Saturday, 20 February 2010

2002 BMW M Coupe

BMW is known as a bit of a yuppie machine manufacturer, but they probably didn't set out years ago with that title as a specific goal, it just kind of worked out that way. Modern corporations, as much as they'd like to self indulge in the pure pursuit of skunkworks engineering of awesome machines, also find that easier with "profits" available. Kind of like how the C6 Corvette isn't a jalopy just 'cause it came from GM... it stands out as an incredible machine in its own right. Either way, I now own something with a motosport heart, or a yuppie machine, depending on your point of view. Given the particular model, I feel more of the former.

BMW sets out to, and makes, drivers cars. Cars created for people who care about the driving experience and dynamics prioritized above the rudiments of pure transportation in economical form.

Their M editions further push those drivers cars by transforming them to Motosport focused drivers cars... in essentially what's grown to become a commercial aspect of what was once a racing focused skunkworks.

A pristine M Coupe through chance found its way to my attention, seems like every now and then such opportunities present themselves. On first glance, I thought "neato, I've always thought those little M Coupe's were cool", maybe I 'm onto something, but I need to ask around and gather some data, since this is out of my scope of knowledge.

I converse with a long term friend of mine who's a certifiable Bimmer head/car guy, and he says "that is THE model with the most raw motor sport appeal of the last 15 years put out by BMW" for whatever an opinion is worth. I do a little google reading, and hear things like "best handling BMW ever" (as of 2002 of course), and that its been referred to as "the blackest sheep" of the M family for all the right reasons. Miniscule. Overpowered. Glued to the road. Indeed, I'm onto something... keep digging.

Scanning over the M lineage in another filter through the BMW stable, there's yet an odd duck (or black sheep?) that sticks out even amongst the M's - the M Coupe. It was created, skunkworks fashion, by a part of the Z3 engineering team who just didn't feel satisfied with the handling and performance (rigidity) that could be achieved with the convertible body style. They took it upon themselves to address this issue, which eventually led to a Coupe hardtop that was multipes stiffer than the convertible could ever be... and a 690 unit production run of M Coupes.

I'm don't have a well cultivated automotive vocabulary, so I'll reference Jalopnik "obsessed with the cult of cars" guys add the editorial flourish:

BMW M Coupe 10 best cars of the decade blurb from Jalopnik (italicized is the model I have)
Years Produced: 1999 - 2002

Base Price When New: $45,990 (2002)

Engine: 3.2-liter I-6, 315 hp but with aftermarket modifications adding a little extra

Curb Weight: 3230 lb (2002)

Power-To-Weight Ratio: 10.25 lb/hp (2002)

This is it, propellerheads — this is the last of the nuthouse BMWs, the last car Munich built where the loonies were in charge of the asylum. Step one: Take a Z3. Step two: Graft a steel roof onto it, increasing structural rigidity threefold. Step three: Add a version of either the E36 or E46 M3's in-line six. The Z3 M Coupe is as unhinged as BMWs come, a rolling testament to the fact that the company once gave a shit about the die-hard enthusiast. Every BMW since has been too ordinary, too dull, and too fat by comparison.

M Coupes made in 1999 and 2000 featured a version of the E36 M3's 240-hp S52 six-cylinder. These are nice cars — and they're far cheaper than 2001-2002 models — but something is missing. We prefer to think of that something as "batshit crazy."

Other entirely recommended editorial here which rounds out the flavour nicely.

As if stock wasn't enough, this particular car has had an aftermarket air intake and exhaust added, and been chipped to utilize these mods, and as well has been lowered and equipped with 20" rims and additional fairings. The end result is the capability to destroy petrol in an absolute fury of violence, yet with beauty sound and beauty sheet metal gracing the package. What isn't there is also alluring. No more week's worth of camping gear, 2 bikes and room to spare... we're talking 2 seats plus room for a cell phone and possibly a prospectus/pitchbook briefcase, as long as it's a slim one. No excess of living room consumer electronics - GPS navigation systems and all that jazz. Lights are electronic, right? And the car has an electronic starter, no more winding under the hood. That's enough. The technicalities aside, and Calgary being small, I don't have much challenge using downtown channels to identify, locate and discuss with the prior owners, the importer, and broker of the last transactions... and interesting history, and one that removes concern often associated with used vehicles rather than adding to it.

Therein starts the journey of my exposure to the German version of "batshit crazy"... I'm glad it has two seats just for Tori and I. Track time here I come (maybe??)!

Obligatory car pictures:


  1. Erik,

    Julie and I couldn't be happier that the car is going to new owners who will truly appreciate its uniqueness and quirkiness.

    Our experience with the vehicle was truly awe inspiring and enlightening - every time I sat in the drivers seat I had a huge grin on my face from ear to ear.

    I have no doubt that you will enjoy the vehicle.

    It was a pleasure meeting you, and lets keep in touch!


  2. I keep 'em a long time and appreciate well built machines for sure!

  3. That is one heck of a sweet machine! I'm definitely in for a little beamer track time this summer!

  4. What a car! Great ride man. Enjoy!

  5. Nice ride Erik. Those wheels look great.