Different takes on a similar formula

Customisation is in vogue at the moment, but choice can be seriously confusing. In our new configurator challenge, we’re going to let the CarAdvice team loose on a manufacturer’s website to create their ideal spec of a certain model.

For this edition of the Configurator Challenge, we’re building BMW M cars of essentially every flavour. Start your engines, folks.

Let us know what you think in the comments, and let us know which cars you’d like to see next!


Scott Collie, Journalist

There are lots of brilliant BMW M cars out there, and the M2 was very, very tempting, but the new M5 is just too much of a stunner to look past. Also, having read Rob's review, you'd be mad not to consider the twin-turbo bahn-stormer.

Maybe because it's brand new, or maybe because BMW is gunning for the AMG E63 S, there aren't many options to be had here. There's only one engine – a 4.4-litre turbocharged bent-eight making 441kW of power and 750Nm of torque – which makes that part of the challenge easy, and there's only one set of wheels available.

You can choose what colour you'd like, though. I've gone with the lighter of the two options, although black was tempting. It might be predictable, but the hero Marina Bay Blue was impossible to ignore for the exterior, although Frozen Dark Red was also on the cards for a while. If it wasn't so hard to keep matte-coloured cars clean, it may have been given the call up.

Some cars (most cars, actually) are better with a lighter interior, but a BMW M car should be dark and brooding inside. Black leather, complete with carbon-fibre and 'dark pearl' trim on the dashboard, fulfils that criteria.

Essentially everything is standard on the M5, but my car runs with Apple CarPlay, an M Carbon Engine Cover, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system and a tyre pressure monitor from the options list.

Everyone else in this challenge, with their cute little M3 and M2 configurations, can eat my dust.


Mandy Turner, Podcast Host and Road Tester 

Choosing your favourite BMW M car is like being a kid in a candy store. "I'll have that one, and that one, oh, and that one!"

After a good 15 minutes of trying to decide, it's the M3 Competition sedan for me. It's the happy medium between the M2 and M4.

The standard engine is a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder with 317kW of power, but in Competition trim that rises to 331kW, and I've chosen the 7-speed auto transmission.

I believe BMW has never made a bad coat of blue paint, so my M3 has been covered in Tanzanite Blue.

A dark paint colour makes the 20-inch star-spoke alloy wheels pop, and they're extra special as they're part of the standard M3 Competition kit.

Sure, light-coloured upholstery is a pain to keep clean, but it didn't stop me from picking the full leather Merino Silverstone upholstery with aluminium blade interior trim finishers.

A lot of features come standard in the M3, so I didn't actually tick any options.

BMW, shut up and take my Monopoly money.


Melissa Ong, Social Media and Community Manager

I've chosen a Mineral White M3 Competition.... surprise!

The reason I went for the classic M3 is that I need some extra doors. I already have a coupe at home, so the M4 was off the cards.

Firstly, give me a manual. I want to be able to change gears. I've taken the forged black M-spec alloys. I feel that black rims look great on any white car...

Now to the interior. Check out that leather! At first glance, you'd call it red. It's actually Merino Sakhir Orange. Gorgeous, isn't it?

There was a Silverstone Merino option, but given I wear black jeans very often (like... everyday), there is a strong chance that leather is going to look grey and need a bit of extra TLC. I have also chosen the carbon-fibre look highlights with black chrome finishes.

In addition to the standard equipment, I have added Apple CarPlay, electric glass sunroof, roller sunblinds all around, heated steering wheel (bless these cold hands) and heated rear seats (for pizza).


James Wong, Journalist 

I tossed up for a while between the coupe and convertible, largely because I think the M4 looks great with the roof down, but the extra weight and reduced structural rigidity sort of goes against the concept of an M car – being an all-out performance machine

Trim level? I went for the higher-spec Competition Pack, largely because I'm a bit of a diva and won't spend that kind of money on a car with cloth seats and a reduced amount of standard equipment.

For the body I opted for the BMW Individual Tanzanite Blue, because ooft. Filling the arches are 20-inch '666' M light alloy wheels forged in black, which go nicely with the Competition Pack's blacked out badging, tailpipes and grille.

Inside, I chose the Sakhir Orange Merino leather option, because reddish interiors are the best for luxury sports cars in my humble opinion. The orange hide is contrasted with carbon-fibre trim inserts highlighted by black chrome accents.

The only cost-option I chose – which was also the only one available – was Apple CarPlay compatibility for the iDrive 6 infotainment system. While some would argue smartphone mirroring isn't needed because 'iDrive is fine on its own', I like to have the choice, thank you.

I may be biased, but I reckon my M4 looks pretty swish, don't you?


Kez Casey, Road Tester 

Like a kid in a lolly shop, once I was informed that week’s configurator challenge was “any M car you like” I suddenly had no idea which one I’d actually splurge my imaginary cash on.

The M3 and M4 are great and all, but I’ve always adored the look of the M6 Gran Coupe, even though it may be getting a little long in the tooth it still turns heads.

A twin-turbo V8 shoving 441kW down your neck through the rear tyres only is nothing to sneeze at either (eat your own damn dust, Scott!). Spec-wise a simple Space Grey exterior plays it cool, with an interior trimmed in Cohiba Brown leather from BMW Individual for a serious and sophisticated look.

Seeing as BMW refuses to let you have an obnoxiously coloured interior or exterior, as shouty as the M6 can get is gloss carbon interior trims and double spoke forged alloy wheels, so tick and tick.

While there’s stacks of available options, there’s little chance I’d add any of them – least of all carbon ceramic brakes at $24k (let’s get real here, you’ll never need those on the road, and probably not on the racetrack either) so this is about as simple as $300k-plus of car can be.


Cheng Huang, Development Team 

The BMW M3 is my dream car. As a current F30 3 Series owner, I would like to start with the M3 Competition line with Tanzanite Blue colour, which is very different from the BMW Imperial or Long Beach blue. It is very special and unique colour, looking like pure black in the dark and shining under the sunlight.

Driving an M3, you will never want to keep a low profile; as a result, a forged 20 inch Star-spoke is a must have, to clearly present the large M carbon ceramic brakes. I do love the yellow brakes, standing out from the crowd of red colour.

Black interior - easy to maintain, and I prefer the carbon fibre interior trim finisher, making the car look dynamic, aggressive and sporty from the inside out.

ConnectedDrive Freedom package gives your car Internet connection, including remote service and real time traffic GPS, highly recommended as an existing BMW owner. I am not a big fan of Apple CarPlay, but BMW wireless Apple CarPlay gives you more options and possibilities when you sit in the car.

You need to pay the subscription, but yes, it is the trend and no one can deny that. In the end, I will add the electric glass sunroof for more fresh air.