What is the best car BMW’s M division has ever made? It’s a question that, as I write, I’ve just returned from trying to answer with m’friend and colleague and Autocar special correspondent Mauro Calo for an upcoming video. (Hi guys. Like and subscribe.) 

Now, we both like M cars. Mauro’s even got one, though by a narrow margin not one we shortlisted for this ‘best ever’ video. We went with a 1989 M3, a 2003 M3 CSL and a new M2 Competition

I think it’s a fair selection, though there could have been others. An M1, obviously, although it’s a supercar rather than a typical M division model; a 1M Coupe, though I suspect the M2 Competition does a close enough impression; Ms 5 and 6, perhaps, though they can feel big, and Zs a bit brittle. You could argue about it all day. 

We did, in fact. But in the three we gathered, I’m comfortable that we got some of the very best M iterations: cars where a great performance division sprinkled magic dust on what were (or are) already sound cars, with their great weight distribution and correct-wheel drive. 

What we concluded overall isn’t the important bit for this column. Although, spoiler alert: if you were to take bits from each and make the ‘ideal’ M car, more of them would come from a CSL than the others.