BMW 2002 Turbo
BMW 3.0 CSL
The cars of BMW's M division are famed throughout the world, and the new BMW M2 is just the latest example of the breed - but not all of them were badged as M cars. Here are a few which went by other names.
1 - BMW 320is (1987-1990)
Like the idea of an M3 but not being chased by B-road heroes? The 320is was the perfect blend of standard E30 shell and a 194bhp short-stroke version of the M3’s 16-valve four-pot, with its reduced 1990cc capacity sneaking it under Italy’s and Portugal’s 2.0-litre tax band. It even had the same Getrag dogleg gearbox and locking diff, plus ‘BMW M Power’ script on the cam cover.
Unlike an M3, however, it doesn’t feature a stiffened, lightened body. Pick a four-door, which came without a bodykit, and you have the perfect sleeper car from as little as €15,000 if you trawl the classifieds in mainland Europe.
2 - BMW 2002 Turbo (1973-1975)
You won’t find an M badge, but check out those stripes. A KKK turbocharger added 40bhp to the 2002tii’s 1990cc M10 motor, giving 170bhp and 130mph. It was far more than simply an engine transplant, though; the shell and suspension were stiffened and a bodykit proclaimed the car’s potency.
All 1672 that were built were left-hand drive and came in white or silver. You’ll pay £50k for a good one, despite the 2002tii being a sweeter drive.
3 - BMW 745i (1984-1987)
The fact that BMW won’t make an M7 frustrates barge fans - the new V12-engined M760Li xDrive 7 Series is the closest you'll get for now - but if you seek a Seven with M blood in its veins, there’s a super-rare South African version.
The Cape’s 745i got the M1’s 286bhp, 3453cc twin-cam M88 unit, and unless you could spot the M5 brakes, there was no identifying this M wannabe. Only the Nappa leather and discreet logos on the dials gave the game away inside. If you can find one (only 209 were built), our guess is that you’d pay £30k-£40k for it.
4 - BMW 850CSi (1992-1996)
The elegant 850CSi has never been revered like its ancestors. Why? In 850i form it was about as exciting as a Jaguar XJ-S, but while the 550bhp M8 remained a prototype, at least the techno-wizard CSi made it out of Munich. This M car in all but name featured motorsport DNA in its 380bhp 5.6-litre V12, vast ventilated brakes (from the M5) and reworked suspension with rear-wheel steering.
Just 1510 were built. Look to pay upwards of £20k for decent one today.
5 - BMW 3.0 CSL (1971-1975)
The Coupé Sport Leicht homologation special was BMW Motorsport GmbH’s first road car. Aluminium panels and bucket seats helped to shed 200kg from the standard car, while a fabulous M30 straight six and uprated suspension completed the package. You could opt for a race kit on later cars, with rubber air guides on the nose and a huge spoiler.
You’re unlikely to find much for less than £50k, and a pukka ‘Batmobile’ could be four times that.