For all the great and important cars that BMW produced in the 1970s, the M1 really is the only answer here. Designed by the great Giugiaro (Lotus Esprit, DeLorean DMC-12, et al), and originally conceived as a joint BMW-Lamborghini project, BMW had its first bona-fide supercar once Lamborghini pulled out.
Coachmaker Baur worked closely with BMW to build the chassis, and the end result was full of all the spectacular-ness you’d expect from the patriarch of BMW’s entire M division.
1981-1990: E30 M3
The concept behind the first M3 is the epitome of elegance in simplicity: take an already good second-generation 3 Series (the E30), slightly tweak just about everything, and dominate the motorsport scene.
The incredible balance and light weight of the original M3 translated into what is often considered the perfect driver’s car. With more victories in international competition than any other single car, its legacy is pretty safe.