Lovers of luxury cars have come to appreciate BMW as one of the world’s foremost automakers. With nearly a century of production under the company’s belt, manufacturing has never been higher, with almost 300,000 vehicles now rolling off of BMW assembly lines in the U.S. alone every year. Over time, the company has solidified its reputation as a world leader in innovation and design, and simultaneously becoming a heavyweight in the luxury vehicle segment.
BMW designs have shifted over the years from boxy sedans to sleek, modern speed machines. Many of the company’s vehicles can hit blistering top speeds, most of them in excess of 150 miles per hour (though many are electronically-limited). As BMW has solidified and streamlined their fleet of cars and SUVs, its line of motorcycles have also climbed to be among the world’s finest. As part of a trio of German luxury auto makers, BMW has been able to keep up with best of the rest in the face of an evolving and hugely competitive automobile market.
You know that BMW has put out some serious speedsters over the years, but for those really seeking a thrill, which car is the right choice? Here are the top twenty fastest BMW models from over the years ranked according to their zero to 60 mile per hour time, and excluding concepts and modified models.
10. M3 CRT
Similar to the M3 DCT, the CRT model is a lightweight M3 variant that outperforms many of its siblings. Jetting down the road thanks to 450 horsepower from a 4.4-liter V8 engine, this model takes advantage of lighter and more aerodynamic carbon fiber components for stronger performance. The bad news for car buffs, though, is that the 2012 M3 CRT was limited to a mere sixty-seven units in production, and none of them were sold in the United States. If you do happen to catch a glance of one of these BMW masterpieces somewhere, be sure to take your time and get a good look. Oh, and as far as performance? The CRT can go zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds.
Matching up nicely with its bigger brother the M6, the BMW M5 is faster and sexier than ever. Speed fans will find no problems getting their fix from its 560 horsepower courtesy of the 4.4-liter V8 engine. Now in its fifth generation, BMW engineers have had plenty of time to perfect the latest M5, nailing down weight, precision steering, throttle response and transmission shift programming to make it one of the most formidable vehicles on the road. If all of that is not impressive enough, consider a zero to 60 acceleration time of 4.3 seconds.
8. M3 GTS
Holding its own against the forces of the M5 and M6 is the M3 GTS. Engineers went to work to outfit this M3 variant for the track, removing extra weight and installing an ultra titanium exhaust system. With 444 horsepower from the 4.4-liter V8 engine, the M3 GTS is more than capable of handling plenty of competition on the track or freeway. The M3 GTS also can hit speeds of 60 miles per hour from zero in 4.2 seconds. Although its price tag checks in at nearly twice that of the regular M3 model, the extra performance that allows the M3 GTS to be one of the fastest BMW models of all time makes it worth it.
7. M3 Coupe DCT
BMW’s M3 has a storied past, and when the 2012 model was released with a seven-speed DCT transmission, it reigned in a new victory for M3 fans. DCT is an acronym for double-clutch transmission, and when paired with the car’s 4.0-liter V8 engine, it can make for a formidable adversary to most other sports cars on the market. Capable of speeds of up to 180 miles per hour via 414 horsepower, the M3 Coupe DCT makes for a worthy contender for king of the road no matter where you take it. These days the DCT-equipped M3 and M4 can hit 60 miles per hour in just 4.1 seconds.
6. 3 Series M3 F80
The 3 Series M3 F80 is a relatively new model, introduced for the 2014 model year. This car has amazing pick up behind an engine kicking out 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle was introduced to the public for the first time at the 2014 International Auto Show in Detroit and has so far only been released in Europe. Look for the United States to get its first available models for the 2015 model year. The 155 mph mark is governed, so a quick look at the car’s quickness puts it up with the top models with a lightning-quick 4.1 second zero to 60 time.
5. M6 Coupe
When it comes to high-performance, the M6 Coupe has pretty much become one of the car world’s premier symbols. The two-door coupe makes the most of its aerodynamic chassis, powered by a 4.4-liter, 8-cylinder V8 engine, the M6 is capable of a top limited speed of 155 miles per hour, and hitting zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds. With 560 horsepower and a slew of interior luxuries, the M6 is living up to the name BMW has built for it over all these years and variations.
4. M5/M6 Competition Package
BMW took their popular M6 and M5 models and outfitted them specifically for the track with the Competition Package variant, adding power and some mechanical tweaks to improve performance. Total horsepower has been bumped up to 567, though the zero to 60 miles per hour time remains at 4.1 seconds. A twin-turbo V8 powers this monster down the road, and for all intents and purposes, the M6 Competition Package can hold its own against almost anything. For those with racing on their minds, this is the ideal M6 variant.
3. X5/X6 M
Billed as the fastest X5 BMW had ever build when it was announced at 2009 New York Auto Show, the X5 M didn’t disappoint. Along with its more athletic brother the X6 M, the X5 is a sleek and fast SUV that has enough power and speed to put most sports cars to shame. The M variant introduced all-wheel drive and sports a twin-turbo V8 that can shell out 555 horsepower, rocketing the crossover down the road for a zero to 60 time of 4.5 seconds. As far as impressive SUVs go, the X5 M is up there with the best of them.
The new models, released for the 2015 model year, take things even further. Both SUVs can now hit 60 miles per hour in four seconds flat, and kick out 567 horsepower.
2. M6 Gran Coupe
Another newer version of the M6, the Gran Coupe is able to hold its own with the best of them. Like its sibling vehicles, the M6 Gran Coupe comes with a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, producing 560 horsepower and 500 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is paired with a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, delivering a driving experience that few other cars on the road can match, especially when you consider its zero to 60 time of 3.8 seconds. The streamlined exterior really set this car apart, arguably making it one of the sexiest options available in the luxury car market.
1. M5 30th Anniversary Edition
It1s hard to find a BMW model more beautiful than the M5 30th Anniversary Edition, released this year. Not only is it beautiful, but packed to the gills with power. This M5 variant can kick out a stunning 600 horsepower from a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine, and go from 0-60 mph in a mind-blowing 3.7 seconds. If you’re hoping to get a chance to take it for a drive or even get a glimpse, your odds are not good. Only 300 of these special cars are slated for production and a mere thirty of them are bound for the United States.