A not-too-serious benchmarking of a 97 BMW Z3 versus 74 Jensen Healey.
For a bit of context, see the email message that originally went with this document.
  1997 BMW Z3 1974 Jensen Healey
Vehicle type 2 seater roadster 2 seater roadster
Market segment Upper middle: priced between Mazda Miata and Jaguar or Mercedes Middle: priced between '74 MG and '74 Jaguar or Mercedes
Marketing image German craftsmanship + sporting flair Last of the hand-built British roadsters
Manufacturing reality Assembled in North Carolina from mix of BMW 3 series components (various suppliers in U.S. & abroad) Body concept by Healey. Assembled by Jensen Motors from various Lotus, Chrysler, Vauxhall and Lucas parts
Performance 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds (manual trans) 0-60mph in 8.1* seconds
Engine specifications BMW 3-series, 1.9 Liters, aluminum alloy, 4 valves/cylinder. Max power = 138 Hp @6000rpm, max torque = 133lb-ft @4300rpm J Lotus 907, 1.9Liters, aluminum alloy 4 valves/cylinder. Max power = 140 Hp* @6500rpm, max torque = 130 lb-ft @4800 rpm J
Fuel system
Bosch digital electronic fuel injection 
~25 mpg in mixed driving J
Twin Zenith/Stromberg carburettors
~25 mpg in mixed driving K
Drive train 
Front engine rear drive
BMW 5-speed manual or 4 speed automatic. Slick crisp shifts J
Front engine rear drive
Sunbeam Rapier 4 speed. Some gear whine in 3rd, L Getrag 5 speed added in '75
4 wheel independent, strut-type in front, semi-trailing arm rear, anti-sway bars, body vibration dampers J
225-50 x 16" on aluminum alloy wheels
Taken from Vauxhall Firenza: double wishbone front, live axle rear, anti-sway bars front and rear K
205-60 x 13" on aluminum alloy wheels
Weight 2701 lbs (2789 with automatic) 2200 lbs
Brakes 4 wheel disc, ventilated front, ABS J Front disk, rear drum K
Traction control
Antilock brakes
Air bags
Power steering

Of course
Of course
Variable assist

Take yer foot off the gas
Antilock what?
Depends on who's riding
Not likely
 Maintenance interval Self-tuning engine, 36K miles J 8K miles for most items L
Reliability Typical BMW: "much better than average" in Consumer's Union Reports surveys J Typical British roadster L
*Not clear if it quite meets these numbers when tuned to pass California smog inspection 

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for accuracy of the above data, although they are correct to the best of my knowledge. There are some differences between the European and U.S. versions of both vehicles and I used a mix of U.S. and European documents and web pages.

Remark: Although this table was started purely for amusement purposes, I am now struck by a few observations:

Oct 1999 -- An update: So now the BMW Z3 comes standard with a 6 cylinder engine. And finally, after 25 years, I have a family car with an engine that is mechanically more advanced than the Lotus 907. The VW Passat uses the same 1.8T engine as the Audi A4 and TT coupe. With 5 valves per cylinder, turbocharging and fuel injection it gets more power from a smaller package than the Lotus. Like the Lotus it is high-revving, but much smoother!

Back to Mark's JH page
Back to Mark's home page