We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
The M Coupe has moved from cult legend into one of the most desirable M products produced. Late-production S54-equipped models have recently topped $100,000 at auction. Add in a rare color and great condition, and theyâ€™re all the more desirable. While not quite a 1:1, the M Coupe is like the Porsche 964 and has gone from being ugly duckling to the market darling, and the S54 models are the RS America of the lineup.
For most of us, that means if you want a â€˜Clownshoeâ€™ youâ€™ll need to look towards early production when they were equipped with the venerable S52. Thatâ€™s not necessarily a bad thing, as lower running costs and higher production numbers mean much lower asking prices. Take this Imola Red ’99, for example. First off, only 2,180 S52 M Coupes were sold here. Imola Red was one of the more common colors on the M Coupe, with 422 made. This one is one of 164 Imola/Black S52s made, and it’s got lower mileage. Let’s take a look:
So much attention has been levied upon the BMW M Coupe that it’s easy to forget there was a non-M version of the E36/8. Equipped with the grunty, 190 horsepower dual-VANOS 24 valve M52/TU in front, a manual gearbox in the middle, and a standard sport differential in the rear, the Z3 Coupe offered high fun factor that wasn’t really present at the original launch of the model. The M52/TU lightened the load as well, swapping the M50 iron block for an aluminum one also seen in the contemporary E46 model. That was coupled with the dynamic shape of the “Clownshoe”; polarizing in looks, but hardly forgettable no matter your opinion. These have become niche cars that buck the traditional SUV-laden commute, yet are reasonably affordable and eminently practical as a daily driver:
The S54-equipped M Coupe seemed destined to be a collector car right out of the box. With a limited number produced, almost immediately enthusiasts began numbering their cars – there are, in fact, websites that are specifically dedicated to determining just how rare your M Coupe was. In the case of today’s example, it’s a claimed one of nine, and that’s easy to believe – because boil down the multitudes of combinations that were made with the E36/8 M Coupe, and you’ll soon discover that they’re all one of a small number. But this particular M Coupe is even more rare than most, with a host of Dinan and AC Schnitzer upgrades and some of the lowest miles on one today, with only around 1,000 miles a year accrued: