2002 BMW Z3 M Coupe

“Shooting break” is an unusual and archaic term for a two-door wagonette, and while the Z3 M Coupe is certainly unusual, its driving dynamics couldn’t be considered archaic by any definition. Rather than apply a simple notchback design to the coupe version of the popular Z3 roadster, BMW engineers seeking additional structural rigidity out of the Z3 chassis decided on the unique shape of the Coupe. Developed behind closed doors lest management kill the project before the engineers could polish it to their liking, it is to BMW’s credit that when the covers were pulled back, BMW brass gave the Coupe the green light. Like the M Roadster, the Coupe borrows its powertrain from the E46-generation M3—a 315-horsepower inline six whose lusty sound and lightning-quick throttle response are legendary. Unlike the Roadster, the Coupe is nearly three times stiffer, so cornering is greatly improved. With the short wheelbase and loads of power on tap, it’s also easy to step the back end out at will, although the suspension is still relatively compliant for off-track comfort. Dial in some stiffer suspension settings and there are few cars as well-balanced, nimble, and enjoyable to drive than the M Coupe.

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