Now that 2019 is soon coming to a close, we’re nearing the end of not just the year but the decade. The twenty-teens will be remembered for a lot of interesting things, spanning everything from social media to movies to politics. However, it was also a huge decade for the automobile.
The car industry has made massive changes over the course of these ten years, with BMW being one of the brands to change the most. Think about this for a second: in 2011, BMW fans were complaining about the 1 Series M having a turbocharged, non-M engine. Now, there’s a BMW M8 with two turbochargers, all-wheel drive and a brake-by-wire system. So BMW has changed a lot over the course of the past decade. Which begs the question — which BMW was best during that time?
It’s a genuinely tough question to answer because not only were there a ton of great Bimmers in the twenty-teens but a few extremely important ones as well. So let’s take a look at a few of the best/most important BMWs of the past ten years and you can comment on which you think is the best. We’re strictly talking cars that debuted between 2010 and now, so cars like the E92 M3 or E60 M5 don’t count because they actually debuted in the previous decade. So let’s dig in.
F90 BMW M5
The current BMW M5 is not only one of the very best all-around cars BMW has made in years but it’s one of the best all-around cars it’s ever made. The new F90 M5 is brutally fast, surprisingly fun, shockingly capable and usable all year long. It’s the most versatile, high-performance BMW M car ever made and it absolutely has to be on the short list of the best BMWs of the decade.
What makes the F90 M5 even more significant is how it changed the mentality of M fans. Before it debuted, the idea of an all-wheel drive M car sent Bimmerphiles into a frenzy. After seeing just how good BMW M could make an all-wheel drive car, though, fans have not only come around to the idea but embraced it with open arms. That’s changed the M Division forever, which means the F90 M5 isn’t just a brilliant car but it’s made a lasting impact on the M Division’s history.
While BMW’s first real attempt at a mass-production electric car hasn’t exactly turned out the way the brand had hoped, the i3 is a hugely important car in the history of BMW. It debuted in 2014 and was a massive hit right out of the gate. Its futuristic looks, carbon fiber construction, fantastic interior and rear-wheel drive powertrain immediately made it one of the most unique electric cars on the road.
However, its range, even then, wasn’t great and it hasn’t really gained much by way of fully-electric range, either. So while it started out of the gate hot, it’s drastically cooled down since then. Still, with it, BMW has proved to the world that electric cars can be fun, can have character and can change the way we think about mobility. So, like it or not, the BMW i3 is one of the most important car in a long time.
BMW 1 Series M
We’ve been talking a lot about the 1 Series M, lately, but I don’t think anyone’s going to complain. It’s also for good reason. The BMW 1M is one of the most interesting cars the brand has made in its recent history. It just squeaked into the twenty-teens, too, having debuted in 2011.
Prior to its original debut, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding its regular BMW engine (not a bespoke M engine), its turbocharged nature and the fact that it was seemingly made from M Division leftovers. However, the final product was much more than the sum of its parts and was universally beloved by BMW enthusiasts.
It’s probably the best pure driving BMW to come from this decade, as well. It’s also the last M car to debut with hydraulic steering and it’s probably the last true analog M car (sorry M2 CS) because of it. While it might not have the significance of the F90 M5 or i3, the 1 Series M is such an outstanding sports car that it’s hard to keep it off of the shortlist.
Those are just some of the great BMWs of this past decade. Honestly, there are probably too many to list. So those three are on our shortlist of the twenty-teen’s greats. What our yours?