BMW M Coupe

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E36/8 M Coupe
Manufacturer BMW
Also called M Coupe, Z3M Coupe
Production 1998–2002
Assembly BMW Manufacturing Co.
Greer, South Carolina, United States
Designer Joji Nagashima
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 3-door shooting-brake
Layout FR layout
Platform E36/8
Related BMW Z3
Engine 3.2 L inline-6
S50 (1998–2000 non-US/CA)
S52 (1998–2000 US/CA)
S54 (2001–2002 world)
Transmission 5 speed manual
Wheelbase 2,459 mm (96.8 in)
Length 4,025 mm (158.5 in)
Width 1,740 mm (68.5 in)
Height 51.4 in (1,306 mm)
Curb weight 1,420 kg (3,130.6 lb)
Successor Z4 M Coupe

For the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, see BMW 1 Series M Coupe

For the BMW Z4 M Coupe, see BMW Z4 M Coupe

The BMW M Coupe is a shooting brake coupe styled high-performance automobile produced by BMW. Only two generations of the M Coupe have been manufactured, the original E36/8 Z3 Coupe and the second generation E86 Z4 Coupe.

E36/8 M Coupe[edit]

The M Coupe, manufactured from 1998 until 2002, 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.

The car is based on the BMW M Roadster. Although, the semi-trailing arm rear suspension was not modified from the M Roadster, The coupe is 2.7 times torsionally stiffer than its convertible counterpart. The most important aspect of the E36/8 M Coupe was the difference in engines, the BMW S50, BMW S52, and the BMW S54, were all offered in different markets at different times. 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 (especially S54 powered models) retain more of their value than any other BMW since the E30 M3. The S54 M Coupe is the lowest production BMW that was not produced in a "limited production" run. Certain color combinations are highly desired leading to lower mileage models commanding prices 50% higher the original MSRP.

S50 and S52 (1998–2000)[edit]

From 1998 onward the M Coupe was powered by the BMW S50 found in the European E36 M3, however, North America was sent the BMW S52 engine that was used in the NA Version of the E36 M3.

  • European left hand drive S50 engine: 2,178 cars built from April 1998 through June 2000
  • European right hand drive S50 engine: 821 cars built from August 1998 through June 2000
  • North America S52 engine: 2,180 cars built from July 1998 through June 2000
  • Total Worldwide Production: 5,179

S54 (2001–2002)[edit]

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 315 hp (235 kW) in North American form, and 354 Nm (261 lbf.ft) of torque.

In South Africa only 39 right hand drive S54 models were imported and at least 35 were equipped by BMW SA with AC Schnitzer suspension, exhaust, short shift kit, shift knob and 18-inch wheels.[1]

  • European left hand drive S54 engine: 281 cars built from February 2001 through May 2002
  • European right hand drive S54 engine: 165 cars built from February 2001 through May 2002
  • North America S54 engine: 690 cars built from February 2001 through May 2002
  • Total S54 Worldwide Production: 1136 Cars Built


The M Coupe was produced with many different colors, but only limited options from BMW. The sunroof, which only vented up, was a factory option that most enthuiasts did not desire as it added weight(up high, rasing center of gravity), limited helmet room, and decreased structural rigidity.

Exterior Colors with North American Production Figures[edit]

Colors only offered on the S50/S52 included Evergreen and Dakar Yellow II. Colors only offered on the S54 included Laguna Seca Blue and the rarest Phoenix Yellow.

  • Titanium Silver: 544
  • Cosmos Black: 516
  • Estoril Blue: 472
  • Imola Red: 422
  • Arctic Silver: 276
  • Steel Gray: 121
  • Black Sapphire: 120
  • Alpine White: 103
  • Boston Green: 73
  • Dakar Yellow II: 51
  • Oxford Green II: 46
  • Evergreen: 41
  • Laguna Seca Blue: 41
  • Phoenix Yellow: 21

Interior Colors with North American Production Figures[edit]

The M Coupe 2-tone sport seats and interior colors were also offered. Only S50/S52 models received the Kyalami Orange and Evergreen interiors. While only S54 models were offered with the rarest interior colors, Laguna Seca Blue.

  • Black Nappa: 1273
  • Dark Gray & Black Nappa: 450
  • Estoril Blue & Black Nappa: 365
  • Imola Red & Black Nappa: 361
  • Dark Beige Oregon: 314
  • Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa: 36
  • Evergreen & Black Nappa 32
  • Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa: 24


  1. ^ "FAQ E36/8 M coupe". BMW M Registry. Archived from the original on 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 

External links[edit]

  • BMW M Coupe Resource Network
  • BMW Z3/M Coupe Enthusiast Site.
  • M and Z3 Roadster and Coupe site with many user contributed articles on maintenance and upgrades.