TRANSMISSION – A careless gear lever that tilts towards the fifth may be a weak return spring, but it is an expensive solution. The difficult selection of first and second gear may be due to low hydraulic pressure caused by heating of the clutch hose. Check that the diff supports are safe because they can flex and crack the boot floor.

BRAKES AND SUSPENSION – Listen for loose upper suspension mounts hitting the chamois. They fail every 60,000 miles or so. Look for stiff disc tweezers, a common problem. Check to see if the suspension has been checked or, more likely, improved with Bilstein shocks and that you are satisfied with the results.

BODY – Serious corrosion is likely to be related to an accident. Still, check the rear wings, windowsills, and the meeting point between the bonnet and bumper. Check that the rear window is securely fastened and that the rear windscreen wiper is working.

INTERIOR – Beware of oscillating seats, sticky electric windows (grease mechanism) and a faulty main light switch.

Its also worth knowing:

The Z3 M Coupé requires three types of service: inspections one and two and an oil service, in that order. Inspection two is the largest and most expensive.

How much to spend: £16,000-£19,999 -Private early-sale cars with about 150,000 miles. £20,000-£25,999 – Includes a 2000-reg S50 with 60k miles and full service history of £23,000. £26,000-£29,999 -In this budget, a 2002-reg S54 private sale with 57k miles for £26,450. £30,000-£34,999 -Tastier S50s and S54s, including a 2000 two-owner S50 with 65k miles and full service history of £33,950. £35,000-£39,999 – Includes one owners record of 2000 with 40,000 miles and full service history of £36,490. £40,000 AND UP – Mainly S54 mint cars, topped by a 2002 record with 23k miles for £59,995.

One we found:

Z3 M Coupé, 1998/S-Reg,173,000 miles, £20,000: This sales car has 28 service seals (a mix of main dealer and specialist) and new thresholds and unit Spans. It is finished in Estoril Blue with black leather and both keys are present.

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