BMW can easily take credit for producing some of the world’s best vehicles. The German based automaker is responsible for building an internationally recognized reputation for manufacturing some of the world’s most iconic automobiles throughout its 100 year history. In celebration of this important milestone, it’s only fitting to take a closer look at the top 10 game changing BMW models of all time. We begin with the tenth most popular to work our way towards the climactic announcement of number one.
BMW E39 M5
This model was first introduced in 1986, taking its inspiration from the M5 which had earned a reputation for being the speediest production sedan on the planet. This particular spawn received accolades for its near perfection in sedan form. The 4.9 liter V8 Engine generated 400 horses power along with an impressive 370 pound feet of torque. Thee performance off this vehicle gave Porsche and Ferrari a run for their money. The manual transmission gave it a sexy appeal offering extreme agility in handling, amazing utility and the ultimate in performance in its class. The heavy beast that weighted more than 4,000 pounds didn’t seem fettered by the fact.
BMW E23 7 Series
The 7 series it the market with sophistication and an upscale demeanor in 1977. This lineage continued on for a decade until it was replaced by the E-32 7 Series. The flagship sedan realized a high degree of tech advancements for its era. In fact, it was the first to feature complicated climate control systems which are commonplace today. It was also fitted with service interval indicators which made it the topic of many conversations in the late seventies through the eighties. The E23 7 Series is an iconic example of the innovative tech spirit of the German automaker that lives on today.
The BMW Z8 made its first appearance on the scene in 1999. It enjoyed a four year run through 2003 but that was all the time necessary to make an impact. It was the design creation of Henrik Fisker that sported a body and chassis of all aluminum. The Z8 was powered by a 4.9 liter V8 engine that cranked out 400 horse power and generated 370 pound feet of torque. The same beast used in the E39 M5 was the most suitable option for this icon in the making. The Z8 has since become one of the most highly collectible Beemer convertibles on the market today.
BMW 8 Series
The BMW 8 Series served for a decade as the flagship model for the manufacturer. Production began in 1989 and commenced through 1999. A perk of this icon was the fact that it was available in the customer’s choice of a V8 or a V12 engine. The aesthetics were not far behind the frenzy over the minor customization option with pop up headlights and a sexy, sleek styling that gave the competitors of the era a reason to be jealous. A total of 30,621 of the 8 Series were built. It’s hard to find an auto that features the gear grinding power of a V12 which makes the 8s that came with the build highly collectible.
The M1 is an auto that first came out in 1978 and ran through 1981. There are plenty of things that make this model extra special. Let’s begin with the fact that each of them was hand built. They have a sexy exterior that reeks of Italian design, but it’s dyed in the wool German. The original plan that BMW had made for the M1 was to collaborate with the Italian Lamborghini automaker, but financial woes for the potential partner ended their plans so BMW went solo with it. Blame the gorgeous appearance on Giugiairo from the Ital Design staff. This example features a 3.5 liter six cylinder motor that puts out 266 horse power because it had to be detuned to make it appropriate for street use.
The Isetta lands firmly in the middle of the top 10 BMW models of all time because it was perhaps one of the most unique designs that came out of the company. The Isetta is a microcar that was engineered with a 247 cc one cylinder and yes, it’s a four stroke motorcycle engine. It put out a measly 13 horse power. Speed and attractiveness are not accurate descriptors, but novelty and base inspiration for thee Isetta 250 and the 300 came from this tiny conversation piece.
The 507 has risen higher on the lists because of the company’s restoration efforts on Elvis Presley’s iconic example. It’s a rare and iconic model in its own right, even if Elvis hadn’t owned done because only 252 of them rolled off production lines. This model served an important role in the upswing of BMW. Sure, it’s the cause of the company’s near bankruptcy because they lost so much money on every 507 they produced, but it influenced thee production of future roadsters that were successful including the Z3, Z4 and Z8s.
The i8 is an iconic model that is more modern than many of the others, but it has a well deserved place as the third in ranking for its iconic status as one of the most futuristic looking examples in the history of the company. The body lines emit the sense of intrigue, daring with a hint of sexiness and the attitude that anything is possible when you’re behind the wheel. It’s a plug-in hybrid, but for an electrified car, it certainly is exciting.
BMW 2002 Turbo
The BMW 2002 Turbo set a standard that has long been followed. It’s the inspiration for the hallmark turbo charged engine that you’ll find in most vehicles made by the automaker. This model was the first BMW production car to sport a turbo charged engine that delivered 170 horse power and 180 pound feet of torque. It set the standard and earned its place as the second top convertible made by BMW.
BMW E30 M3
The E30 M3 is our favorite as the most iconic convertible model that BMW ever made. This is the car that made the Porsche 911 bow down and worship, earning far more title throughout the 1980s. It emerged the victor in a variety of motorsports competitions and is known for its pure driving performance and sexy appeal with its two door sporty design.