BMW M Division

BMW’s M-Sport division produces some of the best sports cars in the world. Founded in 1972, it produced its first car with an M badge in 1978, namely, the M1. The M3 has been in production for 34 years, though production was halted in 2018, with a new generation set to debut in 2021. The M4 has only been around for six years, a similar time period to the M2. Regardless of timelines, the BMW M division has produced both iconic and forward-thinking autos since its inception.

The typical M-Series BMW is known for its impressive power outputs and track performance in some cases, but there are a few constant elements amongst all of them. Luxury and high-power engines can be found in all BMW M cars, though these characteristics have both been vastly improved in newer products.

BMW M Models

There are quite a few BMW M models in the US, all of which share some similarities, but each version has a special quality that makes it stand out:

  • M2 Coupe - Known as the “baby” M, the M2 is driven by the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo as the M4, but packs the in-line six into a more compact body. The punchy mill delivers 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque exclusively to the rear wheels, much to the joy of M-Class enthusiasts everywhere. Another pro for purists is that this is one of the few autos to still come with a manual transmission.
  • M4 - The large coupe or convertible has been called a 2-door spin on the M3, which is essentially true, given that they share the same 425-hp motor and have a similar design. The M4 currently enjoys all of the sales regardless of preference between the two, given that the new M3 is only due in 2021.
  • M5 Sedan - The M5 is among the new BMW M-Class sedans that now favor an all-wheel-drive system, much to the disappointment of purists everywhere. The twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 motor punches out a staggering 600 hp and 553 lb-ft, but it is worth remembering that those horses have a lot to pull. Still, the run from 0-60 miles per hour is accomplished in just 3.1 seconds.
  • M8 - You can have one of these in 2-door, 4-door, or convertible guise. It is the pinnacle of the non-SUV M-range, if the sleek styling doesn’t show that, its price tag will.
  • X3 M - The compact go-fast SUV marks the beginning of the family-suitable performance lineup from the Bavarian automaker. This is one of the best BMW M Series cars if sales volumes are anything to go by.
  • X4 M - A direct challenge for the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, the X4 m is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter that punches out 473 hp and 442 lb-ft. It is not particularly practical, but it is eager off the line.
  • X5 M - Even meaner than the X4 and far more practical, the X5 M cranks out 600 horses and has all the cargo space you’d expect from a regular high-rider.
  • X6 M - As BMW’s most expensive sport-focused high-rider, the family hauler has every bit of luxury that you would expect from a six-figure high-rider with the white, blue, and red badge. The V8 gets this vehicle to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds.

Body Types of M-Series BMWs

The German automaker knows that a good recipe for success is to offer its products in a host of different shapes and sizes, the more the merrier:

  • Coupe - This is the most common shape that these M-spec vehicles come in, presumably for a more attractive exterior style.
  • Sedan - This is the second-most popular body style found in the group, these are more practical and the four-door configuration these autos offer is more useful for those who value practicality.
  • Convertible - Luckily for fans of open-air driving experiences, the range not only allows for the traditional drop-top that simply takes an existing spec and gives it a removable roof but true roadsters as well.
  • SUV - The idea of a family-appropriate hauler going from 0-60 mph in under four seconds was once a ludicrous concept, but the German automaker has embraced the notion and brought us a selection of go-fast haulers that truly impress.

Characteristics of BMW M-Sport cars

While there are a few differences between the specs, there are quite a few notable similarities that all of them lay claim to:

  • Powerful engines - The outputs of every single auto on the list are impressive, regardless of whether you opt for a compact variant or a crossover.
  • Luxurious interiors - Grand cabins are guaranteed with these vehicles. Premium upholstery can be had in an array of various colors and there are multiple accessories available to further customize the inside.
  • Price - Something they all have in common is a high MSRP, you aren’t going to get your hands on a BMW M-Series at a price that is affordable any time soon. Of course, certain versions cost a lot less than others, but even entry-level specs cost a pretty penny.

What to Consider Before Buying

Often, the best have their downsides, and this range is no different. Still, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages:

Pros

  • Extremely powerful
  • Sporty handling
  • Good fuel economy when compared to rivals
  • Cabins are loaded with modern tech
  • Plush and premium interiors

Cons

  • High capital outlay
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Pricey additional packages

Prices of M-Series cars

These autos are on the premium side of the spectrum, and their MSRPs suggest as much:

Model Power Engine Base Price
BMW M2 Coupe 405 hp 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas $58,900
BMW M3 Sedan 425 hp 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas $66,500
BMW M4 Coupe 425 hp 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas $69,150
BMW M5 Sedan 600 hp 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas $102,700
BMW M6 Gran Coupe 560 hp 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas $119,900
BMW M8 Coupe 600 hp 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas $133,000
BMW X3 M 473 hp 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas $69,900
BMW X4 M 473 hp 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas $73,400
BMW X5 M 567 hp 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas $105,100
BMW X6 M 567 hp 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas $108,600

FAQs

Why was the M3 discontinued in 2018?

It was axed two years ago as a result of emissions regulations, with BMW opting to keep the M4 rolling out its factories. The all-new variant is due to reach the US in 2021.

What is the most affordable option in the range?

The most frugal point of entry into the lineup currently is the M2 that has a starting MSRP of around $59k.

What is the quickest M-Sport product currently available?

The M5 Competition is currently the fastest of the bunch, managing the run from 0-60 mph in a staggering 3.1 seconds. Be sure to check out our comprehensive review of this model for more information.

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