Here is another in the eventual long running series about the top ten cars that I would want in my dream garage.
Everyone has that one car that they like that other people think is downright ugly. That car for me is the BMW M Coupe. Sure, the front end looks just like the Bimmer that James Bond drove in Goldeneye, but the back end has been described as looking like a hearse, or a bread van. I think this car is one of the most distinctive, driver oriented cars on the planet, and that is why I would want one in my garage.
With the legendary BMW straight six under the bonnet, this car made 240 horsepower in US spec trim, and a much more generous 321 in European trim. This is down to the fact that 1) other countries usually get better products than we do right away, and 2) the European M Coupes had the actual M3 engine which made the car much better than the ones in North America. Eventually though BMW relented, and the last couple of model years saw the M3 engine transplanted into the North American body shell. New owners were nonetheless overjoyed, while the first buyers were probably none too impressed. However, the gas mileage for this car was relatively high at 17/25. Of course, all fuel figures are reliant upon the actual driver not wanting to plant his or her right foot to the carpet all the time, and I suspect that actual fuel figures are less than those BMW quoted. But that is not the point of this car. The point is that this is a fast car that has distinguishing looks, not to mention fantastic handling.
When this car hit the market in 1999, it was instantly considered to be one of the best handling cars in the world. These cars were raved about for their handling prowess by the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Jenson Button (and if you don’t know who they are, look them up). This was down to BMW knowing how to build a car that drove very well, and extensive testing on the Nurburgring. This was a hooligan’s car that could get you in a lot of trouble if you weren’t careful.
The real reason this car was destined for classic status though, was because it looked like nothing else. Sure there are other coupes and hatchbacks out there, but nothing could match the raw “love it or hate it” first glance looks that this car offered. The interior, too, was another place where love it or hate it came into play. Of course it had all the great looking and feeling BMW switchgear, but the interior was awash in two-tone leathers and cloths all over. This made the car look less like the “Ultimate Driving Machine”, and more like the “Ultimate Thrown Together by a Ricer Machine.” But once you got over the looks and the interior, driving became a pure joy.
For about the same money as a top spec Honda Fit, you can lay your hands on a legend in the car world. And it will be much rarer than a Honda Fit, too. If you want to have people stare at your car and wonder what you are driving, then you will definitely want to pick up one of these for your own garage. The BMW M Coupe is in my top ten list, and should be on yours too.