Top 10 BMW M cars of all time

Tyler Heatley

19 Oct 2021

How do you even pick just 10 from just a legendary list?

BMW’s M division has served up some of the greatest driver’s cars to ever grace Tarmac over the decades. These cars have a cult following and for good reason. Picking just 10 of the very best was no easy task.


Here are our top 10 BMW M cars of all time.


BMW M3 E30




An obvious choice we know, but this list wouldn’t be completed without the daddy of them all. The E30 M3 is a coveted icon and was the first M car to hit showrooms. Designed as a homologation model for motorsport, its enhancements made it a formidable weapon on the road.


Today E30 M3’s are a prized collector's item.


BMW M1




Technically this remains BMW’s one and only supercar. It had a difficult birth to say the least with Lamborghini originally being responsible for the project, however, the car came back in-house and became what we know today. Sadly, the BMW M1 was another case of the wrong car at the wrong time, but today it appreciates a legendary status.


BMW ran an F1 support race of BMW M1 ProCars that saw many famed drivers take part.


BMW M3 E46




Now, this one is a real cult classic. Has any modern BMW been coveted as much as the E46? The M division made something incredible with this car, creating what could be argued as one of the best driving machines of its era. Powered by a 3.2-litre inline six-cylinder engine, a run from 0-62mph could be covered in 5.1 seconds.


An E46 M3 was the star of the video game Need for Speed Most Wanted.


BMW M5 E39




The most celebrated M5? Maybe… This autobahn storming saloon’s V8 muscle could easily rocket it up to a limited top speed of 155mph. Handsome, sweet handling, incredibly fast, but also sophisticated enough to leave in the business car park. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.


BMW 1 Series M Coupe




Conceived as an after-hours project by enthusiastic engineers, BMW bosses had no enthusiasm for a baby M car. However, once they sampled this parts bin special, there was no denying that this joyous machine had to go into production.


Just 450 right-hand drive examples were produced.


BMW M2 Competition




A direct descendant of the M Coupe, the M2 became a fully-fledged member of the M family. Compact, agile, and potent, it was a winning formula that we now can’t live without. The Competition model turning things up to 11 and remains the best all-around M car on sale today.


BMW M5 Touring E61




Why wouldn’t a V10 estate car make this list? Sure, it had its issues and has proven to be finically ruinous in many cases, but something with 10 cylinders that can fit a dog in the boot is special.


Engine aside, the E61 remains a great car to drive.


BMW M3 Touring E46




Sticking with M estates, meet the E46. But they didn’t make an E46 M3 Touring? Wrong! They made one, a running test car that was all set to go into production until the plug was pulled. Looking just as handsome as the coupe, this more practical performance machine was surely destined for greatness.


We will, at last, get a new M3 Touring in 2022.


BMW M3 E92




What effect would a V8 engine have in an M3? It effectively created a more civilised breed of muscle car. Pushing some 420bhp to the rear wheels, these cars were also available as a convertible dubbed E93.


You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. 


BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’




Ok, it’s not officially an M car, but it was the M division that was responsible for this homologation special. To get some engineered advantages on track, the road car had several quirks such as some distinctive aerodynamic appendages.


Fun fact, some aero devices were illegal on road cars of the era, so BMW sold the CSL with the parts stowed in its boot.


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Tyler Heatley

19 Oct 2021