BMW Z3 M Coupe (E36/8) 1998-2002




The BMW M Coupe is a Shooting-brake styled high-performance automobile produced by BMW. As of February 2009, two generations of the M Coupe have been manufactured, one based on the E36/8 Z3 Coupe and the second off of the E86 Z4 Coupe. Both generations have a "sister" Convertible/Roadster model available. Though a second generation E89 Z4 has been released for the 2009 model year, no official announcements have been made regarding the third iteration of the BMW M Coupe/Roadster.

First generation E36/8 (1998-2002)

The car is based on the BMW M Roadster. The semi-trailing arm rear suspension was not modified from the M Roadster. The coupe is 2.7 times stiffer than its convertible counterpart, resulting in superior handling.


The M coupe was developed under the leadership of engineer Burkhard Göschel with the intention of adding increased torsional and structural rigidity to the Z3 roadster’s chassis. The development team had a hard time convincing the Board of Directors to approve the model for production, but it was eventually given the green light as long as it remained cost-effective to produce. To achieve this goal, as many body panels as possible had to be shared with the roadster, thus the doors and everything from the A-pillar forward are interchangeable between the coupe and roadster, as are most interior parts. The Z3 coupe, which mates the M coupe's body with the standard Z3 drivetrain, chassis and cosmetics was approved for production at the same time.



M Coupes built between 1998 and 2000 are fitted with two different engines, depending on the destination market. These engines are the same ones used in the 1996 to 1999 BMW M3.


The US models were fitted with the S52, a 240 hp (176 kW) and 320 Nm (236 lb·ft) 3.2-litre inline 6-cylinder engine.


European models were fitted with the S50B32, a 321 hp (236 kW) and 350 Nm (260 lb·ft) 3.2-litre inline 6-cylinder engine.



From October 2001, the M Coupe reappeared worldwide with the new 3.2-litre S54 engine from the E46 M3. This was the highest specific output naturally aspirated engine ever made by BMW when it was fitted to the E46 M3: in M Coupe form it produced 325 hp (242 kW) in European form and 315 hp (235 kW) in North American form. (242 kW) and 354 Nm (261 lbf.ft) of torque.


Despite the well-documented tendency of the 2001–2002 S54 to suffer connecting rod bearing failure in the E46 M3, the M Coupe was not included in the recall to correct the issue in E46 M3s. BMW assert that the recall is not necessary due to the fact that the S54 M Coupe is limited to 7,600 rpm, 400 rpm lower than the M3's limit. BMW added a 100,000-mile (160,000 km), 6 year warranty in North America to all S54 Coupes affected by, but not included in the bearing recall on the M3. Although some S54 M Coupes have reached in excess of 170,000 miles (270,000 km) on their original engines, bearing shell failures are possible on all S54 M Coupes.


In South Africa only 40 right hand drive S54 models were imported and all were equipped by the local importer with AC Schnitzer suspension, exhaust, short shift kit, shift knob and 18-inch wheels.

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BMW M Coupe

First Generation E36/8 M Coupe Manufacturer  BMW

Also called  Z3 M Coupe

Production  1998–2002

Assembly  BMW Manufacturing Co. Spartanburg

Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Successor  Z4 M Coupe

Class  Sports Car

Body style  2-door convertible

Layout  FR layout

Platform  E36/8

Engine  3.2 L inline-6

S50 (1998–2000 non-US/CA)

S52 (1998–2000 US/CA)

S54 (2001–2002 world)

Transmission  5 speed manual

Wheelbase  2,459 mm (96.8 in)

Length  4,025 mm (158.5 in)

Width  1,740 mm (68.5 in)

Height  51.4 in (1,306 mm)

Curb weight  1,420 kg (3,130.6 lb)

Related  BMW Z3

Designer(s)  Joji Nagashima

BMW M Coupe

Production figures


Due to the unique styling of the M Coupe, dealer sales were slow, and dealerships sidestepped the M Coupe to sell the more practical and more profitable M3 models to performance enthusiasts. As a result of their relative rarity, M Coupes retain more of their value than any other BMW since the E30 M3.


    European left hand drive S50 engine: 2,178 built from 04/98 through 06/2000

    European right hand drive S50 engine: 821 built from 08/98 through 06/2000

    North America S52 engine: 2,180 built from 07/98 through 06/2000

    European left hand drive S54 engine: 281 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002

    European right hand drive S54 engine: 168 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002

    North America S54 engine: 690 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002


Second generation E86 (2006–2008)


BMW released a limited production, new redesigned, M Coupe based on the Z4. The first cars were delivered right after the North American introduction on May 27, 2006. It has a 3.2-litre inline 6-cylinder engine and produces a SAE rated 330 hp (250 kW). It shares many components with the Z4 and with the E46 M3. Other components come directly from the M3 CSL like the cross-drilled 13.7-inch floating front rotors, even though it continues to use the same brake pads as the original Z3 M Coupes.


The second-generation E89 Z4 (a retractable hardtop) was announced on December 13, 2008. The E89 retractable hardtop is not available in an M version; nor is it known as the 'Z4 coupe', as the term 'Z4 coupe' refers to the fixed hardtop model (E86).

Production figures


2006 North America Production beginning with Vin# 6LLxx000: 380 built from 05/2006 through 09/2006

2007 North America Production beginning with Vin# 7LLxx380: 1187 built from 10/2006 through 09/2007

2008 North America Production beginning with Vin# 8LMxx567: 248 built from 10/2007 through 09/2008


2006 Z4 M Coupe

2006 Z4 M Coupe

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