Read any single article on the internet about BMWs and you’ll be sure to find at least one sentence in it where the author talks about the good ole days in one form or another. It’s either about how BMW’s steering isn’t as pure as it used to be or how BMWs have gotten too heavy or whatever it may be, people are always comparing BMWs to the ones of the past. But are the oldies really that much better?
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Well, I decided to ask you kind folk. See, I was thinking about this question and it’s harder to answer than one might think. The old BMWs, like say an E30 M3, are fantastic as they have incredibly pure steering and dynamics and aren’t weighed down my modern luxury amenities. However, those modern luxury amenities are wonderful to have. Sure, the E30 M3’s steering is better than that of the new M3’s, but it’s also more uncomfortable, doesn’t have heated leather seats and satellite navigation and automatic climate control. Those things are nice to have and it’s not like the current M3 is a dog around corners. It’s quite fantastic, actually. So is the E30 actually the better car just because you can feel the road through the steering a bit more?
But it isn’t just the M3 that gets this comparison. Read a review of a 6 Series or 7 Series and there will still be a reference to the way things used to be and why they were better back then. But again, were they? Or are we just looking through rose-tinted specs? Would the people of the 1980s prefer their version of the M5 to our current one? Or would they appreciate the supreme comfort it now comes with, while also delivery mighty performance?
So this leads me to my question. Which BMWs were actually better back then, which BMWs would you actually prefer an older model over the newer one or vice versa if you had to pick just one generation from each Series model? I’ll start to give examples.
1 / 2 Series – 1 Series: But only because of the 1 Series M. I actually prefer the 2 Series to the standard 1 Series models. Though the M2 might change my mind.
3 / 4 Series – E36: but I’m biased because I have one. I do love the way it drives, though, and it’s comfort and practicality are fantastic. I actually love all 3 Series models, but I have to go with my home team on this one, over even the E30 and its mighty M3.
5 Series – E28: But This one’s tough, because I do like the current model a lot and the E39 is fantastic as well. But I actually love the way the E28 looks and that’s the deal breaker for me and the E28 has the original M5 which is just so damn lovely.
6 Series – F06: I know it’s the Gran Coupe, but it still counts as a 6 Series and it’s the 6er I’d choose out of all of them.
7 Series – E38: This one’s easy for me, go for the Frank Martin special. The E38 is hands down my favorite 7er, but in fairness, I haven’t yet driven the new G11 obviously so I can’t really say until I drive that. Maybe it changes my mind.
So these are the generations I’d choose out of each BMW Series model. Now you go and let us know which you think is best.