Now surpassing 100 years of operations since its German founding’s in 1916, BMW has established itself as a leading global premium automaker. Over this time, BMW has become known for its prowess of blending performance, luxury, and innovation altogether in a way that has resulted in countless examples of its vehicles rising to legendary statuses. Like trying to pick the best ever Canadian hockey players, with so many amazing pieces of machinery to choose from it wasn’t easy but here are our top 5 picks for the greatest BMW’s of all time!
5) The BMW 2002tii
During a tough time for BMW in the early 1960’s, the BMW 2002 was the first of BMW’s “New Class” of cars that would help revitalize the brand. Sporting a brand new unibody design, the square-edged 2002 had an independent rear suspension and quickly became BMW’s most popular vehicles. One the rarest examples of the 2002, is the tii, which was powered by a 130-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 engine featuring direct injection which propelled the car the quite fast speeds for the time and resulted in the 2002 being considered the first of a new breed of luxury sport sedans. At its core, the 2002 was a scrappy sports car that had combined handling finesse and four-seat practicality into a fun little package and set the standard for future BMW designs.
4) The E39 BMW M5
Although any of the M5’s are definitive examples what a sport sedan should be, the E39-generation BMW M5, built from 1998 to 2003 has achieved mythical status for good reason and even today is the sports sedan by which all others are judged. Powered by a monstrous 4.9-litre V8 producing 395bhp the E39 M5 was the car that started the German horsepower war. Also having a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and a max speed of 155mph under its subtle exterior styling, the E39 M5 shaped the succeeding M5’s recipe of being a sports car for the family man, an ultimate sleeper and a car for the track on Sunday but also for work on Monday.
Note: The E39 5-Series is Top Gear’s greatest car ever.
3) The BMW E46 M3
With the M3 being the common thought that comes into people’s minds when they think of BMW, of course, the M3 would it into our top picks, the hardest part was choosing which one. Taking the nimble E46 3-Series body to another level, the E46 BMW M3 offered 333 horsepower from a sublime 3.2 liter inline 6 cylinder engine allowing for a sub-5.0 second zero to 60 mph sprint. Like all M3’s, the E46 M3 is the ultimate definition of a sports car, but with its impeccable combination of raw speed, legendary connected handling and timeless looks all in one package, the BMW E46 is a benchmark for true driving enthusiasts.
2) The BMW i8
Known for its history of innovation, BMW redefined the sports car segment yet again with the inception of the BMW i8. Bringing together the advantages of an innovative electric motor and combustion engine technologies with a futuristic design, the BMW i8 is a machine that provides an extraordinary driving experience with extremely low consumption and low emissions. Most importantly, the i8 really is a groundbreaker that proved that hybrids don’t have to be boring and that the future of the sports car bright after all.
1) The BMW M1
One of the most unique creations in BMW’s history the BMW M1 was the first car produced by the carmaker’s M-division and one of the only mid-engined BMW to date. Originally built solely for BMW’s Procar Championship series, BMW built a limited-run consumer road-going versions of this race car which had 277-horsepower and a top speed of 259 km/h. Being worth of $600,000 in proper condition today, the BMW M1 was a car far ahead of its time and is arguably the first supercar with both incredible performance and everyday driving comfort.
View our inventory of refined driving machines here.