Since it first appeared in 1987, BMW’s M3 has proved a cult favorite, and with good reason. It’s a refined four-seater for weekdays and a serious racetrack machine for weekends. BMW delivered a doozy with the fifth-gen M3 sedan (pictured), along with the newly monikered M4, a two-door coupe version. Gone is the V8 in favor of a lighter, three-liter in-line six (which has always been the soul of BMW), plus a pair of turbos. Outside, the car is as elegant as ever, aggressive yet understated. Power is up 11 horses, to 425, weight is down (there’s carbon fiber everywhere, from the roof to the hollow driveshaft), and torque is up 38 percent—enough to bounce your eyeballs off the back of your skull as you rocket from zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds. For our test-drive we hit one of the nation’s fastest racetracks, Road America in Wisconsin, in the dumping rain. High speed rarely feels this sure-footed. For the price ($63K and up), this is the ultimate weekend-warrior ride.

Stats for the M3 and M4
- Engine: three-liter twin-turbo I6
- Horsepower: 425
- Torque: 406 foot-pounds
- Zero to 60: 4.1 sec.
- MPG: 17 city/26 highway
- Price: $63K base