BMW Z3 M Coupe: Spotted

The trouble with a lot of otherwise admirable sporting cars, tarted-up rally-style saloons, face-bending open-top speedsters or wide-shouldered two-seat coupes, is that they're just a bit too uncouth for a gentleman to be seen in.

A shooting brake, however, with its roots sunk deep into the psyche of the British country house estate, is a different matter. All sorts of these, from the Reliant Scimitar to the Volvo P1800 ES to the Lancia Beta HPE, and even taking in the mighty Ferrari FF, have blown in like a breath of three-door fresh air to enliven the driving pleasure of those seeking discreet speed and sensory gratification. Not a coupe, and not really even terribly useful as an estate, the very incongruity of the shooting brake is perhaps, in our world of sanitised purposefulness, its most heartwarming feature.

This BMW Z3 M Coupe is one such car and it has everything: the necessary divisive looks, the 321hp 3.2-litre inline six lifted from the contemporary M3, the tremendous turn of speed - think 0 to 62mph in 5.4 seconds and 155mph - and the handling lively enough to brighten up even the dullest of journeys.

In fact it's a real hoot to drive, this thing, being no higher than a packet of crisps and a true pocket-rocket, with none of your nannying safety aids to get in the way. It might be plug-ugly and so deliciously last century (What! Only a five-speed gearbox?) but it's also a bit of a lightweight, and much stiffer than the convertible on which it was based. Corners are where it all comes alive, of course, and you better like oversteer. You want to hold it in a long power slide? No problem. Negotiate an S-bend with a flick of the wrists? Yup. Make the dog sick? Easy-peasy.

With such looks and performance its classic status has always been guaranteed, and this one is a mere £23,995, for which you could buy a good deal less. It's blissfully unmodded, too, and comes with a full service history and decent provenance - the previous owner had the car for 14 years. It's even Estoril Blue, one of the more favourable of its deliberately extravagant hues, and a colour definitely fit for a gentleman.


Engine: 3,246cc, inline-six
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 325@7,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@4,900rpm
MPG: 25
CO2: 268g/km
First registered: 1999
Recorded mileage: 104,000 miles
Price new: £40,595 (1998)
Price now: £23,995

See the full ad here.

Mark Pearson



P.H. O'meter

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Comments (87) Join the discussion on the forum

  • JualMassFlywheel 11 Feb 2018

    Quirky. Love em. Remember seeing one some years ago parked up in the layby on the A14 as you come off the M1. Front end smashed up and driver looking very peed off.

  • golfer19 11 Feb 2018

    One for the wish list.

  • Plug Life 11 Feb 2018

    I like the printed sheet showing where to place your feet. The car is a munter though.

  • TR4man 11 Feb 2018

    Beautifully ugly.

    I'd love one but prices have been a bit mental for a couple of years.

  • Agent57 11 Feb 2018

    What's with the steering wheel? I thought BMW had good looking steering wheels.

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