BMW M Roadster

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The BMW M Roadster is the BMW M performance model of the BMW Z3 and BMW Z4 convertibles. It was produced between 1998 and 2002 and again beginning in 2006. All models were produced in the Spartanburg, South Carolina manufacturing facility, though the complete M engine was imported from Germany.

Z3 M Roadster (1998-2002)

First Generation E36/7 M Roadster
2002 BMW Z3 M Roadster
Also calledZ3 M Roadster, MZ3
AssemblyUnited States
SuccessorZ4 M Roadster
Body style(s)2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
Engine(s)3.2 L inline-6
S50 (1998-2000 non-US/CA)
S52 (1998-2000 US/CA)
S54 (2001-2002 world)
Transmission(s)5 speed manual
Wheelbase2459 mm (96.8 in)
Length4025 mm (158.5 in)
Width1740 mm (68.5 in)
Height1266 mm (49.8 in)
Curb weight1399 kg (3084.3 lb)
RelatedBMW Z3
DesignerJoji Nagashima

The BMW M Roadster was designed to be the performance version of the BMW Z3, and there were significant differences between the two variants. The body of the M Roadster had many slight differences. These included front and rear bumpers, gills, rear wings, boot and mirrors.

Under the skin many of the components were beefed up with many of them taken from the E30 M3 and E36 M3 Evo including brakes and much of the suspension. Based off of the E36 platform, the Z3 Roadster was considered the E36/7 platform. The M Roadster could run a wider track under the flared wheel arches as well as wider wheels and tires to try to tame the increased power. Standard tyre sizes for the M Roadster is 225/45r17 at the front and 245/40r17 at the back. The low offset of the rear wheels allows plenty of flexibility to increase the rear tire width. A dual exhaust system fed each set of three cylinders to two dual tailpipes. This quad exhaust has since become an BMW M division signature.

Other changes included adding a limited slip differential, a different gearbox and strengthening the chassis.

The interior had a different look to the standard Z3, starting with the M-version steering wheel and including different instrumentation such as an oil temperature gauge. Finally, the car was available in M-specific colors which were not released for the regular z3, at least in the early production years (not counting BMW's Individual program).

Early cars featured ABS as standard. Traction and stability control also became standard with the new engine. The z3 was facelifted, but in common with other BMW M vehicles, the M Roadster's appearance was not updated.

Production Numbers

In the 5 years, from 1998 - 2002, only approximately 15,000 M Roadsters were produced for both European and North American markets. This is compared to the several hundred thousand standard Z3s produced in the same time frame. This makes them very rare and highly desired by car and performance enthusiasts.

Type Spec Engine Dates Production
CK91 European LHD S50 09/1996 - 06/2000 3,557
CK92 European RHD S50 11/1997 - 06/2000 918
CK93 North American LHD S52 02/1998 - 06/2000 8,938
CL91 European LHD S54 02/2001 - 05/2002 283
CL92 European RHD S54 02/2001 - 04/2002 79
CL93 North American LHD S54 02/2001 - 05/2002 1,600


North American

North American M roadsters built from 1998 to 2000 had the 3.2L S52 engine (based on the regular M52 engine) with 240 hp (179 kW) and 320 Nm (236 ft·lbf). In 2001 BMW revised the M Roadster with the 3.2L S54 engine. This was the highest specific output naturally aspirated production engine ever made by BMW (not including the S70/2 GTR LM engine from the McLaren F1 LM) when it was applied in the M3. In M Roadster form it produced 315 bhp (320 hp) and 353 Nm (261 ft·lbf) of torque. BMW only produced the S54-based M Roadster for two years, discontinuing it after the 2002 model year. The BMW M Roadster based on the 3.2L S52 engine did 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds, while the S54 model has been clocked as low as 4.5 seconds. Transmissions for years 1998–2002 were 5-speed manuals.


European M Roadsters built 1998 to 2001 had the same engine (S50) that powered the 1995 to 1999 e36 M3 Evo with 321 bhp (239 kW) and 350 Nm (258 ft·lbf).

Z4 M Roadster (2006-2008)

Second Generation E85 M Roadster
2007 BMW Z4 M Roadster
Also calledZ4 M Roadster
PredecessorZ3 M Roadster
Body style(s)2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
Engine(s)3.2 L S54 inline-6 (2007-)
RelatedBMW Z4
DesignerAnders Warming

BMW introduced an M version of the E85 Z4 in late 2006. Called the M Roadster, it's powered by the same 3.2L, 8,000rpm, S54 inline-6 engine as the E46 series M3, delivering 330hp through a manual gearbox and a new 6-speed manual transmission. Other go-faster parts borrowed from the M3 include the CSL's compound (aluminum hubs, iron floating rotors) brakes and most of the M3's suspension components. Other changes include a hydraulic steering setup which provides better feel than the electric system in standard Z4 models. Weighing 3197 lb (1450 kg), the M Roadster has been tested by major U.S. car magazines to accelerate from Zero-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, which is slightly quicker than the Porsche Boxster S and Porsche Cayman S. . Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h).

A new six-speed manual transmission is used since the M3's original six-speed doesn't fit the Z4's chassis. The six speed is the only transmission available in the M Coupe/Roadster; its final gear ratios are virtually the same as those of the M3. It is widely reported on owner forums that the 6-speed gearbox in the 2006 & 2007 M roadsters and coupes is prone to grinding when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear at high rpm. According to reports, there has been mixed response by BMW dealerships to this issue, some owners claiming to have received entirely-new gearboxes and others claiming their dealer calls the grinding "normal".

The M Roadster's MSRP is $52,100. A fixed-roof version (the M Coupe) is also available, though marginally heavier. Around the Top Gear test track, the BMW set a time of 1:25.8 which is 0.2 of a second faster than the Lamborghini Gallardo.

The second-generation E89 Z4 was announced on December 13, 2008,[1] and debuted at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit the following month. Using a retractable hardtop, the new E89 Z4 replaces the previous roadster and coupe versions for the 2009 model year. As of February 2009, there are no official announcements in regards to the either an M Roadster or M Coupe for the E89.


  • The Z3 M Roadster was in Car and Driver's "Ten Best" (1999)
  • "Design of the Year" award for the M Coupe in Automobile Magazine (1999)


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