Heavily modified for the track.
The only reason why today's BMW Z4 exists is because the German automaker was able to strike a co-development deal with Toyota. The second result of this partnership is the Toyota Supra. Sports cars, especially these days, are not very profitable and are considered niche models, hence the need to share the development costs. But for years BMW went at it alone with the Z4 and its predecessor, the Z3. Neither shared a platform, engine, or transmission with any other non-BMW vehicle. But it was with the original Z3 where BMW, perhaps, took the most chances, at least in the styling department.
We are, of course, talking about the Z3 M Coupe. Built from 1998 until 2002, the Z3 M Coupe may look a bit funky but compared to its roadster counterpart, it has increased torsional and structural rigidity, making it an ideal starting point for a track day car.
Because of its oddball design and seemingly even more limited audience, the car's development team had to work extra hard to convince the bean counters and management to give it the production green light. To their surprise, it was given. But what wasn't so surprising were the sales figures. They were low, to say the least, which must have been disappointing for BMW because the coupe body style was aimed directly at enthusiasts. Evidently, they didn't respond in high numbers.
But here's the good news: surviving Z3 M Coupes have increased in value, especially those powered by the more powerful S54 engine found in the E46 M3. Originally, the S52 inline-six was used, producing 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The S54, however, has 321 hp and 261 lb-ft. A five-speed manual delivered power to the rear wheels.
A total of 4,111 Z3 M models were built. While a precise breakdown between coupe and roadster is unavailable, the coupe was definitely built in more limited numbers.
Those who recognized its added benefits, namely the improved rigidity, were fully aware the car was special and capable of providing seriously good fun at the track. While some may be disheartened to see one of the relatively few Z3 M Coupe's in existence being heavily modified, they should know this example is all about making it better on track.
Up for sale on Craigslist is this heavily modified and supercharged 2000 BMW Z3 M Coupe. There are simply too many modifications to list here, but some of the highlights include a Vortech supercharger kit, aluminum radiator, dual stainless steel exhaust pipes, and a StopTech Big Brake kit. The mirrors, diffuser, splitters and rear wing are all made from carbon fiber.
Inside, there are five-point harnesses for both driver and passenger, billet aluminum seat rails, and Recaro seats. Total output is not listed but it likely adds at least another 100 hp or to the S52's 240 hp. The price comes to $38,000. It may seem a bit high at first but given the extensive list of aftermarket modifications combined with the Z3 M Coupe's rarity, it doesn't seem totally unreasonable.