Posts Tagged ‘s52’

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.

My Perfect M Coupe

April 30th, 2010 Comments off
M Coupe at Red Rocks

Glenn’s M Coupe at Red Rocks

The 1999-2002 M Coupe is one of the most polarizing designs ever released by BMW.  Both M Coupe lovers and haters will boast or disparage that it was designed by engineers not stylists.  With nicknames like “Clown Shoe”, “Breadvan”, and “Elf Hearse” even the most serious M Coupe owner has to have a sense of humor.   While it has many detractors styling-wise, you would be hard-pressed to find one complaining about the drive.

I, for one, was immediately taken by the design when it was shown at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show.  It was purposeful and curvy, striking yet classic, and caught my eye like few designs ever have before.  Thirteen years later I think it has stood the test of time like few others.  The M Coupe is styled so uniquely and without any of the design trends of its era that it looks just as modern today as it did then.  When I find my perfect M Coupe, I don’t plan on getting rid of it through any means other than my will.  I know because of its uniqueness, it will still be looking good many years in the future.

In early 2001, a guidance counselor at my high school purchased a silver 2001 Z3 Coupe.  It wasn’t an M, but still had all the curves I’d come to love.  Each day driving up to the parking lot, I would look to see if it was there and would park accordingly.  I always looked for excuses to walk by it.  I had a chance to talk to Mr. Graham one day after track practice and he was surprised that I knew everything about his car.  He promised one day he would let me drive it.  Months later, when the weather improved, I got my chance.  At the time, the only manual transmission I had ever driven was my grandpa’s pickup through an Iowa cornfield.  In the days leading up to the “big day” I drove several of my friends cars just to refresh my skills, so I wouldn’t embarrass myself in the coupe.  Well, it didn’t drive like my grandpa’s truck, nor any of my friends’ cars.  While my friends Geo Metro took a firm right foot just to get it up and moving, I had to be light on the gas pedal in the coupe.  I successfully pulled out of the school parking lot without an embarrassing stall.  I turned on to the country road that ran away from the school looking for some wide open spaces.  I babied the car for a while until we came to the end of the road and turned around.  Then Mr. Graham told me to stop babying it and punch it.  That was when I decided I had to have one someday.

The Denver Auto Show in March 2001 introduced me to the color Steel Gray that was offered starting in 2001.  While I liked the silver on Mr. Grahams’ car, Steel Gray was a much deeper color. It was also going to be more rare as it was only offered for two years.  The 2001 cars also brought the 315hp S54 engine from the E46 M3.  1999 and 2000 cars have the 240hp S52 engine from the E36 M3.  The topper was the display car’s black and Imola Red two-tone interior.  I knew then I had found my dream car.  While some might argue such an eye-catching car deserves an eye-catching color like Phoenix Yellow or Laguna Seca Blue, when I’m in the purchase for the long haul, I want a color I’m not going to get tired of.  The excitement is in the design itself and the beautiful Imola Red interior.

M Coupe Show Car

Since that time over 9 years ago, I’ve been in pursuit of this color combination.  I always knew this color combination would be a challenge to find, only recently did I learn just how hard it might be.  There are only 23 ever sold in North America in these colors.  At this time, I’ve only seen four come up for sale. The first came up for sale while I was still in college and did not have the funds, nor the garage to store it in.  The next popped up the day my son was born.  Yes, I was looking for M Coupes from my wife’s hospital room…they were both sleeping.  While it was a decent price, it was in Ohio.  Some things will always be more important than any car, so I let it go in order to spend that important time with my family.  It was soon sold.  The next was listed on Christmas Eve 2009.  At first I thought God had given me the perfect Christmas gift.  Not only was it my colors, it had 18,000 miles and is a sunroof-delete (1 of only 2).  The problem came when I saw the price…$59,995.  A month later, the other Steel Gray/Imola sunroof-delete coupe came on the market, and this one was only 50 miles away.  It seemed meant to be.  It only had 7,000 miles and was showroom stock.  And while a relative bargain, was priced at $49,500.  It’s just my luck that the only two cars I had seen in years in the color combination I had pursued were priced $15k and $25k more than any other M Coupe currently for sale (but worth every penny).  Both are still for sale, so visit my sponsors and help me buy one.

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