BOTB’s Top 5 Favourite BMWs of All Time {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

20 Nov 2015

The 8-Series was BMW’s flagship car in the 1990s, a big stylish coupe with wedge styling and big powerful engines. The 8-Series really looked the part too, with a low nose, long bonnet and rising belt line, it had pop-up headlights (guaranteed to make anyone go ‘ooh’ in the 90’s) and frameless doors so when the windows were down it had one big opening. The 850CSi was the top of the range when it was launched and was billed as the ultimate drivers’ car – there was lower, stiffer suspension, new alloy wheels, four exhaust pipes and a six speed manual gearbox linked to a monstrous 5.6 litre V12 engine producing 375bhp. Stunning.

4 – BMW M3 CSL

In the early part of the new century the e46 BMW M3 was riding high on massive sales – not surprising given the looks, performance and price. But enthusiasts wanted more, so BMW set about creating the M3 CSL (Coupe Sport Lightweight), a lighter, faster, more focused M3. The CSL was 110kg lighter than the standard car thanks to the removal of sound insulation, electric seats, navigation and air con (though these could be fitted back in at no extra cost). The ducktail spoiler at the rear and the unique front bumper with asymmetric single air intake were made from carbon fibre, as was the roof panel. The 3.2 litre straight-six engine had 355bhp and great performance, but it’s the way it did it that gained it so many fans. The precision of the handling was unrivalled while the noise the engine breathing through a custom carbon airbox makes when the revs hit 5000rpm has to be heard to be believed.

3 –BMW M5 (e39)

The e39 generation M5 wasn’t the first, nor was it the last. But many believe that this M5 still is the best example of BMW’s big supersaloon. To start with, it uses the e39 bodyshape, which almost 20 years later is still a beautiful car. The M/// additions were very subtle, in fact only the quad exhausts would give it away to non-petrolheads who might confuse it for a 530d M-Sport. Until it fired up of course, when they would hear the deep cultured rumble of the 4.9 litre naturally aspirated V8. Producing just shy of 400bhp the M5 was certainly quick, hitting 60mph in 4.8 seconds on the way to 186mph while the real magic was in the handling. Benign and comfortable when you wanted it to be, but taught and agile when you wanted to play, the e39 M5 remains one of the most desirable supersaloons around.

2 – BMW 507

Subjectively speaking, the 507 Roadster was an absolute disaster for BMW. It was intended to be a cheaper rival to Mercedes’ 300SL and only slightly more than Triumph and MG’s offerings, giving it a unique place in the market. Unfortunately when it was built in 1956 somebody got their calculations very wrong and it had to be sold for twice the projected price and each one of the 252 cars made still lost BMW money, almost plunging the company into bankruptcy. But we think it deserves a place high up in this list because – well just look at it! The 507 is an absolutely stunning 2dr roadster with a rear end very similar to the Ferrari 250 California, and a 3.1 litre V8 under the long bonnet producing 150bhp (a lot in 1956!). It had exquisite detailing all over and was a really very good car to drive according to road tests at the time. So we like it as an unsung hero.

1 – BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’

K, we’ll admit that this gets to the top of the list mostly because the nickname was ‘Batmobile’. But thankfully the 3.0 CSL has plenty of other merits to justify its top position. The E9 3.0 CS was a beautiful coupe with a sonorous 3.0 litre 180bhp straight-six engine, but BMW wanted to go racing with it which meant they needed a faster, more focused homologation model. The engine was tweaked and eventually became a 3.2 litre 206bhp version, while the car weighed in at 1164kg thanks to a lightweight alloy bonnet, door skins and roof panel, while there were no bumpers, soundproofing and manual windows to contribute to the 180kg saving over the standard car. But the most impressive thing about the CSL has to be the looks – the last 3.2 litre models had the full racing bodykit which included a deep front spoiler with round intakes, a roof spoiler atop the rear screen and a huge adjustable rear wing, along with black rubber air guides along the top of the front wings. With all the aerodynamic addenda it’s not hard to see why it gained the ‘Batmobile’ name.

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