BMW Z3 & M Roadster, 1996-02
Convertible Top and Convertible Top Parts
- Quality: Made to BMW specs, 100% fit guarantee.
- Original Factory Material: Sonnendeck (Twillfast) canvas in the following colors: Black, blue, grenadine, beige and English Green.
- Window: A sewn-in green-tinted, plastic window.
- Bow Tension Straps must be in good condition: OEM bow straps lose their elasticity after a few years and should be replaced when installing a new top to prevent damage due to bows folding improperly.
- Alternate Top Fabrics: Haartz Stayfast Canvas. Chrysler Sailcloth Vinyl (original to many Mustangs and Sebrings) is a less expensive alternative.
- Z3 Installation Packages: Do it Yourself installation is an option for the handy and meticulous installer. There is stapling, rivet work and some contact cement work. There is removal of seals and their transfer to under the new top. An installation manual is available with new top orders.
- Finding an Installer: You can enter "automobile upholstery shops near me" in your browser search bar to see a list of nearby shops to interview.
- Manufacturer Warranties: Robbins provides a 5 year factory warranty with 18 month labor allowance. Kee provides a 6 year warranty with no labor allowance.
Important InformationOriginal Factory Color(s): Black, BMW Blue, Green, Dark Beige and Basalt Gray
Our installation manual is profusely illustrated and quite detailed. We offer money-saving packages which provide everything you need to install a Z3 top, including our Z3 convertible top installation manual for no extra charge. Ready to start shopping?
About the Z3 convertible top Window: The original Z3 soft top zippered window zipped down so that it could be lowered. But the Z3 top zipper, as originally designed, caused problems and produced BMW dealer recalls. Aftermarket BMW Z3 convertible top Manufacturers eliminated the zipper to improve the longevity of the replacement top. Today, the window is a green-tinted plastic window, as original, but it's heat-sealed into the new convertible top, instead of zipped in.
How do I choose my Z3 convertible top? We offer the Z3 soft top in two fabrics and original colors--as well as custom non-original colors. Here's what you need to know about Z# top replacement before you make your purchase:
Sonnendeck Canvas: This American-made convertible top canvas, also known as Twillfast canvas, is the original Z3 convertible top material. It's a luxurious three-ply top material with an acrylic/polyester exterior, a rubber center bonding layer, and a heavy woven inside lining. These layers (in all our canvas Z3 tops) make the Sonnendeck canvas Z3 soft top elegant and durable. Many purists want to see the characteristic German weave known as "dobby weave" on the Z3 convertible top ceiling from inside. Interested in an original Sonnendeck Z3 soft top? Click here.
German Sonnenland Canvas: Sonnenland canvas is the original German-made canvas used on many Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW convertible tops. German Sonnenland top canvas is also a three-ply material made of a tightly woven outer layer, also a rubber middle layer, and a dobby weave inside lining. It is hard to see the difference between Sonnendeck and Sonnenland canvas convertible tops, but technically Sonnenland Canvas is the longest-lasting top thanks to the exterior's abrasion resistance. Interested in a Sonnenland Canvas Z3 top? Click here.
Haartz Stayfast Canvas: This custom Z3 top has a typical canvas convertible top high wear rating. It costs less than Sonnendeck and Sonnenland canvas. The Haartz Stayfast convertible top is also hard to tell apart from the other canvas convertible top replacement ones. It has the canvas outer layer and a (non-dobby weave) preshrunk cotton inner layer. The two layers, like the other Z3 replacement top canvas ones, are bonded by a butyl rubber core. (It is this core that makes the canvas top fabric last a very long time, with both better static and dynamic wear ratings than vinyl tops.) Haartz Stayfast is the American substitute for the German convertible replacement top canvases used in Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, some models of Mustang and Lebaron and others. Canvas is widely regarded as "richer looking" than vinyl. It's also a little harder to clean. The inside of the top is pre-shrunk cotton. Interested in a Haartz Stayfast Canvas convertible top? Click here, and scroll down to place a custom Z3 top order.
Chrysler Sailcloth Vinyl: Chrysler Sailcloth Vinyl is featured as the convertible top fabric on many late LeBarons, Sebrings, certain Mustangs and other cars. It is structurally (wear quality) equivalent to other vinyls, but the grain of this soft top fabric is designed to imitate the look of canvas. The advantage of a Sailcloth vinyl Z3 top is that you'll have more colors to choose from than you would with canvas. But it's not quite as rich looking, nor quite as durable as a canvas replacement Z3 top. Interested in a Sailcloth Vinyl BMW Z3 convertible top? Click here, then scroll down to place a custom Z3 soft top order.
What else should I replace if I'm replacing my Z3 top? We recommend replacing your top hold-down cables with each top replacement. Hold-down cables are listed with "Installation Supplies" and they are also available with our Z3 convertible top packages. Cables are threaded through each side of your original top with a plate at either end. These cables hold the top to the side frame and tension the top. Since the plates are riveted to the top frame as part of the top installation, this is a good time to replace them. Our cable kits and Z3 installation booklets describe how to install Z3 hold down cables.
What do other BMW Z3 owners say about CTG?
"You know I never did tell you how wonderful my new top looks. A fellow BMW Z3 owner and I replaced my old worn-out unit the first of June. We had your instructions in hand and followed them paragraph by paragraph. The top took us about 10 hours to install, from removal of old to the final installation. Thanks for supplying such a quality product at a fair price.
Almost all manufacturers use Haartz fabrics. They may specify "heaviest weight" or "original replacement" in ways that seem reassuring. But they do not really tell the whole story. Please bear in mind that two things dominate, by far, the quality issue: (a) the manufacturing quality control in the factory that makes the top and (b) the care and thoroughness of the installation. There is a trade-off in weight: heavier is better for resisting tear through, but lighter is better for flexibility and abrasion from within that may arise from movement. Almost all our tops are a flexible medium density (36 oz.) fabric. Heavier is not better in most cases. Where it is, because of the top design, we will say so and the top will be made of the heavier vinyl.
- Sonnenland® is a German-made 3-ply topping made up of an acrylic twill-weave facing, a rubber inner-layer, and a polyester "dobby backing." The dobby backing is a knit-like weave original to many high-end foreign cars. Customers who value originality over cost often pay top dollar for Sonnenland, just to have that authentic "dobby backing," seen only when you look up at the roof of your convertible top from inside your car. Sonnenland canvas is a top-of-the-line material original to various Audi, BMW, and Jaguar convertibles, among others. Sonnenland Canvas can vary in terms of surface weave and/or weight for acoustic performance, but all Sonnenland Canvas promises elegance and long-lasting durability.
- Twillfast®, also called Sonnendeck Canvas, is an American-made canvas - a cost-effective substitute for Sonnenland. Twillfast is usually a 3-ply topping (though some versions are 5-ply) with Polyester and/or Polyester/cotton backings. This material, original to certain Camaro, BMW, Mustang, and VW Beetle convertibles, among others, varies in terms of surface weave and/or weight for acoustic performance. Twillfast Canvas is identical to Sonnenland Canvas - elegant and durable - only it's less expensive. This is a top-notch convertible top material, one we often recommend to savvy customers who like a good buy and a quality product.
- Stayfast Canvas is an elegant, durable canvas original to cars like the Mazda Miata and the Nissan 370Z. Stayfast is commonly used in replacement convertible tops. Stayfast canvas has an acrylic square weave facing, a rubber inner-layer, and a cotton backing. As with other canvases, the rubber core gives the fabric long-lasting durability. Stayfast canvas is a sleek, beautiful canvas, usually less expensive than Twillfast, but it does not have the dobby backing offered in Sonnenland and Twillfast (Sonnendeck). Stayfast is a popular upgrade to vinyl convertible tops, and as with any canvas, is richer looking and has a higher wear rating than convertible tops made of vinyl.
- Haartz Pinpoint Vinyl is the most popular fabric. This vinyl design is original to most American cars from the fifties to the nineties. Pinpoint refers to the little dots or pips that you see if you look closely at the vinyl surface. European cars, such as the old Beetles and others also used pinpoint vinyl as the topping fabric.
- Chrysler Sailcloth is featured on many late LeBarons, Sebrings, certain Mustangs and other cars. It is structurally (wear quality) equivalent to the Haartz Pinpoint but has a different surface grain. The grain was designed to imitate the look of canvas. As you can see from the scan of this fabric, it is an exceptionally rich looking material. It is sometimes chosen for replacing convertible tops that originally featured pinpoint vinyl.
- Cabrio Grain is also structurally equivalent to the pinpoint. It has a pigskin outer grain vinyl as original to Volkswagen Cabriolets from 1984 onward and to Mazda Miatas and Mercury Capris.
- A5S German Canvas (Robbins) The 100% Acrylic Twill Weave Surface Cloth receives a special flame singing treatment to remove the fabric knap; and is laminated to Black 100% Polyester Dobby backing.
This is the original topping for Porsche Boxster and Cabrio convertible tops. 59 inches (150 cm) wide, made in Germany.
- British Bison Vinyl is the most popular British roadster convertible top material. It is American made Haartz leather grain vinyl and is an imitation of the British Everflex vinyl top fabric. The British Bison Vinyl convertible top fabric is often referred to as 'crush grain.'
- British Everflex Vinyl We are now pleased to offer British Everflex Vinyl for classic English tops. This is the original material used on British convertibles including Jaguar, Rolls Royce and many others. Imported from England, British Everflex vinyl is a supple vinyl with a rich appearance and is more durable than other vinyls. A good, less expensive alternative is Colonial grain vinyl. Colonial has the same texture but is less durable.
- HV Denim (also called Twill Weave Vinyl) is heavy duty sport material composed of a distinctive twill grain PVC outer layer and a polyester/cotton blend inside lining fabric.
- Trilogy Acoustic Vinyl A heavyweight vinyl that is often used on SUVs like Jeep, because the two-ply composite has the capacity to reduce noise by about 20 percent compared to standard vinyls like Sailcloth. The vinyl material is durable, promises long-lasting wear-and-tear, and resembles the sleek twill cloth commonly found on luxury convertible cars.
- Haartz Twillfast RPC This American-made canvas has a twill weave pattern and resembles German-made Sonnenland canvas. It is a great all-purpose canvas and, according to Haartz, is used on 99 percent of convertibles. It is stronger and more durable than Stayfast Canvas and offers more sound protection. Haartz rates Twillfast RPC as a mid-level acoustic product, compared to the low-level sound reduction offered on other top materials like Stayfast
Parts in this category (BMW Z3 & M Roadster) fit cars for years: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.