“M” Mania: BMW M Coupe and M Roadster Online Resource

Knowledge is priceless. How much research do you do before buying a vehicle?

It is one thing to read a car review online or to watch a YouTube overview. But getting feedback from actual owners – people who have lived with a vehicle day-in and day-out – can be even more valuable.

With that in mind, Jon Martin’s series of websites called “Car Enthusiast Guides” (CEG) give a real-world glimpse and firsthand knowledge into BMW vehicles as well as marketplace surrounding them. Jon says his web resources are “envisioned as a way for car enthusiasts to help other enthusiasts find their perfect car.” Currently, Jon maintains guides for the following BMW vehicles:

Jon also has guides proposed or in development for other models, including some non-BMW models such as the first-generation Acura NSX.

Car Enthusiast Guides History

The car that started it all for Jon was the first-generation M Coupe. A passion project started out almost 25 years ago when Jon was in high school and his guidance counselor bought a then-new Z3 coupe. Not long afterward, he laid eyes on a Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe at the Denver Auto Show, and he made up his mind on buying that exact specification someday. With the goal in mind, Jon started tracking listings of vehicles for sale via a spreadsheet, and eventually, the spreadsheet morphed into the early versions of the websites he manages today. Jon ended up finding his ideal M Coupe in 2010, but he continued to maintain the site and has continued to expand on it.

Jon explains, “After 5+ years of searching for the perfect M Coupe, I had not found it, but I had learned a lot about them and about the market. While waiting for my perfect coupe to show, I thought I would share some of my insight with other potential M Coupe buyers. In May 2010, I started MCoupeBuyersGuide.com.” The rest, as they say, is history.

M Coupe and M Roadster Highlights

What made the M Coupe and M Roadster such special cars, anyway? The first generation was produced from 1998 through 2002 as a high-performance variant of the two-seat Z3 sports car. The differences were both cosmetic and mechanical in nature: First and foremost, the initial iterations of the car were powered by BMW’s “S52” 3.2-liter inline-six mated to a ZF five-speed manual transmission. The drivetrain was rated at over 240 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque in North American markets. In 2001, the S52 was replaced the S54 which offered a substantial bump to 315 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque.

BMW Motorsports’ website published the following:

“Besides the wider track and four-pipe exhaust, the top model had exclusive, characteristic accents like oval overtaking mirrors, chrome gills that recall the legendary BMW 507 Roadster, and special air intakes in the front spoiler. The powerful, unmistakable appearance of the M Coupé was underlined by its proportions: long wheelbase, long bonnet, wide track and short rear end. Introduced by a striking line at the rear and arching towards the back, the roof left a strong impression. The M automobile makes it absolutely clear to the observer: This is a sports car for individualists.”

The M Coupe and M Roadster were designed with agility in mind, offering a near-exact 50/50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity. A second generation ran from 2006 through 2008. There is a strong collector community for both generations of these cars, as Jon will surely attest.

Information a Click Away

Within the guide for the M Coupe and the M Roadster are a number of helpful resources:

  • Classified listings
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Appraisals
  • Pricing advice
  • Escrow services
  • Upgrades and modifications
  • Market tracking
  • Project updates
  • Articles

Jon’s websites are an inspiration and an asset to any hardcore BMW enthusiast. To a small extent, I am doing the same as Jon is by tracking Acura Legends. I would love to model after his websites and eventually develop a comprehensive library of resources for people who are passionate about data.

Have you owned a BMW M Coupe or M Roadster in your vehicle history? What classic car makes or models would you love to see an online resource such as this for? Let us know in the comment section!