Since 1986, few badges have caught the attention of BMW fans – or enthusiasts of high-performance saloons in general – as M3. It’s a very straightforward name, indicating simply that the car it refers to is a 3-Series developed by BMW’s Motorsport Division (or M Division as it is now known), but it conjures up images of cars going quickly, making an impressive noise and occasionally pointing several degrees from the direction of travel.

There have been many different kinds of M3, but they are all wonderful in their own way. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.