YSE Car of the Week: 2001 BMW M Roadster

Justin Crenshaw
by Justin Crenshaw
yse car of the week 2001 bmw m roadster

For YSE (Your Shitty Economy) Car of the Week, we feature the first true competitor to the Porsche Boxster in the German Roadster Wars: the BMW M Roadster. When it was new (launched 1998), $42K bought you a 240 hp straight-six powered Palmetto pistol. The S54 engine, introduced in 01, provided an extra 75hp, but used examples netted an additional $8000-$10,000. Not any more! Prices for a pre-thrashed S54 Z3 M Roadster have sunk below the $20K mark. It survives as one of the last great driver’s cars. You know: the kind of vehicle that threatens to kill you should your nerve/skill/luck run out. Nav system, auto-HVAC, xenon lights, memory seats? Nope. The Z3 M Roadster put the Spartan in Spartanburg. But the two-door delivers plenty of raw driving feel, perfect for the smaller driver on a mountain road on a sunny day. Only 1600 S54 M Roadsters (and 690 M coupes) were produced, so off you go. [ autotrader]

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  • Maxhavoc Maxhavoc on Jul 17, 2009

    I agree with 01S54 I am the proud owner of my second M Roadster which is a 2001. I drove my 1999 M Roadster for 85K as hard as any car could be driven and the only problem I ever had was a bad belt tensioner (cost about $30.00). My current M Roadster has 38k and smokes everything on the track except for some heavily modified cars. S2000's, Miata's, 350Z's and Mustangs only get in may way. Since there were only 1600 of these made most people don't know what the hell they are talking about because they obviously never owned one. Yes an article in Road and Track or Car and Driver (I can't remember which) called the suspension outdated but in that same article the car still posted the fasted lap time out of the 3 cars tested. In my book the fastest car is the fastest car period! This was the car that Tiff Needle used to demonstrate car handling dynamics and filmed the video using his own personal car. Having anything but praise for one of these magnificent machines would immediately expose you as a want a be poser to any professional driver.

  • Anucci Anucci on Jul 28, 2009

    I am about to purchase a 2001 M Roadster with 11k miles. I have lusted after this car since they first came out. I am buying this car as a sunny day car (actually the 3rd car in my stable, the other two being a 2007 M5 and a 2006 Cayman S). This car and the e36 M coupe were the last true drivers cars BMW ever put out. They are limited in production and they will be collectors cars one day. They are raw, loud, unforgiving and beautiful. I am a track junkie (I won't take this one on the track because it is too rare of a car) and see these cars raced all the time (just look at any BMW club race). Nervous/twitchy at the limit? Sure, it is a short wheelbase powerful car. Learn how to drive. I have owned German cars all of my life (I am now 47) and have never had a problem. Yes, they require more care and maintenance, but well worth it. For those touting the Miata and Nissan Z cars, get a clue. Those cars are appliances. Toasters. I can't wait until my car is delivered next week. Good day.

  • AlbertaAviator AlbertaAviator on Aug 30, 2009

    I am on my second BMW Z3 my present being the 2001 M Roadster with the S54 engine putting out 330hp. I was in BC driving along the windy Transcanada highway last week and I was passing guys on Suzuki GSXRs and alike as if standing still. 220kmh or 135mph and the car was asking for more. It was as stable at 220kmh as it was at 80kmh. NOTHING and NO ONE has ever passed me in this car. 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds which is faster than most "sports cars". Take the DSC off and get ready to buy some new tires because just a little pressure on the gas from a stand still will get the tires smoking. Any Moe Moe can put a car down but until you drive one of these babies for a week or so you should keep your opinions to the cars looks because thats all you'll know. I have read articles that state the 2001 & 2002 M Roadsters will likely follow the path of the AC Cobra in collector status, if you own one hold on to it as it will likely be worth a bundle in 16 0r 17 years. Take Care A Guy Who Knows!

  • Texastart Texastart on Oct 01, 2009

    Mabel is my 01 M roadster. (why did I think she had 315hp? is it 315 or 330). I need new tires. My pilot sports made it to 30K miles and now have steel showing thru. Am I supposed to put on a certain BMW recommended tire or can I put on a harder rubber compound for longer wear? I was thinking about a dunlop I saw online that got 5 stars...or the michelin a/s plus.