As BMW continues to diversify it’s line-up the BMW enthusiast finds themselves with more and more options on how to best satisfy their need for German iron. However, while you’d be hard-pressed to criticize or degrade any of the existing line-up, we do have a few that jumped out at us for 2009 that we felt were cars that stood out – particularly to enthusiasts.
The list below is based on U.S. spec cars since those are the vehicles we had first hand experience with, so a far more accurate judgment can be passed in the article.
In no particular order, our list is:
BMW M3 Sedan
Nearly as fast as the 911, yet, fully equipped it comes in more than $10,000 less. When you add the lightning-fast DCT 7-Speed transmission to the mix, you just think it and you’re in the next gear. After extensive track time with the M3, we’re confident it is the best M car currently on sale by BMW -and how couldn’t it be?
It’s gorgeous, seats 4 plus luggage, and a sound that makes most enthusiasts quiver with delight – the 0 to 60 time in the mid 4′s helps too. The 2009 E90 M3 is one of those rare cars that can immediately escalate you into a entirely different class of performance cars and it does so both gracefully and rapidly.
The smallest, cheapest BMW you can buy in the United States (outside of the MINI’s). It is not the fastest, the best looking or the most technically advanced BMW you can buy, but it does have its advantages for enthusiasts.
Firstly, it is still the most affordable BMW this side of the pond and with a weight of just over 3,200 lbs, it doesn’t exactly break the scales like some modern BMW’s have been criticized for. With 230 HP, a crisp inline-6 and a sharp 6-speed manual coupled with the Sports Package many enthusiasts might have a modern E30 soul successor for the track car of 2019 for those who swear by the Roundel.
BMW X6 M
Avante Garde styling wrapped around one of the most technically advanced BMW’s currently on sale with a dash of brutal twin-turbo V8 is the recipe for the X6 M. Add the 555 horsepower into the combo and you see why one would get excited about it.
While it may have received mixed reviews in terms of the love-it-or-hate-it design, there is no denying the presence and power this SAC holds. Styling-wise, many find it hard not to be drawn to the X6 M when walking passed it in a valet line – it’s magnetism makes you feel as though you have steel-lined eye balls. Couple the soon-to-be-industry-standard looks with the M-tuned V8 and the incredible torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive and you’ve got a package that’s sexy, devastatingly fast and fun for the whole family to boot.
BMW 550i Sedan
This car is soon to go the way of the iDrive version 1.0, the manual transmission and the original Z4 – it is going to disappear when it falls out of production soon in favor of the F10 5 Series. After significant seat time with the E60 platform, this is definitely a car you don’t want to pass up with the powerhouse 4.8 liter V8 and 6 Speed transmission – automatic or manual.
The M Sport wheels and body kit you can add to it, make the sedan achingly beautiful. Criticized for being too awkward as the 3rd model to be revamped by the Bangle revolution when released, the E60 is now seen as an attractive, handsome car that sets itself apart from a class of cookie cutter styled cars. Originally controversial, the E60 5 Series will go down in history as the car that literally and figuratively changed the face of one of the oldest models in the BMW line-up.
The window to own one new is rapidly closing and we suggest you not pass it up!
This model could be summarized in one sentence: practical and powerful and who doesn’t love tax incentives on cars? But we’re going further than that. The first modern 3 Series diesel to be sold on U.S soil was recently named by Automobile Magazine as an All-Star for 2010. While its brother 335i always comes up in vehicle comparisons, the 335d is still a somewhat hidden star ready to take the stage. There’s no other car in the U.S. line-up that achieves the performance and fuel economy levels as seen in the 335 diesel.
You need a fast car? 0 to 60mph in six seconds thanks to the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel, with a mammoth 425 lb-ft of torque and 265 ponies.
Worried about fuel prices? Look no further – 33-35 MPG in combined cycle.
People will be also talking about how good this car was ten years from now, sort of like the 318ti.
We’ve said a while back, the “King has returned” and it is already conquering its market segment. While the previous fourth-generation model lived under the umbrella of the controversial ex-Chief Designer at BMW, Chris Bangle, the new generation marks the debut of a new design language led by Adriaan Von Hoydonk. The new longer, but sleeker and muscular design of this new 7 Series comes to correct some of the minuses of the previous generation 7er, which still holds today the record of the best selling 7 Series ever.
Along with the luxury one would expect to see in the flagship, the new 7 Series can be defined by its fantastic engine and chassis. The 4.4 liter V8 twin-turbo engine does its job properly and we would say, even beyond. At around 4,500 lbs, the 750i is far from being a compact car, but those 404 horsepower and the incredible 450 lb-ft of torque, make up for it and reveal the sportiness in this car.The BMW 750i runs from 0 to 60 mph in around 5.1 seconds. And wait…it also doesn’t break your bank either – fuel consumption on the combined cycle is around 19 mpg.
BMW 650i Convertible
With all these new models launching this year, everyone seemed to have forgotten about this hidden gem. The 650i Convertible is one of those cars that maintain their icon status: suitable power, supreme styling that overshadows the Jaguar XK8 and a price that undercuts the Benz SL.
From its active suspension to its techie cabin, the BMW 650i Convertible is the quintessential tech car, a true engineering piece coming from Germany. BMW’s best tech comes in the power train and suspension. The engine is a 4.8-liter V8 producing 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. While not pushing out the turbo power seen in the newer models, the 650i Convertible still manages to run from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Fuel economy is not to shabby either, around 19 MPG in combine cycle. We’ve seen similar fuel economy in many V6 sedans and coupes.
Don’t get ready to discard this bimmer, the next generation might be around the corner and better than ever, but this Cabriolet will still turn heads and give you that Ultimate Driving Machine we all crave for.
BMW X6 Active Hybrid
Not enough data yet on BMW’s first production ready hybrid, but we’re excited about it and decide to throw it in the mix since most likely the hybrid technology will identify with BMW’s future plans.
BMW ActiveHybrid X6 features a two-mode hybrid system which allows the X6 to run either on its electric motors alone at low speeds, internal combustion or a combination of both. The X6 makes use of not one, but two electric motors that deliver 91 hp and 86 hp, respectively, with peak torque values of 192 lb-ft and 206 lb-ft. Top speed in the electric mode is 37 mph, maximum range is 1.6 miles. The maximum output is 480 horsepower and 575 lb-ft of torque, enough to be crowned as the most powerful hybrid vehicle ever offered for sale.
At 18 MPG, the X6 Hybrid might not be the most fuel efficient green car out there, but we dig it and look forward to future improvements.
List compiled by Andrew, Josh and Horatiu