The model year 2000 Z3s arrived in Dallas, after work I dropped by to take a look at them. The following article reviews my first hand observations and opinions of the differences I noticed. These are just my personal opinions, feel free to disagree with me, however the goal of this article is really just to point out the differences I noticed.
The most noticeable difference is the new back end. Personally I have mixed emotions about the new design, from the back I like the new “L” shaped tail lights. However from the side the new design makes the rear wheel wells appear larger, and with the standard 16″ wheels I personally don’t like the new look. The new design makes the wheels look small especially on the white Z3 I first observed.
The trunk gets the once optional (but very hard to install) trunk lifter ring now as standard equipment. Besides the obvious usefulness of this accessory, the additional chrome on the new trunk lid is eye catching. I especially liked the additional flash of chrome against the new Oxford Green metallic paint.
Inside the trunk I noticed that the trunk lid was redesigned, the new trunk lid design inhibits use of the BMW trunk organizer. So now the trunk organizer only works with 1996-1999 model year BMW Z3s.
This was the first time I had seen the new Oxford Green paint. It is very similar shade of green to the original Dark Green, except it is a metallic paint. I personally like the Oxford Green more than the original Dark Green, however I think I still prefer the original metallic Boston Green (which is now sadly discontinued). I noticed a new red reflective bumper marker on the corner of the bumper, but I don’t personally care for it.
This was also the first time saw the Impala Brown paint. Too dark to call gold, too metallic to call brown, its similar in color to a used (not new) US penny. I liked the color in general, but for some reason it just seemed out of place on a Z3. I bet it looks better out in the sun, but I shudder to think what it will look like when it is dirty.
The 3rd brake light is relocated further down on the trunk lid, more in the middle of the trunk as compared to the original design that was more towards the top of the trunk lid. Not sure if the average (non Z3 owner) would ever notice the difference, but I think I like the original position better just because I like the longer (more noticeable) indention it left in the trunk lid.
Walking around to the front of the car I noticed the new chrome ringed headlights. The difference is subtle, but really nice. I like the change, it especially blends nicely with the new clear/white turn signals which are now standard with the model year 2000 Z3. Of all the small changes BMW has made to the Z3 over the years, I think the clear turn signals are the one change I most wish was on my M roadster.
Looking inside the car I found even more changes. The AC controls now have chrome rings just like on the M roadster, the lower panel now has an additional chrome gauge that can either be an analog clock or the optional on board computer. It is my opinion that the clock is far more attractive, even if the on board computer were a free upgrade I think I would still choose the clock.
This Z3 had an optional wood package installed that was very attractive. The package now also includes a wood brake handle. The wood is lighter in color than the previous wood package and it has a different wood grain pattern in it. The kit looked very good with the tan interior however I’m not sure it will work with the black interior.
It appears that the Z3 no longer comes with the cassette holder. Of the model year 2000 Z3s I saw about half had the dealer installed armrest/cupholder (pictured above and too the right) and the other half didn’t have anything (pictured directly to the right). Current rumor is that starting 7/99 the factory will start including a armrest which may or may not be the one the dealerships have been installing for free.
Behind the armrest is a new set of knockout switch locations. Since this Z3 had the optional power top this is where the power top switch was located. I found this location to be very awkward to use when seated in the drivers seat. If this were my Z3 I think I would ask if the DSC switch could be mounted here and move the power top switch to a more convenient location. But that is only because I see myself using the DSC much less than a power top switch.
The impala brown classic leather was very nice, it didn’t have the polka-dot bumpy pattern that use to be on every leather Z3 seat. The color of the leather match the exterior and looked very sharp. This new leather was darker and more golden brown color than the previous tan/beige leather. According to the BMW color chart classic leather is available in this brown or a black color.
Behind the seats the rear speakers appear to be slightly larger. On close observation I noticed the entire rear console to be slightly different. While the plastic parts that make up the rear console didn’t change shape, the once smooth plastic now has a texture to it. However the new texture is only on the upper most parts of the console.
The other change to the stock rear console is the loss of the rear storage compartment. The stock stereo now includes a subwoofer, however it’s not the HK subwoofer. I sneaked a peak at the subwoofer by removing the grill and it looked quite different than the HK subwoofer. There was not a porting tube, and I saw one driver (there might have been another one hidden).
The top now has a liner, the liner is black (or really dark gray). The material has a slick sheen finish to it with a thin foam like backing. The thin material folds well when the top is down and pulls tight when the top is raised. The liner does not extend beyond the roll hoops when the top is up, so the area around the rear window is not covered by the liner.
Classic also had a couple model year 2000 M roadsters, including one unsold cosmos black/gray/black model that was going through dealer prep when I saw it. The 2000 M roadster has the same liner the 2000 Z3 has, as well as the new chrome ringed headlights. However with the exception of a new harmon/karmon label on the HK subwoofer grill, I did not see any other differences.
Speaking of the M roadster there is two other additions to the Z3 that I didn’t get a usable pictures of. The Z3 now has the ///M logoed sport steering wheel and the ///M logoed lighted shift knob which are nice additions, but I find the ///M logo use in a non M vehicle to be highly unstable.
In addition to the vehicles I took pictures of, Classic BMW also showed me a model year 2000 Z3 in steel gray and titanium silver. I was unable to tell a difference between the new titanium silver and the now discontinued arctic silver without the two cars sitting right next to each other. The titanium silver is one or two shades lighter, but in direct sunlight that difference is really hard to notice.