Good News, There’s a BMW M Car for Every Type of Driver

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the power-mad and speed-crazed wizards of the BMW M division are making some of the very best cars in the brand’s storied history. M is hot right now, and if you agree that life is too short for boring cars, you really owe it to yourself to try one (or all) of these machines.

BMW M – née Motorsport – began in the 1970s as a kind of skunkworks division with only 35 employees. It’s now revered the world over for making the ultimate real-world fast cars. In 1990, back when we were bumping to Bell Biv DeVoe, BMW sold only 100 M cars in Canada. Today, it’s nearer 5,000 cars annually. The word is out — and with good reason.

BMW M4 Competition and BMW M3

Lucky for us, we recently got behind the wheel of BMW’s hottest new M cars, including the limited-edition M2 CS, M5 Competition, plus the all-new 2021 M3 sedan and 2021 M4 Competition coupe. Of course, that’s just a fraction of the full M lineup — which includes a wide range of SUVs — but these cars are its heart and soul. Our original plan was simple: figure out which BMW M car is the best. But it turns out that’s impossible. Each of these machines, while fast and fun, are designed for different drivers with different needs. There’s no such thing as the best M car, but there is a best one for you.

Here’s what you need to know.

For the go-getter: BMW M5 Competition

You will laugh with glee while sliding the M5 Competition around racetrack corners and pushing it down straights. While the car looks like it belongs in the executive parking lot, it’s absolutely at home shredding tires on a racetrack. It’s intuitive to drive flat-out thanks to the M-tuned all-wheel drive system and active M differential, which constantly sends the V8’s prodigious power around the car to keep it going where you point it. What really sets the M5 apart, though, is its plush cabin, with room enough to happily shuttle you and three friends on an extended road trip. Where the other cars here are sprinters, the M5 is a long-distance specialist. It’s the perfect car to pull up to a business lunch or the in-laws’ place. It’s mature, but anything but boring.

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 617 hp
Price: $122,000

BMW M5 Competition

For the purist: BMW M2 CS

If the original M3 is your holy grail and if you refer to old BMWs by their chassis codes, this is the modern M car for you. The M2 CS — a limited-edition sendoff for the beloved but now-discontinued M2 — is a machine for driving purists. Just like classic M cars, this one sends power to the rear wheels only and can be ordered with a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s nice and compact, shedding pounds with a carbon-fibre hood and roof. The straight-six engine may have the least power of any car here, but true M heads know that what makes M cars legendary is their perfect chassis balance and steering that comes alive in the corners. The M2 CS asks the most of its driver – it’ll keep you on your toes – but it offers the greatest reward as well. Only 100 of them are coming to Canada, so it’s likely to be a future classic.

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo I6
Power: 444 hp
Price: $97,750


For the competitor: BMW M4 Competition

Are you the competitive type? Do you always have to win? Well, the new BMW M4 Competition is the choice; this car wants to win every race. It’s 0.1 seconds quicker to 100 km/h than the regular M4, in part because the Competition packs an extra 30 hp. When on a racetrack, the car feels a little more rigid, lithe, and precise than the M3 sedan. The front-end bite from the tires is immense, meaning you can throw it at corners and power out on that knife-edge between grip and slip. If you’re always looking to push the envelope, this is the M car you want to be driving.

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo I6
Power: 503 hp
Price: $97,750

BMW M4 Competition

For the FOMO-sufferer: BMW M3

With the all-new M3, there’s no need to have any fear of missing out. This car can do it all. Have kids? They can ride in the back no problem. Do track days? The M3 will tear it up. Returning to your daily commute? This car handles the highway grind like a champ. What about a grocery run? Plenty of space in the trunk. There’s even an all-wheel drive version of the M3 coming soon, so there’s no need to miss out on adventures just because the weather turned foul. Yes, 473 horsepower is more than enough for the road. The M3 — now in its sixth-generation — is more of an icon than ever.

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo I6
Power: 473 hp
Price: $84,300


All images by: Lucas Scarfone / BMW Canada.


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