2002 BMW M Coupe 3.2 petrol


Bonkers, but wonderful


Terminal sounding rattle from engine compartment. Turned out to be nothing more than a loose heat shield.

No other faults.

General Comments:

Totally superb hooligan coupe that looks weird, but goes like stink and handles beautifully.

Best production car engine ever (100 bhp / litre with normal aspiration and no on/off VTEC nonsense). It does have VANOS variable valve timing, but it's not all or nothing like many of the Japanese efforts. Screams past 8,000 RPM with a metallic snarl that just makes you grin.

What I love most about it though is it depends on the driver to stay out of trouble rather than diluting the experience with a bunch of idiot-aid electronics. You just get a brilliantly balanced chassis, as much power as you can reasonably use on the road, and steering and brakes that brim with feel and progression. If you overstep the mark, it will bite you hard, and if you crash it, it's your own stupid fault. I despair at some of the other reviews / comments on here that slate this car for its propensity to spin when provoked. BMW should be commended for their purist approach - if you don't like it, take a driving course or as one M Roadster reviewer said, buy a 318i.

It's not cheap to insure, and even with gentle use it rarely betters 25 mpg average. Not economical then, but for a car capable of 0-60 in well under 5 seconds, it's not too bad. Apart from an odd rattle when the car was just a couple of months old, it has proven totally reliable, and still feels as tight and fresh as the day I picked it up.

If you like your cars very, very powerful, RWD, beautifully engineered and dependent on the driver rather than electronics or conservative chassis geometry to stay on the black stuff, this is the car for you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th August, 2003

28th Aug 2003, 09:34

I have to say that I think you are a little confused over how your car runs??

I have a 2002 M Coupe, which officially does 0 - 60 in 5secs of 0 - 62 in 5.4secs, so it may be a little ambitious to say it does 0 - 60 in well under 5secs.

Also you say it pushes through 8000 rpm, mine hits its rev limiter at 7,900 rpm, which annoyed me immensely as it goes in the red at 7,650 rpm so I should not have been up in that sort of rev range in the first place. So how you are getting yours to go over that amazes me, perhaps you should have it checked?

The car is brutal and absolutely should be respected otherwise it will bite you hard even with traction control.

27th Oct 2003, 06:10

You both mention that the car will bite you hard; my experience is that when you do reach the limits of the car's grip, the breakaway is smooth and progressive allowing even an amateur like me to catch it with ease. In my view, this also makes the car much safer than my old E36 M3 which had acres of understeer (as dialled-in by BMW)!.

9th Mar 2004, 11:19

I'm not at all confused about how my car runs.

I've never timed the 0-60, but EVO magazine figured theirs at 4.3 seconds. I've not seen a magazine review anywhere quoting anything higher than 4.7. So my comment of "well under 5 seconds" stands.

Mine revs past 8,000 RPM, at least if the rev counter is remotely accurate. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does, and as it has now done 56,000 miles, it's obviously not causing any problems. I'm not about to get it looked at, as as far as I am concerned there's nothing wrong with it.

To the last commenter, the car is easy to catch as powerful RWD cars go, but my comments were directed at the nanny state morons who moan that they can't drive it boot-to-floor without having to do something other than sit there and doze off. If you aren't expecting the car to drive itself, like most modern "sports cars", it's easy enough to drive and it's rewarding.

1st Apr 2004, 22:41

I'm thinking of purchasing one of these cars. My brother has a Z3 and I slid out of control going 40-50mph on an offramp. The roads were wet, but I want to know if this car has better control in some situations.

2002 BMW M Coupe 3.2


Awesome motor! Seriously quick!


The drivers door mirror will not adjust all the way out, apart from that, NOTHING!

General Comments:

Very fast, loads of low down grunt!

You hardly every have to change gear on this car as it has so much power. 5th gear on a motorway is all you need, when you put your foot down at 80mph, you can feel the torque wind in nicely.

Definitely a licence loser of a car, you need to be well disciplined or have some form of speed camera detector, just in case!

This car is an awesome little package of high performance and serious handling.

With the Dynamic Stability Control switched on, the car is fairly forgiving, however you need to be repectful of the power in the wet, nice light throttle movements.

The brakes are amazing! After a couple of days I managed to stop banging peoples heads of the dash, you literally need the weight of a shoe to stop, no leg muscles required!

Great car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2003

24th May 2003, 10:15

Me again, I have to say since writing this review my car has let me down.

It has just had the oil pump and big end bearings replaced and she is tapping quite loudly now. I missed a recall that went out for the oil pumps on the S54 M Power engine, which can also be found in the M3. So I now have an engine that has been pulled to bits and rebuilt.

For some reason the car just does not seem the same to me.


16th Jan 2004, 09:37

Yes, the engine seems to be very vulnerable. I read many reports from engine breakdowns. Then there is the short transmission ratio. When driving flat out on German autobahns revs go beyond good and evil. Especially when the speed limiter is disabled. Bad luck BMW constructed sheer transient driving pleasure.