So, you have to drop $40,000 for a unique M Roadster? Hardly. If you’re willing to forgo the additional grunt of the S54, S52-powered Roadsters are still very affordable. And, they can be plenty unique in their own right. Take today’s ’98 for example. Evergreen is probably a bit polarizing in tone, but it’s also quite distinctive. The total pool of Evergreen examples represents only 2% of overall production of M Roadsters, though. Out of the 10,501 produced, 201 were shipped in the bright green shade – and out of those, 176 were equipped with the equally distinctive two-tone Nappa leather interior color matched to the outside. I’ve looked at a few of these examples previously:
Evergreen Forest, Part II: 1998 BMW M Roadster
So you get an unusual color, a more unusual interior, and still quite a potent convertible in the early M Roadster. What is the price delta, though?
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:
A few weeks ago I went on a rant regarding production numbers, and while I thought I was going to be chastised by the masses the reaction was rather surprising – it seems I’m not the only one ticked off by the over-use of “rare”, “limited”, and “1 of X produced”. I have to admit, I think I’m even guilty of it; there are many uncommon cars that we write up that we often refer to as “rare” when the reality is that the company just didn’t sell many. Perhaps it was a bad choice of colors, or bad market conditions, or any number of factors combining into low sales numbers, but not often were these cars limited to only a few examples. Does that make them less or more desirable? Well, that depends a lot on the customer I guess; to me, I really like having something that everyone else doesn’t have. Phoenix Yellow is a great example of this; a polarizing color that I love on the E46 M3 but many hate. So what we have here today is a claimed 1 of 1 that’s just cannon fodder, right? Well, not today – this is a legitimately neat car; a pre-production M Roadster in a ultra-rare color combination of Evergreen and Kyalami:
Last week I speculated in my Z Coupe post that we were seeing a good opportunity to get into some of the rarest BMWs offered on these shores, the Z coupes. While those two Z coupes were the non-M version and both were trick in their own way, it seems most of you prefer to see the M versions. I get it; they’re fast, flashy and fun, so today I cooked up an interesting comparison again between the E36/7 and E36/8s – this time a Z4 M coupe against a Z3 M roadster. Let’s start with the brilliant looking Imola Red coupe:
Model: Z4 M Coupe
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 18,912 mi
Price: $33,500 Buy It Now
If you are looking for the rare E86 M Coupe then you already know that it is regarded by BMW Enthusiasts as the last true Ultimate Driving Machine before BMWs became too electronic and took the fun out of driving with adjustable suspensions, turbochargers, automated transmissions and buttons to adjust the steering, exhaust note and everything else. Here’s a quick background so you know how much I truly love these cars. I was an intern for AutoWeek magazine in college when this car had its press introduction in the US. One of our editors drove one back to Detroit and I took it out for gas and a car wash. I immediately fell in love with the classic long hood, short deck proportions, the unbelievably responsive drivetrain, the seats that felt like they were custom made for me and the thickest little steering wheel I had ever set hands on. I vowed to myself to buy one when I could afford it.