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What’s with Kelley Blue Book? – Part 2

June 14th, 2011 4 comments

Exactly a year ago yesterday, I wrote an article detailing how poorly pricing guides value the M Coupe compared to their true market value. Recently, JT, an M Coupe owner from California, used a contact of his at KBB to re-evaluate the true market value of the M Coupe (Bimmerforums thread). I thought I’d re-run all the same cars I used last year, and see what each of the guides now say they are worth.

2002 M Coupe - 7,000 miles

2002 M Coupe - 7,000 miles

2002 M Coupe

7,000 miles
Condition: Excellent
Private Party

Asking Price: $49,500
Kelley Blue Book: $26,010, $16,820 (2010) +55%
NADA: $22,937, $25,025 (2010)
Edmunds TMV:$20,693, $22,141 (2010)

2000 M Coupe, 13,505 miles

2000 M Coupe - 13,505 miles

2000 M Coupe

13,505 Miles
Condition: Excellent
Dealer Retail

Asking Price: $23,800
Kelley Blue Book: $24,220, $16,280 (2010) +49%
NADA: $18,687, $20,400 (2010)
Edmunds TMV: $13,682, $15,186 (2010)

2000 M Coupe - 67,142 miles

2000 M Coupe - 67,142 miles

2000 M Coupe

67,142 Miles
Condition: Good
Private Party

Asking Price: $17,000
Kelley Blue Book: $16,895, $10,880 (2010) +55%
NADA: $17,000, $14,325 (2010)
Edmunds TMV: $9,986, $11,635 (2010)

1999 M Coupe - 56,980 miles

1999 M Coupe - 56,980 miles

1999 M Coupe

56,980 Miles
Condition: Excellent
Private Party

Asking Price: $19,850
Kelley Blue Book: $17,895, $10,710 (2010) +67%
NADA: $16.625, $13,800 (2010)
Edmunds TMV: $9,655, $10,758 (2010)

1999 M Coupe - 118,000 miles

1999 M Coupe - 118,000 miles

1999 M Coupe

118,000 Miles
Condition: Good
Private Party

Asking Price: $15,900
Kelley Blue Book: $11,495, $6,960 (2010) +65%
NADA: $13,550, $10,625 (2010)
Edmunds TMV: $5,567, $8,020 (2010)

First of all, I need to apologize for everything I’ve said about Kelley Blue Book not doing any research. When the errors in their values were brought to their attention, they stepped up and made the change. For S52 M Coupes, I say they now have their prices pretty close to spot-on including mileage and condition. KBB values on the my sampled M Coupes rose between 49% and 67%. Bravo! There is definitely still some work to be done on the S54 side however. As you can see from the steel gray coupe above, it gets a little credit for being a couple years newer, but none whatsoever  for it’s more exclusive S54 engine. Currently, similar condition and mileage S54 coupes carry about a $5,000-7,000 premium over an S52. This is not yet reflected in KBB prices, but baby steps…

As for NADA and Edmunds, I’d have to say I’m pretty disappointed with Edmund’s “True Market Value”. Edmunds has been my personal go-to car resource for quite some time. There were discussions with them about M Coupe values a while back, but it appears nothing has come of them. They’re the new KBB of the pricing guides. NADA continues to do a decent job with higher prices across the board. Part of that is they don’t publish a private party price, so the prices I posted are for “Clean Retail”. One noticeable change is that the low mileage coupes got far less credit for their mileage than they did last year.

Overall I’m encourage by the direction this is going, and hopefully the other guides will follow KBB’s lead on M Coupe prices. Now to explain to them the difference between an S52 and an S54…

Winterizing Your Coupe

November 19th, 2010 1 comment

Winterizing Supplies

I haven’t driven my coupe in almost 3 weeks :(. Winter is here in Colorado, and there has been snow on or near my favorite roads the past few weeks. While I don’t plan on parking it until spring, I know my opportunities for a good drive this winter will be few and far between. Therefore, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on how best to winterize my coupe.

Here are some of the winter storage tips I’ve come across. Some are probably more extreme than I’m going to attempt but worth mentioning anyway:

For Your Engine

  • NEVER start your coupe unless you plan on driving it for at least a half hour to get it to full operating temperature. It is far better to let it sit for 4-5 months than to idle the engine from time to time to “get the fluids running”. Doing so will just load the engine and exhaust with moisture and open the potential for rust.
  • Change the oil and filter – Oil gets contaminated during use and those contaminants can cause mild corrosion if left to sit for long periods of time
  • Top off the gas from a quality station and avoid Ethanol if possible. Having the fuel topped off prevents condensation from forming in the tank and rusting it from the inside out. Don’t fill it to the top of the neck to leave a little room for expansion and contraction with varying temperatures.
  • Use a gas preservative like Stabil to prevent the gas from breaking down as well as preventing oxidation and rust formation. After adding it, run the engine for at least 10 minutes to allow the mixture to get through the entire system.
  • Before parking it for storage, take it for an extended drive to get all the fluids up to operating temperature in order to burn off contaminants in the oil and get rid of moisture in the crankcase and exhaust system.
  • If you live somewhere that rodents could be a concern, place steel wool or a rolled up scotch-brite pad in the tailpipes.

For Your Transmission

  • Leave your coupe in gear. Use wheel blocks to prevent it from rolling

For Your Brakes

  • Never set the parking brake. The brake pads could stick to the rotors or the cables could freeze or rust during storage. Use wheel blocks.
  • After the final wash, drive it around for a little bit frequently applying the brakes to dry them off well.

For Your Battery

  • Many people take their batteries out for storage as cool temperatures can reduce the life of the battery. Sitting for an extended period of time without recharging can also significantly reduce the life of a battery. For the coupe, I think it is ideal to purchase a float charger/battery tender to maintain the battery’s charge while it is parked. I’d recommend hooking it up to the leads in the engine bay rather than connecting directly to the battery in the trunk. Classic trickle chargers if left un-monitored can overcharge the battery and also reduce it’s life. Float chargers, on the other hand, are designed to charge the battery to an optimal level then maintain that level without overcharging. In my research, I read good things about the following chargers:

For Your Tires

  • Slightly over inflate the tires by 5-10 psi to help avoid  flat spotting from sitting in one place for a long time. This will also help compensate for the cooler temperatures.
  • Roll the car a few inches forward and back from time to time (without starting the engine of course).
  • Place cardboard or old carpet squares under the tires to separate them from the cold/hard concrete.
  • Some people choose to store their car on jack stands to take pressure off the tires completely, but this must be done right or it could cause more harm than good. Place the jackstands under the suspension so that all the bushings and springs sit as they do normally. Letting the wheels droop is hard on the suspension and exposes parts to rust that are normally protected.

For Your Exterior

  • Purchase a quality car cover for your coupe to protect it from dust, moisture and dings while stored (see “Picking an M Coupe Car Cover“).
  • Thoroughly wash (including the undercarriage) and wax your coupe right before storing it.
  • Be sure it is completely dry before covering it as moisture is your worst enemy.
  • To stop moisture from getting under the car, put a couple layers of plastic sheeting under the entire car and several feet to either side. It’s cheap and a good vapor barrier.

For Your Interior

  • Close all the windows and put the system on max a/c to close the outside vent. If the garage is heated, the window can be left open a small crack to allow air circulation.
  • Put a large bag of desiccant gel or an open box of baking soda inside the car. These will absorb excess moisture from the air.
  • Clean and vacuum the interior. Use leather cleaner/conditioner and vinyl cleaner/conditioner as required.
  • If you have your original auto-dimming rearview mirror, consider putting a ziploc bag over it as they are known to leak the dimming fluid onto the dash.
  • Do NOT use water on the carpets or seats right before storage or you risk mold and mildew.
  • Do NOT treat inside surfaces with Armor-All (or similar products). They contain a lot of water and chemicals that can encourage mildew and mold.

So there you go. It’s a little overwhelming at first, but really not too bad all in all. Also, remember to leave yourself a note on the dash or driver’s seat to remind yourself next time you drive to remove the wheel blocks, battery charger, steel wool, etc. I’m new at this so feel free to chime in with comments and corrections.

Pre-Production S54 M Coupes

June 19th, 2010 4 comments
2001 Estoril Blue M Coupe - Production Date: August 9, 2000

2001 Estoril Blue M Coupe - Production Date: August 9, 2000

Last week, I came across this 2001 Estoril Blue M Coupe in Richmond Hill, ON, Canada that besides its great condition and very low mileage did not appear otherwise significant. The seller makes mention that this particular car is one of twelve pre-production S54 coupes. I had never heard of such a thing and decided to see what I could find out. After some research and consulting with a couple resident coupe experts Z3Couper and JoshS, we determined that there were indeed twelve S54-engined coupes produced in 2000 starting as early as March 16, 2000. Here’s how we came to this conclusion.

JoshS remember reading a Roadfly posting about a similar car years ago and even more amazingly was able to find it again. This Roadfly posting details the purchase of LK60000: a Laguna Seca Blue over Laguna Seca Blue M Coupe with an S54 engined built on April 12, 2000. There’s a little more information about it in this Roadfly posting as well. While it has the lowest VIN number of all S54s, it appears that both LK60001 and LK60002 were produced before it in March of 2000, and LK60003 was produced two days prior on April 10, 2000. The buyer goes on to say on the CarFax  report it says it was first imported into New Jersey on January 2, 2003. The buyer thinks the car may have been sent to Germany to shake down as a pre-production unit. We’re speculating it may have always been in the U.S., but because the factory is a foreign trade zone, in order to make it sell-able, it required some special paperwork to have it “imported”. New Jersey happens to be where BMW NA is based. The buyer mentions it had never been titled before despite being almost 3 year old, so it appears that some of these cars (maybe all) were sold as CPOs directly by BMW NA once they were finished with them.

After looking through the M Coupe production data, I guessed the estoril blue coupe pictured above was VIN LK60004 (as he says it was the 5th of 12) and was later able to confirm this with the seller. It then follows with the conclusion that these twelve cars are VINs LK60000-LK60011. Here’s they are:

  • LK60000 – April 12, 2000
    Laguna Seca Blue over Laguna Seca Blue
  • LK60001 – March 29, 2000 (Canadian Version and sunroof-delete)
    Titanium Silver over Black
  • LK60002 – March 16, 2000 (sunroof delete)
    Imola Red over Dark Beige
  • LK60003 – April 10, 2000 (sunroof delete)
    Steel Gray over Kiwi (?)
  • LK60004 – August 9, 2000 (Canadian Version and the car pictured)
    Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
  • LK60005 – August 18, 2000
    Titanium Silver over Black
  • LK60006 – August 29, 2000 (Canadian Version)
    Steel Gray over Kiwi (?)
  • LK60007 – September 5, 2000
    Imola Red over Imola Red
  • LK60008 – August 29, 2000 (sunroof delete and 1 of 1)
    Laguna Seca Blue over Dark Beige
  • LK60009 – August 30, 2000
    Steel Gray over Imola Red (!)
  • LK60010 – September 11, 2000
    Steel Gray over Imola Red (!)
  • LK60011 – September 15, 2000
    Black Sapphire over Dark Gray

There are a few interesting things to note about this particular group of cars:

  • First, they were all built before the restart of coupe production on February 12, 2001 after a 5 month hiatus between S52 and S54 models.
  • It’s absolutely confirmed that 2 of them have S54s and are considered 2001 model year cars, and they all have model year 2001 VINs ending in 1LK60xxx.
  • 7 of the 12 have paint colors only available in S54 cars yet are not marked as special orders like the S52 coupe in steel gray for example.
  • The only 2 coupes with Kiwi interior are in the list. Perhaps this was a color they were considering offering then changed their mind.
  • The list includes 2 of the 23 steel gray over imola red coupes I would love to have one of.
  • The list includes the only Laguna Seca Blue over Dark Beige Oregon coupe.
  • LK60004 appears to have (as far as I can tell from the photos) all the S54 coupe upgrades as outlined in my article “Year Makes All the Difference“, but it is unknown if any of the other cars were fully upgraded or have some combination of available options (or potentially never publicly available options). There’s a mention of LK60000 perhaps not having chrome shadow wheels, having flat rather than the later curved badges, black rather than chrome trimmed rear-view mirror, and relocation of the AC and recirclating  switches.

I guess there really is always something new to learn. If you own any of these cars, I would love to hear what you know about their history and any interesting trim pieces or options. Finally, if you’d like to own one of these very special cars, details of the car pictured above can be found here.

Update: I’m starting a list of the cars that I can confirm made it to the public. Let me now of any others you know about.

What’s with Kelley Blue Book?

June 13th, 2010 2 comments

If you’ve been shopping for an M Coupe and need a loan, you were probably very surprised by what the bank told you your dream car was worth. Most banks are now willing to loan 90% of the Kelley Blue Book price for a used car (if you have good credit). The problem is KBB says the car is worth about half of what the market says. Some banks may be willing to look at Edmunds True Market Value or NADA price quotes as well, but they really are not a whole lot better.

These organizations’ price estimates are largely based on a simple depreciation scale  rather than the market and seem to no way factor in rarity, desirability or collectability. KBB does not even seem to factor in the S54 engine in the later cars. For an example, my personal dream coupe gets docked for not having a sunroof and for being Steel Gray. It obviously does not seem to gain anything by being one of two made in its configuration, a final model year car, having the S54 engine, ridiculously low miles, etc. A similar M Roadster is actually estimated higher as convertibles are typically more desirable in the average market, but that’s certainly not the case in the M Z3 market.

“KBB says…” is probably the most annoying phrase ever uddered to an M Coupe seller as well. Potential “buyers” expecting to buy an M Coupe at KBB value will be sorely disappointed. I don’t blame those sellers who don’t even return communication of any interested parties that even mention that phrase. For those reading this, know that this is not a bargaining point. If you are able to find a coupe priced at blue book, buy it and consider yourself lucky as it’s a rare occurrence by uninformed sellers.

Some coupe owners have talked to Edmunds about their low estimates, but no one really has any solid data to back up what is the market value. That’s one of the reasons I’m trying to collect sale prices on M Coupes. Perhaps in the future we can have some more realistic numbers from these organizations.

Here are some examples I ran of similarly optioned, relatively stock coupes (I won’t even get into modification values) of various years and mileages currently on the market that I think are priced fairly versus their suggested retail value as given by each of the three organizations:

2002 M Coupe - 7,000 miles

2002 M Coupe - 7,000 miles

2002 M Coupe

7,000 miles
Condition: Excellent
Private Party

Asking Price: $49,500
Kelley Blue Book: $16,820 (I wish!)
NADA: $25,025
Edmunds TMV:$22,141

2000 M Coupe, 13,505 miles

2000 M Coupe - 13,505 miles

2000 M Coupe

13,505 Miles
Condition: Excellent
Dealer Retail

Asking Price: $23,800
Kelley Blue Book: $16,280
NADA: $20,400
Edmunds TMV: $15,186

2000 M Coupe - 67,142 miles

2000 M Coupe - 67,142 miles

2000 M Coupe

67,142 Miles
Condition: Good
Private Party

Asking Price: $17,000
Kelley Blue Book: $10,880
NADA: $14,325
Edmunds TMV: $11,635

1999 M Coupe - 56,980 miles

1999 M Coupe - 56,980 miles

1999 M Coupe

56,980 Miles
Condition: Excellent
Private Party

Asking Price: $19,850
Kelley Blue Book: $10,710
NADA: $13,800
Edmunds TMV: $10,758

1999 M Coupe - 118,000 miles

1999 M Coupe - 118,000 miles

1999 M Coupe

118,000 Miles
Condition: Good
Private Party

Asking Price: $15,900
Kelley Blue Book: $6,960
NADA: $10,625
Edmunds TMV: $8,020

What Can I Do?

First, consider talking to a credit union. Credit unions have a little more flexibility than banks and may be willing to work a little more with you. Next, go somewhere willing to look at NADA rather than KBB. It is by far the most accurate of these three organizations (although not quite there). Some credit unions will also be willing to look at comps to find a fair price. Because coupes are rare, these are pretty hard to come by. I’m hoping this site will be helpful with this in the future if I can continue to collect sale prices. Finally, be patient and save up the difference between what you can get for a loan and the price you’ll have to pay for your dream coupe. Good luck!

See Part 2 for an update on KBB pricing

Honorable Mention – The Non-M Coupe

May 19th, 2010 Comments off

2001 Z3 Coupe 3.0 in Topaz Blue

While the M versions get most of the attention, not all Z3 Coupes got the motorsports treatment. BMW built a non-M Coupe from 1999-2002 available with the most powerful engine offered in the Z3 each year. In 1999-2000, the Z3 Coupe was sold with the 2.8L 193 hp, 206 lb-ft torque M52 engine and in 2001 was upgraded to the new 225 hp, 214 lb-ft torque 3.0L M54 bringing it within 15 hp of the S52 M Coupes.

While they weren’t graced with the motorsports engines or suspensions, they share much of the same unique styling. Many think they have narrower rare fenders, but this is just an illusion of the higher offset and narrower rear wheels that lack the deep lips of the M models. Other obvious exterior styling differences include:

  • Standard Z3 front bumper and side gills
  • Single exhaust with 2 tailpipes rather than the M’s 4 tailpipes
  • License plate in rear bumper rather than hatch
  • Unique wheel options
  • Higher offset rear wheels (46 or 41 mm rather than the M’s 8mm)
  • Additional and unique paint color availability including:
    • Alpine White (1999-2002)
    • Arctic Silver Metallic (1999)
    • Atlanta Blue Metallic (2001-2002)
    • Black Sapphire Metallic (2002)
    • Boston Green Metallic (1999)
    • Bright Red (1999-2002)
    • Cosmos Black Metallic (1999-2001)
    • Dakar Yellow (1999-2002)
    • Estoril Blue Metallic (2000)
    • Evergreen Metallic (2000)
    • Imola Red Metallic (2000)
    • Impala Brown Metallic (2000)
    • Jet Black (1999-2002)
    • Montreal Blue Metallic (1999)
    • Oxford Green Metallic (2000-2002)
    • Pistachio Green Metallic (2002)
    • Siena Red Metallic (2000, 2002)
    • Steel Gray Metallic (2000)
    • Sterling Gray Metallic (2002)
    • Titanium Silver Metallic (2000-2002)
    • Topaz Blue Metallic (2000-2002)

Other noticeable interior difference include:

  • Available wood or metallic trim
  • Unique black faced gauges
  • Revised center console without accessory gauges
  • Re-styled seats
  • Unique interior colors including:
    • Beige (1999-2002)
    • Black (1999-2002)
    • Dream Red (2002)
    • Impala Brown (2000)
    • Tanin Red (1999-2001)
    • Topaz Blue (2000-2002)
    • Walnut (1999,2001-2002)

The other large difference is the availability of automatic transmissions (4-speeds in 2.8L and 5-speeds in 3.0L). Automatics were never offered on the M models, so if you can’t drive stick, you do have an alternative.

You can tell the difference between 2.8L and 3.0L models by their taillights (3.0L models have clear turn signals), their wheels (although the standard wheels remained unchanged), and the wider chrome strip on the revised rear hatch of the 3.0L cars.

According to 368s.com there were 16,649 Z3 Coupes produced with most being the 2.8L model. I’ve heard, but cannot find the exact number, that there were fewer 3.0L coupes produced than S52-engined M Coupes.

Prices of Z3 coupes when new were around $5000-$7,000 less than comparable M models. Now you can typically find a similar year/mileage/condition Z3 Coupe for much less than it’s M counterpart. For example, the Topaz Blue 2001 Z3 Coupe 3.0 pictured is currently listed by Bimmerforums member Eric Jacobs for only $13,500 with many desirable modifications and only 59,000 miles (click here). (Sold to a Blog Reader!) With his modifications it should keep up with a stock S52 M Coupe but at a substantial discount.

While I desire an M Coupe, I have nothing but respect for the non-M’s. After all, it was a Z3 Coupe 3.0 nearly identical to the Titanium silver one pictured on the right that first inspired my fascination with these cars.

Production By the Numbers

May 5th, 2010 11 comments

These are the production numbers for each M Coupe color combination produced for North America in order of commonality.

Total Production: 2858 (452 sunroof-delete)

1998: 26 (20 sunroof-delete)
1999: 1076 (138 sunroof-delete)
2000: 1078 (184 sunroof-delete)
2001: 338 (61 sunroof-delete)
2002: 340 (49 sunroof-delete)

Titanium Silver Metallic (544, 93 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (363, 54 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (106, 17 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (43, 14 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (25, 5 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (6, 3 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Cosmos Black (516, 75 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (277, 31 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (94, 14 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (79, 11 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa( 36, 12 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (29, 7 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Estoril Blue (472, 83 sunroof-delete)

Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (313, 62 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (82, 16 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (62, 0 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (15, 5 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red (422, 58 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red & Black Nappa (201, 31 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (183, 19 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (22, 3 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (15, 5 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Arctic Silver Metallic (276, 42 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (125, 19 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (105, 11 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (32, 10 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (13, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Steel Gray Metallic (121, 18 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (47, 5 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (46, 8 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (23, 2 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (3, 2 sunroof-delete)
Kiwi & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Black Sapphire Metallic (120, 11 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (74, 8 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (17, 1 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (17, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (10, 1 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)

Alpine White (103, 17 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (36, 3 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (36, 2 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (9, 4 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (9, 2 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (7, 3 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (3, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)
Alpine White & Black Nappa (1, 1 sunroof-delete) – Last Produced

Boston Green Metallic (73, 6 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (61, 2 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (8, 1 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (3, 2 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Dakar Yellow II (51, 14 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (41, 10 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (8, 3 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Oxford Green II Metallic (46, 16 sunroof-delete)

Dark Beige Oregon (24, 11 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (16, 4 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (5, 1 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Laguna Seca Blue (41, 6 sunroof-delete)

Dark Gray & Black Nappa (21, 2 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (16, 3 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (2, 0 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (1, 1 sunroof-delete)

Evergreen (41, 5 sunroof-delete)

Evergreen & Black Nappa (27, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (10, 2 sunroof-delete)
Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)

Phoenix Yellow Metallic (21, 3 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (17, 2 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (3, 1 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Bright Red (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Imola Red & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)

Special Ordered (10, 4 sunroof-delete)

Black Nappa (5, 2 sunroof-delete)
– LC61412 – Jet Black 2
– LC61883 – Steel Gray (Jeff’s)
– LC62131 – Topaz Blue
– LK60168 – Carbon Black
LK61334 – Dakar Yellow
Dark Beige Oregon (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
LC61371 – Steel Gray
– LC61937 – Impala Brown (would love to see it)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete)
– LC61959 – Steel Gray (Rupert’s)
LC62180 – Steel Gray (It’s for sale!)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (1, 0 sunroof-delete)
– LC61372 – Steel Gray (my color combo :))

If you wonder why steel gray is considered a special color, it’s because it was not officially available on M’s in 2000. It was available on the non-M Z3s and it’s easy to see why people wanted to order it on their coupes. While Dakar Yellow was available on 1999-2000 M Coupes, it was not available in 2002 when LK61334 was ordered.

Interior Colors

Black Nappa (1273, 175 sunroof-delete)
Dark Gray & Black Nappa (450, 73 sunroof-delete)
Estoril Blue & Black Nappa (365, 74 sunroof-delete)
Imola Red & Black Nappa (361, 74 sunroof-delete)
Dark Beige Oregon (314, 35 sunroof-delete)
Kyalami Orange & Black Nappa (36, 12 sunroof-delete)
Evergreen & Black Nappa (32, 2 sunroof-delete)
Laguna Seca Blue & Black Nappa (24, 6 sunroof-delete)
Kiwi & Black Nappa (2, 1 sunroof-delete) – only on pre-production S54 coupes

Observations

  • It’s interesting that almost all the early build cars were sunroof-delete.
  • Titanium Silver is the most common exterior color and Phoenix Yellow is the most rare.
  • There is a Bright Red M Coupe out there somewhere.
  • Most gutsy color combo selection has to go to Phoenix Yellow over Laguna Seca Blue.
  • As well known as the two-tone interiors are, solid black is far and away the most common interior color.
  • Laguna Seca Blue is the most rare interior color.

In compiling this I noticed a few rather adventurous color combos:

  • Imola Red/Estoril Blue
  • Boston Green/Kyalami Orange
  • Dakar Yellow/Kyalami Orange
  • Oxford Green/Kyalami Orange
  • Phoenix Yellow/Laguna Seca Blue

So there you have it.  I was initially going to separate these out by year, then by engine, then got too lazy.  I may come back and at least break them out by engine.

February 21, 2013 Update – The very first data anomaly has been found. VIN LK61060 is actually Titanium Silver over Laguna Seca Blue rather than Titanium Silver over Dark Gray. The data has been updated accordingly.

If you wonder where I get all my production numbers, they were collected by a Bimmerforums member wildag (www.dreamingwell.com).  The original CSV file can be downloaded here.  Another forum member has created a more user friendly database interface for the less technically inclined at: www.bmwmdata.com.  This set of data includes all North American M Coupes and Roadsters with their production dates and options.

Don’t Call Me a Z3 M Coupe

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

With the arrival of the Z4 M Coupe in 2006, many people and even some auto publications have relabeled the 1999-2002 M Coupe the Z3 M Coupe.  This is not technically correct.  While based on the Z3, the name from BMW was simply “M Coupe”.  Before the M Coupe and Roadster arrived, BMW M models of the time were named according to their series (i.e. M3 for the 3-series, M5, M6, etc.).  BMW probably could have named it the MZ or MZ3, but they chose to name it simply “M”.  To me this always meant BMW distilled all the M essence into one unique car, and you could choose to have it in coupe or roadster form.  Whether or not that’s what the BMW product planners intended, that’s what I like to think :-).

Lately, BMW has been adding the M to the end of the title of its off-series M cars.  For example, X5 M, X6 M, Z4 M.  I assume this is probably because MX5 was already taken by the Mazda Miata and they wanted to be consistent.  They didn’t do that with the 1998-2002 M cars.  While it’s convenient to add the “Z3” for reference, it takes a way some of the specialness of THE “M”.

Categories: Information and Reviews Tags:

Where to Look

May 4th, 2010 11 comments

I’ve spent quite a few years compiling a list of sites that would hopefully cover nearly all currently listed M Coupes for sale.  Here it is in the order I see most potential:

Edit: You can now click on the “Sale Listings” link at the top of the page for a complete listing of all coupes from these sources updated daily.

My Favorite

These are the sites I visit most frequently as they tend to have the most turnover and overall listings.

  • AutoTrader
    Most of the people serious about selling their cars will post them on AutoTrader.  Asking prices are generally a little bit on the high side.  All the new listings are marked as such so it’s easy to find the changes.
  • Google Craigslist Search
    If you’re going to find a “steal”, it will probably be on Craigslist. It also has the least informative listings and more potential for scams. Because Craiglook got shut down, I wrote a query for Google to search all Craigslist for me.  The downside is that it sometimes links to expired or removed listings.
  • Ebay Motors
    Obviously the most turnover of cars and pretty good prices, but there are generally only 1-3 coupes listed at any given time.

Forum Classifieds

Classified sections of car forums are one of the best places to look for a coupe for a number of reasons.  Forum members tend to me more knowledgeable about their car and its maintenance requirements, they obviously have a passion for the car so it will probably be better taken care of than most, and other forum members will be familiar with the car to give second and third opinions about it.  They are also sorted by activity date so the most recent listings will be on top.

  • Bimmerforums Main Classifieds
    You have to wade through a lot of 3-series and roadsters, but most of the best cars are listed here.  I’ve tried a few different variations of searches to try and filter the listings but haven’t found anything that consistently gives me the results I want.
  • Bimmerforums Z Classifieds
    This section is meant primarily for parts, but some people post their cars here as well.  Often times they are moved to the main classifieds, but to get the right coupe you have to find them before anyone else does.
  • Bimmerfest
    Unfortunately Bimmerfest does not categorize their classifieds at all so you need to wade through all the BMW listings.
  • Roadfly
    Roadfly usually has a pretty nice selection but seems to be priced higher than other sites.  They also seem to charge for images so very few of the listings include photos.
  • BMW CCA
    M Coupe listings are usually sparse and prices generally much higher, but there have been exceptions over the years.  Often times listings are not listed elsewhere though.

Other Classified Sites

These sites’ listings are generally covered by one of the above sites, but not always.

  • Cars.com
    Not a whole lot or turnover of cars and most are listed elsewhere.  There are unique listings sometimes though and new ones are marked as “Newly Listed”.
  • Carmax.com
    They rarely have a coupe, but have had a couple in the past for great prices.
  • Vehix.com
    Basically worthless…but you never know.
  • AOL Autos
    Most the times the listings are duplicates of above sites, but not always.
  • Trovit Cars
    This site collects listings from a bunch of other sites.  It’s not always accurate though and there are quite a few duplicates. It does include Automobile Magazine classifieds which do not pop up often but for some reason always seem to have great prices.
  • Oodle
    Similar to Trovit but sometimes has different cars.  Sorry, but it looks like you have to search from Fort Collins, CO.  I couldn’t figure out how to generalize my location.
  • Ebay Classifieds / Kijiji.com
    No coupes yet, but I’m sure there will be with this local classifieds backed by Ebay

Canadian Sites

I’ve heard of quite a few coupes going back and forth across the border, so it must be doable. If you’re willing to expand your search further, or if you’re from Canada, here you go.

So there it is, all my secrets and a few years worth of accumulation.  If you have any sites to add to the list or need help customizing a search more specifically to you, please post in the comments.  If you happen to find a steel gray/imola M Coupe on one of the links above before I see it, be an upstanding citizen, don’t steal it, and let me know immediately. 🙂

Year Makes All the Difference

May 4th, 2010 2 comments

In the four short years of BMW M Coupe production, there were essentially 3 different versions produced (6 if you count right hand drive and differentiate the European S54).  The first and most common is the North American S52-engined car.  Produced in 1999 and 2000, these cars produce 240hp and 236 lb/ft of torque.  This is the same engine as found in North American versions of the 1996-1999 E36 M3.   Europeans – as they did with their version of the E36 M3 – were offered the 321hp, 258 lb/ft S50 engine.  For 2001 and 2002, both North America and Europe received the 315hp S54 engine from the 2001-2006 E46 M3.

Model Year 2000

While the drivetrain carried over to the model year 2000 cars, a number of other changes were made beginning in cars produced after April 1999.  These include:

Exterior Color Changes

  • Discontinued
    • Arctic Silver Metallic
    • Boston Green Metallic
  • Added
    • Titanium Silver Metallic
    • Oxford Green II Metallic

Other Changes

  • Chrome slats added to front kidney grilles
  • Chrome surrounds added to headlights
  • Fuel door added to central locking system
  • Airbags upgraded to two-stage
  • Smaller chrome trimmed mirror with auto-dimming function added
  • “Coupe” detail removed from door sill (“M” remained)

Model Year 2001

The 2001 model year (cars produced after February 2001) brought the new S54 engine as mentioned above as well as an additional round of upgrades. These include:

Exterior Color Changes

  • Discontinued:
    • Evergreen
    • Dakar Yellow II
    • Cosmos Black Metallic
  • Added
    • Laguna Seca Blue
    • Phoenix Yellow Metallic
    • Steel Gray Metallic
    • Black Sapphire Metallic

Interior Color Changes

  • Discontinued:
    • Evergreen and Black Nappa Leather
    • Kyalami Orange and Black Nappa Leather
  • Added:
    • Laguna Seca Blue and Black Nappa Leather
    • Kiwi and Black Nappa Leather (never officially offered in North America)

Other Changes

  • 3.15:1 differential replaces 3.23:1
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) replaces Automatic Stability Control plus Traction (ASC+T)
  • Tire pressure monitoring system added
  • Gray faced gauges replace black
  • Exterior “M” badges now curved rather than flat
  • Chrome shadow finish for the RoadStar wheels replaces satin chrome finish

Model Year 2002

  • In-dash CD player becomes standard in place of now optional cassette player

Chrome on the headlight pull knob, interior door pulls, and door lock buttons seemed to come and go at random throughout the model run.  It is not indicative of model year. (Thanks Josh)

Video Reviews

May 1st, 2010 Comments off

Top Gear

Top Gear has always been one of my favorite shows.  So if you have ever wondered what Jeremy Clarkson thought about the S50-engined M Coupe, watch this video.  Hint: “handling…perfection”.


Here’s the full version that the clip above is taken from including the S50 M Coupe beating the STI and Evo VI in a drag race around 1:15:

Tiff Needell also drove it back when he was still on Top Gear:

Fifth Gear

Tiff Needell of the other British car show Fifth Gear also test drove an S50 M Coupe. Here are his thoughts:

Motor Week

While not as entertaining is its British counterparts (and slightly critical of the “compromised” styling), this Motor Week test of an S52-engined M Coupe is very informative.  I thought it was interesting that their test cars were a silver sunroof-delete and a pretty rare evergreen/evergreen.

Auto Motor und Sport

Dont’ worry, it’s in English. This test is of a European S54 model and highlights some of the difference between the new 2001 model vs the 1999s and 2000s.