BMW Z3 M Coupe

David Wilson Nunn - ‘It feels raw and immersive’

  • Year: 1998

  • Mileage: 78,000

  • Acquired: 2013

  • Dream car: Ferrari BB 512

Why did you choose the car?

It was on my bucket list. After owning many BMWs before, including two Z4Ms, I needed to experience the M Coupé and got really lucky with my search and timing. I wish I could say I looked at a few but I didn’t. One viewing was all it took and a week later I was picking her up, driving back from Oxfordshire and wondering what the hell had just happened.

What do you love most?

I love how most people have no idea what it is. The looks divide opinion of course, but I adore the lines and history behind its after-hours, parts-bin creation. It’s oddly practical too, with a large boot and looks great with roof bars. The engine is a masterpiece and it eschews superfluous stuff like traction control for a more analogue experience. Driving it feels raw and properly immersive.

What’s the worst bit?

The small fuel tank. On a spirited good day, you’ll get 200 miles out of it so you need to plan your back-road adventures carefully. Oh, and only two seats. I have two young kids and soon they’ll be fighting for the space.

What’s it like to run? 

Very easy. Since it shares a lot of its body with the standard Z3 and engine with the E36 M3, common parts are readily available through BMW UK or specialist dealers. Same goes for servicing and I get the oil changed every year regardless of mileage, plus follow the routine for Inspections one and two. I tend not to go to main dealerships as I live pretty close to BMW specialists ETA Motorsport near Brands Hatch. What those guys don’t know about performance Beemers isn’t worth knowing.

Any mods?

She’s a BMW UK launch press car so I didn’t want to muck around too much. So far, I’ve replaced the standard anti-roll bars with an H&R set, which transformed the ride, and am currently considering aftermarket suspension and 10mm rear wheel spacers .

Any buyer advice?

Standard things like checking the rear subframe and diff hangers for cracks or tears. Check the Vanos for unusual noises or leaks. There’s lots of buying advice online such as the Z3MCoupe forum and if you’re really lucky you might even find one for sale on there. Treat it with respect, as your only driver safety aid is watching the weather forecast.

Lewis PlumbBMW, Z3, M Sport