E36/7 M roadster
  History
Production Data
Drivetrain
Chassis
Cosmetics
Special Versions
Colors and Upholstery
   
 
Production Versions
CK91: European-spec S50 B32 (LHD), 09/96 through 06/00
CK92: European-spec S50 B32 (RHD), 11/97 through 06/00
CK93: North American-spec S52 B32 (LHD), 02/98 through 07/00
CL91: European-spec S54 (LHD), 02/01 through 05/02
CL92: European-spec S54 (RHD), 02/01 through 04/02
CL93: North American-spec S54 (LHD), 02/01 through 05/02
   
History
What makes the E36/7 M roadster unique?
The M roadster is the BMW M-developed version of the Z3 roadster. It uses one of three 24-valve six-cylinder engines originally developed by BMW M for the E36 M3 and E46 M3. It also has an M-tuned chassis and several unique cosmetic parts.
Where was the E36/7 M roadster first introduced?
The M roadster was first unveiled at the 1996 Geneva motor show, though production did not begin until later that year.
Where was the E36/7 M roadster built?
Like all Z3-based cars, every M roadster was assembled at the Spartanburg, South Carolina factory. The drivetrain was assembled in Germany and mated with the rest of the car at Spartanburg.
Production Data
How many versions of the E36/7 M roadster were developed?
The original M roadsters, with engines from the E36 M3, were built through June of 2000 in three different versions: European-specification (S50 engine) in both left- and right-hand drive, and North American-specification (S52 engine) in left-hand drive.

After having been discontinued for more than six months, a revised M roadster entered production in February of 2001. All three versions (European-spec/LHD, European-spec/RHD and North American-spec) utilize the S54 motor from the E46 M3.
How many of each version were produced?
CK91 (ECE-spec S50, LHD): 3,557 produced from 09/96 through 06/2000
CK92, (ECE-spec (S50, RHD): 918 produced from 11/97 through 06/2000
CK93 (NA-spec S52, LHD): 8,938 produced from 02/98 through 07/2000
CL91 (ECE-spec S54, LHD): 271 produced from 02/2001 through 05/2002
CL92 (ECE-spec S54, RHD): 73 produced from 02/2001 through 04/2002
CL93 (NA-spec S54, LHD): 1,565 produced from 02/2001 through 05/2002
What changed during the production of the original (S50 -and S52-powered) E36/7 M roadster?
The following items were introduced or modified during the several years that the S50- and S52-powered M roadsters were produced:
-ASC+T traction control added to the S52-powered model (9/98 production)
-Side impact airbags available in most markets (9/98 production)
-BMW Business RDS CD radio available as an option in North America (9/98 production)
-Alpine White III (300) and Dakar Yellow II (337) exterior colors available (9/98 production)
-Kyalami Orange + Black leather interior available (9/98 production)
-Soft top insulation upgraded (4/99 production)
-Chrome slats added to front "kidney" grilles (4/99 production)
-Chrome headlight surrounds added (4/99 production)
-Central locking upgraded to include the fuel door (4/99 production)
-Airbags upgraded to two-stage “smart” versions (4/99 production)
-Titanium Silver metallic (354) introduced in place of Arctic Silver metallic (309) (4/99 production)
-Oxford Green II metallic (430) introduced in place of Boston Green metallic (275) (4/99 production)
-Harmon Kardon audio system upgraded (7/99 production)
What changes were made to the E36/7 M roadster as of February 2001?
An updated M roadster entered production in February of 2001 with the following changes or additions:
-More powerful and advanced S54 engine for all markets (developed for the E46 M3)
-3.15:1 final drive for all markets
-Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) introduced
-Firmer suspension settings (adopted from those of the M coupe)
-Low tire pressure monitoring system introduced
-Revised gauges with gray backgrounds and revised graphics
-Reshaped rearview mirror with chrome surround and auto-dimming functiion
-Curved exterior M badges
-Chrome Shadow finish for the RoadStar alloy wheels
-Evergreen (358), Dakar Yellow II (337) and Cosmos Black metallic (303) paints discontinued
-Laguna Seca Blue (448), Phoenix Yellow metallic (445), Steel Gray metallic (400) and Black Sapphire matallic (475) paints available
-Evergreen + Black Nappa leather (Q6EV) and Kyalami Orange + Black Nappa leather (Q6KY) interiors discontinued
-Laguna Seca Blue + Black Nappa leather (Q6KY), Kiwi + Black Nappa leather (Q6OV) and Dark Beige Oregon leather (R3SN) interiors available (NOTE: Kiwi + Black Nappa leather not offered in North America)
How does the Canadian-spec E36/7 M roadster differ from the U.S. version?
Aside from minor changes to the instruments, the addition of daytime running lights and slight differences in equipment (standard "floating" brake rotors, optional headlight washers), the Canadian-spec M roadster is identical to the U.S. model.
Drivetrain
What are the differences between the S50 and S52 engines?
The North American-spec powerplant, known as the S52, is based closely on the regular production M52 six-cylinder engine. Like that motor, it has a cast iron block, aluminum cylinder head and four valves per cylinder, with two-stage VANOS variable valve timing on the intake strokes. Unique to the S52, however, is a larger bore of 86.4mm and a longer stroke of 89.6mm for a total displacement of 3,152cc. The engine is rated at 240 hp (SAE) at 6,000rpm and 236 lb/ft of torque at 3,800 rpm.

In addition to the larger displacement, the S52 utilizes the following special M components (compared to the M52):
-Ported and polished cylinder head
-Retuned VANOS variable valve timing for greater high-rpm power
-Heavy-duty valve springs
-More finely balanced camshafts
-Valve lifters, springs and spring seats with reduced mass
-Free-flowing intake and exhaust systems

The European-spec powerplant, known as the S50 B32, is a much more exotic unit. Like the S52, it also contains an iron block and aluminum cylinder head with four valves per cylinder. However, with a bore of 86.4mm and a stroke of 91mm, it has a total displacement of 3,201cc. The S50 B32 incorporates the following special features to allow it to produce an impressive 321 hp (DIN) at 7,400rpm and 258 lb/ft of torque at 3,250 rpm:
-Individual throttle plates for each cylinder
-Increased compression ratio to 11.3:1
-Advanced BMW/Siemens MSS50 engine management system able to compute 20 million instructions per second
-Double VANOS continuously variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust strokes
-Lightweight pistons
-Dual-mass flywheel
-Graphite-coated conrods
-Larger inlet valves
-Secondary oil pump pickup
What are the differences between the S50 and S54 engines?
The S54 powerplant of the later M roadsters is technically an evolution of the iron-block S50 B32 unit that is found in later Eruopean-spec E36 M3s, as well as all European-spec M roadsters and M coupes built through June of 2000. The two motors develop similar peak power ratings: 321 hp (DIN) at 7,400 rpm and 258 lb/ft of torque at 3,250 rpm for the S50 versus 325 hp (DIN) at 7,400 rpm and 261 lb/ft of torque at 4,900 rpm for the S54. However, they share few major components and differ in the following areas:
-Increased cylinder bore to 87mm (from 86.4mm) for a new total displacement of 3,246cc (from 3,201cc)
-Modified camshafts
-High pressure Double VANOS continuously variable valve timing system with faster operation at high rpm
-Increased compression to 11.5:1 (from 11.3:1)
-More advanced BMW/Siemens MSS 54 engine management control
-Finger-type rocker arms for reduced reciprocating mass and friction
-One-piece aluminum head casting for lighter weight
-Scavenging oil pump to maintain pressure during heavy cornering

The S50 B32 engine can be identified by the "BMW M Power" inscription on its cam cover, while the S54 motor contains only the "M" badge.
What types of electronic traction or stability control systems are fitted to the E36/7 M roadster?
All S50-powered M roadsters, as well as S52-powered examples produced before 9/98, are not equipped with any kind of electronic traction or stability control system. However, beginning with the 1999 model year, S52-powered M roadsters are equipped with Automatic Stability Control plus Traction (ASC+T) as standard equipment. The system applies the brakes and/or reduces engine power whenever sensors detect a loss of traction. ASC+T can be deactivated via a switch on the center console.

A more advanced system known as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) is fitted to all S54-powered versions of the M roadster. In addition to minimizing traction loss like ASC+T, DSC compensates for oversteer and understeer through manipulation of each individual brake as determined by sensors measuring steering angle, vehicle speed, cornering force, brake pressure and the vehicle’s rotation around its vertical axis. The system is fully integrated with the BMW/Siemens MSS 54 engine management control, and its intervention can also be switched off via a console-mounted button.
What kind of gearbox does the E36/7 M roadster have?
All M roadsters use the ZF Type C five-speed manual gearbox with the following ratios: 4.21 (1), 2.49 (2), 1.66 (3), 1.24 (4), 1.00 (5). The final drive is either 3.23:1 (S52) or 3.15:1 (S50 and S54). A limited slip differential with a maximum locking of 25 percent is standard on all versions.
Chassis
How does the chassis of the E36/7 M roadster differ from that of the standard Z3 roadster?
Like all Z3s, the M roadster’s suspension is made up of MacPherson struts in the front and semi-trailing arms in the rear. However, compared to the six-cylinder Z3 roadster, the M roadster has the following modifications:
-Wider front and rear tracks (by 0.4-inches)
-Reduced ride height (by 1.1-inches)
-Modified front suspension geometry
-Firmer springs and shocks
-Thicker anti-roll bars
-Stronger semi-trailing arms
-Reinforced subframe
How does the chassis of the S54-powered E36/7 M roadster differ from that of the earlier versions?
When the M roadster switched to the S54 engine (2/01 production), the chassis was upgraded to the even stiffer springs and shocks developed for the M coupe.
What type of brakes does the E36/7 M roadster have?
The M roadster adopted the brakes from the contemporary E36 M3, four-wheel vented discs measuring 12.4-inches in the front and 12.3-inches in the rear. In addition, all M roadsters except those produced for the U.S. market were equipped with two-piece “floating” front rotors.
Why was the U.S. market denied the “floating” front brake rotors?
The U.S. market was denied the more efficient two-piece rotors offered in the rest of the world because BMW of North America was concerned that, if not properly maintained, the rotors presented the possibility of failing, thus creating a legal liability. However, M roadsters produced for the Canadian market were equipped with the floating rotors.
What are the factory wheel and tire sizes for the E36/7 M roadster?
All M roadsters use the same size tires (225/45ZR17 in the front and 245/40ZR17 in the rear) mounted on one of two versions of the five-spoke "M RoadStar" alloy wheel. Both are sized 7.5x17-inch (front) and 9x17-inch (rear), but there are two distinct finishes: Early M roadsters (S50 and S52 engines) feature a Chromeline finish, while the later models (S54 engine) utilize a darker Chrome Shadow finish.
Cosmetics
What distinguishes an E36/7 M roadster cosmetically from a normal Z3?
The M roadster is based on the wider six-cylinder Z3 roadster body, but adds a more aggressive front fascia with brake cooling ducts in place of foglights, unique side gill vents with the M logo, chrome windshield washer nozzles, curved M side-view mirrors, a lower rear bumper with four exposed exhaust tips and a repositioned rear license plate (located between the taillights instead of within the bumper). NOTE: The M roadster was never updated to the reshaped rear fenders and taillights introduced on all other Z3 roadsters in April of 1999.
What differentiates the exterior of an S54-powered E36/7 M roadster from the earlier model?
Only two items differentiate the exterior of the S54-powered M roadster from that of the earlier versions: the Chrome Shadow finish of the M RoadStar alloy wheels and the subtly curved shape of the various "M" badges.
How does the North American-spec E36/7 M roadster differ cosmetically from the European version?
The North American-spec version of the M roadster is cosmetically very similar to the European version, but can be identified by its amber side marker lights (and turn signal lenses on cars built before September of 1998) in the front bumper, “free form” headlights in place of the ellipsoid units and twin side-mounted rear license plate illumination lights instead of the single bumper-mounted design.
What distinguishes the interior of the E36/7 M roadster from that of a normal Z3?
The interior of the M roadster includes several unique items: a chrome-ringed instrument cluster featuring red needles and the M logo on the tachmoter, three auxiliary chrome-ringed gauges in the center console, heated sport seats with special pleated leather trim (monotone black or two-tone), a 375mm three-spoke M steering wheel with tri-color stitching and color-matched accetns, an illuminated M leather shift knob with the M logo on the shift pattern and chrome boot surround, an oval-shaped rear-view mirror, Nappa leather door pulls and center console trim, chrome interior door handles and door sill plates with the "M" logo.
What differentiates the interior of an S54-powered E36/7 M roadster from that of the earlier models?
Compared to the earlier versions, the only significant alterations to the interior of the S54-powered M roadster are grey instrument faces with a revised typeface, plus a smaller rear-view mirror featuring a chrome surround and auto-dimming function.
How do the interiors of European-spec and North American-spec E36/7 M roadsters differ?
The only major item that differs between European-spec and North American-spec M roadsters is the instrumentation: On early (pre-S54) models, European-spec cars have a 280 kph/170 mph speedometer and a tachometer that reflects the 7,200-rpm redline of the S50 motor, while North American-spec models have a 160-mph/260 kph speedometer and a tachometer with a redline graduated between 6,500 and 7,000 rpm to reflect the variable redline of the S52 engine. And though all M roadsters include an analog clock and oil temperature gauge in the center console, the auxiliary instrument panel of S50-powered M roadsterscontains an outside temperature display, while the auxiliary instrument panel of S52-powered M roadsters contains a voltmeter. (NOTE: early-production S52 M roadsters were delivered with a passenger-side airbag deactivation switch in the central gauge position instead of the voltmeter, though one could later be substituted by a BMW dealer at the request of an owner.)

On all S54-powered M roadsters sold worldwide, the grey-faced instruments include a speedometer that is graduated up to 280 kph/170 mph, a tachometer with a 7,600-rpm redline and an outside temperature gauge in the auxiliary instrument cluster.
What factory options were offered on the E36/7 M roadster?
Depending on the market and production date, factory options for the M roadster included side airbags, headlight washers, power front seats, cruise control, power folding roof and the Harmon/Kardon audio system.
Special Versions
Are there any official special editions of the E36/7 M roadster?
No official special editions of the E36/7 M roadster were produced by BMW M GmbH. However, BMW Canada did offer a special edition of 12 identical 2000 M roadsters with BMW Individual Velvet Blue metallic paint and a BMW Individual Ink Blue + Black Nappa leather interior that included a bi-color Ink Blue + Black M steering wheel.
Color and Upholstery Selections


The following chart lists all regularly available paint colors for the E36/7 M roadster.

PAINT NAME CODE MODEL AVAILABILITYPRODUCTION PERIOD
Alpine White III 300 CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1998 through 05/2002
Bright Red 314 CK91, CK9209/1996 through 08/1998
Imola Red II 405 CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9312/1997 through 05/2002
Dakar Yellow II 337 CK91, CK92, CK9309/1998 through 07/2000
Evergreen 358 CK91, CK92, CK9309/1996 through 07/2000
Laguna Seca Blue 448 CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002
Cosmos Black metallic 303 CK91, CK92, CK9309/1996 through 07/2000
Black Sapphire metallic 475 CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002
Arctic Silver metallic 309 CK91, CK92, CK9309/1996 through 03/1999
Titanium Silver metallic 354 CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9304/1999 through 05/2002
Estoril Blue metallic 335 CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1996 through 05/2002
Boston Green metallic 275 CK91, CK92, CK9309/1996 through 03/1999
Oxford Green II metallic 430 CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9304/1999 through 05/2002
Steel Grey metallic 400 CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002
Phoenix Yellow metallic 445 CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002


The following chart lists all regularly available upholstery colors for the E36/7 M roadster.

UPHOLSTERY NAME CODE MODEL AVAILABILITYPRODUCTION PERIOD
Black Nappa leather Q6SW CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1996 through 05/2002
Dark Grey + Black Nappa leather Q6TT CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1996 through 05/2002
Imola Red + Black Nappa leather Q6IM CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1996 through 05/2002
Estoril Blue + Black Nappa leather Q6ES CK91, CK92, CK93, CL91, CL92, CL9309/1996 through 05/2002
Laguna Seca Blue + Black Nappa Q6LS CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002
Evergreen + Black Nappa leather Q6EV CK91, CK92, CK9309/1996 through 07/2000
Kyalami Orange + Black Nappa leather Q6KY CK91, CK92, CK93 (USA only)09/1998 through 07/2000
Kiwi + Black Nappa leather Q6OV CL91, CL9202/2001 through 05/2002
Dark Beige Nappa + Oregon leather R3SN CL91, CL92, CL9302/2001 through 05/2002


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