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      02-13-2019, 03:28 PM   #1
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Are "M" cars even special anymore?

Hear me out.

Back when BMW's M division first came out with the M1 (even before that, the Batwinged CSL and 2002Turbo for competition and homologation purposes), BMW's "M" cars meant SOMETHING. Something unique, something race-y, something done and sold only to satisfy a set of rules so they can go racing. While not everyone who bought an "M" special used them for racing, we all know that what's under the skin is UNIQUE.

And throughout the years, even when BMW "M" cars aren't created for homologation purposes, they still served a "purpose." M cars has been, since the mighty M1, the halo cars of each segment. The BEST version of each series you can possibly buy. E36 M3 is the highest trim 3 series. E39 M5 was the greatest sports sedan ever built. M5, M6es were all, during it's time in production for various generations, the BEST of each what each series represent. You can not buy a better E46 than the E46 M3. It's not like there's a ZHP trim level of the 330i (there isn't, by the way. ZHP is an optional package) where it's just a little bit more higher on the bad-assery scale.

Even when the X5 and X6es were "M-afied," they were the top level trim cars of each SUV/SAV model. For generations and generations of BMW products, the letter "M" has always stood for the apex/pinnacle model. Something special that each owners of an M car can always point to as having the halo of all halos of sport sedans, in each individual niche.

But not anymore.

M models are now just basically a high trim model of each individual series. It's not even top half...Those belong to the "Competition," "CS," and "GTS" models that will inevitably come. Say you bought an M2 2 years ago, put down an early deposit when you heard the rumors, arranged a $4,000 7 day trip to Germany to enjoy European Delivery so you can be one of the first to pick up this wonderful gem of a BMW. And don't get me wrong, a wonderful gem it did turn out to be...

Fast forward 2 years, and in 2019 the M2 Competition is now the top dog. Great, like most car enthusiasts I mostly hang on to cars I'm interested for 2 years anyway. Trade in an early M2 for the new TOP OF THEL INE 2 series, right? Halo car, no other 2 series is better than this. I'm secure in my masculinity and car-hood in knowing I've got the best of the best...Until the M2 CS comes out next year.

F**k. My original M2 is now just a middle of the road 2 series. Slotted between the M2 CS, M2 Competition, M240i, and M230 in the North American market. Middle of the road, with at least 2 models up above what I patiently waited 6 months for an allocation and a 7 days trip to the Motherland AND 1 day on the Nurburgring (fantastic memories, I'll bet). And that's not even counting the POSSIBILITY of an M2 GTS, because you know BMW will milk it for all it's worth.

At this point, are ANY of the M cars even special anymore? F8x M3/4 has the Competition, CS, and GTS models, and 3/440i, 30i, 28i, 20i, in Sedan, Coupe, and Grand Coupe guises. Middle child. Neglected, mass produced, and the "middle manager" instead of the superstar programmer of a Silly-con Valley Unicorn.

Is it special? I'm certain to those who bought it, yeah. I mean, I desperately hang on to my MZ4 Coupe despite it's middling performance numbers (for today's car anyway). It's special to ME. But to everyone else? Don't tell me that when you see an M4 GTS pull up next to you, you're going to think "hey that guy drives the SAME CAR as me! An M3/4!"

For years "purists" have been screaming about the dilution of the M brand, and today you have the proof. M cars aren't special anymore. You want the prestige of the M cars of OLD? You'd have to at least pony up for the CS models coming NEXT year.
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      02-13-2019, 03:31 PM   #2
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      02-13-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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Who still buys M cars? I thought everyone moved on to Porsche GT3's by now.
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      02-13-2019, 03:44 PM   #4
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Yes they're still special. If you only think the competition/CS/GTS models are special then I think BMWs marketing team is doing an excellent job.

That being said. I do agree with you man the M brand is being diluted, and it sucks.
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      02-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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You are 100% right. I'm sure you'll get a lot of joke replies from people who don't want to accept a simple truth.



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      02-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
You can not buy a better E46 than the E46 M3.
Huh?? Even the E46 M3 had the ZCP model/package and also the M3 CSL?

Even though the base "M's" aren't at the top of the M line, they are still very special and definitely cannot be compared to a base series car as they have different components that have been tested/calibrated for more of a performance aspect.
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      02-13-2019, 04:16 PM   #7
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A modern Toyota Camry V6 can out perform almost every Porsche sold prior to say 1970 or so. Point is modern base model cars are pretty impressive. However in no way or shape does a M3/M4 compare to a base 3/4 series. You don't buy the car for uniqueness. You buy it for performance measurements and enjoyment.
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      02-13-2019, 04:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
[...]
Is it special? I'm certain to those who bought it, yeah. I mean, I desperately hang on to my MZ4 Coupe despite it's middling performance numbers (for today's car anyway). It's special to ME. But to everyone else? Don't tell me that when you see an M4 GTS pull up next to you, you're going to think "hey that guy drives the SAME CAR as me! An M3/4!"

For years "purists" have been screaming about the dilution of the M brand, and today you have the proof. M cars aren't special anymore. You want the prestige of the M cars of OLD? You'd have to at least pony up for the CS models coming NEXT year.
Short answer: no.

Slightly longer answer: If it only has 6 cylinders and relies on turbochargers to get its power or it has an automatic gearbox; it's not really special. There's something about a real manual; and there's something about a V8/V10 or V12. ... The BMW Turbo/Twin Turbo I6's are excellent engines, and the current M's are excellent cars; but they're not really special. (I know, everyone rates the 1M as a truely iconic M, and it sports the N54.... and it is... but imagine what that car would've been if they'd equipped it with a S65)

I understand BMW's current tiers of M models; and you can trace it back to at least the e46 CSL. A `M` is a car that you get if you want sporty, but don't want to sacrifice all your comfort to get sporty. If you were willing to do that, you'd be better off in a Lotus or a Caterham or an Ariel. The 'regular M', the competition, the CS and the CSL are all lines in the sand that draw different balances between a sporty family car, and a BMW race-car. Sure, if you want prestige, you have to wait for the CSL - but not everybody can live with a car that has a rollcage instead of back seats, and a cardboard boot liner.

If you want a comfortable car that goes very fast, you really can't go wrong with a modern //M. But if you want iconic, my pick would be a F10 M5 manual, and e90 M3 manual, a 1M a Z3M/Z4M or an e46 - or a modern car from one of BMW's sportier competitors.

... If BMW were still making iconic M's, we'd have a current model of Z4M (that comes only as a manual), and we'd still have the option for a manual gearbox in the M5.

Last edited by xQx; 02-13-2019 at 05:18 PM..
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      02-13-2019, 04:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PshhhhhMW View Post
When you stop worrying about what others think, you'll win.
I agree with this, "special" is in the eye of the beholder. I am sure there were a lot of people that didn't think the original M's were special either. There are also a lot of people that find their much more mass produced car "special" as well.
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      02-13-2019, 04:46 PM   #10
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My M, even though it's just a standard 2015 Civic M3, is special. It's fast, performs as it should, and most of all, has been absolutely trouble free for 45k miles. That's what makes my M special.... Special to me, I really don't care what others think. Sure, ZCP, CS, GTS are nice, but they still use the "base model M" to produce these variants. The heart and soul of the machine is still there, only more refined. Yes the M brand is diluted but let's face it. New things come out all the time. If the only way for you to keep your car special to you is to have the latest and greatest, then good luck. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just like viewing something as being special. You ultimately determine what is special, no one else.👍
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      02-13-2019, 04:47 PM   #11
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Very well said....

Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Hear me out.

Back when BMW's M division first came out with the M1 (even before that, the Batwinged CSL and 2002Turbo for competition and homologation purposes), BMW's "M" cars meant SOMETHING. Something unique, something race-y, something done and sold only to satisfy a set of rules so they can go racing. While not everyone who bought an "M" special used them for racing, we all know that what's under the skin is UNIQUE.

And throughout the years, even when BMW "M" cars aren't created for homologation purposes, they still served a "purpose." M cars has been, since the mighty M1, the halo cars of each segment. The BEST version of each series you can possibly buy. E36 M3 is the highest trim 3 series. E39 M5 was the greatest sports sedan ever built. M5, M6es were all, during it's time in production for various generations, the BEST of each what each series represent. You can not buy a better E46 than the E46 M3. It's not like there's a ZHP trim level of the 330i (there isn't, by the way. ZHP is an optional package) where it's just a little bit more higher on the bad-assery scale.

Even when the X5 and X6es were "M-afied," they were the top level trim cars of each SUV/SAV model. For generations and generations of BMW products, the letter "M" has always stood for the apex/pinnacle model. Something special that each owners of an M car can always point to as having the halo of all halos of sport sedans, in each individual niche.



But not anymore.

M models are now just basically a high trim model of each individual series. It's not even top half...Those belong to the "Competition," "CS," and "GTS" models that will inevitably come. Say you bought an M2 2 years ago, put down an early deposit when you heard the rumors, arranged a $4,000 7 day trip to Germany to enjoy European Delivery so you can be one of the first to pick up this wonderful gem of a BMW. And don't get me wrong, a wonderful gem it did turn out to be...

Fast forward 2 years, and in 2019 the M2 Competition is now the top dog. Great, like most car enthusiasts I mostly hang on to cars I'm interested for 2 years anyway. Trade in an early M2 for the new TOP OF THEL INE 2 series, right? Halo car, no other 2 series is better than this. I'm secure in my masculinity and car-hood in knowing I've got the best of the best...Until the M2 CS comes out next year.

F**k. My original M2 is now just a middle of the road 2 series. Slotted between the M2 CS, M2 Competition, M240i, and M230 in the North American market. Middle of the road, with at least 2 models up above what I patiently waited 6 months for an allocation and a 7 days trip to the Motherland AND 1 day on the Nurburgring (fantastic memories, I'll bet). And that's not even counting the POSSIBILITY of an M2 GTS, because you know BMW will milk it for all it's worth.

At this point, are ANY of the M cars even special anymore? F8x M3/4 has the Competition, CS, and GTS models, and 3/440i, 30i, 28i, 20i, in Sedan, Coupe, and Grand Coupe guises. Middle child. Neglected, mass produced, and the "middle manager" instead of the superstar programmer of a Silly-con Valley Unicorn.

Is it special? I'm certain to those who bought it, yeah. I mean, I desperately hang on to my MZ4 Coupe despite it's middling performance numbers (for today's car anyway). It's special to ME. But to everyone else? Don't tell me that when you see an M4 GTS pull up next to you, you're going to think "hey that guy drives the SAME CAR as me! An M3/4!"

For years "purists" have been screaming about the dilution of the M brand, and today you have the proof. M cars aren't special anymore. You want the prestige of the M cars of OLD? You'd have to at least pony up for the CS models coming NEXT year.
Clearly, your definitive description(s) of the dummying-down of the M marque is accurate. I agree - the 2006-2008 Z4MC and Z4MR are special (at least in comparison to today's M dilution.

I agree, my beloved Red Roadster lives on, because it IS special, unique, one-off....and I love the design, lines, performance, visceral excitement of piloting the thing. You know you're in love with your ride when just going to the garage to get something always requires a detour to just stand there and view it's beauty.
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      02-13-2019, 04:50 PM   #12
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I've owned tons of M cars for the past 20 years, and my current M4 is my favorite of all. I loved my Z4Ms, but honestly they don't hold a candle to the car I have now.

To me the M cars are only getting better.
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      02-13-2019, 04:55 PM   #13
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I think it depends on where you live.

Around DC i see a minimum of 3-4 m3's/m4's a day, so no they are not that special anymore simply because of how many i see everyday. I am sure someone who doesn't see them every day coming to and from work finds them much more special and interesting.
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      02-13-2019, 04:56 PM   #14
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My M3 base seems pretty special to me whenever I drive it. Or look at it. Or wash it.
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      02-13-2019, 04:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xQx View Post
Short answer: no.

Slightly longer answer: If it only has 6 cylinders and relies on turbochargers to get its power or it has an automatic gearbox; it's not really special. The BMW Turbo/Twin Turbo I6's are excellent engines, and the current M's are excellent cars; but they're not really special. (I know, everyone rates the 1M as a truely iconic M, and it sports the N54.... and it is... but imagine what that car would've been if they'd There's something about a real manual; and there's something about a V8/V10 or V12. ... equipped it with a S64)

... If BMW were still making iconic M's, we'd have a current model of Z4M (that comes only as a manual), and we'd still have the option for a manual gearbox in the M5.
What are you talking about??? The original M was the M-1 with an I6. The E30 M3 had an I4, the E36 M3 was I6, the E46 M3 was I6, the E28 M5 was I6, the E34 M5 was I6, and the E24 M6 was I6. Those are all part of the history of the M brand and have nothing to do with V8 or V10 or V12. Don't even know what an S64 is --- typo for S65?

It's truly amazing to find out that the E9X was the only true M car ever made
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      02-13-2019, 04:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandridine View Post
I think it depends on where you live.

Around DC i see a minimum of 3-4 m3's/m4's a day, so no they are not that special anymore simply because of how many i see everyday. I am sure someone who doesn't see them every day coming to and from work finds them much more special and interesting.
3-4 a day? How many of other makes/models do you see?
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      02-13-2019, 05:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SakhirM4 View Post
3-4 a day? How many of other makes/models do you see?
Yes, i don't think you understand how many there are around here. The car clubs i am apart of refer to the f80 m3/m4 as the new mustang because it feels like every guy in their mid 20's is buying the 2014/2015 models. They are everywhere. Last week i saw 2 f90 m5's on my way back home.
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      02-13-2019, 05:14 PM   #18
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this keeps coming up.....nothing is special anymore unless u driving a 400k+ car.

it irks me too. and I rarely see them...if your worried about being special mod your car to make it look cool.

I will once again entertain the idea of returning my f80 at lease end. and buying a cheap ass e60 m5 with stick. dropping 4k on maintenance and use it as my toy car. I daily a honda pilot now. I see no reason dailying the M, its just too sporty for long commutes.

but to each their own.


tbh no one even cares about cars anymore. You are cooler nowadays by your social media presence or "virtual reality" than reality itself.

But always refreshing to run into a car person and yapping for hours about what used to be...
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      02-13-2019, 05:19 PM   #19
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I agree with you that BMW is slapping the M badges on everything now. In the past, there was a very clear distinction between M models and the regular BMWs. This is evident in the higher resale value of the older model M vehicles, compared to the newer M models. What really got my attention recently, was when I bought my new 2014 M5 and a couple of months later, I was thinking of trading it for a M6. The same dealership that I bought my new M5 from a couple of months earlier, appraised my months old M5 for almost half of what its worth.

After that experience with the M5, I started paying attention to the resale value of BMWs and M vehicles as well. To my surprise, BMWs arent holding their value as they should. My 2017 M6 that I paid $147k for, was appraised exactly one year later and it was deprecated by 45%. Im definitely not impressed with the resale value of the M vehicles.
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      02-13-2019, 05:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G35POPPEDMYCHERRY View Post
this keeps coming up.....nothing is special anymore unless u driving a 400k+ car.

it irks me too. and I rarely see them...if your worried about being special mod your car to make it look cool.

I will once again entertain the idea of returning my f80 at lease end. and buying a cheap ass e60 m5 with stick. dropping 4k on maintenance and use it as my toy car. I daily a honda pilot now. I see no reason dailying the M, its just too sporty for long commutes.

but to each their own.



tbh no one even cares about cars anymore. You are cooler nowadays by your social media presence or "virtual reality" than reality itself.

But always refreshing to run into a car person and yapping for hours about what used to be...
We just got back from London last weekend and stayed in a hotel in Mayfair. A 400k car in that bubble of a neighborhood is like 1 out of every 10 cars or so. The crazy thing is that there aren't that money garages, so overnight you could have a few million dollars worth of cars parked on the street on any given night.
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      02-13-2019, 05:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M6DYS View Post
I agree with you that BMW is slapping the M badges on everything now. In the past, there was a very clear distinction between M models and the regular BMWs. This is evident in the higher resale value of the older model M vehicles, compared to the newer M models. What really got my attention recently, was when I bought my new 2014 M5 and a couple of months later, I was thinking of trading it for a M6. The same dealership that I bought my new M5 from a couple of months earlier, appraised my months old M5 for almost half of what its worth.

After that experience with the M5, I started paying attention to the resale value of BMWs and M vehicles as well. To my surprise, BMWs arent holding their value as they should. My 2017 M6 that I paid $147k for, was appraised exactly one year later and it was deprecated by 45%. Im definitely not impressed with the resale value of the M vehicles.
Yeah im not so concerned with the exclusivity and more the resale....I know cars are depreciating assets; but the e90 held its value so well. I didn't know the f8x would plummet like this. Also you really need a track nowadays to harness the ability of the car. Its really fun changing lanes on the highway tho.
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      02-13-2019, 05:42 PM   #22
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My car isn't even an M and its special to me. It's exactly the car I wanted and I wouldn't trade it for a 135i or an M1. I wanted the E36 M3 feeling. That was a car that defined special to me because I was never tempted to do much tuning to it. I thought BMW just built it perfect.
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