A brilliant exercise in 'retro' styling that recalled its fabulous '328' sports car of pre-war days, BMW's Z3 was introduced in 1996. The original four-cylinder 1.9-litre Z3 was more of a stylish boulevard cruiser than out-and-out sports car, a successful concept perhaps best exemplified by Mercedes-Benz's old 230/250/280SL family, and would prove equally appealing to both men and women drivers. The arrival of the 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine in 1997 transformed the Z3, endowing it with a level of performance that at last matched the promise of its looks. Six-cylinder cars enjoyed a lengthier equipment list than the 'fours', which included an electric hood (roadster), leather upholstery, and 16" alloy wheels.
Commencing in the early 1980s with the limited edition 'homologation special' M3, BMW Motorsport GmbH went on to create its own distinctive 'M-Power' brand of performance-enhanced luxury models. The first M-Power Z3 appeared in January 1998. Built until February 2001 when the model was revised, the first-series Z3M Coupé and Roadster were powered by the 3.2-litre S50 engine producing 316bhp and 236lb/ft of torque - figures that translated into a tyre-smoking 0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. The fastest-accelerating BMW ever at the time of its introduction, the Z3M Coupé boasted a generous specification that included electric windows, ABS, PAS, air conditioning, heated seats, driver/passenger air bags, six-speaker stereo system, alarm/immobiliser, heated exterior mirrors, 17" alloy wheels, and a limited-slip differential as standard. Combining outrageous looks and performance with impressive practicality, the Z3M Coupé was not replaced within BMW's line-up after its deletion in 2002, and is surely destined for 'highly collectible' status in the future.
This particular Z3M has the more powerful (321bhp) S54 engine introduced in 2000, and is one of only 165 right-hand drive models produced. Originally registered in Guernsey, Channel Islands, it has had only one owner from new and comes with full service history (14 stamps at the same BMW main agent in Guernsey, Jackson's Garage). Running and driving beautifully.
Find out more about the car up for auction here: gaukmotors.co.uk/post/featured-auction---2002-bmw-z3m-coup