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Highly regarded for the power of its engines, BMW ranks as a high-performance leader among global luxury brands. You'll easily fill the thrill of the track whether your commuting to work on the freeway or ferrying your loved ones to school on city roads. The high quality of automotive engineering frequently puts the manufacturer and its individual models on the Best Resale Value list of car-value gurus like Edmunds and Autotrader.

Can a Vehicle Really Make Your Heart Beat Faster?

Typical of the spirited achievements imbued in BMW motors is the award-winning 3.0-liter M Performance TwinPower Turbo 6-cylinder . Wards Auto judges were thrilled that the powerplant “...idles with serene confidence and revs with buttery smoothness no matter how close to the redline (it ran).” In the M240 i, this engine achieves 335 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque while getting up to an EPA-estimated 26 MPG during testing. The speed rushes from 0 to 60 MPH in only 4.4 seconds, delivering autobahn aptitude on American highways. Currently considered the most powerful BMW engine unleashed on a luxury sedan, the 4.4-liter M5 S63 TwinPower Turbo V8 relies on direct fuel injection, Valvetronic variable valve control to thrust from 0 to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds. Torque reaches 502 lb.-ft. at only 1,500 RPM while performance tops out at 592 horsepower in the 30 Jahre Edition M5. A satisfying roar accompanies the smooth acceleration with almost no turbo lag.

What Model Makes You Swoon?

BMW models are typically part of series numbered from 1 to 8, although not all numbers may be available in the USA, let alone on the luxury lot. New versions may also receive letter names from X1 to X6, M, or i3 and i8. The following are some of the more popular designations.

  • 3 Series. Up until recently, this series was the most affordable of the BMW line, making it the most popular introduction to the luxury brand. It thus became the manufacturer's biggest selling line, accounting for almost 30 percent of all sales. It used to be available in a variety of body styles, which has currently been pared down to sedans and sports wagons. The series impresses with almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution, which helps with a firm grip on the road and up to 320 horsepower.
  • 2 Series. Recently introduced with the most affordable title, this series impresses as a compact two-door with plenty of athleticism. Its 2-door coupe maximizes performance with the 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that revs up to 335 horsepower and speeds from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.2 seconds. The convertible launches in 4.4 seconds with the same power and features a soft-top that drops in 22 seconds even at speeds approaching 35 MPH.
  • 5 Series. When you need a physical reminder of your rise to the executive suite, this series qualifies. Impressing both clients and loved ones, the interior adds elegance with available premium Nappa Leather and Ambience Lighting. You'll get daily satisfaction from the 456-horsepower M55i double-VANOS engine that goes from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds.
  • X Models. For aspiring off-roaders and those as comfortable on the family campground as they are in front of a five-star restaurant, the X1 to X5 models represent Sport Activity Vehicles that offer space for both passengers and gear. The compact X1 Series, for example, carries up to 5 occupants but if you fold down the seats, cargo room expands to 58.7 cu. ft. The larger X5 carries up to seven with an optional third row or up to 76.7 cu. ft. of cargo. Its 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 delivers up to 445 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • i Series. With electric power, this series showcases the latest BMW technological advancements. The family-friendly i3 gets up to 114 miles on pure electric power and 180 miles with the Range Extender, which relies on a 2-cylinder engine to maintain the lithium battery charge. The sportier i3 revs up from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds with a TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder and electric motor that generates a total of 357 horsepower.
  • Words You Should Know

    When you're shopping for a BMW, you'll encounter terms in the model designation or description that highlight the brand's best features.

  • Gran Turismo. Italian for “Grand Touring,” this term refers to models that emphasize comfortable space for long-distance driving a high speeds. For example, although the Series 6 Gran Turismo is a sedan, it offers up to 63.6 cu. ft. of storage and up to 40 inches of legroom in the rear seat. Its performance achieves 445 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • xDrive: This intelligent all-wheel drive, which is available in the X models, normally pushes 60 percent of the basic torque to the front axle with the remainder to the rear. However, the distribution automatically adjusts based on driving and road conditions.
  • iPerformance. This refers to plug-in hybrid vehicles that can maximize range, as in the 330 miles of the BMW 330e iPerformance as well as efficiency, as in the EPA-estimated 64 MPGe for the 740e xDrive iPerformance.