BMW is one of those rare car companies whose vehicles serve as a powerful statement and status symbol. It has earned this reputation of brilliance and reliability through decades of providing some of the most desirable and robust models in automotive history. The last decade has been especially fruitful for this German giant, as it diversified its vehicle portfolio into various new sub-segments ...and with great success, at that. These include the widening of their SUV lineup, new additions to the BMW supercar family, and even the introduction of their electric fleet of the future (the i-series).
Slowly entering a new decade and so a new era in automotive, we now celebrate the greatest cars that BMW released over the past ten years. Cars that have managed to score the highest consumer rankings, outperform their rivals, or simply leave their unique mark on the industry. These are the greatest BMW models of the decade.
10 BMW X7
We had to wait until last year for BMW to unveil their answer to all those full-size SUVs such as the Audi Q7, Lincoln Navigator, or the G-Class. Yet, the X7 was definitely worth the wait, as the model now sits near the top of its segment, featuring some of the best luxury features paired with a powerful engine.
As always, the X7 cabin reflects nothing but perfection. Wooden accents and leather cover the most visible areas, ensuring a comfortable, upscale experience for all 7 passengers. Meanwhile, under the hood roars a frightening 523-horsepower V8 which, connected to all four wheels, makes the X7 a competent off-roader as well.
9 BMW M5 Competition
To make this incredible sports car, BMW took one of the greatest midsize sedans on the market - the 5-series - and fitted it with a beastly 4.4L V8 producing 617 horsepower. With such raw power coming from the engine, it no longer connected to just the rear wheels but all four wheels instead. This kind of grip allowed the M5 Competition to reach 60 mph in an eye-watering 3.1 seconds and continue accelerating until attaining a speed that would make it one of the fastest sedans in the world - over 190 mph.
Nevertheless, the inside still belongs to that luxury midsize sedan we all know and love, with leather upholstery and as many technology features as you'd like.
8 BMW 8-Series
Hands down one of the best cars BMW delivered in the last decade, the majestic 8-Series is the long-awaited successor to the legendary 850CSI model discontinued in 1999. The car's performance, looks, and upscale experience made it one of the best grand tourers in the '90s, and we're ecstatic to say the new 8-Series is even better. The car aptly competes with the most luxurious and competent sports cars on the market, such as the Audi R8 or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe.
And in fact, at a $110,000 starting price point, the 8-series vastly out-bargains them. Packed with a muscular 523-hp V8, it will dash to 60 in just 3.6 seconds, while comfortably nestling the driver inside its luxurious, leather-clad interior.
7 BMW Z4
The Z4 has been around for a while now, replacing the obsolete Z3 in 2002. The model paused production in 2016, offering up 335 horsepower under the hood at the time. However, the Z4's back for 2019 model year, now once again serving as the brand's go-to convertible sports car, with an attractive design and a decent 255-horsepower engine. In fact, the Z4 has been getting more and more attractive with each facelift.
And though we'd like to see more power, the newest model still poses a serious threat to the likes of the Porsche Boxster and the Chevrolet Corvette (both in performance and in price).
6 BMW i8
As the brand's first hybrid supercar, the i8 denoted a shift in perspective for BMW when it debuted in 2014. Both in design and performance, the car draws inspiration from the legendary mid-engine BMW M1, which met an untimely end in the early '80s. The new i8 will drive purely on electricity for about 23 miles, thanks to a 4.4kWh battery pack and a 139-horsepower electric engine.
However, it becomes a supercar when the petrol engine is awakened, producing a combined power output of about 360 horsepower and launching to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Though this beautiful hybrid coupe is still in production today, the last model will unfortunately leave the factory in 2020.
5 BMW 1-Series M Coupe
Launched in 2010, the 1-Series M Coupe was a promising start to the decade for BMW. This is the car nobody knew they wanted until BMW actually made it. It's essentially a high-performance model of their sub-compact 1-series, featuring a boosted 335-horsepower engine. Its power to size ratio warranted excellent agility and track performance, which notably impressed the team at Top Gear, who announced it the Car of the Year in 2011.
On the inside, it still lives up the BMW name, with quality materials and an attractive cabin design. Unfortunately, in spite of its success, the 1-Series M Coupe was discontinued in 2011, leaving it one of the rarest and most desirable BMWs of the 21st century.
4 BMW M3 E92
It's difficult to find a car enthusiast that doesn't admire the simple brilliance and appeal of the M3. Pop culture made the E46 one of the most popular and desirable German sports cars in the world, and the E92 facelift only continued the trend. Aside from the exterior of a stylish sedan that suggests that this car might be more competent than it looks, the main attraction of the M3 has always been its performance. Inside the latest model produced in 2018 lies a 425-horsepower V8, that makes this luxury midsize sedan go from zero to sixty in less than 4 seconds.
Yet, as you might have guessed, the M3 is no longer produced, after failing to meet the emissions regulations of the WLTP. Luckily, we still have the following car to fill its gap.
3 BMW 4-Series
In 2013, BMW figured a sporty 3-Series coupe deserved to have its own line, and so the 4-series was born. And it was just one of the great ideas BMW would have the following decade. The car effectively competes against the likes of the Audi A5 and the Mercedes C-series coupe, currently featuring a highly-competent engine lineup - from 248-hp to the thrilling 454 hp found in the M4. The car even comes in a convertible form, providing a potentially more powerful alternative to the equally attractive Z4 roadster.
And don't think BMW neglected the luxury component in this one; it packs everything that makes a great BMW, such as an upscale interior with two rows of comfortable leather seats, a high-tech infotainment system and a 15.7 cubic feet of storage in the back.
2 BMW X1
At a $35,000 starting price point, the X1 is the luxury SUV for those who want the BMW experience without the spaciousness of a larger SUV. And it manages to fill this gap perfectly, currently sitting at the very top of the sub-compact luxury SUV segment. And it's been doing this since 2013.
Why is the X1 so great? Because it manages to strike the best balance of price, performance, and high-end luxury of any small SUV on the market. The 228-horsepower engine currently offered is more than powerful enough to propel the X1 anywhere, while its interior comfort and cargo space (up to 58.7 cubic feet) compete with much larger and pricier cars.
1 BMW 7-Series
The company's flagship super luxury sedan has kept its elite status for the entire past decade, competing with the greatest cars in its segment such as the Mercedes-Benz S class and Jaguar XJ, even giving land yachts like Bentley a run for their money.
The cabin packs everything you'd ever need in a car, from a over-the-top 12.3" touchscreen display to ambient lighting, seat massage, and even air fragrance. It's equally impressive under the hood, as the engine starts at 335 horsepower and only gets bigger from there. Optioned with a 600-hp B7 trim, the 5000-lb car will dash to 60 faster than an all-out supercar, in just 3.5 seconds.