If you enjoy looking at mechanical art, simple mechanics with no added aesthetics, then cars like the BMW M4 GTS must tickle your fancy, as it does ours. The M4 GTS doesn’t look pretty, necessarily, but it looks fantastic. Its massive wing, front splitter and rear diffuser, much of that manual adjustable, gives the GTS a utilitarian look. It looks like it’s been purpose built to munch race tracks, nothing else. But the M4 GTS is just one car in a long line of purpose built BMW M cars designed to be more function than form. So, how does the M4 GTS stack up, in terms of looks, to its hardcore and highly revered predecessors?
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The first of them all, and the Godfather of the hardcore M car, is the E30 BMW M3 Sport Evolution. The Sport Evo didn’t look all that different from the standard E30 M3, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, with its massively flared wheel arches that so compliment the square body. Its large rear spoiler and front splitter were manually adjustable, beginning the long trend of these cars having such adjustable aero. The interior changed quite a bit in the Sport Evo, as it wore quite a bit of Alcantara, on the steering wheel and shift knob among other places, and had M colored seats. Overall, one of the cooler looking BMW’s, if maybe not the prettiest.
Following that was the E36 BMW M3 GT, which also brought an adjustable front splitter and rear wing, but it also had some lightened materials. The doors were made from aluminum and it wore forged M wheels, adding even more function to its form. The E36 M3 GT was only available in British Racing Green with Mexico Green interior, which is somewhat of an odd choice but looks really good. While it doesn’t look all that different from a standard E36 M3, it’s still a very cool car. Maybe it’s my bias toward E36’s, but this one’s certainly one of my favorites.
After the E36 M3 GT came the E46 M3 CSL, one of the all-time greatest BMWs. With its lower front splitter and the extra air intake built into the front bumper as well as the ducktail spoiler, it’s also one of the all-time best looking BMW. It’s also probably the most famous hardcore, track-oriented BMW M car of all time, with fans obsessing over it and buyers spending far over the original MSRP for pre-owned examples just to have a taste of the glorious E46 M3 CSL. It looks fantastic and drives even better. It’s hard not to choose the E46 M3 CSL as the best looking hardcore M car.
The E92 BMW M3 GTS followed the CSL and begins the style that would continue to the new M4 GTS. The massive, manually-adjustable rear wing and lower front lip make it very similar to its new successor. From the standard E92 M3, the GTS doesn’t look all that different, but it does look more aggressive. It does also come with a beautiful set of black wheels and a more stripped down interior. While the M3 GTS isn’t as exciting looking as the other cars in this list, it’s still pretty awesome and the E92 was always a great looking car and this will age very well, it’ll still look great in 20 years.
The newest entry to this long line of excellent track-oriented cars is the new BMW M4 GTS and it might be the most exciting looking of them all. It’s certainly the most aggressive and has the most aerodynamics. The manually-adjustable rear wing is all carbon fiber, as is the manually-adjustable front splitter and the rear diffuser is done in carbon as well. It may not be the best looking, but it’s certainly the most exciting.
If we were to have to pick an absolute favorite design out of these cars, we’d probably have to go with the E46 M3 CSl, as it looks more aggressive than the standard car but is still a beautiful design. It combines both high function and beautiful form, something the others don’t do. While the others have a more aggressive utilitarian look to them, the E46 M3 CSL looks both aggressive and graceful, so it’s our favorite. Which do you think is the best looking?