Driving with the doors down? | BMW Z1 test drive

By Tim Suddard
Jul 1, 2022 | BMW, Radwood, GRM+, Test Drive, BMW Z1, Z1 | Posted in News and Notes | From the April 2012 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Tim Suddard

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Grassroots Motorsports. Pricing has been updated to 2022 values.]

What if BMW built a Miata and powered it with their legendary M20-spec, 2.5-liter six-cylinder? Would the result be the best car ever built? 

Such a machine actually came to life in the late 1980s in the form of the BMW …

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View comments on the GRM forums
mainlandboy Reader
7/26/22 12:10 p.m.

I would argue that the Z3 was the Miata made by BMW. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/22 12:15 p.m.

In reply to mainlandboy :

I bought a Z3, expecting it to be a Miata made by BMW. It was more powerful, but it felt absolutely nothing like a Miata. It was beautiful, but it drove like a sedan, not a sportscar.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/22 12:50 p.m.

The Z3 was clearly BMW's Miata, and everyone knew it.

The Z1 was an interesting critter, though. Those doors!


I can't post that cover without also posting this one :)

hybridmomentspass Dork
7/26/22 1:19 p.m.

I had that gen capri...a great car, but not a fun car. So very reliable and great on gas, spacious. 
Id be very interested in seeing that article and how they compared the two

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/22 2:07 p.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

I may have that issue in my collection, I'll see if I can pull it out.

The Miata in that picture was almost definitely the R&T long term loaner that they decided really needed to be tested to 50k instead of 30k, then Dennis Simanaitis bought it. AFAIK he still has it. It's Miata 348, built 10 cars after my own.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/26/22 2:55 p.m.

Only on GRM: 

A discussion about BMW Z1 quickly switches focus to the venerable FWD Mercury Capri.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/27/22 8:52 p.m.

Let's hope this is legible :)


jb229 New Reader
7/30/22 11:07 p.m.

Genuine question: Did nobody have back problems before 1990?  Because those doors are insane and absolutely make me understand why people started buying tall-riding SUVs right around the time this came out (also vans with 'command chair' seats, remember that fad in the 90s?)

Gotta love 80s BMW though, add complexity and weight.  Surely this is how we defeat the Japanese makers.

livinon2wheels GRM+ Memberand New Reader
7/31/22 11:55 a.m.

I wonder what pulled bmw away from the well executed 2002? It was light and responsive for the day and is iconic in appearance.

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