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Pre-Production S54 M Coupes

Last week, I came across this 2001 Estoril Blue M Coupe in Richmond Hill, ON, Canada that besides its great condition and very low mileage did not appear otherwise significant. The seller makes mention that this particular car is one of twelve pre-production S54 coupes. I had never heard of such a thing and decided to see what I could find out. After some research and consulting with a couple resident coupe experts Z3Couper and JoshS, we determined that there were indeed twelve S54-engined coupes produced in 2000 starting as early as March 16, 2000. Here’s how we came to this conclusion.

JoshS remembered reading a Roadfly posting about a similar car years ago and even more amazingly was able to find it again. This Roadfly posting details the purchase of LK60000: a Laguna Seca Blue over Laguna Seca Blue M Coupe with an S54 engine built on April 12, 2000. There’s a little more information about it in this Roadfly posting as well. While it has the lowest VIN number of all S54s, it appears that both LK60001 and LK60002 were produced before it in March of 2000, and LK60003 was produced two days prior on April 10, 2000. The buyer goes on to say on the CarFax  report says it was first imported into New Jersey on January 2, 2003. The buyer thinks the car may have been sent to Germany to shake down as a pre-production unit. We’re speculating it may have always been in the U.S., but because the factory is a foreign trade zone, in order to make it sell-able, it required some special paperwork to have it “imported”. New Jersey happens to be where BMW NA is based. The buyer mentions it had never been titled before despite being almost 3 years old, so it appears that some of these cars (maybe all) were sold as CPOs directly by BMW NA once they were finished with them.

After looking through the M Coupe production data, I guessed the estoril blue coupe pictured above was VIN LK60004 (as he says it was the 5th of 12) and was later able to confirm this with the seller. It then follows with the conclusion that these twelve cars are VINs LK60000-LK60011. Here they are:

  • LK60000 – April 12, 2000
    Laguna Seca Blue over Laguna Seca Blue
  • LK60001 – March 29, 2000 (Canadian Version and sunroof-delete)
    Titanium Silver over Black
  • LK60002 – March 16, 2000 (sunroof delete)
    Imola Red over Dark Beige
  • LK60003 – April 10, 2000 (sunroof delete)
    Steel Gray over Kiwi (?)
  • LK60004 – August 9, 2000 (Canadian Version and the car pictured)
    Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
  • LK60005 – August 18, 2000
    Titanium Silver over Black
  • LK60006 – August 29, 2000 (Canadian Version)
    Steel Gray over Kiwi (?)
  • LK60007 – September 5, 2000
    Imola Red over Imola Red
  • LK60008 – August 29, 2000 (sunroof delete and 1 of 1)
    Laguna Seca Blue over Dark Beige
  • LK60009 – August 30, 2000
    Steel Gray over Imola Red (!)
  • LK60010 – September 11, 2000
    Steel Gray over Imola Red (!)
  • LK60011 – September 15, 2000
    Black Sapphire over Dark Gray

There are a few interesting things to note about this particular group of cars:

  • First, they were all built before the restart of coupe production on February 12, 2001 after a 5 month hiatus between S52 and S54 models.
  • It’s absolutely confirmed that 2 of them have S54s and are considered 2001 model year cars, and they all have model year 2001 VINs ending in 1LK60xxx.
  • 7 of the 12 have paint colors only available in S54 cars yet are not marked as special orders like the S52 coupe in steel gray for example.
  • The only 2 coupes with Kiwi interior are in the list. Perhaps this was a color they were considering offering then changed their mind.
  • The list includes 2 of the 23 steel gray over imola red coupes I would love to have one of.
  • The list includes the only Laguna Seca Blue over Dark Beige Oregon coupe.
  • LK60004 appears to have (as far as I can tell from the photos) all the S54 coupe upgrades as outlined in my article “Year Makes All the Difference“, but it is unknown if any of the other cars were fully upgraded or have some combination of available options (or potentially never publicly available options). There’s a mention of LK60000 perhaps not having chrome shadow wheels, having flat rather than the later curved badges, black rather than chrome trimmed rear-view mirror, and relocation of the AC and recirclating  switches.

I guess there really is always something new to learn. If you own any of these cars, I would love to hear what you know about their history and any interesting trim pieces or options. Finally, if you’d like to own one of these very special cars, details of the car pictured above can be found here.

Update: I’m starting a list of the cars that I can confirm made it to the public. Let me now of any others you know about.

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Jon Martin
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