Gone but certainly not forgotten, the BMW Z3 M Coupe is one of the quirkiest M cars ever made, and also one of the rarest. Only 6,791 units were built, but just 1,112 examples had the more desirable S54 engine sourced from the M3 E46. The earlier ones had the S50 from the M3 E36 and made 321 horsepower whereas the later ones manufactured from September 2001, as is the case with this car, packed 325 hp.
How much power is there left in this inline-six 3.2-liter engine after a couple of decades? Well, you’d be surprised to hear the “clown shoe” is still virtually as potent as it was in the early 2000s. The folks over at Evolve Automotive bought one of the S54-powered Z3 M Coupes back in September and now they’ve put it on a dyno to see whether it has lost power after all these years.
The highest of the three runs showed a peak horsepower of 323, thus practically the same official rating from BMW back in the day. As far as torque is concerned, the six-cylinder engine generated a maximum of 269.4 pound-feet (365 Newton-meters), which is actually a tad more than the 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) found in the specs sheet.
Riding on a lovely set of BBS wheels, the two-door, two-seat shooting brake Bavarian oddity is in the process of getting more power courtesy of aftermarket upgrades. Evolve Automotive believes it will extract somewhere in the region of 360 hp after installing a new airbox, headers, and exhaust system. That might not sound like much by today’s standards, but bear in mind the Z3 M Coupe is a light car. In stock form, it tips the scales a just 1,270 kilograms (2,800 pounds).
It also happens to be one of the smallest M cars ever since it was only 4,025 millimeters (158.4 inches) long, and while its design was controversial back in the day, dare we say it has aged gracefully. The side chrome grills inspired by the 507 Roadster are an exquisite retro touch, and let’s keep in mind that along with the roadster, these were among the first M cars with quad exhausts.
[Source: Evolve Automotive / YouTube]