BMW M Coupe : 2001

Only 678 made with the S54 engine for 2001 and 2002 combined.
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MSRP Engine HP Manufactured
n/a S54 3.2 Liter inline 6 M3 engine 332.0 2001 - 2002
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The S54 M Coupe. The rarest car BMW has produced in decades.

For the USA, there were 2,180 M Coupes built with the S52 motor and 678 with the S54 motor (01-02) for a total of 2,858 models.

In 2001, there were only 451 Titanium Silver cars with the black napa interior built with a sunroof and 93 with the sunroof delete option for a total of 544 vehicles.

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2001 BMW M Coupe.

BMW Fast Facts info.
What’s new for 2001 M roadster & coupe. Both models As of 2/01 production:
• All-new BMW M S54 engine, delivering 315 hp vs. previous 240 hp –
• All-new cylinder head with unique valvetrain, High-Pressure Double VANOS1 variable valve timing, electronically controlled individual throttles
• Unique fabricated stainless-steel exhaust headers
• High-performance lubrication and cooling systems
• Unique electronic control system, developed by BMW M
• Increased displacement
• High-rpm concept (7600-rpm limit, peak power at 7400 rpm)
• Taller final drive ratio (3.15:1, vs. previous 3.23:1)
• New, firmer calibration of suspension; now identical for roadster and coupe
• Dynamic Stability Control 2
• New Satin Chrome finish for wheels, as on M3 and M5 (RoadStar design unchanged)
• Tire Pressure Monitoring 2
• 2nd-generation M Mobility System
• Updated M logo, as on M3 and M5
• New exterior colors: Laguna Seca Blue, Phoenix Yellow, Steel Gray and Black Sapphire, all metallics
• New interior color combination: Laguna Seca Blue/Black
• New instrument dials with gray background; speedometer reads to 170 mph, tachometer to 9000 rpm
• New servo-motor drives for speedometer and tachometer; ultra-fast drive for tachometer
• Outside-temperature gauge replaces voltmeter in console instrumentation
• Console switches newly arranged; DSC and Tire Pressure Monitoring switches new
• Inside rearview mirror has new chrome frame

What makes this car special you ask?
Its the fastest car BMW has ever produced (up to that date). Its been called names, and it seems to be the black sheep of the BMW family. It never received a marketing push from BMW, it was relegated to sell itself on its own merrits. Of the 2870 M coupes that were produced from 1998-2002, only 690 were produced with the S54 Engine from the E46 M3. In this much smaller and more agile car, we find it is a brutal combination.

The M coupe was designed by a team of engineers in the basement of some hall somewhere in Germany. Its one purpose was to be the track. The design was by engineers, and is free from the quirky and awkward styling of the current range of Bimmers. Form follows function on the M coupe, and because of this its design is at best polarizing among those who actually know what it is.

What makes the M coupe unique?
The M coupe is the BMW M-developed version of the Z3 coupe. 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 M coupe first introduced?
The M coupe was first unveiled at the 1997 Frankfurt motor show, though production did not begin until the following year.

Where was the M coupe produced?
Like all Z3-based cars, every M coupe was assembled at the Spartanburg, South Carolina factory. The drivetrain was assembled in Germany and mated with the rest of the car at Spartanburg.

What's the story behind the M coupe's development?
The M coupe was developed under the leadership of engineer Burkhard Goschel with the intention of adding increased torsional and structural rigidity to the Z3 roadster's chassis. The development team had a hard time convincing the Board of Directors to approve the model for production, but it was eventually given the green light as long as it remained cost-effective to produce. To achieve this goal, as many body panels as possible had to be shared with the roadster, thus the doors and everything from the A-pillar forward are interchangeable between the coupe and roadster, as are most interior parts. The Z3 coupe, which mates the M coupe's body with the standard Z3 drivetrain, chassis and cosmetics was approved for production at the same time.

Production Data.
How many versions of the M coupe are there?
The original M coupes, 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 coupe entered production in February, 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?
ECE S50 (LHD): 2,178 built from 04/98 thru 06/2000
ECE S50 (RHD): 821 built from 08/98 thru 06/2000
NA S52 (LHD): 2,180 built from 07/98 thru 06/2000
ECE S54 (LHD): 281 built from 02/2001 thru 05/2002
ECE S54 (RHD): 168 built from 02/2001 thru 05/2002
NA S54 (LHD): 690 built from 02/2001 thru 05/2002

What changed during the production of the original (S50 and S52-powered) M coupe?
The following items were introduced or modified during the several years that the S50- and S52-powered M coupes were produced:
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).

What changes were made to the M coupe starting with February, 2001 production?

The updated M coupe entered production in February, 2001 with the following changes:
More powerful and advanced S54 engine (developed for the E46 M3).
3.15:1 final drive for all markets.
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
Low tire pressure monitoring system.
Revised gauges with gray backgrounds.
Reshaped rearview mirror with auto-dimming and chrome surround (in some markets).
Curved exterior M badges.
RoadStar alloy wheels with Chrome Shadow finish.
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 introduced.
Evergreen/Black and Kyalami Orange/Black interiors discontinued.
Laguna Seca Blue/Black interior introduced.

What are the differences between a U.S.-spec M coupe and a Canadian version?
Aside from minor changes to the instruments and controls (daytime running lights, metric instrumentation, etc.) and slight differences in equipment (such as optional headlight washers), the Canadian M coupe is identical to the U.S. model.

How do the original European-spec and North American-spec M coupes differ mechanically?
BMW M developed two versions of the original M coupe, one for the European market (in both left- and right-hand-drive) and one for the North American market. The European-spec model is fitted with the 321-hp (DIN) S50 B32 powerplant, as used in the European version of the E36 M3. North American-spec M coupes utilize the 240-hp (SAE) S52 engine, as found in the North American iteration of the E36 M3. Both versions have identical ZF five-speed manual gearboxes, but the North American version is the only one fitted with BMW's ASC+T traction control system. Also, the European-spec M coupe is electronically governed to 155 mph, while the North American version is limited to 137 mph.

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 engine. Like that motor, the S52 is a six-cylinder with a cast iron block, aluminum head and four valves per cylinder, with two-stage VANOS variable valve timing on the intake strokes. Unique to the S52 is a bore of 86.4mm and 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:
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. With a bore of 86.4mm and a stroke of 91mm, the S50 B32 has a total displacement of 3,201cc. Like the S52, it has an iron block and aluminum head with four valves per cylinder. However, 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.
Second oil pump.

What are the differences between the S50 and S54 engines?
The S54 powerplant of the later M coupes is technically an evolution of the iron-block S50 B32 unit used in all European-spec M coupes built through June of 2000. Although the peak power and torque of the S54 (325 hp at 7,400 rpm and 261 lb/ft of torque at 4,900 rpm) are barely increased compared to the S50 B32 (321 hp at 7,400 rpm and 258 lb/ft of torque at 3,250 rpm), they share few major components and differ in many areas including:
Increased cylinder bore to 87mm (from 86.1mm) 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 unit can be is identified by the "BMW M Power" inscription on its cam cover, while the S54 version contains only the "M" badge.

Aside from the S54 engine, how is the drivetrain of the revised M coupe altered?
The other major addition to the revised M coupe is an M-tuned version of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) for all markets. An evolution of Automatic Stability Control plus Traction (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 be reduced or completely eliminated via a console-mounted button.

How do the revised European-spec and North American-spec M coupes differ mechanically?
All of the updated M coupes sold worldwide are powered by the S54 engine, as used in the E46 M3. European-spec versions are rated at 325 hp (DIN), while North American versions produce 315 hp (SAE), which translates to about 320 hp (DIN). The small loss in power can be attributed to the more restrictive placement of the catalysts on North American-spec cars in order to improve cold-start emissions. All S54-powered M coupes have an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph (earlier M coupes were limited to 137 mph for North America) but only the Euro-spec cars have the two-piece "floating" brake rotors.

What kind of gearbox does the M coupe have?
All M coupes 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.

How is the M coupe's chassis different from that of the standard Z3 coupe?
Like all Z3s, the M coupe's suspension is made up of MacPherson struts in the front and semi-trailing arms in the rear. However, compared to the Z3 coupe, the M coupe 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 much stiffer is the M coupe compared to the M roadster?
The M coupe has a static structural stiffness of 16,400 Newton-meters per degree of twist, which is 2.6 times as twist-resistant as the roadster. BMW claims this makes the structural stiffness higher than any other model it has ever produced. Dynamic stiffness is rated at 29.2 Hz, the same as an E36 M3 coupe.

How is the M coupe's chassis different on the S54-powered model?
There are no chassis differences between the original M coupe and those with the later S54 engine.

What size brakes does the M coupe have?
The M coupe 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, European-spec cars have two-piece "floating" front rotors.

Why was the North American market denied the "floating" rotors?
The North American market was denied the more efficient two-piece rotors of the Euro-spec M roadster because BMW of North America was concerned that, if not properly maintained, the rotors presented the possibility of failing, thus creating a legal liability.

What are the factory wheel and tire sizes?
All M coupes use the same size tires (225/45ZR17 in the front and 245/40ZR17 in the rear) and one of two versions of the five-spoke "M RoadStar" alloy wheels. Both styles are sized 7.5x17-inch (front) and 9x17-inch (rear), but on early M coupes (S50 and S52 engines) they have a Chromeline finish, while the later models (S54 engine) utilize a Chrome Shadow finish.

What distinguishes an M coupe cosmetically from a normal Z3 coupe?
The M coupe is based on the Z3 coupe 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 relocated rear license plate (located between the taillights instead of within the bumper).

What differentiates the exterior of an S54-powered M coupe from the earlier model?
The exterior of the S54-powered M coupe shares all of its body panels with that of the earlier version. Only the curved M badges and RoadStar alloy wheels with Chrome Shadow finish are unique to the newer model. It is also available in several exterior colors shared with the E46 M3: Laguna Seca Blue (448), Steel Gray metallic (400) and Phoenix Yellow metallic (445).

How is the North American-spec M coupe cosmetically different from the European version?
The North American-spec version of the M coupe is cosmetically very similar to the European version, but can be identified by its amber side marker lights 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 an M coupe's interior from that of a normal Z3 coupe?
The interior of the M coupe features several unique items including a chrome-ringed instrument cluster with red needles and the M logo, three auxiliary chrome-ringed gauges in the center console, power and heated sport seats with special pleated leather trim (monotone black or two-tone), a 375mm three-spoke M steering wheel with tri-color stitching, an illuminated M leather shift knob with the M logo on the shift pattern and a chrome boot surround, an oval-shaped rear-view mirror, leather door pulls and center console trim, chrome inside door handles, and door sill plates with the "M" logo.

What differentiates the interior of an S54-powered M coupe from the earlier model?
The most significant alteration to the interior of the revised M coupe is the addition of grey-faced gauges. In some markets, there is also a smaller auto-dimming rear-view mirror with chrome surround. Finally, two interior color combinations (Evergreen/Black and Kyalami Orange/Black) are discontinued on the newer model, while the Laguna Seca Blue/Black combination is available.

How are the European-spec and North American-spec M coupe interiors different?
The interior of all M coupes are essentially identical except for the instruments. In the main cluster, early Euro-spec cars have a 280 kph/170 mph speedometer and a tachometer that reflects the S50 engine's 7,200-rpm redline, while North American 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 S52 engine's variable redline. In the center console, European models have an outside temperature gauge instead of the voltmeter used in North American editions. The later S54-powered M coupes all have essentially the same grey-faced instruments, including a 280 kph/170 mph speedometer and an outside temperature gauge (Fahrenheit on U.S. models, Celsius for all others).

All M coupes sold in North America are equipped with cruise control and the Harmon/Kardon audio system, optional features in some other markets.

What are the factory options for the M Coupe?
Compared to other M models, there are only slight variations in standard and optional equipment for the M coupe, depending on the market and production date. Because all M coupes have leather upholstery, air conditioning, power seats with two-stage heating and a rear partition net and cargo cover, the list of options is short. In general, it includes cruise control (standard in some markets), a tilting glass moonroof and various audio systems.

(pictures and texts are copyrights to BMW Registry and other pictures are copyrights of their respective companies and authors.)

(source: Z3 M Coupe)

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2001 BMW M Coupe. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe S54 engine. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe interior. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe interior. (photo by Shiny Side)

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2001 BMW M Coupe interior - M steering wheel. (photo by Shiny Side)

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BMW M is a subsidiary of German car manufacturer BMW AG created "M" in May of 1972. BMW M, is also known as M-Technik or just "M" (for Motorsport).

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2001 BMW M Coupe illustration by Jack Pumphrey.

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This has nothing to do with the car and everything to do with the car dealer.

A little background.
As I mentioned above, I always wanted this car and I looked for this specific year, color and condition for over two years.

Purely by accident, I found it one suburb away from Chicago and went to see it as soon as I could. I fell in love with it for obvious reasons, but additionally because the guy who owned it before me was a FREAK about keeping it this new. It only had 10,300 miles and I swear it was the newest used car i have ever seen, and I have bought alot of cars.

Three weeks or so before I bought it, he ran over a nail and got a flat on the rear passenger side. Instead of repairing the tire, he went off and got, not only a new one for that wheel, but new tires aall the way around. (to keep the balance of the car).

He shopped around, got prices and then decided, hey, I am just going to go to my BMW dealer (Fields) and have them do it since that is what they do.

So he calls them and schedules an appointment. When he gets there, he does his "walk around" and has them review the car for zero defects anywhere, and gets it in writing. He additionally states that he knows that he could have gotten the tires cheaper at TireRack, but he wanted the dealer to do it in the hopes that the installation would be done in a careful manner.

They agree and proceed to do the work. He comes back at the end of the day, walks around the car and immediately sees a scratch on the rear passenger wheel.

After hours of back and forth (and I keep this short so as to not bore you to death) they agree to replace the wheel.

I now come into the picture and buy the car from him, but he agrees to continue to follow up with the dealer so I can get the wheel instead.

He does. Schedules me to go to the dealer (he tells him I am a friend who is simply taking the car in) and I go.

Before I go, I call to make sure the wheel is in. They tell me it is.

I had a 9:30 appointment. I get there, and right away they start trying to worm out of the already agreed wheel replacement telling me that they would just repair it.

I stay firm and remind them of all the written agreements and throw at them all of the names of the people we had spoken with on this matter... so they agree.

They ask me to wait in the lounge and i do until 11:56 am. (for a wheel!)

They pull the car out, i go thru my walk-around and to my shock, i see they put the wrong color wheel on the car. I could not believe what I was looking at, so I call the manager.

To my further astonishment, he tells me it IS the proper wheel and that my other three wheels are just dirty. I tell him he is wrong, but he insists and suggests they go wash the car so he can prove it to me.

They go wash that car. After another 30 minutes have gone by, the car returns and he says... "Oh, I guess it is different".

I remind him that this 2001 (and 2002) came with a "satin finish" wheel, unlike the prevoius years' silver color, and they they HAVE THE WRONG WHEEL. He continues to insist they did nothing wrong and that they order by the serial number.

So I say, I want a new wheel, and I want them to put on the old wheel back on the car (because there is no way I am going to drive around with different wheels on the car for weeks while they get another wheel), and ask them to do it as fast as posssible since I had already wasted half a day.

He says... "Oh, we can't do that right now".


He goes on to explain that the entire service depeartment has gone off for a one hour union meeting (instead of doing it after hours because they would have to pay them overtime) and the place was shut down.

I had to sit there for an hour until they got back. And if that's not bad enough, I see the fucking around in the back room as if i wasn't even there.

I go see the manager again, and they start on my wheel, and deliver the car to me. After another 15 minutes of reviewing the next steps, i get the hell out of there and go home.

Three weeks go by and I call my contact to see if the new wheel is in. He says yes, so I say, look, just send it to me via messenger and I will take care of having it installed somewhere else. He agrees (to my surprise) and sends it, even covers the cost of the messenger, saying it's the least they could do after what happened.

OK, so I am satified. Not only for that reason but also because there had been a discussion with my friends about this issue and the ownership on my original wheel came up. Who owns it? I say I do, since it is the wheel I bought and paid for with the car, and the fact that they scratched it, does not revert the ownership to them. In any case, I digress.

The next day I get the wheel. What a lovely sight to see this box.


I can not tell you how angry, amazed and utterly disapointed I was.

I call the dealer to tell him. Rob says, "no shit", and that he would call me right back, he is going to look into it. Fifteen minutes later he calls and says, "that's gotta be the right wheel, did you take it outside and compare it to the other ones?", I said Yes.

He continues with "we ordered it by the part number. We even opened and checked the box before we sent it.

I knew he was lying, so I say, "I don't see how you could have opened it, untless you have a factory staple gun on premises". He says "you mean there is no tape on the box?", i say NO!!!!!!!!

He says he'll call me right back, and ten minutes later he does and requests the seriel number on the wheel. I read it to him and he says, yep, that's the wrong wheel.

So now I wait again until the good wheel comes in so we can replace it with this one... stay tuned.

Wheel Story Update.
-October 20th. I called Rob to get an update on the wheel and he's "No longer there". OMG! Now I have to talk to the manager and start all over again. They transfer me to him, and of course, I get his voice mail. Let's see what happens next.

-October 21. No call from Jerry (the service manager, who's "message is VERY important to him") yesterday, so I call again today and get his voice mail again.

At 11:00 am I get a call from Jerry, he's not sure why they can't seem to get the right wheel. He transfers me to David (the parts manager), he too can't explain it, he transfers me to Phil. He tells me it is against their policy not to order a wheel unless they have the original part number off the original wheel. I remind him that it HAS been ordered, twice, both times wrong. I don't understand how that could happen if it is against their policy.

He says they will not order another wheel until they get the part number off my wheel. I have to take the car in and have them take the wheel off my car so they can get the number.

I asked them to come to my location (where I have the car in storage for the winter). He said he is not sure they can do that, but would ask if the Roadside Assistance program can be applied to this situation and they will call me back.

Jerry calls me back at 11:30, he says a tech guy will drive to my location on Monday at 10:00 am to get the number off my wheel.

-October 24. Monday comes. No one shows up or calls. I call at 11:42am and ask for Jerry. I leave a message both ot the office and on his cell. I call again and ask for Phil. I tell him who I am and he says he can't remember. Asks me to refresh his memory and as I am doing so, he remembers and says, "oh, you spoke with Jerry about this, you need to talk to him".

I tell him that I have placed calls to him and can't get a hold of him and that no one has shown up or called. He says "Oh, that's not good". I say "NO, IT'S NOT!" He gets my number and will call me back.

Phil calls at 4pm. Tells me there is disagrement as to why they did not show up, and that there was no agreed time. I told him that the understanding was that they would be here at 10am.

He asked if they could come tomorow (Tuesday) at 10am. I said yes.

-October 25. Tuesday. I get a call from Mike at 10:04am. It goes directly into the sprint voicemail (which is an entirely separate story) telling me he "undesrstands that they need to send someone out to come see me" and is calling to ask me if I am available.

I call him back and get his voice mail, remind him that they were suppose to be here at 10am, not call me to ask if i'm around.

He calls me at 10:25am to ask for my address (Jesus!). I reming him that he was supposed to be here at 10:am, he tells me that Jerry forgot to bring it up in the meeting!!!!!!!! He asks if i'm gonna be around, he is sending a guy down now, it will be about an hour or so.

At 11:06am, Armando shows up. I bring him into my office to get the number off the incorrect color wheel. It is #3611-228060 (9Jx17AH2). We then drive to the location where my car is at, take the wheel off the car and get the correct wheel number, which is #3311-228060 (9Jx17AH2). He tells me Jerry will call me and update me. (let's see how long this takes).

-October 26, 27, 28, 29 30 and 31. I got no call from Fields regarding next steps.

-November 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. I got no call from Fields regarding next steps.

-November 14, Monday. 20 days have passed without a return call from anyone at Fields. I call Jerry, get his voice mail.

-Novenber 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. No call from Jerry.

-November 21, Monday. It has now been 27 days since they came out to see my wheel, and six days since i left a message so I call Jerry again. The operator transfers me to his voice mail but I can'r leave a message because his mailbox is full. I transfer back to the operator and they hang up.

I call again. Tell the operator what happend, she transfers me to the main desk, four times. They can't get a hold of him so I leave a message with her.

-November 21, Monday, (11:06am). Phil calls. He does not know what is going on and asks me to "fill him in".. I tell him the ENTIRE story from the begining. My wheel has not been ordered. Tells me this is a "common occurance" with BMW because they have so many "blasted" wheels. He will order a new wheel, it will come in (by Wednesday).

-November 27, Monday, (11:29am). Phil answers. I ask where we are. He tells me that he ordered one of each and that only one is in. He is waiting for the second one. I tell him I will call him on Friday.

-December 2, Friday, (9:30am). Called Phil, get his voice mail. I tell him I will call him later this afternoon.

-December 2, Friday, (3:10pm). Called Phil, He tells me the wheel came in today. I ask if they are both different, he says "they're different part numbers" I ask, "have you looked at them" he say "no".

Then he starts with me having to bring in my old wheel. I say no. I own the old wheel. I bought it. It's mine. The new wheel is a replacement that was caused by BMW's negligance, and does not create an exchange situation where they now own my old wheel. (I'm even willing to give on this if they would just get me the right wheel).

He says Jerry tells him otherwise. I remnd him this is old news. I have already dealt with this. It is why I already have a wheel here (a wrong one) but a wheel in any case that they already delivered to my office. It was delivered to me already. No exchange required. All I am trying to do now is get the right wheel, not revisit the onwership on the old wheel.

The analogy being, let's say I go to a friends house and I break a vase they own. I have to replace it, but that doesn't mean that I now own the one I broke. They STILL own it. I have to buy a new one, not because I bought theirs, but because I broke it.

He tells me he is not in a position of authority and I need to call Jerry and that he would be in tomorrow. I tell him again that this is old news. If Jerry needs to talk to me, than HE needs to call me. I give him my cell phone number )to insure I don't miss the call). He hangs up on me.

-December 3, Saturday. No call.

-January 10th, 2006.
I send an email to BMW USA from their website.

It reads...
I don't know if you can help, but I would appreciate it if you passed this on to the right person. The story of my experience is posted at...

Read "Wheel Story" at

-January 11th, 2006.
I get a response from BMW USA, it reads...
Dear Carlos Segura:
Thank you for contacting BMW of North America, LLC regarding Fields BMW. I am happy to help you. I apologize for the disappointing service experience you had at this authorized BMW center.

BMW centers are independently owned and operated and responsible for their representations, sales, policies, and procedures. We appreciate the feedback our valued customers provide to us. We strive to be attuned to our valued owners and aim to respond as positively as possible. Thank you for taking the time to notify us about the situation you experienced.

If you have any further questions, please respond to this e-mail or contact the Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117, Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time. Again, thank you for contacting BMW.

-January 11th, 2006. I respond to the email, it reads...
I am not clear from this email what you suggest my next step should be. Please advise.

As a point of fact, while BMW centers are independently owned and operated and responsible for their representations, sales, policies, and procedures, they are still BMW (in the eyes of the public) and reflect on your brand's reputation. Individuals don't know (or should care) about this fact.

I am hopeful that after reading my post online of my experience, you have come to the conclusion that this is at minimum ridiculous, not to mention absolutely unacceptable, independently owned and operated or not.

-It is now June 9th, 2006 and still no call from BMW. Neither Fields or BMW are obviously not planning on calling me to resolve this, so this is the last entry on this matter. (Let's see what happens).


June 6th, 2006.
I was dropping off someone at the Chicago airport when I felt the car loose it's grip and realized I had a flat tire. As I waited for AAA (for over 3.5 hours (another story altogether), I took the opportunity to get on the phone and other two new rear tires (245/40ZR17 Michelin Pilot Sort) from The Tire Rack and have them shipped to Perillo BMW.

I did this (instead of sending the tires to any number of other shops) to insure that my wheels would not be damaged in any way, even though I know if would be at a premium cost.

mwheel damage1

As I mentioned above, it took AAA 3.5 hours to come get me, so by the time the tow took place, Perillo was closed. I had to get the car towed to my office, were it stayed overnight. The following morning I get a call from Albert (we had scheduled the delivery for late Tuesday eveing) because he was concerned that my car was not there.

I explained what hapened, and told him we would be there soon.

-Wednesday, June 7th, 11am.
I arive at Perillo and meet Albert. We do an extensine walk around the car at my request, and ask with to document on paper that there is no damage to the carr, especially the wheels, with thhe exception of a minor scratch on the right rear rim edge. He agrees and wites it down.

-Wednesday, June 7th, 5:30pm.
After receiving a call from Albert letting me know the car is done, I take a cab to Perillo. I notice my car is parked on the sidewalk, so on the way in I take a few seconds to inspect the wheels before I go see him, and to my shock, i see that both wheels have very obvious damage (althught my images above taken from my phone don't seem to capture the extent of it all). I was tunned. I could not believe what I was looking at.

I walked up to Albert's desk and told him what I saw. So, we both walked over to the car and he took a look. He immediately acknolwedged the damage and said, "oh yes, looks like the damage is from the wheel balancing machine". I tell him I want my wheels in the condition I brought them in, and he tells me that they can repair them.

I have done this before and know that "repair" mean "paint". I told him that I did not want that, and that I want the wheels replaced. I also remind him that this particular year of the M had a special satin finish on the wheels unique to this car, and that is was very difficult to match. So, I ask to speak with Perillo.

I am then met by Israel, who takes a look at the wheels and also sees the damage. He also calls the tech who balanced the wheels, I think his name was Jamie, and he says the damage was there when he got the wheels. Albert and Israel were both there when I told him he was lying, so he gets on the phone with Perillo. He tells me that he is on the way to a meeting but can meet with me on Thursday the 8th. I tell him hat I will be out of town on thhe 8th, but can see him Friday the 9th, or Saturday the 10th. He tells me he will call me to let me know a time and date.

-Thursday, June 8th, 1:22pm.
Isreal call and lets me know that Perillo would like to take a look at the car, but is off on Friday, he then asks if we can meet on Saturday and asks me to call him.

-Friday, June 9th, 10:12am.
I called Israel and Albert to let them know that I can meet with them and to let me know what time.

-Friday, June 9th, 2:40pm.
Israel calls to let me know that Perillo can meet on on Saturday at 11am. They acknowledge responsibility and admit the damage happened at Perillo, we now just need to meet to establish next steps.

-Saturday, June 10th, 11:35am.
I meet with Joe Perillo and he acknowledges responsibility and admits the damage happened at Perillo. He apologizes and asks me to bring in the car Monday morning so the wheels can be repaired.

-Monday, June 12th, 9:10am.
I meet with Albert, tell him Joe's conclusions and leave the car with him after we do an extensive walk round to confirm that there in not a single scratch or door ding on the entire car, including the bumpers.

-Monday, June 12th, 4:30pm.
I pick up the car. While reviewing the repairs I mention to Albert that it is not ideal, and I do not like it (it looks like silver nailpolish was applied to the scartches). Both Israel and Joe insist on getting me satisfied and offer several options. One is Joe's williness to exchange the two rear wheels from a 2001 M roadster that was just readed in. He asks me to check it out and let him know if i like the wheels. I did, but they were also slightly damaged, so I said I woiuld just like to keep what I have, or get two new wheels, if he can offer me a good discount. He agreed. He said he would get me a price and call me.

-Wednesday, June 14th, 10:35am.
Israel call me with the estimate of $450 for both rear wheels. I agreed and asked him to order them. He said they might be in as earlty as this Friday.

-Wednesday, June 14th, 12:22pm.
Joe calls me to make sure I am satisfied with the offer. I told him that I am. He also offers to buy an extra new wheel I have from a previous purchase that is the wrong color for my car. He asked that I bring it with me when my new wheels come in and that he would forward all of this info to Israel.

-Friday, June 16th, 1pm.
I called and left a message for Isreal asking what the status was on the wheels.

-Friday, June 16th, 2:25pm.
Israel called to let me know that the wheels were in but they could not install them until Tuesday. I asked him if Joe had mentioned the thrid wheel, and that he was willing to buy it from me, so he said that Joe had mentioned to him that he would be giving me a $400 credit, bringing my total to $450.

I said that the $450 amount mentioned to me throughout this process was prior to me bringing up the third wheel, and that with the addition of the credit for the third wheel, would bring my cost donw to $50. Israel then mention that the $450 was for EACH wheel. I told him that this was not my understanding. The word "each" has never come up, and in fact, when I confirmed the deal with Joe, I additionally reviewed the related costs to make sure that this would be for both wheels and the mounting of the tires. Israel said he would speak with Joe and get back to me.

-Saturday, June 17th, 3:15pm.
Joe Perillo calls me to clear up the misunderstanding and tells me that this will not cost me a dime, and he just wants to make sure that I am completely satisfied. Frankly, I was blown away. I told him that I thought he was doing a great job of repairing my confidence in Perillo. Very good.


Yes, there is a "Part 3"!!!

wheel lable

I don't drive this car very much (because I have others), but since I got the car from Perillo, the front right tire kept loosing air, often to the point where I ended up with a flat tire three times. Every 3 to 4 days, I had to add air. Due to travel plans and other things, I did not get around to fixing this issue until...

-Thursday, August 17th, 9:00am.
I called Albert to ask if I can make an appointment to have them look at the air leak and ask him to call me back.

-Monday, August 21st, 9:10am.
No one called from Perillo, so I called Albert back. He tells me that they are busy, and suggests I go see a tire store since BMW will charge $45. So I do.

I go to Arandas Tire Repair on Ashland. They get to the point of taking the wheel off the car and notice that Perillo has changed my wheel locks. Since they did not tell me, I could not find the new lock nut, so I had to drive to Perillo, and met with Darren. He showed me where he put the new lock nut in the trunk.

I drive back to Arandas, they take the wheel off and dip it in the water tank. Sure enough, it was leaking. They take the wheel and take off the tire and as soon as they do, it reveals the sticker that BMW did not remove from the rim.

This label was lodged between the wheel and the tire and was causing the slow air leak. WTF!


Friday, August 29, 2009.
I went to the Vehicle Emissions Testing office to get My M-Coupe tested and because the City Of Chicago changed vendors (which caused them to change the testing equipment) my vehicle's OBD system was not communicating with their computers, so it failed. They told me that they had problems with M vehicles and that there was a recall for the sensor, so I should take it to the dealer. So I went to Perillo, and in fact there were two recalls on the M.

When I dropped off the car, in addition to addressing this OBD Sensor Issue, I asked them to check my tires because I was loosing air, as indicated my my flashing air pressure sensor.

Saturday, August 30, 2009.
I jump in a cab first thing in the morning and I go get my car (because I have to get it tested again by Noon). I am standing in the customer area as I see my car coming, it stops in front of me and I see this...

flat 1

A FLAT TIRE! Stunning. I was speechless. Of course, the service department was closed on Saturday, So I was on my own. I had air put in and went to a separate location to get the tire fixed. This is what they found...

flat 2
flat 4
flat 3

Perillo needs to take down the "service" sign. it is just useless.

Monday, August 31, 2009. I called the managers there and requested a meeting. After a constructive review of all that had happened I left my car there. The explanation of the second OBD sensor failure was that it needed to be driven 50 to 100 miles to reset the settings. They also offered to take the vehicle to the testing area and get it passed.

While this is ideal, I did ask two questions that seem obvious to me.
1) When I first dropped the car off, I was told by one of the service reps that it would cost me $155 to check the sensor after it was replaced. Only after I had a problem did they deploy the "fix" by simply driving the car. Was this not known by this rep?

2) If they in fact know that the sensor needs to be reset by driving it, why didn't they just do that in the first place?

In any case, I do have to give credit to the team of 3 managers that attended to this problem (as well as the issue that happened with my M3 the very same week). I know from having my own business that not all employees do as they should, and none of this was their fault. They did not argue about it, fixed it, and were very sorry for it.

bmw s54 eng

BMW S54 M engine.

bmw logo 1

BMW logo with "The Ultimate Driving Machine" tagline.

View my page on

Carlos's comments

I got this car on September 1, 2005.
Wow, what a car. I've been looking for this for 2 years. Found it in Northbrook with only 11k miles with every option avaialble. It's just as good as new. The guy who bought it (waited 2 years for it) is a NUT!. You wouldn't believe how "clean" this car is. I got lucky for sure. It drives like a bullet on rails!

September 7th, 2005.
Window tinting done at Shaded Days. $275

October 16, 2005. $200.
Had the new black iPod nano hardwired to the car audio unit. Sits perfectly (with Velcro) just to the right of the steering wheel on the dash (see pics below). I can control it thru the second CD input of the stock unit and it is also charged.

November 2, 2005. $460.
Steel StrongStrut, painted Titanium silver, with large accessory kit with 11 machined holes in cross bar.

January 9th, 2006. $30.
Installed at Arman's on Milwaukee Avenue.

September 15th, 2006. $618.
A few minor scrapes on the front fender spoiler when i got to close to the sidewalk. I had the entire front fender fixed and repainted, including covering the front license plate holes at Gold Coast Auto Body.

January 1, 2007.
My first ride for the year in this car starts with 13,766 miles.

January 6, 2007. $25.
I was getting a very minor rattle caused by a separation of the bracket that held both exhaust pipes (the weld had come loose). I quick spot-weld solved the problem, and all for just $25 at Arman's on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.

Carlos's comments

Radio code update. September 20, 2008.
I have not been successful with this yet, but I did find out new information from BMW that I want to share.

In February of 2008, BMW issued a Technical Service bulletin clearing up a "character" code issue as follows (for your BMW dealer to access your radio code)...

If your dealer can not get your serial number to be displayed in the DCS system by using the Service Function, remove the radio to obtain the serial number from the label. Blaupunkt radios have serial numbers containing 14 characters. Enter the last 8 characters into DCS.

Example: S/N BP8272W1483692
Enter: W1483682

There are some instances where the serial number displayed in the radio matrix displays all numbers. The first number is usually a "1". If this is the case, you need to replace the "1" with either the letter "Y" or "Z" when entering into DCS>

I have not been successful with this yet, but I did find out new information from BMW that I want to share.

In February of 2008, BMW issued a Technical Service bulletin clearing up a "character" code issue as follows (for your BMW dealer to access your radio code)...

If your dealer can not get your serial number to be displayed in the DCS system by using the Service Function, remove the radio to obtain the serial number from the label. Blaupunkt radios have serial numbers containing 14 characters. Enter the last 8 characters into DCS.

Example: S/N BP027319661001
Enter: Y9661001 or Z9661001

Phillips. Radio codes are only available via PuMA (submitting a PuMA case).
Example: PH7850S1083150. The complete serial number is required.

Bavaria. Radio codes are only available via PuMA (submitting a PuMA case).
Example: P192XXC0012345. The complete serial number is required.

Becker. Radio codes are only available via PuMA (submitting a PuMA case).
Example: BE0729X570438. The complete serial number is required.

NOTE: Three unsuccessful attempts to enter the code will result in the radio being disabled for an hour. If the radio is disabled, the key must be left in KLR and the radio must be switched on for an hour. For those radios that are not found in DCS, please submit a PuMA case including the radio serial number and manufacturer. Refer to SI B00 01 03 for information on how to use PuMA.


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Each decade seems to have its own stylistic language, and this issue showcases logos, ads, cars, companies and products (and their typographical sensibilities) from the early 1900s.

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