Original Owner S54 M Coupe in the very desirable Steel Gray, no accidents, never seen a snowflake and has never been a daily driver. My experience with BMW automobiles goes back to 1975 when I bought a new 2002 sedan. In many ways, the M Coupe reminds me of my 2002, as they are absolutely honest and will tell you exactly what they are doing. If you have the driving skills to listen.. But, it is a bond where you are one, or you should not be in a Coupe. The handling is more late 1950s Ferrari or Aston, then modern sportscar. Admittedly, an M Coupe is much faster than the early vintage cars, but if you look at the wheelbase, track, and power to weight of an M Coupe against a DB4 or even an E Type, they are surprisingly similar. Trailing arms, a high RPM Straight six, and a seating position where you are far back in the chassis with the long nose in front of you. In an M Coupe, you feel like a racing legend. Many cars are faster, but few have that magical sensation of being in something special.
The downside to the M Coupe was that BMW had a budget so the Coupe got a great motor and chassis, but the tires were too small, the shocks were underdamped, the exhaust system was incredibly heavy and restrictive and the software that controlled the engine was far from ideal in the U.S. cars. The optimal size for wheels on an M Coupe is 18s with sticky sport rubber. I grew up with Italian cars and wanted that melodious deep sound. In the Italian exotic world, there is only one choice, Tubi. And they handbuilt the race mufflers at a cost of more than $3,000 back when that was a lot of money. The rear suspension mounts are not awful, but a five-point roll bar ties the rear suspension to the stiff bar that spreads the forces over the frame. It had been designed for Ryan Cartucci who used it in his One Lap of America supercharged coupe, and he sold it to me when he retired his race car. It was then carefully installed for a very neat install. Total price over $5,000. I am not fond of cars that ride so hard that every bump sends the car jittering across the road, so I stayed with stock springs and merely upgraded to better damped and adjustable Koni Sports. The software for engine management was refined by Master Dinan. And, parasitic drag reduced by Turner Motorsport. The headlights did not look new as a few years ago, so I bought a set of OEM new units from BMW a few years ago for around $2k installed. It is not a minor job. And, in a moment of madness, I freshened up the paint five years ago at a cost of approximately $20k. Finest show quality to exact OEM Specs. The clear coat was color sanded over more than a week by two masters to obtain a perfect finish.
Ten years ago I was temporarly without a room in a garage for the Coupe and it spent a couple of years in Michigan with a friend who formerly worked as a high-level Mechanic for the BMW North American Race Team. His specialty was suspension tuning, and he made a number of subtle changes to the Coupe to dial it in. When I had room for the car back in Connecticut, it came back to me. I rarely drive the coupe these days, and more often than not it goes to car shows with a dear friend who owns many vintage cars,
I used to do the occasional track day with this car, mostly with Empire Region Ferrari Club of America. It would arrive in my big green trailer and looked very small next to the Ferraris; but it ran competitively in groups of gentlemen & ladies, where all were there for fun and no one wanted to damage very expensive sheet metal. They would kid me about that their last brake job costs more than my car, but last laugh was on them as low mileage Coupes now trade for over a $100k. The roll bar retains it inspection stickers from Celebration of Speed and Design, which was Memorial Day at Pocono back in the day. I would typically be the only BMW invited, and when I asked why, they conceded that M Coupes are cool. I did one track day a few years ago to hold the hand of a friend who wanted to take his 355 Ferrari to the track. He had done a few race schools and the car was chipped and had a custom exhaust. And, with a sequential gear box it should have been faster down the straights. But, Mr. Dinan knows how to use the strength of the Tubi exhaust and the Coupe went by the Ferrari 3 for 3.
A bittersweet decision, but all things have a time. Looking for the right home for the Coupe where someone else will care for it and enjoy this wonderful little car.