Feature Listing: 2006 BMW M Roadster

Like earlier’s Audi TT, BMW’s first successful foray into the roadster market came in the 1990s with the Z3. The Z3’s styling was less aggressive and more organic than the original “Future Roadster” – the Z1 – had been, but initially motivation wasn’t much better. However, when BMW decided to stuff the E36 chassis full of the higher-power M-product motors, they instantly created a hit. Rear drive only with a singing inline-6 and attached to a manual transmission, they were affordable sports cars that offered a very high fun quotient even if they were not the most refined product, style or substance-wise.

At the same time that the M Roadster and M Coupe debuted in North America, planning was already underway for the Z3’s replacement. The new E85 Roadster and E86 Coupe debuted as a fresh face to replace the 90s-era Z3 in the early 2000s, but almost immediately the styling was considered controversial. There were hard edges, curves and cuts integrated into the exterior, and the traditional driver-oriented dashboard was gone, replaced by a more modern flat-cockpit layout. Much like the original Z1, it didn’t look like anything else on the market at the time, and reception was mixed.

Dynamically, though, it was hard to argue that the Z4 wasn’t a vast improvement in refinement over the Z3. The rear suspension was updated with a new multi-link setup which handled power (and bumps) significantly better than the outgoing E36 chassis with E30 bits. A stiffer structure meant more overall composure. And though the interior remained plastic-heavy, the new generation of dashboards looked much more upscale and modern than the dated 90s pieces. Yet the biggest change lay at the end of the run, as it had with the Z3, as starting in 2006 BMW installed the legendary S54B32. Providing 330 horsepower to the rear wheels and trick M-differential via a 6-speed manual, the limited production M Roadster and M Coupe also corrected one of the perceived flaws of the normal Z4 lineup by retaining a hydraulic steering setup.…

Tuner Tuesday: 2003 BMW Z4 Alpina Roadster S Tribute

If the B10 3.5/1 from earlier was overshadowed by the more powerful headline-grabbing BiTurbo, the Roadster S barely emerged from under the positively giant amount of shade cast by the Roadster V8. So outraged was the enthusiast world that Alpina would yank the S62 V8 and 6-speed out to be replaced by a 540 motor and automatic that you could easily have missed the lesser Roadster on offer from Buchloe. Indeed, far fewer of the Roadster S were produced than the Roadster V8; a scant 370 are reported to have been made. In typical Alpina fashion, the S model featured engine, suspension, interior and exterior upgrades. The N52 magnesium block engine was dropped in favor of the M52 punched out to 3.4 liters, with a resulting 300 horsepower and 5 second 0-60 times. 19″ Alpina Dynamic wheels – the same ones fit to its more famous brother – filled out the wheel wells, while Alpina’s unique front and rear spoilers helped to individualize the hunkered down attitude of the E85. Replete with unique interiors and the all-important enthusiast’s requisite manual, it was surprising that more attention wasn’t levied upon them, but such was the effect of the Roadster V8. Someone was paying attention, though, because they went to great lengths to copy the S design. This is not one of the 370 original cars, but it’d be hard for most to tell:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW Z4 Alpina Roadster S Tribute on eBay

2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe

For me, the desirability of the BMW M3 peaked right around 1997 and 1998, when the M3 sedan became available in the US market. Sadly, this more practical take on the //M formula didn’t last long, nor was a four-door example available in the successor, the E46 M3. However, a curious vehicle wound up coming along right as the E36 sedan exited the market: the M Coupe. Based on the M Roadster, this two-seater sports car with a breadvan profile wound up being derided at first for its styling but has since turned into a premiere collectable. Even though the first M Coupe was a niche model, BMW decided a follow on was necessary and created the Z4 M Coupe. This car had a bit more conventional profile but packed the mighty S54 inline-6 that found its way briefly into the end of the original M Coupe production cycle. This Z4 M Coupe for sale in Texas has only 8,600 miles on the clock, giving someone the chance to own a nearly new example of what has become a rather mythical BMW model.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2007 AC Schnitzer ACS4 Sport Coupe

Two weeks ago I took a look at a rare AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0, the car that predicted the E36 M3 in many ways. Schnitzer has always been a bit left field compared to the more popular Alpina, but their products are generally very tasteful and seem to be sought with equal aplomb as their arguably more famous competitors. In many ways, the same things can be said of the E86 Z4 M Coupe. It’s got all the right components to make a stellar package, but seems to be generally overlooked as a potential classic at this point. Perhaps it’s because it’s too new, or the styling is polarizing? News flash: the styling on the Z3 was pretty polarizing not that long ago, too. Just like the end of the run Z3 M Coupes, the better driving Z4 M Coupes are stylish, different, and absolutely great to drive. Couple the two of these offbeats up and you should have a great combo, right? Well…..

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 AS Schnitzer ACS4 Sport Coupe on Boston Craigslist

2007 BMW M Coupe

Something interesting is occurring in the BMW world. As the E36/8 M Coupe skyrockets in value and collectability – especially the very limited S54 versions – for some reason, it’s successor isn’t. Now, both generations of M Coupes and Roadsters are love it or hate it designs, but the early cars – even though stylistically they have some typical 90s weak spots. Those fender vents, for example, have become a cliche stick-on applique to all the best ‘hood Accords and Maximas. To me, the replacement for the Z3 was edgier but more handsome. It still looks modern and honestly I think it could reasonably still fit into the design language of the current BMWs. The M Coupe managed to escape the period which many enthusiasts characterized as the worst styling period for BMW as the Belle of the Ball. And the layout and drivetrain wasn’t updated, instead running the end of the run naturally aspirated screamer S54 through a manual gearbox and driving only the rear wheels. Only some 1,800 of them were imported to the U.S., too – guaranteeing their exclusivity, they seemed to be a natural collector status BMW right out of the box. But for many more, the E86 M Coupe was more classic GT sports car than the bread delivery van styling of E36/8. Throw in a similarly love it or hate it rare color like Laguna Seca Blue, and you’ve got either a travesty against automobiledom or a car with serious collector potential:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW M Coupe on Craigslist

2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe

I’ll be honest. I never particularly liked the BMW Z4 M Coupe when it first debuted. But as time moves on, I find myself drawn in to this little sports car. Perhaps its the dearth of manual gearboxes, even in the M Cars. Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by the excessive offerings in the SUV market. Whatever the case may be, this was a worthy follow-on to the much loved, first generation M Coupe, known as the “clownshoe.” This Z4 M Coupe for sale in Winnipeg, Manitoba was brought to our attention from our reader Toshihiko. It is the only Monaco Blue example to have come to North America.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe on Autotrader.ca

2007 BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe

As BMW started exploring new vehicle segments such as the SAV, or Sport Activity Vehicle, almost 20 years ago, a new model appeared that didn’t get much attention when it first arrived. The Z3 and M Coupe. This oddly proportioned coupe had a breadvan profile that didn’t sit well with all enthusiasts. But years down the road, these cars have become quite collectable. The follow up to the Z3 Coupe was the Z4 coupe, also available in Motorsports form. These Z4 Coupes haven’t taken off in value as much as some of the late model Z3 based M Coupes, but they have the chops to be a future collectable. This Z4 3.0si Coupe for sale in Georgia isn’t the M model, but with a 6-speed manual, you won’t be missing out on too much performance.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe on eBay

2008 BMW M Coupe

My wife and I had a rather amusing conversation yesterday. It started via text; shortly after Rob’s 2PM post on the 1988 Porsche 911, I received a text message from my wife. “How much does a new 911 cost”, she asked. Now typically I know questions like this are leading somewhere and she’s not a huge Porsche 911 fan, so after some inquiry she asked why the asking price on a 1988 example was over $60,000. She said, and rightly so, why would anyone pay $60K for a near 30 year old example – even if it was quite pretty – when you could just about buy a new car for that amount. After I said that the Porsche 911 market was the new Tulip craze, she said two really funny things. First, she said “Let’s not base our economy on it!”, something that got me laughing. Then she said that if it was so popular, why were manufacturers like Porsche building new examples of their old cars? The answer, as we discussed, was that it just wouldn’t be profitable. Though limited run manufacturers such as Singer and Eagle have seen success building “new” old cars, the reality is that between making cars safe enough and economical enough to meet today’s standards, they’d be heavy and slow – necessitating even more power, which would raise the price. Take the GT86/FR-S/BRZ clones; while critics have loved their handling and prices have been kept reasonable, they’re generally referred to as “slow” cars with 200 horsepower and 2,700lbs of curb weight – nearly identical to what the 1988 Porsche Carrera was specified at.

However, there are options outside of the 911 market for a personal sports 2-door that throwback to simpler times, and I think the M Coupe was one of the best. With a gutsy inline-6 up front, rear drive and a 6-speed manual, the E86 was a classic blueprint for a sports car.…

2006 BMW M Coupe

The E86 Z4 M Coupe is one of those vehicles I never much cared for until very recently. When it debuted in 2006 I remember being aware of its existence and that’s about it. I’d bet I’m not the only one with a story like this either, as the M was always in the shadow of the Cayman S and its design was divisive to say the least.

I think the years have been good to the car and its certainly one of the better designs from the Bangle era. Look at it long enough and lines that at first seem frivolous begin to soften and become pleasing to the eye. The most offensive visual issue I have with the E86 is that it can be kind of dorky looking from a head on perspective. The car appears oddly wide in the front before tapering off in the back. I blame this on the bulging fenders that should have housed wider wheels from the get go. I’ve seen models with staggered setups and meaty tires that properly fill the wheel wells, giving the car a seriously badass, aggressive look. Were I to get one of these getting the stance right would be thing to do right away.

Beyond getting it setup to maximize the curb appeal, there’s not a whole lot you need to do with an M Coupe. The M didn’t suffer from the much criticized electro-mechanical power assist steering like the regular Z4’s and the high revving S54 engine is the stuff of legend. Known for its durability and the noise it can create, the iron block was given one piece aluminum head castings for reduced weight, modified camshafts and 87mm bore cylinders that increased displacement to 3,246cc. Suspension wise these cars were pretty hard edged in stock form and that has always been the major gripe about it in the automotive community.…

Christmas Wish: 2007 BMW M Coupe

I’ve featured a few collectable coupes this week – the 2013 Audi TT RS and the modified M Coupe. But as much as I love the soundtrack of the Audi and the statistics on paper, and as hot as the E36 M Coupe market is, were it my money I was plunking down for a personal coupe it would be the second generation Z4-based M Coupe that would get my attention. And for my Christmas wish, this one would do quite nicely! Interlagos Blue is certainly one of my favorite colors, and the lower miles and pristine shape of this particular example would have me overlooking the all-black leather:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW M Coupe on eBay