While its sales were slow, but steady ever since its introduction, mostly due to its quirky looks, the “Clownshoe” – as the BMW Z3 M Coupe was dubbed by many – really was an impressive performance machine for that time. Sharing the engine with the BMW E46 M3 – a well-known performance model from the Bavarian car maker – it packed a hefty punch, impressive handling and provided great driving dynamics.
The first Z3 M models (produced from 1997 – 2000) featured the S50B32 inline-six engine which delivered 316 horsepower and 258 lb-ft (350Nm) of torque in the EU-spec model and 240 horsepower and 225 lb-ft (305Nm) of torque for the US model.
Later on (from 2000 and until the end of its production life) the EU spec was upgraded to 321 horsepower, delivered by an S54B32 inline-six engine, delivering 250lb-ft (350Nm) of torque. The US-spec version was powered by the same inline-six engine, delivering 315 horsepower and 251lb-ft (340Nm) of torque. The sprint to 62mph (100km/h) took around 5.2 seconds for both vehicles.
The compact coupe was intended to be a BMW Z3 Roadster with increased torsional and structural rigidity. The car was developed under the leadership of engineer Burkhard Göschel, but it almost never saw production, since the development team had a hard time convincing the Board of Directors to approve the BMW M Coupe – the development on the coupe model was done by a group of BMW engineers in their own free time – but the car eventually received the green light.
One of the helping hands in this situation was the fact that the Z3 shared numerous components with the BMW Z3 Coupe, so it remained cost-effective to produce. For a lot of casual BMW fans, the naming nomenclature can be a bit confusing. The vehicle is often called the Z3 M, M Coupe of the first-generation or, for those die-hard fans, an E36/8 M Coupe naming is used.
While the rocky start sales wise was a big issue, the Z3 M did, however, receive numerous awards upon release, with the Automobile Magazine’s “Design of the Year” award in 1999, among them. The quirky looks, paired with impressive performance & driving dynamics aspect, made this vehicle an instant classic.
This BMW Z3 M Coupe is one of the most tuned examples we’ve seen. Everything from the engine, drivetrain, suspension, brakes and wheels is upgraded. Furthermore, the owner also did a lot of changes to the interior of the car as well.
For the owner this Z3 M Coupe, the choice of CCW Wheels proved to be a great one. Thanks to CCW LM20 deep-dish wheels, featuring a Yellow Gloss finish, polished step lips, and a deep, deep construction, the Clownshoe now looks simply incredible. Wheels are sized 18×9 in the front and 18×11 in the rear.
Additionally, the wheels feature an Exposed Hardware Option, giving them an even more intricate look.
Grab a detailed look at the full build gallery, done by Mike Kuhn Racing, right below.