Why a Z3 M Coupe?

Let me start by saying selling my 993 Carrera in 2016, while necessary, hurt me pretty badly. While that Porsche was the ultimate expression of just how cool I really am, it just wasn't an accurate expression of how underfinanced I really am. When it sold on BAT i swore I'd return!

I swore to return with Car Guy vengeance.  I would climb the highest mountain, fast and meditate as long as it takes to come up with the ultimate, but affordable car guy acquisition. This acquisition would fill my empty soul.

That next acquisition would meet the following criteria. 1. Cost next to nothing. 2. Seat at least 3 people (is the McLaren F1 expensive?) 3. Come in a manual transmission 4. Speak volumes about my genius via it's esoteric coolness 5. It should also be the fastest car I've ever owned. 6. Unnaturally aspirated (helps with the Colorado altitude)

Well I haven't rocked all 6 bullet points, but the Z3 M-Coupe is darn close and perhaps I can work on item 6, and I would say I've killed it with regards to item 4.

Why a Z3 M Coupe?

Why on earth would this be the car I own next?   My Porsche 997.2 was worth more and my Audi RS3 was faster. Both had more seats and possibly storage space.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Well let's try to explain.

For me, and perhaps 3 other mentally ill car guys, a car must say some things about you.  Because we think someone gives a shit I guess, which they don’t of course. Let's imagine there are some people who care and that they might even read this blog.

Okay, silver was what I found and frankly while it photographs well and hides scratches well, it can be a little boring. 

I’ve stolen some style from BMW Motorsports history and applied the flag decal BMW used on the M3.  Silly? I hear you snickering!

It says I’m smarter than I am rich.  While I’m a big fan of Porsche and Ferrari, stretching to own one is just that, a stretch.  Late at night when my maintenance demons visit me in my sleep the possible surprise costs haunt me. Though imprudence is quite fun, the M-Coupe is basically a parts bin car, meaning many of its parts are still readily available. Lets clarify, there are parts exclusive to the M-Coupe, so it's not an effortless endeavor to maintain. But a good bunch of it shares interchangeability with other BMW's.

CocoMat checkerboard. Reminiscent of the BMW promotional option called Parade of Colors I believe.  If you have that tiny trim piece, I'm missing please find me, it's giving me a facial tic not having it. 

I like a car that’s significant rather than famous. While not a racing legend, or an auction rockstar, the Z3 M-Coupe is certainly significant. Developed in spite of the practicality or marketability it was pretty special for those you sought it, which were few.  Suffice to say, it was destined to languish in the showrooms and then age like a fine wine later. These niche cars eventually sold to oddball enthusiasts and retired college professors.  Then in time, the morons like me would discover how cool they are and pay double the market price from last year to have one. I’m always late to the party when smartness, forethought or restraint is required. 

This car was once sold be EAG, a well-known "boutique BMW broker, but more importantly Alex from Glenn Shelly Auto Brokers found it for me, and I have a punch card with them.  One more car purchase and I get a free bagel. 

Coolness trumps speed, and this car proves that.  In the spirit of every Alfa, Austin Healy and MG enthusiast out there, the way a car drives is more important than what its stats are in a magazine.  There is always a faster car, just like there is always a sexier woman or a newer iphone.  The M-Coupe is something special and warrants respect no matter how slow it is.  Air cooled Porsches can be smoked by any late model Acura, but you don’t see anyone trading them in at the Honda dealership. The analogue nature, short wheelbase and quirky looks put the M-Coupe right into the same category as those slow 80’s Porsches. But even better, the air conditioning works in the BMW.  

Nothing lends credibility like a racetrack tow hook.  I put this one on for 1 track day and refuse to remove it.  I look legit now.


No enthusiast that breathes would deny the M-Coupe is a rewarding car to drive. It's pure and true in a way that many cars just cannot deliver. It’s old, but not so old it runs like shit. I’ll take fuel injection over the witchcraft of carburetors any day, thank you.  It’s new, but not so new if it feels like a video game. Drive by wire and electric steering have done something sad to modern sports cars, but it could just be my jealousy talking. Did you know that every manual shift delivers a tiny dose of dopamine to the substantia nigra region of the brain?  Try that with LaFerrari. So now with a real manual transmission you are a car collector genius!



If only there was a splash of color behind those wheels, attached to the brake rotors maybe.  While the brakes are more than sufficient, I am shallow and have a plan you'll see soon.  

If you want to understand more about why these are significant this video can spoon feed it to you more.

My example has just under 46,000 miles and is nearly 100% stock if you consider all the Dinan goodies stock.   Subframes in these cars (like M3s) need close attention because they can crack.  Mine are fine but I may just reinforce them on principle, one less thing to keep me up at night. 

I like a serviceable interior, so all black leather was a plus for me.  Easier to refinish when wear and tear happens.  Strange I care about such things since I haven't kept a car through 2 sets of tires ever.

This is a 2000 model year car so has the S52 motor, while it's an amazing in-line 6 cylinder in it own right, it produces less power than the later S54 engine cars but also is less likely to fail due to poor bearing fitment.  People romanticize about the European S50 motor often too, they are importable now but it's not as easy as they make it out to be.

While I sleep better with S52 reliability, I lose sleep over horsepower inferiority.  Luckly the pills I take to get over my Porsche addiction help with my motor choices too.


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