Back in 1985, BMW launched a car called the M3. There was nothing else quite like it, a racer for the road with four seats and everything Munich knew about motorsport technology plumbed into the lightweight engine beneath the bonnet. Driving it was a living, raw, involving experience - in a way that today's sharp-suited M3 can't quite duplicate, for all its extra power and sophistication. But here perhaps, is a BMW that can, the M240i.
Yes, you read that right: we're ecommending the M240i here as an M3 alternative, not its pokier, pricier brother, the 370bhp M2. Don't get us wrong, we love the M2, but it's £45,000 asking price puts it uncomfortably close to M3 money. For £9,000 less, this M240i goes virtually as fast and is almost as much fun.