What's New for 2000
The M cars carry over for 2000, save for two new exterior colors. Prices remain unchanged.
One thing BMW knows how to do is build sporty cars. 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. Then, BMW made headlines with the introduction of its funky-looking M coupe last year. By now, both M cars have established reputations as the cool, good-looking, fast, fun sports cars that everyone wants to have parked in their driveways.
These high-performance versions of the Z3 roadster and coupe make 240 M-power ponies.They are propelled by a potent 3.2-liter inline six, and can reach 60 from zero in less than 5.4 seconds. Developed by BMW's M division and based on the M roadster, the M coupe has an upgraded engine, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires and interior.
BMW launched its M coupe last year with a completely new shape from the A-pillars back. The roof blends into the top of a rear hatch with spoiler, a third brake light and new taillights. With chrome-trimmed gills, four exhaust tips, and a huge rear-end that arches and swells out to house 9-inch wide rear wheels, the M coupe has achieved a modern, beefy look. Just as tasty, however, is the M roadster, with its more conservative yet swoopy styling. Open-air travel is always a pleasure, but few convertibles are as entertaining as the BMW M roadster on a twisty two-lane or a flat stretch of deserted highway.
With stunning thrust and a potent revving capability, the cars exhibit excellent performance and handling. The gear shift lever feels tight, the torque band is wide and the brakes are confidence-inspiring with a progressive feel to the pedal. Rack-and-pinion steering is razor sharp and responds more crisply to inputs than does the Chevrolet Corvette or the Acura NSX, and the BMW's steering wheel is perfectly sized.
The M coupe's suspension is similar to the roadster's, with struts and arc-shaped lower arms in the front and semi-trailing arms in the rear, but the coupe boasts stiffer springs and a larger anti-roll bar. With the coupe's perfectly balanced 50/50-percent weight distribution, its body feels solid -- even around the sharpest corners.
Inside, the cars both offer seating for two in comfortable, sporty, two-toned leather bucket seats with integrated headrests. Instrument gauges on the dash and center console are ringed in classy chrome and there are enough of them to tell you what the car is doing at any given moment.
Unlike most two-seaters, the M coupe also 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.
Standard equipment on these sportsters includes alloy wheels, traction control, ABS, limited-slip differential, heated windshield wiper jets, cellular phone pre-wiring, power heated door locks with two-stage unlock, side airbags, a/c and six-way power seats. A stereo with CD player or power sunroof are options. For 2000, consumers can also choose two new colors: Titanium Silver or Oxford Green.