Using the 3.2 litre straight-six from the M3, mated exclusively to a five-speed manual gearbox the M Coupé was, at the time, the fastest accelerating car to wear a BMW badge, getting from 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds. In 2001 it received mild revisions which saw the power output creep up 4bhp to 325 in line with the M3. Performance improved very slightly: it still got to 155mph, but made the 0-60mph dash 0.1 seconds faster.
Carrying the rather crude chassis over from the boulevard cruising Z3 did not bode well, but with a more rigid chassis it actually worked very effectively in a butch, rear driving road rocket kind of way. The driver sits right over the back axle giving a great seat-of-the-pants feel which is really appreciated when driven with gusto down a typical British back road.
Those 2001 revisions saw traction control added to the list of standard equipment making rapid driving a much less intimidating experience in slippery conditions.