The E46 M3 had one of BMW's best ever engines and the BMW M2 could be the greatest M car for a generation. Here are the highlights in between

These are the greatest BMW cars from the new millennium, including the Z4 M Coupé and E90 M3 saloon. For the best BMW cars before the year 2000, click here.

2000 - E46 M3

This car came close to making our final five and might have done so were the M3 slot not already spoken for. One of BMW’s best engines of any kind in a superb chassis with a very clever diff. Easy to live with and simply outstanding to drive.

2001 - E53 X5 4.4i

BMW’s first SUV and the first of any kind that could credibly call itself a driver’s car. Porsche followed suit and called its one the Cayenne; the rest is history.

2003 - Z4 3.0i

It was, almost unbelievably, better than a Z3.

2003 - E60 530d

Fifth-gen 5 Series, with adventurous styling by Chris Bangle, then the design boss. Fast, smooth and frugal.

2003 - E46 M3 CSL

High price and clunky SMG transmission aside, one of M’s finest driving machines. And with a carbonfibre intake manifold, possibly the best-sounding BMW of all time.

2004 - E53 X5 4.8iS

At the time, BMW swore it would never put an M badge on an X5, and this was the closest it got. Fast but thirsty.

2004 - E65 760iL

A BMW powered by an engine that had been developed for the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

2004 - 320i ETCC

It won the European Touring Car Championship and catapulted driver Andy Priaulx into the realms of the tin-top superstars.

2005 - E60 M5

It may have had a dodgy gearbox, but it also had a world-class engine and fabulous balance. A superlative driving machine in perhaps the 5 Series’ best shape.

2005 - E63 M6 Coupé

The first to call itself the M6. More hardcore than it looked.

2005 - E90 320d

What every sales rep wanted to drive.

2006 - Z4 M Coupé

Bonkers to look at and bonkers to drive. We loved it.

2006 - E90 320Si

A rare homologation special and a modern junior E30 M3. Just 500 came to the UK.

2006 - E91 335d Touring

At the time, the best small estate car in the world. It offered realworld performance to scare a junior supercar, yet 40mpg without the need for a light foot.

2006 - E70 X5 3.0d

BMW’s first seven-seater.

2007 - 635d

Best of the 6 Series, for this generation at least.

2007 - E61 M5 Touring

It is probable that no other car has combined such a big boot at one end with such an extraordinary engine at theother. Its 5.0-litre V10 was the ultimate statement of BMW’s pre-turbo world and one of the greatest motors ever to find its way into not just a BMW but any road car.

2007 - E82 135i Coupé

At the time, the closest to a 1 Series M car you could get.

2007 - E90 M3 saloon

The one with the 4.0-litre V8 engine. And the addiction to sideways motoring. The last normally aspirated M3, it was hideously thirsty but brimful of character, performance and oversteer.

2008 - E87 123d

A big or, leastways, powerful diesel in a little car. Nothing not to like other than the shape.

2008 - F1.08

The Canadian Grand Prix winner and the only BMW to win in F1 to date, so a massively significant car as a result.

2009 - Z4 30i

Best of the non-M Z4s.

2009 - F01 730Ld

A fine luxury car. Its only crime was not being a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

2010 - E70 X5 M

First M-badged SUV. Not to be confused with the MX-5. Which is a Mazda roadster.

2010 - E91 M3 GTS

M3 with more power and less weight. Just 150 built, each with a six-figure price, largely to prove BMW could do a Porsche 911 GT3 RS if it wanted to.

2010 - F11 520d Touring

Easy, effective living space. Understated, but excellent.

2011 - 1 Series M Coupé

As ugly as sin but a joy to drive.

2011 - F10 M5

Our least favourite M5, but an M5 nonetheless.

2011 - F25 X3 xDrive35d

A powerful SUV for pragmatists.

2011 - F30 320d

The legend continues, better than ever.

2012 - F20 M135i

BMW’s most hilarious hot hatch.

2012 - M3 DTM

It won three out of four DTM constructors’ titles between 2012 and 2015. Which says it all.

2013 - E70 X5 M50d

A triple-turbo 371bhp motor and it was fuelled by diesel. The most versatile X5 yet built.

2013 - F13 640d

Elegant, able and enjoyable.

2013 - F13 M6 Gran Coupé

Grace and space housed in one powerful whole.

2013 - F14 X5 xDrive40d

Among seven-seat SUVs, bested only by the Range Rover Sport.

2014 - F22 M235i

Cheaper than an M4; better to drive.

2014 - F80 M3

More practical and, as with previous generations, inexplicably nicer to drive than its two-door sister.

2015 - F48 X1 20d

BMW aims for a crossover. Scores.

2016 - G12 730d

Finally, a truly credible big BMW.

2016 - F87 M2

A small, simple, compact, light M car that comes closer than any previous one to recapturing the spirit of the original E30 M3. And it’s really rather good, which, given the above, should be no real surprise to anyone.

Our Verdict

BMW M2

The BMW M2 is the smallest M car in the range, but can it live up to the prodigious name?

Join the debate

Comments
1

2 July 2016
What about this Car,great three litre engine,handled pretty well too.

Peter Cavellini.

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