The 1999 BMW M goes into its second year of being the performance version of the BMW’s groundbreaking Z3 roadster. Much like the 1998 model year, this year’s model continues to be a version of the Z3 only in theory. Most of the BMW M roadster has more in common with the previous generation of the high-performance M3. The M has drawn a great deal of criticism in regards to its exterior styling. While the introduction of the M in 1998 was a major story, the changes in the 1999 BMW M may be more important for the long-term viability of the model. The biggest change is the introduction of a coupe version. Larger wheels and new all-season traction control are also major upgrades that make this already-appealing model even more so.
Body Styles: convertible, hatchback
Engines: 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: BMW M coupe, BMW M roadster
The coupe joins the 1999 BMW M family, providing a hardtop version for those who don’t like convertibles. The coupe also provides a performance advantage over the Roadster, having greater structural rigidity that allows for better handling at higher speeds. Also new to the 1999 BMW M models are larger 17-inch wheel and all-season traction control.
The 1999 BMW M has raised much discussion is the exterior styling. The front end of the car appears quite elongated, and the rear end is rather abrupt. The M coupe has distinctly different styling points from the M Roadster. The back of M coupe take a swift turn down, at what seems like a 90-degree angle. Projecting from the top of the roofline is a small spoiler. The M coupe also receives a third brake light in the rear window. In both models, the rear wheel arches swell out from the body. The taillights have been remodeled slightly. The ground effects swell out from the bottom of the body. All of this combined give the car the look of a running shoe.
The interior of the 1999 BMW M comes with all the amenities to be expected from BMW. The leather bucket seats are electrically adjustable and heated, and there is plenty of room for the driver and passenger. The plastic center consoles take away from the luxury feel. With the top up, visibility is rather limited in the Roadster model due to the roll bars and small mirrors. The coupe has better visibility, although the wide C-pillars can create blind spots. Cargo space is nearly non-existent in the Roadster, while the coupe actually has adequate room, no less than an average hatchback.
Performance & Handling
The 1999 BMW M is equipped with a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder, the same that is found in the M3. The dual overhead camshaft engine puts out 240 horsepower and can get the M up to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds from a standing start. The top speed is limited to 127 mph. A long wheelbase, wide stance and low ride height allows it to be extremely maneuverable. With the additional stiffening from the hardtop roof, this gives the coupe impressive cornering ability.
The 1999 BMW M comes equipped with standard driver, passenger and front side airbags. All-season traction control keeps the M’s 17-inch wheels locked to the road in all sorts of weather. The brakes are the same large disc brakes from the M3, a car that weighs over 200 pounds more than the M and is expected to carry over 300 pounds more in passenger and cargo weight. This allows the M to come to a stop in short order.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW M: 19/26 mpg city/highway
- Incredible performance
- Luxury interior
- Built from a platform and engine with known reliability
You Won't Like
- Divisive exterior appearance
- Limited top speed
- Cargo space
Top-end performance, awkward exterior.
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