Back in 2006, BMW M put out one of its best looking, most interesting cars of the modern BMW era and it seems that everyone’s forgotten. We all talk about cars like the E46 M3, E60 M5, and even the E90 M3 from that era. However, very few enthusiasts talk about the E86-generation Z4 M and that’s a damn shame. So we’re here to remind you of the Z4 M Coupe and why it was such a special car.
The BMW Z4 M Coupe was designed under the watchful eye of Chris Bangle and it’s still one of the best looking M cars of all time. Its long hood and short rear deck are reminiscent of classic sports cars from a bygone era and it still looks modern today. Even better, it puts its driver almost on top of the rear axle, which makes the Z4 feel like its rotating around your hips. Obviously, the current Z4 is similar but its proportions are quite as sporty as the old E86 version.
Under that long hood was the same S54 3.2-liter naturally aspirated in line-six engine as the E46 M3. Except, in the Z4 M, it makes a bit about the same power, pumping it up to 338 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, 0-60 mph happened in 5.0 seconds flat. That naturally aspirated inline-six might not have made it the most powerful sports car in its class but it made up for that with charming good looks and sharp handling. That engine was also only paired to a six-speed manual and was only rear-wheel drive, making it the antithesis is modern M cars.
It was a truly unique little Bimmer during a unique time when BMW took more risks than it does now. A car like the E86 Z4 M flat out would not happen in today’s era of BMW, which is what makes it so special. It was the last BMW Z car to wear a genuine M badge.
Bangle’s time at BMW isn’t looked back on fondly by many enthusiasts, with most bemoaning cars like the E65 7 Series and E60 5 Series. However, many enthusiasts seem to forget that some really cool, gorgeous cars came out under Bangle’s watch and the Z4 M was one of them. It also had a completely unique interior, one that shared very little with the rest of BMW’s lineup, just like the current Z4. Fans who want a special M car that looks completely unique and sports one of the brand’s all-time great engines should look to the Z4 M coupe.