BMW M – standing for Motorsport – is a subsidiary of the German car manufacturing giant that was created in 1972 with just 35 employees with the aim of producing high-performance cars. Although this was initially intended to be a venture entirely concerned with the creation of racing vehicles, the company soon tapped into the growing market for high-performance street-legal cars and produced some of the most beloved sports and supercars ever to grace the tarmac. Here is a rundown of some of the best M series cars to ever roll out of the factory.
The M1 – as the name might suggest – was the first production model released by the Motorsport subsidiary. Designed by Paul Bracq, it made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in 1978, where it won a number of accolades. The mid-engine car was capable of 165 miles per hour, thanks in part to its 277 BHP 6 cylinder engine. Under 500 of these amazing vehicles were produced, which made them a rather exclusive affair. Brokers that sell BMW cars typically ask for a whole lot of cash for these museum-worthy machines.
Released shortly after the M1, the M635 CSI arguably cemented the reputation of the M subsidiary as a producer of cars that were both luxurious and high performance. Nicknamed the ‘shark nose’, the CSI had an avant-garde appearance that has truly stood the test of time. This car was, like the M1, designed by the legendary Paul Bracq. It was notable for having a canted front grille that gave it a very menacing appearance. The car was constantly upgraded during its lifetime – the longest production run of any BMW car. BMW added the latest comfort and performance technologies to their production versions as soon as they came on the market. The BMW winning combination of speed and comfort was really perfected on this model.
This tradition of producing vehicles that matched performance with luxury was exemplified by the M5 E60, which was released in 2005. The E60 packed a fantastic 500 BHP V10 under the bonnet – a special engine that was designed to evoke the feeling of a formula 1 car. It also featured a whole host of advanced technologies designed to make the ride more comfortable and the performance more responsive. The manual gearbox was tuned in such a way that a driver could minutely impact power output while on the move, giving exquisite ride quality.
BMW moved into the performance SUV market in the 2010s with the release of the X3 and X4 models. These cars packed a mighty punch and redefined the possibilities for road performance in 4WD cars. Although they lacked some of the racing pedigree possessed by the M series super saloons, they were still nippy creatures that produced a whopping 500 BHP and were extremely torque heavy. The car was marketed toward a new generation of wealthy people that wanted to own a high-driving position vehicle.