In Reply to: Hi guys...I'm in the market for a 96-97 Z3... posted by A4 defector on March 30, 1999 at 17:24:16:
It has adequate power for most purposes, and it has a lower polar moment of inertia, thus allowing it to change directions the most quickly of any of the Z3s. I happen to think it's arguably the best looking of the Z3's too, in that it lacks the overly-theatrical fender flares of the 2.8. If you like it, you should be able to get a first-rate bargain, as many American sportscar buyers have a serious case of four-cylinder insecurity and won't buy these cars.
On the other hand, if you want to really be able to adjust the handling with the throttle, you definitely need the 2.8. The 2.8 also has a limited slip rear, a less floppy suspension, and a nicer shifter. Personally, this was my preference.
But don't be under too many illusions about either car, as a humble Mazda Miata will handily out-handle either car. The Z3 is a nice car, but it's definitely more grand-touring/comfort/luxury biased.
Depends on how hard you like to drive, and how much you want to spend. If the Z3 is what you want, drive both the 1.9 & 2.8, & see what you think.