BMWs are known as the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” and these examples demonstrate why that label is well-deserved. BMW’s motto “Ultimate Driving Machine” has been around since the 1970s.
Since then, it has become the German automaker’s unmistakable brand identity, transforming the company into one of the most recognizable in history.
BMW has always come up with their own era-defining automobiles that marry the perfect combination of looks and performance, and are widely regarded as driver’s cars, across the years and through different decades.
Here are some of the best examples from the German brand that have defined what a driver’s car should be over the years.
BMW 1 Series M Coupe
he BMW 1 Series M Coupe is powered by a Z4-derived 3.0-liter straight-six turbocharged engine with 335 horsepower. Its underpinnings, such as the brakes, limited-slip differential, aluminum dampers, rear subframe, and components, were all taken from the M3.
So, what’s the end result? The greatest parts of the M3 were transferred to the smaller 1-series body, resulting in yet another M car that is really unique to drive. The fact that it is only available with a manual transmission will appeal to drivers, and it was the entry-level model into buying a BMW M vehicle in 2011.
BMW M3 CSL
Back in 2003, the E46 M3 was already proving to be a fantastic driver’s car. BMW, on the other hand, did not stop there, realizing the full potential of the E46 chassis with the special edition M3 CSL.
Coupe, Sport, and Lightweight are abbreviated as CSL. Many innovations that are found in newer BMWs were pioneered by this car, such as extensive use of carbon-fiber, which made this special model 110 kg lighter than the standard M3, and the SMG transmission, which was a bit underdeveloped at the time and prevented the car from scoring a perfect ten due to its jerky gear changes.
BMW M2 Competition
The BMW M2 Competition is hailed as the modern-day successor to the iconic E30 M3. It builds on the strengths of its predecessor. It was a subcompact executive sports car with all of the necessary components for racing and high-performance driving.
In today’s automobiles, a dual-clutch automatic transmission is normal, but the M2 Competition comes standard with an old-school six-speed manual transmission for those clutch-kicking, rev-matching, and heel-and-toe antics that driving fanatics sadly miss.
Back in the 1980s, BMW’s first mid-engined sports car was built to compete with Porsche in the Group 5 class. According to Car & Driver, this was “BMW’s foremost representation of its automotive art.”
Lamborghini and Dallara collaborated on the chassis, which was powered by a 3.5-liter inline-6 engine with 273 horsepower. Only 453 M1s were produced between 1978 and 1981, making it one of BMW’s most coveted vehicles.
BMW M5 E39
With 394 horsepower from its all-aluminum, naturally-aspirated S62 V8 engine, it is widely regarded that the M5 E39 initiated the trend of high-powered super saloon automobiles. It was the first M vehicle to feature a V8 engine, as well as a six-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential at the back.
Simply put, because of its unassuming looks, this automobile was a powerful athlete in a suit, or more of a sleeper car, with no one realizing that it was the top of the crop of BMW M cars in the early 2000s.
BMW Z3 M Roadster
When the Z3 was first introduced in the late 1990s, it didn’t receive a warm reception from enthusiasts, who claimed that the roadster’s lack of power never allowed it to fully use the superb chassis shared with the E36 3-Series.
As a result, BMW’s Motorsport Division installed the M3’s 3.2-liter straight-six engine, and the result is one of the world’s best handling automobiles.
Finally, 321 horsepower was sufficient to bring out the best in the chassis of the Z3 M Roadster, resulting in a wonderfully balanced handling characteristic.
When BMW launched the i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car meant for the future, in 2013, they gave us a preview of what today’s sports car trend looks like.
Despite concerns that hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles would lack the thrills that fossil-fuel-fueled sports cars could provide, the i8 served as a reminder that the speed machines would continue to exist.
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