state completely repaired.

From the legal point of view, and as can be seen both in the report extracted from the DGT, and in the Carfax report that would be delivered to the buyer, the vehicle is perfectly apt for circulation, and has no pending charges or notices.

The history of transfers, ITVs and reviews in both documents coincide with the history provided by its owner. The car would be delivered with all its legal documentation, its two keys, and the corresponding documentation to the Becker satnav.

We believe that, combining the cost of acquisition, maintenance cost, mileage and general condition of this unit, it is an interesting opportunity whether you are looking for a sports car with a very special look that could even be a daily driver, or if you are looking for a car for track days.

The BMW Z3 Coupé, with the M model at the top, is a model with a high potential for revaluation in the future, which is gaining more and more followers of its shape and engines and with time will be – if not already is – an admired and looked for classic car.

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