BMW E36/8 M Coupé

Also called
Z3 M Coupé
1998 – 2002
BMW Manufacturing Co. Spartanburg
Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States
Z4 M Coupé
Sports Car
Body style
2-door convertible
FR layout
3.2 L inline-6
S50 (1998–2000 non-US/CA)
S52 (1998–2000 US/CA)
S54 (2001–2002 world)
5-speed manual
2,459 mm (96.8 in)
4,025 mm (158.5 in)
1,740 mm (68.5 in)
1,306 mm (51.4 in)
Curb weight
1,420 kg (3,130 lbs)
Joji Nagashima

First generation E36 / 8 (1998-2002)

The car is based on the BMW M Roadster. The semi-trailing arm rear suspension was not modified from the M Roadster. The coupe is 2.7 times stiffer than its convertible counterpart, resulting in better handling than the roadster.
The M coupe was developed under the leadership of engineer Burkhard Göschel with the intention of adding increased torsional and structural rigidity to the Z3 roadster’s chassis. The development team had a hard time convincing the Board of Directors to approve the model for production, but it was eventually given the green light as long as it remained cost-effective to produce. To achieve this goal, as many body panels as possible had to be shared with the roadster, thus the doors and everything from the A-pillar forward are interchangeable between the coupe and roadster, as are most interior parts. The Z3 coupe, which mates the M coupe's body with the standard Z3 drivetrain, chassis and cosmetics was approved for production at the same time.


From October 2001, the M Coupe reappeared worldwide with the new 3.2-litre S54 engine from the E46 M3. This was the highest specific output naturally aspirated engine ever made by BMW when it was fitted to the E46 M3: in M Coupe form it produced 325 hp (242 kW) in European form and 240 hp (180 kW) in North American form. (242 kW) and 354 Nm (261 lbf.ft) of torque.
Despite the well-documented tendency of the 2001–2002 S54 to suffer connecting rod bearing failure in the E46 M3, the M Coupe was not included in the recall to correct the issue in E46 M3s. BMW assert that the recall is not necessary due to the fact that the S54 M Coupe is limited to 7,600 rpm, 400 rpm lower than the M3's limit. BMW added a 100,000-mile (160,000 km), 6 year warranty in North America to all S54 Coupes affected by, but not included in the bearing recall on the M3. Although some S54 M Coupes have reached in excess of 170,000 miles (270,000 km) on their original engines, bearing shell failures are possible on all S54 M Coupes.
In South Africa only 40 right hand drive S54 models were imported and all were equipped by the local importer with AC Schnitzer suspension, exhaust, short shift kit, shift knob and 18-inch wheels.

Production figure

Due to the unique styling of the M Coupe, dealer sales were slow, and dealerships sidestepped the M Coupe to sell the more practical and more profitable M3 models to performance enthusiasts. As a result of their relative rarity, M Coupes retain more of their value than any other BMW since the E30 M3.
  • European left hand drive S50 engine: 2,178 built from 04/98 through 06/2000
  • European right hand drive S50 engine: 821 built from 08/98 through 06/2000
  • North America S52 engine: 2,180 built from 07/98 through 06/2000
  • European left hand drive S54 engine: 281 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002
  • European right hand drive S54 engine: 168 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002
  • North America S54 engine: 690 built from 02/2001 through 05/2002
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Last updated on 11 July 2013 at 02:33.


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