2002 M Coupe | Estoril Blue | Estoril/Black

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This M Coupe was posted in an article written for insideline.com by Ben Barry about the smaller M cars, including the 2002 Turbo, E30 M3, M Coupe, Z4 M Coupe, and the new 1 Series M Coupe. I think it’s pretty lame that BMW polluted the M Coupe name with a non-Z car. While I can appreciate the design of the 1 Series M Coupe, the name is not consistent with other BMW M cars. If an M3 were called a “3 series M Coupe”, it would be a different story. But, I digress. This all stock M Coupe appears to have been very well cared for, with no visible flaws in the photos posted. It looks like the rear view mirror was swapped out for a non-auto dimming model from an S50 model. It’s odd to see a C33 Business Radio installed, when the Cd43 Business CD player was standard beginning is 2000.


Below is the portion of the article discussing the M Coupe:


The Z3M’s ingredients bridge the 3 Series generations: There’s the E30’s rear axle and its antiquated pull knob for the headlights; a later E36 M3 3.2-liter engine with the earlier E36 five-speed gearbox, plus E36-like lights, steering wheel and similar — though different — seats that are incredibly comfortable. There’s also an E46-style instrument binnacle and quad pipes, while later cars like ours get the E46 M3 engine, too.


We’ve got one of the 6,291 coupes, and it’s easy to see why the roadster shifted almost 10,000 units more: the coupe’s an odd-looking thing, what with a side profile that looks like a balloon magician gave up halfway through twisting it into a poodle, and rear lights that stop a good few inches before the 245/40ZR17 Michelins do, a skimpy T-shirt riding above a muffin-top belly. Yet, somehow, it all works.


More importantly, this is a fabulous car to drive. The engine is absolutely magnificent, pulling keenly from low revs but then hardening at around 4,000 rpm and transitioning to that trademark M metallic rasp while piling on speed at a fearsome rate. At first it feels like you’re in the sweet spot when you’re between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm, then you realize you’ve got another 1,500 rpm to go. Never mind that it gives the M3 V8 a hard time in the battle to be crowned the best M engine ever, the Z3M’s six is one of the best engines of all time. The BMW 1 Series M engine — hugely impressive though it is — just doesn’t sparkle as brightly when you chase the redline.


The great thing is, the Z3M doesn’t feel hot-rod over-engined despite those 3.2 liters spilling out of the engine bay — it’s actually a very nicely balanced thing. The steering has a mid-weighted, honest heft, the five-speed box slots so much more cleanly than the six-speeder that followed, and the chassis feels incredibly benign. You can lean and lean on the front tires in the damp, feeling them first bite and then reach the limit, and from there — with one push of the traction control button — you’re free to swing the rear round. I expected it to feel edgier because of the short wheelbase (96.8 inches), but it just doesn’t.


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2 Comments

  1. The BMW M1 name was already taken by a car that is arguably completely opposite from the 1M. While we aren’t happy with the M-Coupe name intrusion, I am sure we’d be outnumbered by the M1 purists who would scream all the way to Munich about intruding on THAT legacy

    Reply
    • Jeremy

       /  September 3, 2011

      Yeah, I know. It’s a weaksauce name all around. They could have done better…somehow. There is only one M Coupe, and it’s the E36/8. The Z4 M Coupe is just that, a Z4, and the 1 series “M Coupe” is just that, 1 series.

      Reply

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