Car reviews - BMW - Z4 - M Roadster
BMW's born-again M Roadster returns Down Under in Z4 guise, and it's the real M deal
19 Apr 2006
By CHRIS HARRIS
AS far as lithe, powerful sports cars go, BMW's original Z3 M Roadster was hard to beat. But that didn't stop some criticising its twitchy handling, primitive Z-axle rear suspension and the fact its ballistic M3-sourced 236kW straight six could easily overpower its Z3-based chassis. Fast forward almost five years and the lack of an M version of the Z3-replacing Z4 has been rectified. No longer nobbled by a five-speed manual transmission, complete with the E46 M3's 252kW six and having shed the uncommunicative electric steering of lesser Z4 variants, the new M Roadster is stiffer, quicker and more refined than ever. Approaching the pace of its M5 stablemate, it's more complete than its predecessor - without losing any of its animal instinct.
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BMW Z3 M RoadsterReleased: October 98
Ended: December 01
Family Tree: Z4
BMW released the wildest incarnation of the previous-generation Z3 roadster here in October 1998, when the 236kW/350Nm 3.2-litre inline six-powered M Roadster joined the Z3 range that appeared here almost two years earlier, in January 1997. Offering a new level of performance over the sluggish 103kW/180Nm 1.9-litre entry-level Z3 and even the 141kW/275Nm 2.8 of the day, it was joined at the same time by the radical Z3-based M Coupe. That model was also available with 2.8 power in Europe, but Australia only saw limited numbers of the M-powered "Munster mobile". Both the Z3 M Roadster and Coupe sold at $137,000 and were discontinued before the facelifted Z3 brought 2.2 and 3.0-litre six-cylinder power in September 2000.
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