Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2022 BMW X6 Sport Activity Vehicle is shown from the rear.

Why the BMW M Series Deserves a Closer Look

Going to a BMW dealership can be overwhelming for many reasons. Naturally, many of us are easily overstimulated by rows upon rows of beautiful, shiny cars, but when you add in the superior styling and admirable engineering of a well-pedigreed vehicle like a BMW, it can be easy to get carried away in the excitement. Then there’s the matter of selecting exactly the right BMW for your needs. They’re all gorgeous, they’re all luxurious, and they’ve got somewhat mysterious names, or rather, numbers.

Much like an afternoon at the eye doctor, you’re left wondering, “which is better––1 or 2? 2 or 3? 3 or X?” It can be downright intimidating to keep your numbers and letters sorted when in the presence of an automotive aristocracy. However, maybe you should divert your attention to the magnificent M-series. Though the marque has typically been associated with the Motorsports division of BMW from which it was born, the M-series has evolved to be so much more than competition-ready speed beasts. In fact, it has become one of the most amazing experiences drivers can have with their luxury vehicle.

What Is the M-Series?

Most drivers are familiar with the products and reputation of Bayerische Motoren Werke, the German manufacturing company founded by Franz Joseph Popp, Karl Rapp, and Camillo Castiglioni in 1916. Some are even aware that the company now known as BMW once manufactured aircraft engines, as well as farm equipment, components for rail cars, and even household items. And many are also familiar with the fact that BMW turned to automotive engineering in 1929 due to the Treaty of Versailles, which banned German companies from creating warplanes and their parts.

But what do these trivia tidbits have to do with the M-series? Aerodynamics and attention to performance, of course. Aerodynamics is a huge part of what makes BMW vehicles more performance-oriented than other brands. Given the brand’s background in aircraft manufacturing, it stands to reason that aerodynamics would be part of the design process, to the point where noted aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm is credited with a large portion of BMW’s design innovations, including the 328 Kamm Coupe and the Kammback rear vehicle design.

The BMW M-series was born in 1972 as BMW Motorsports, a division of the manufacturer’s racing teams. The first of the performance-oriented vehicles under this division was the M1, which first hit the streets in 1978. The BMW M5 became the first high-performance sedan to earn street-legal credentials in 1984. Since then, other models have been added to the lineup, providing drivers with an unparalleled driving experience, whether they select the M3 coupe, X6 M Sports Activity Vehicle, or the all-electric i4 M50 Gran Coupe.

A close up of the grille on a blue 2022 BMW M8 Competition Coupe is shown.

Why Do I Want to Drive a BMW M-Series Vehicle?

The answer to this question is easily answered by the simple, “for the sheer experience of it,” but that’s not the kind of logic that really bodes well when making serious financial and transportation decisions for your household. And yet, it’s the only answer that really fits.

The BMW M-series is powered by what is reasonably termed by the manufacturer as “epic engines.” The technology used to create the M TwinPower Turbo engine is known for pulling a mighty amount of horsepower very quickly, with models such as the BMW M8 Competition Coupe and BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe making the journey from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3 seconds. “Competition” doesn’t mean you’re obligated to take these models to the track, though you might consider doing so for the first time when you get behind the wheel. Vehicles with this designation include special features such as M Sport Exhaust System, M Track Mode, and M forged wheels, along with sleek high gloss black accents for a super-sporty visage.

One of the main draws for drivers is that the M-series is equipped with precision-engineered components. Whether you select the standard 6-speed manual transmission that comes in the M3 sedan or M4 coupe, or the automatic 8-speed Sport Transmission with Drivelogic, you’ll notice a snappy gear response, as if the vehicle were reading your mind. Even M xDrive, the all-wheel drive system available on many M-series vehicles, offers adjustable modes so that drivers can ensure torque is heading exactly where it’s needed. Steering modes are offered through the M-specific Servotronic technology, which helps marry the suspension to the steering to allow for instantaneous navigation over, around, and through the bumps the road may attempt to provide.

A green 2022 BMW M3 Sedan is shown from a high angle at a BMW dealership garage.

Your Very Own Custom Thrill Ride

While we don’t quite live in the age where everyone is able to take their very own custom-built rocket into space each day, we do live in a world where customizing your own precision-engineered, responsive, smooth, dynamic, and powerful M-Series vehicle is a straightforward process. The BMW Build Your Own program allows drivers to select their model, color, wheels, and interior features to be built to their specifications. Whether you want an X6 M in Manhattan Green Metallic or a Z4 M40i with Cognac quilted Vernasca leather interior, this program allows your dreams to become a reality.

For those wanting to go the extra mile with personalization, the BMW Individual program allows drivers to select from up to 165 colors, ranging from metallic to matte and spanning every hue of the rainbow. You can choose which you’d like to compliment your metallic gold, blue, black, or red M-series brake calipers.

You’ve also got an interior decked out in illuminated M-series sports seats, sport M pedals and steering wheel, and of course, the iDrive technological hub of the vehicle. This intuitive infotainment system allows drivers to deftly select between apps, navigation screens, and operating the Harman Kardon premium surround-sound audio system. In fact, the hardest part of selecting your next BMW may be deciding which of the compelling M-series models you’d like to build into your own private automotive refuge.

How to Shop for Your M-Series BMW

Before you make a trip to your local BMW dealership, it’s a good idea to research which M-series vehicle or vehicles would best suit your needs. For example, if you have your heart set on a convertible, consider the M4 Competition xDrive Convertible coupe with its 503 horsepower and all-wheel drive. The Z4 M40i roadster is another fantastic option for those who live for exhilaration.

Alternately, the M8 Competition Convertible coupe takes things up a few notches to 617 horsepower, resulting in a blazing fast 0-60 mile per hour time of 3.1 seconds. You might want to hold on to your hat for that particular ride. A full range of BMW’s Sports Activity Vehicles and Sports Activity Coupes are also offered in the M-Series, including the luxurious X6 M and the performance-oriented X3 M40i, which come with standard xDrive technology.

While shopping for your ideal M-series BMW may be the hardest part of the process, it’s certainly an enviable quandary to be in. Whether you select the highest level of performance or the most practical of these luxurious automobiles, you know you’ve chosen a proven winner with the M-series. Designed for the most precise, aerodynamic ride possible, some drivers have described driving their M-series vehicles as a nearly telekinetic experience. And who doesn’t want to have that much control over that much power?