1998 1.9 100,000 mile report

“This little four-pot BMW is all the sports car I need.”, Road & Track, March 1999.

Our 5/98 1.9 recently hit 100k miles. At the time of purchase, deciding between an 2.8 and an 1.9 was difficult. Well, after exactly forty months of ownership, I’m pleased to reflect that, for a myriad of reasons (most anticipated, a few not), choosing an 1.9 has best fulfilled our requirements as a fun *tool* as opposed to a less practical *toy*. I knew it didn’t have much power beforehand, of course. However, it’s turned out to do everything else sooo well…Surpassing my overall expectations. In fact, my only real gripe about the decision is having to look at those Z-Stars…Urgh!

No major problems/repairs, as of yet. Tho, a cracked upper radiator hose left Mrs BMV stranded once. It still has original battery, brakes, clutch, and top.

Not my first, second, nor, presumably, last BMW…Neither the sportiest (R65LS), nor best (E30 325e) BMW…Just simply and unequivocally the most FUN!

Nonetheless, being a finance guy, the following #’s & $’s provide a better synopsis.

100,003 miles

89,344 mi. – from OEM front ‘Pilots; last 38,749 while mounted on back.

49,595 mi. – from OEM rear ‘Pilots.

$47,049.76 = total expenditures.

$32,545 = MSRP = $29,425 Base + $1,150 Leather + $750 Power Top + $500 Heated Seats + $150 Chrome Trim + $570 Destination.

$30,840 = purchase price, incl. $100 *tip*.

$20,046.98 = accum employer auto allowances –> *tool*.

$16,209.76 = accum oper & ‘admin’ expenses (defined below).

$8.949.66 = accum operating exp of gas, oil-related, parts & accessories, service/repair, tools, and club memberships

$7,260.10 = accum ‘admin’ exp of taxes, fees & insurance.

$5,842.05 = gas exp; 3,429.627 gals @ $1,703 avg px; 90.30 ‘composite’ octane rating.

$3,837.22 = allowances minus expenses.

3,429.627 – # of gals pumped.

$2,560.34 = $1,416.68 parts & accessories + $596.65 service/repair + $248.10 tools/books + $161.34 car care + $137.57 clubs dues.

1,217 – # of days to reach 100k mi.

$547.27 = oil changes + samplings.

426 – # of trips to the gas station.

421.0 miles – furthest range on single tank; 11.686 gals.

$201.15 = accum BMW CCA discounts (only $2.25 from impulse item).

$112.57 = prorated BMW CCA dues.

85 – # of tankfuls ranging 300-349mi., 12+1x 350-399mi., 3x 400+mi.

~82.2 miles – avg distance driven each day, everyday.

30 – # of oil filter changes.

29.693mpg – current incremental mpg, since Dinan CAI & StageII and Bosch Plat +4’s

29.159mpg – overall mpg, Life-To-Date = 100,003mi / 3,429.627gals.

28 – # of oil changes.

$22.30 = fuel savings from +4’s over 18,570 mi., vs. $25.88 cost.

2 – very happy owners!

$0.27 = cost per mile, if we’re to give away tomorrow.

$0.099-$0.128 = net cost per mile using KBB.com estimates of $17,095 private resale (LOL!) & $14,205 trade-in, respectively.

Statement of Cash Flows (‘freestyled’ Direct Method)


$20,046.98 – auto allowances

($16,209.76) – oper & admin expenses

$3,837.22 = Cash Flow from Operations


($30,840.00) – orig purchase price

$14,205.00 – value using more realistic kbb.com trade-in estimate

($16,635.00) = Cash Flow from Investments


$0.00 = Cash Flow from Financing


($12,797.78) = Net

PaulZ’s 2001 Z3 Homecoming

It all started from my house in Annapolis Maryland and down with the DC area Z3 group to SC. After that I tagged along with the Tennessee group (Great beer, company and food. Thanks guys) on my way to Denver. At Denver I picked up my girlfriend at the airport to start the long roundabout drive to see this great country we live in.

This is the list of what I did:

* Grand Junction, CO (Hotel)

* Arches National Park, UT (tent camping)

* Mesa Verde NP, CO (camping)

* Grand Canyon NP, AZ (camping)

* Las Vegas, NV (Hotel)

* Zion NP, UT (Hotel on the 11th)

* Bryce Canyon NP, UT (camping)

* Salt Lake City, UT (Hotel)

* Jackson, WY (Hotel)

* Grand Teton NP, WY (camping)

* Yellowstone NP, WY (camping two nights)

* Badlands NP, SD (camping)

* Chicago, IL (friend’s house)

* Home on Sunday afternoon and spent the afternoon washing my very dirty car.

Some facts about my trip:

* 7,281 miles driven

* 29 mpg average (The performance driving at HC brought this way down!)

* 52 mph average speed

* 120 mph top speed (girlfriend would not let me go faster)

* Most speed traps in Ohio

* No V1 required (Never got ticket! And I was always speeding, well almost always)

* Only lost $120 in Vegas

* Was very close to wining a Z3! (I had 0 0 7 in a row but it was 1/2″ away from the Pay Line)

What I had in a Z3 trunk:

* Two 24 disk CD holders (I have the OEM 6 disk CD player)

* 2 1/2 person tent and tarp

* Two sleeping pads

* One sleeping bag (other one was behind passenger seat)

* Camping stove

* Two tanks of fuel

* Pots, pans, cups and plates

* Spices and other cooking stuff

* Food for over five days

* Three sets of shoes but only two sets in the trunk at one time (Hiking boots, Tevas, dress and I forgot she had to bring some running shoes so make that three sets in the trunk)

* Two rain jackets and two Fleece

* Two bath towels and one hand towel

* One large duffel bag and one backpack

* Clothing for two people for over a week each that included summer type for the hot desert, winter type for the COLD Mountains and a nice set for going out to dinner.

* Toiletries for each

* I almost forgot that wonderful backpack from Homecoming. (My girlfriend made me mail it home in Salt Lake City but we did use it)

Things in the front seat:

* Girlfriend

* Small cooler

* Small backpack with snacks

* Water bottle

* Camcorder, two cameras and film (I will post pics later)

Things behind seats:

* More food

* Extra hats

* Car cover

* Car washing stuff

* Sleeping bag

* Coffee mug

Worst thing that happened on the trip other than the 11th: Ran over a large rock! 20 miles from Jackson, WY it was raining and dark. I was behind a RV and a pickup truck in a one lane road. They of course just drive over the thing but I was not as lucky. On coming traffic prevented me from avoiding it so I had no choice but to drive over it. Not a good thing to hear as the big bang under the car and the many pieces of rock I saw in the rear view mirror as I drive on. With no place to pull over and the heavy rain I drive the 20 miles to town. I wanted to put the car on a lift to see if the car was damaged but I could not find a single gas station with a service center. I checked the oil and looked under the car. I saw a scratch in that bar before the axel but it all looked ok. Well after many looks under the car and repeated oil checking the car ran like a champ.

1.9 Sound System Upgrade

I’ve wanted to upgrade my Z3 sound system for a while. I found that the stock system simply wasn’t good enough to support a convertible. I started looking around and came to MZ3.net and looked at Robert’s 1.9 (Non-HK) Stereo Upgrade. This article helped me A LOT during my search for a better sound system. Now was the time to see where I should get it done. The first place I went to was Audio Excellence. It looked very professional and some of my friends suggested it. I also went to Audio Extreme and Sound Advice but out of the three Audio Excellence was at the top.

I wanted to upgrade the front speakers first. I looked at JL Audio and was impressed by their clarity. I also wanted to get larger speakers and I ended up with 6 ½” JL Audio XR650-CS (with tweeters and crossovers).

I realized that I needed a much better amplifier because the stock amp (non HK) was pushing around 20-25 watts per channel. I decided to go with the Orion Cobalt CS200.4 (Which later changed to the CS500.5) I was also looking at the Alpine V12 models but their prices were too high.

Audio Excellence told me that I might be able to put 5 ½” in the rear to replace the 4″ speakers. This luckily didn’t work out and I got a free pair of 4″ speakers.


The installation took around 7 hours. I took it in at 9 am at brought it home at about 4 pm. I was very happy with this installation because everything seemed to go my way. First they tried fitting the 5 ½” in the rear. These didn’t fit so they decided to leave the stock 3 ½” in there. The install for the tweeters and XR650-CS went fine but the amp didn’t. They put the CS200.4 in and it blew my rear speakers due to a short. They gave me a CS500.5 instead and replaced my rear speakers with JL Audio XR400-CX.

So the price of the JL Audio XR525-CX was cut from the bill and I upgraded to 4″ rear speakers and a 5-channel amp for free! Total cost was about $750.

Turning up the new system loud would guarantee to make your ears bleed. All that was coming out of it was highs. There was more bass than stock but it wasn’t enough. I decided to get a subwoofer.

The first place I wanted to put one was in the trunk. I planned on putting a 10″ sub opposite the side of the trunk with the CD Changer. Audio Excellence told me that in front of the trunk was a metal wall separating the cabin from it. Porting to the cabin would have to go through the boot of the convertible and with the top down bass would be nonexistent. I also wasn’t too happy with the idea of cutting a whole in my BMW.

My other idea was to put an 8″ or a 10″ in the spot where the HK Sub is. My idea was similar to where the Dodge Viper has its subwoofer. Audio Excellence looked at the area (where my storage compartments are) and told me that it would mess with the structural integrity of the car because the roll bars came down into there. I decided this idea was a no-go also.

They came up with an idea that I was trying to avoid. They wanted to put the sub below the dash on the passenger side. They did this to a member of N’Sync’s Superformance Shelby Cobra. Even though I was disappointed because doing this would take up legroom I decided to go along with this idea.

They ended up making a custom box and putting a JL Audio 8W3 subwoofer in my car. This ended up costing $350 and took about 13 hours (11 hours one day, 2 hours the next). It turned out well and sounds amazing!

Is it worth it?

Yes, I think that it was worth it. I love being able to hear music without distortion at 60mph with the top down. It turned out to be much cheaper than I thought and sound better than I imagined. Even though the subwoofer installation took forever I think that having that extra bass really makes the sound fuller.

Pros – Awesome Sound, Not very expensive

Cons – Lost passenger legroom, No more stock look

Cost – About $1,100