The top 10 best BMW M cars ever

17 Feb, 2016 9:00am Chris Rosamond

The BMW M division has churned out some incredible performance BMWs down the years. Here we pick the 10 best

We’re still grinning from ear-to-ear on the strength of our first drive in the fabulous new M Car from BMW – the all-new M2 Coupe.

The months of anticipation have not been in vain, as we’ve discovered the engineers from BMW’s M division have created an absolute cracker. The single-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six powered coupe has the performance, handling and drivability to make even the Porsche Cayman look to its laurels.

We’re not that surprised of course. BMW’s M division has a history of turning relatively ordinary road cars into superlative driving machines.

So to celebrate the brand new M2’s arrival, here’s our top 10 list of the best BMW Cars ever.

Click the links below or at the top left of this page to discover more about the top 10 best BMW M cars...

A short history of BMW M

BMW M was originally set up as the Bavarian brand’s motorsport arm (M stands for Motorsport) in 1972 and quickly got down to business with its first car, the 3.0 CSL. The CSL’s success on the track drove the decision to extend the M brand into the production car arena with the M1 supercar launched in 1978. That began the M series of production cars that’s become a fixture at the top of BMW’s model lines today.

Models like the BMW M3 and M5 have become synonymous with the cutting edge of road car performance over the years with the M division engineers taking conventional BMW saloons and working their magic to produce power-packed machines that are perfectly at home on road or track.

There’s always been diversification from that core range too. M Roadster and M Coupe arrived in 1998 bringing M expertise to smaller sports cars and the M6 gave sharper teeth to BMW’s 6 Series grand tourer in 2005. The Z4 M Roadster and Coupe models were introduced in 2006 for a short production run and the 1 Series hatch finally got a proper M car derivative in 2011 in the shape of the 1M Coupe.    

In more recent years, BMW M has spread its wings further with the X5 M and X6 M, performance versions of BMW’s large SUVs and the switch to even-numbered naming for BMW’s smaller coupes has brought us the M4 and, most recently, the M2.

We also now have a clutch of M Performance models that aren’t quite the full BMW M car ticket but still offer a flavour of that uncompromising, driver-focused nature. The M135i and M235i do the job in the 1 Series and 2 Series ranges respectively while the mighty X5 M50d and X6 M50d bring crushing diesel performance to the SUV sector. These days there’s even an M760Li version of the 7 Series saloon for the ultimate blend of luxury and searing M car pace. 

Which is your favourite BMW M car? Join the debate in the comments section below... 

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