“According to Muscle Cars, a book written by Peter Henshaw, a “muscle car” is “exactly what the name implies. It is a product of the American car industry adhering to the hot rodder’s philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it.”
Thanks Wikipedia, for that… Now, on to the question at hand… Is the BMW Z3 a real European Muscle Car?
Well, is it a small car with a large-displacement engine in it? Yes.
2.8 litres is a lot for a car the size of a shoe.
Is it a hoot to drive? Oh, you bet.
Find a bit of road that’s twisty with straight bits and more twisty bits and more straight bits and there aren’t many cars that will give you such a grin.
The MX5 has fantastic handling but it needs a bit more meat.
A Honda S2000 will kill you (plus the used market for these is pretty nuts with values far too high for 100k cars).
An MGF will fall apart before the first corner.
Smaller engined Z3s are super fun but they lack the brute force of the 2.8.
The BMW Z4 is ugly (cue the noise of a can of worms being opened)
Nope, the 2.8 litre Z3 is a highly underrated car.
It’s got enough power to get a serious wiggle on, and enough handling to enjoy the ride, with just enough of the ‘I’m gonna gut you kiddo’ attitude that you want to provoke from the naughty pedal. It’s easy to drive but it’ll growl, it’ll pop as you downshift then it’ll beat the living crap out of you if you get it wrong.
That big six cylinder mated to that gear box with that rear drive combination in this squat little roadster… Try it, and if you don’t come back grinning, a tiny bit scared and a whole lot addicted, we’ll eat our proverbial hats.