Sports cars, sedans, roadsters, supercars… It is challenging to retain only 5 BMWs! Yet here is our selection of the most iconic models of the Bavarian firm.
In recent years, BMW is trying somehow to reinvent itself. And between its M division, strong of incomparable sports heritage, and the new electric section “i,” difficult to reconcile the irreconcilable… Still, for many, BMW remains an icon of the pleasure of driving. A quality that the Bavarian manufacturer has put forward throughout its history. 5 most legendary BMWs for you: let’s go for a bit of a tour of the museum!
BMW 328: 1936 – 1940
Like other German manufacturers, BMW was in a position of strength just before World War II. Avant-garde technologies, style, luxury… Everything comes together in the 328 roadsters. Luxurious, it is very efficient and wins prestigious races such as the Mille Miglia or the 24 Hours of Le Mans (class victory). But the war cut short a successful career.
After World War II, the 328 will have a great legacy, although this is to the chagrin of BMW. Indeed, the allies recovered the plans of its six-cylinder in-line, very advanced for the time, and used to power several British models, particularly at Bristol and AC. The look will inspire BMW for years to come.
BMW M1: 1978 – 1981
As its name suggests, the BMW M1 is the very first car developed by the brand’s famous M division! It started with a racing car project designed in collaboration with Lamborghini (kicked out of the project before the release of the M1). Hence the supercar look, signed Giugiaro! Sporty thanks to its contained weight and its six-cylinder engine of 270 hp, the M1 will also have a very successful career in competition. A single-brand M1 Procar championship will accompany F1 in 1979 and 1980. They can also find the M1 and its strident engine at the 24 Hours of Le Mans until 1986.
The incredible styling of the M1 will inspire the M1 Hommage concept in 2008, then the sporty hybrid i8.
BMW M3 E30: 1986 – 1991
Like the M1, the BMW M3 had designed as a competitive weapon. The 3 Series E30 sedan is then completely transformed: broad wings, spoiler, sophisticated and lightweight chassis… Everything is good to compete with Mercedes in the DTM championship. And where the 3 Series of the time are entitled to a beautiful six-cylinder, the M3 must be content with a 4-cylinder … But it is closely derived from racing and promises nearly 200 hp at more than 7,000 rpm/min! Spectacular for the time.
The heritage of the M3 is enormous since the model still survives 35 years later. And despite the significant weight gain, the M3 remains probably the car that most closely matches the M spirit: a perfect balance in the service of driving pleasure that rivals sports cars like the Porsche 911.
BMW M5 E39: 1998 – 2003
Launched in 1984, the BMW M5 was immediately a phenomenon. And for a good reason: it becomes the fastest sedan in the world, just that! But maturity (and commercial success) will come mainly with the third generation, code name E39. It is the first to adopt a V8, and the result is spectacular: 400 hp under the hood! Very efficient, the M5 does not forget comfort either. It is a real GT for the long haul, unlike a more sporty M3. The next generation (E60) adopts a crazy 507 hp V10, but its style signed by Chris Bangle will be fewer options, ensuring the E39 has its place in the BMW myth.
BMW Z8: 2000 – 2003
Few cars get everyone to agree about style: this is the case with the BMW Z8. The roadster does the feat of combining neo-retro tones and a timeless look. The Z8 should remain only a concept, a style study paying homage to the BMW 507 of the 1950s. Thanks to the 400hp V8 of the M5 E39, the BMW Z8 is capable but not sporty. She prefers beautiful walks … Or filming! It is indeed on the poster of James Bond, “The world is not enough, “released in 1999. It does not take much to make the BMW Z8 famous.