What's New for 1999
These high-performance versions of the Z3 roadster and coupe make 240 M-power ponies.
One thing BMW knows how to do is build sports cars. Last February, the company released its M Roadster, a heavily breathed-upon version of the Z3 Roadster that was designed to compete head-to-head with the Porsche 911, as an early 1999 model. The Roadster was and still is powered by the same 3.2-liter, 240-horsepower, inline six-cylinder engine that is found under the hoods of the M3 coupe and convertible. For 1999, the M Roadster gains 17-inch wheels and all-season traction control as standard equipment.
BMW's big news for now, however, is the introduction of the long-awaited and just-released M Coupe. Now that the wrappings on the new ultra high performance M Coupe have finally come off, its sports car underpinnings can leave no one disappointed. This coupe, developed by BMW's M division and based on the M Roadster, includes upgrades to the engine, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires and interior. Powered by the same 3.2-liter 240-horsepower engine found in the Roadster, the M Coupe screeches from zero to sixty in about 5.3 seconds. With large disc brakes, a longer wheelbase than the M3, five-spoke alloy wheels, unique styling, heated seats and mirrors, and a cockpit so cozy it would make Neil Armstrong feel at home, the M Coupe is in a league all its own.
The one controversial point about Munich's hottest thing on wheels is the styling. It's racy, it's bold and by god, it's different. But does it look good? That's the $42,000 question, and everyone may not agree on the answer. Some of the editors here at Edmund's liked the unique flanks of the coupe right off; it had to grow a bit on others. But regardless of our interpretation of style, we all agree on the car's amazing ability to gobble up the pavement of any twisty two-lane in the country.
Unlike most two-seaters, the M Coupe provides a practical cargo space behind the seats for luggage or two full size golf bags. Rear storage areas are accessible through a hatchback rear door and a cargo cover can be rolled back for privacy. Inside, chrome-ringed instrument gauges and a small steering wheel complete the sporty look and feel of the vehicle.
Because the coupe is outfitted so well, there are only two options to choose from: a power tilt-up moonroof and an in-dash single-disc CD player. If you're shopping for a sports car with a dramatic engine and a distinctive look, you may have to look no further.