The 2001 and 2002 M roadsters are unique in their absolute driving performance. The engine is sublime and the car can out run just about anything on the road. From a roll, from a launch, or on the freeway it just runs away. Most everyone underestimates the car and I have yet to see a car (even new models of corvette, SRT8s, camaros, etc) that can even keep close. The car can break the tires free shifting into any gear but is so balanced that there is no loss of control or fishtailing. If you think your current car is fast and handles well you should drive one of these to compare.
The motor has torque and HP at every RPM. Can drop it in 3rd at 90 and spin the tires. 50/50 weight balance.
The seats are tight and hold you in firmly, great for spirited driving but less so for daily driving.
Built for winding alpine touring the S54-equipped M roadster is the best car I have ever owned in terms of raw thrill, performance and head-turning good looks. The only (minor) design flaw is non- functional shark-gill side air vents (unlike its lesser cousin the Z3). Odd in a car where every aspect of driving is optimized for the purist from analog instruments to race-quality seat bolsters and an unnerving lack of roll in the fastest corners. It will take anything except a Z06, Viper or Turbo Porsche in a straight, and in the mountains it's virtually untouchable - truly a keeper for the enthusiast and if you find one in mint condition it will be close to 2X the "suggested" online prices.
If you are considering buying this car, good luck finding it for the dealer retail or private party value on Edmunds. If you do find it at that price, it's a lemon. These cars are rare and worth the premium! Mine is a Laguna Seca w/13K miles. Build quality issues not yet encountered but I did previously own an 00 M Roadster and a 2003 M3 Conv and agree the M Roadster did have more quality problems (last one had 70K miles). M3 did not have such problems. It's funny watching Porsche Boxter S's disappear in the review ;-) Gorgeous, rare, stunning appearance, gobs of power at high revs (downshifts needed @ high speeds, could use a 6sp but still a fantastic ride) - grab one if you see one!
S54 Engine, S54 Engine, 315HP, 251FP/Torque, S54, did I mention the S54? Stunning looks, fast power drop- top, two-tone interior color combo. You will dust almost anything on the road short of a new 06 M5/M6 or a Corvette Z06. Great exhaust (way better than the M3 but not as good as the S52)
Rear suspension will fly out w/out DSP on - unless you're a pro, keep the DSP on. Needs sport mode like the M3 (this can be modified by a BMW shop). Give it a 6sp, maybe 85 more HP, lowered an inch more, still suffers from poor paint. Extreme - but you can tell BMW left some on the table :-)
I fell in love with this car the day I saw it, and I am still in love with it. However, I did encounter as well endless quality problems... anything from door locks, seat belt, noises to fuel pump and main computer... Have been in and out of the dealership every month and had to tow 3-4 times. Having this car out of warranty can kill you. On the other hand, the shape of it is unique: I am sure a few years down the road it will become a classic, especially considering the small number of 2001/2002 produced.
Aisthetics, engine, interior, quality of finishing
Train dealer-network on how to encounter the common issues
Performance is outstanding but quality
issues plague this car (and everyone
else I know with the Z3/M has issues
too). Don't know why no BMW owners
will step up to the workmanship &
quality issues. My son's Hyundai was
bought at the same time, has twice
them miles on it and never sees the
dealer. I was a regular. Glad the
lease is over and it's gone. Going
back to Japanese sports car or
In a word, performance. The engine and
drivetrain are quite good. Love the
Fix the locks so they don't break
frequently. No plastic rear
window. Get themotor to not stall
when cold. Put in speakers that don't
blow out when you breath on them.
Produce car with defect-free paint.
Design out ratty, tin can exhaust
sound when you step on it -- add