BMW’s recent run of bold designs have drastically departed from its traditional design language, for better or worse, such as the BMW XM, 7 Series, and the newly revealed Neue Klasse. Some BMW purists hate the new design direction of their favorite Bavarian brand, while others embrace the new. However, regardless of which side of BMW’s styling fence you sit on, I think we can all agree that these 16 historic Bimmers from BMW UK’s collection are among its greatest designs.
These 16 cars represent what made BMW such an exciting brand for so many years. Not only are their designs simple and timeless but most the cars themselves were pure drivers cars, without any of the tech-focused fluff from modern Bimmers.
It all starts with the BMW M1, which was the first-ever M Division product. Back in the ’70s, BMW wanted to create a mid-engine car to race in the Group 4 GT series. However, the M1’s production suffered setback after setback, so by the time it was actually finished, Group 4 had been dissolved and BMW was left with a race car but no race. So the Giugiaro-designed supercar became one of BMW’s biggest financial flops, but also one of its most beloved fan-favorites.
The BMW Z8 was a unique car in the brand’s history, as it was a standalone model that never saw a successor. Designed by Henrik Fisker, the Z8 is a throwback to the BMW 507, the brand’s original grand touring roadster. The Z8 is still one of BMW’s prettiest designs and a car that looks as good today as it did in 1999.
Perhaps BMW’s best design is that of the 3.0 CSL “Batmobile.” The 3.0 CSL was BMW’s highly successful touring car before the M1 went into development and it’s still breathtakingly beautiful. Its near-perfect proportions, shark-nose front end, and massive rear wing made its design iconic. The fact that it had a charismatic 3.0-liter straight-six under its hood made it even better.
Another car BMW UK just highlighted is one that I never really liked but have really grown to appreciate in the past couple of years—the E34-generation M5. The E34 M5 was the last hand-built M5 and the last one to use a six-cylinder engine. Every M5 since has used either a V8 or V10. Its simple, boxy, ’90s design is aging gracefully and its mechanical simplicity is especially appreciated now that modern M5s are all-wheel drive and even going hybrid.
The other Bimmers in this collection are the BMW 1 Series M, 2002 Turbo, E30 M3, E46 M3 CSL, E92 M3 GTS, E39 M5, E60 M5, F10 M5, 635 CSi, BMW Z1, Mini JCW GP1, and the Mini JCW GP2. You can check out their full galleries and info here.
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