Last of it's kind
February 7, 2011
There is the Z3, and then there is the ///M Roadster. I stumbled upon a 2001 Z3 2.5i years back, and was well satisfied with the look, feel and performance of the car. That was of course, until I had the opportunity to test drive a 2000 ///M Roadster. They looked similar, with several cosmetic differences, but from the moment I released the clutch pedal and nearly launched out of the dealer's parking lot, I knew that I had robbed myself by purchasing the Z3 before the M Roadster. I now own two M Roadsters and they both are just as fun to drive as when I first bought them. The 2002 has an extra allure to it for being the last production year, and having the S54 motor.
The looks of the car are unique and sexy. There will probably never be another BMW roady with the lines that the Z3M carry. Although the Z3 coupe is said to have an unappealing look or that of a shoe, the M Roadster manages to steer away from such statements. Inside, it is designed to be a true sports enthusiast's car. Simplicity with luxury is what I like to call it, but much more comfortable than an Elise.
Handling of the car is solid. Going into corners is just as enjoyable as coming out of them, and the motor sounds great without modification.
After owning two M Roadsters for over 3 years, the biggest maintenance job I have dealt with is brakes/tires/oil/gas. Not in that order. No motor/tranny/clutch problems at all. If driven responsibly, you will have no problems making it well into the 100k mileage with zero issues outside of standard wear and tear. Try not to keep it out on a rainy day however, as the convertible top is known for minor leaks near the top latch. This too can be rectified by ensuring that the top is closed firmly.
Overall, this is an excellent entry level super car. Enthusiasts need not hesitate unless they plan on having more gadgets in their Roadster than driver. This car was not meant to come equipped with nav, steering wheel shifting flaps or space for groceries. It's meant to be driven by heart, passion and a love for simplicity with style.