Tuner Tuesday: 1998 BMW M Roadster Dinan S3

Edit 11/3/2017 – I looked at this Dinan modified M Roadster last August, but there was little information and it hung around for quite a while at $25,000. It has now moved on to a new seller who has taken some more photos and raised the price $4,000. After last month claiming it was an ISR3, the seller has confirmed what our comment from Eric indicated – it’s “just” a S3 Roadster. It has about 1,000 more miles since last year but still looks relatively reasonably priced if you like the color combination and gutsy Dinan modifications – Ed

The other day I was talking with my friend about Turner Motorsports. I first met Will Turner when he was a BMWCCA instructor, just trying to establish his business of selling parts on the side. He and his compatriots all sported E30 M3s; this was, after all, the days before the launch of the U.S. E36 M3. Turner managed to parlay early success in a local modification scene outside of Boston into a countrywide business, and after some time in the club race scene he moved into the major leagues. Success against better funded teams was sometimes difficult, but today Turner is still alive and very much kicking, having become one of the two defacto factory-backed teams running the M6 GT3. To get to that point of factory involvement is an arduous journey to say the least, and few who start out make it.

One other who did was Steve Dinan, who took a niche tuning business from the 1980s into a factory option today. You can walk down to your dealer and order up a fully backed, Dinan modified car. That took a tremendous amount of work and is a testament to the quality of the products on offer from Dinan.…

Evergreen Forest, Part II: 1998 BMW M Roadster

Last November, I took a look at what was to me a very eye-catching and interesting M Roadster. The E36/7 is still a fairly polarizing design, but as with many models there are signature colors which help to make it both stand out from the rest of the crowd and, in some ways, make it more desirable. For the M Roadster and Coupe, color-matched interior was available on Imola Red, Estoril Blue, and perhaps the most outlandish color – Evergreen Metallic. Finding one of the twin Evergreens can be difficult; only a claimed 176 of color 358 Evergreen Metallic with the Q6EV Evergreen/Black Nappa interior were produced for the U.S. market. I looked at one in November of last year:

Evergreen Forest: 1998 BMW M Roadster

While that example was quite clean and, as what was probably a former press vehicle, it had an interesting history, the asking price was close to top-dollar for a S52 equipped car. But today I have a comparative point; another ’98 Evergreen/Evergreen M Roadster. But under the hood lies something a bit more potent….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay.co.uk

Evergreen Forest: 1998 BMW M Roadster

This past weekend I drove by the spot where I first encountered the M Coupe. The year was 1998, and to be honest the Z3 lineup had been pretty forgettable. In many ways, the car’s signature launch through the James Bond film Goldeneye summed up how most felt about the Z3:

“Hey, look, a new convertible BMW!” (moves on)

But that changed with the launch of the M-tuned models. The E36/7 and /8 suddenly had the performance to back up the hoopla associated with the launch when the S52 from the M3 found its way under the hood. Augmenting that were upgraded brakes, giant shadowline Roadstar wheels with massive (and awesome) lips, and wide flared fenders culminating in quad exahusts emerging from the rear middle of the car – what would become signature on the next round of BMW M models. It looked great, it drove great, and was available in some pretty wild colors. It was pretty much the instant recipe for a collectable, but values languished for some time before the Coupe models really started taking off a few years ago. But it’s still possible to get into a collector-condition Z M model for not an outrageous sum:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay

2000 BMW M Coupe

The M Coupe has really emerged as the next great thing in the BMW world, with nearly every single for sale advertisement riddled with hyperbole about how they’re the next big thing and how incredibly rare each particular color combination is. The truth is that if you’re just trying to get on to the M Coupe train, you’re a bit late to the party – but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile to check out a good looking one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M Coupe on eBay

2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster

The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the model’s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bond’s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all – in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand – especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if you’re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the “S” motors in the front, you can still get quite a bit of sport in the 3.0:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster on Hartford Craigslist

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW M Roadster with AC Schnitzer and Dinan Modifications

With all the hoopla surrounding the BMW M Coupe, it’s easy to forget about its sibling, the M Roadster. This wide-hipped roadster offers a lot of power in a very small package along with the ability to drop the top and listen to the noise of that straight six out the quad tailpipes. This Estoril Blue M Roadster is for sale from former GCFSB contributor Aaron Kraljev in Portland, Oregon. This M Roadster was his personal car and has been meticulously maintained. It also comes with a host of nice options and accessories, such as the hardtop, AC Schnitzer alloys and exhaust along with Dinan performance software. Looking to stand out a bit with your M Roadster? Read further…

Click for details: 1999 BMW M Roadster on Craigslist Portland

2002 BMW M Roadster

A few weekends back I took a ride out into the hills of Connecticut to check out the inventory at Coventry Motorcar. It’s always worth the trip, because though on the grand scale they’re a small dealer they’ve always got some very interesting second-hand cars that you just don’t normally see gathered together at one spot anymore. Like a European-only car show, there were Porsches, BMWs, and of course Audis lining the lot. A cool Volvo C30 T5 stood out, along with a lineup of M3s as my search for a nice one continues. But the car that really grabbed my attention was a M Roadster. It wasn’t a case of the color being outstanding in this case; while some wild combinations were available on the M Roadster, Titanium Silver Metallic was the most popular option, and within that color the Black Nappa Leather was the most common interior. According to the M Roadster Buyer’s Guide, there were some 1,562 (15% of total production) ordered in Titanium, with the majority of those at 1,134 having the black interior. In fact, nearly half of all M Roadsters had all black interiors, amazingly – since it seems the really wild colors are the ones that stand out in my mind. But something else struck me as really special as soon as I saw the date; a 2002 would make it the rarest year of the M Roadster, with only 643 sold. That’s nice, but what’s nicer is what that means under the hood – the full bore, 315 horsepower S54 motivating the small roadster.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M Roadster at Coventry Motorcar

2001 BMW M Roadster

$_27

The BMW S54 engine is right up there in a long line of wonderful inline sixes from BMW, marking a large step forward from its predecessor, the S52. While the S52 provided great sound and smoothness, it lacked the brute force that other great BMW engines have shared. The S54 brought an extra 75 (!!!) horsepower to table, an increase of over 30%, for the last two years of the E36/7 and E36/8’s lives. This one comes claims to come with an extra 30, matching the power of the E46 M3 – not bad when you’re carrying several hundred fewer pounds. The clownshoe may be the funkier of the pair, but the M Coupe keeps all the drop-top fun of the Z3 while losing most of the hit to the self-esteem via some swollen fenders, quad pipes, and serious power. Like an 18 year-old jumping the border to drink, you can hop to Canada for some cheap thrills with this classic silver example, coming with fewer miles and priced a good $5k less than the nicest US examples. And according to the ad, it’s the ONLY example sold in Canada with headlight washers! That’s gotta do something for the rarity-resale value down the road, right?!

Click for details: 2001 BMW M Roadster on Kijiji.ca

2002 BMW M Roadster

At the end of the Z3-based M Roadster’s life, it was given a horsepower treat in the form of the S54 inline-6, finally bringing the performance potential of the E36-based US market cars up to level of their European market cousins. With 315 horsepower on tap, this was a serious little beast and a far cry from the Z3 we first saw in the mid-1990s with it’s 1.9 liter inline-4. This 2002 M Roadster for sale in Florida has under 30,000 miles on the clock and sports a great look in silver with its contrasting red canvas top and black and red leather interior.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M Roadster on eBay