Exceptionally Talented Department


If we subtracted the “fifty” from the current year, we would come to the period of creation of the extremely successful BMW M division.

The BMW AG division, BMW M GmbH, was established in 1972. It was initially named BMW Motorsport GmbH, whose mission is to produce high-performance and distinctive sports BMW models. Many cars today can be described as legends or icons. Examples include the BMW M1 or BMW M3 supercar. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the automaker commemorates seven significant milestones from the department’s history with the M logo.

The First with an M Tag

The BMW 3.0 CSL (E9) stands at the beginning of the sports section. In its final development stage in 1973, it was presented with an atmospheric petrol in-line six-cylinder engine with 3 153 cm3 (151 kW/206 hp). The CSL (Coupé Sport Leichtbau) label emphasized that it is a lightweight sports coupé weighing only 1 270 kg. Based on the vehicle, racing versions with a power of up to 551 kW/750 hp were created too. The 167 handmade pieces launched the incredible BMW M car era.

BMW 3.0 CSL (E9)
BMW 3.0 CSL (E9) is the first milestone in the history of BMW M GmbH.

Timeless Attractiveness

Many BMW M cars have earned the status of an icon, and the BMW M1 (E26) is no different. Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro breathed in his timeless stylistic language. The top in-line 24-valve 6-cylinder with a capacity of 3.5 l (204 kW/277) drove the rear wheels. The chassis was tuned to sporty drive.

The BMW M1 (E26) is embellished with a timeless design by Giugiaro.

About 450 pieces were produced between 1978 and 1981. The messengers of good names were special vehicles on sports grounds (The procar series – accompanying the F1 race). Sports fans would remember the iconic BMW M1 Art Car by Andy Warhol. This vehicle even took off in Le Mans.

One of many competitions – the BMW M1 Art Car by Andy Warhol.

Precisely Defined

BMW car fans often refer to BMW as an icon with the E30 designation, specifically its M3 version launched in 1986. The mid-range sedan with engine power (144 kW/196 hp) provided driving pleasure, different from the standard ‘civilian’ siblings with a more muscular extended body. It was necessary to produce 5000 pieces for approval for racing purposes. This was fulfilled very quickly. Entering the sporting arena in the touring cars category meant obtaining almost every title awarded in these races. So it became a deserved legend on the racetrack.

Derivatives of the BMW M3 (E30) have received several titles.

A Fascinating Combination

The BMW M5 Touring became an isolated phenomenon in 2007. The estate had a ten-cylinder engine and a large luggage compartment. This was the first time anyone offered such a feature. The 5.0 V10 high-speed generator with a maximum output of 373 kW (507 hp) transferred its refined genes to the road via the rear wheels. It was the only series-produced BMW 10-cylinder engine that represented the peak of atmospherically charged aggregates in the history of BMW M. The next generation of BMW M5, although no longer in the Touring version, came with turbo-charged engines that they still have today. A total of about 1000 BMW M5 Touring models were produced. Just this fact makes it a collector’s item accolade, not to mention the combination of high performance and the station wagon body.

BMW M5 Touring
The BMW M5 Touring (E61) offers high performance and ample luggage space.

Sports SUV

We noticed a pioneering achievement in the BMW M portfolio in 2009, when a sports car, an SUV type, the BMW X6 M, emerged. In this case, the designers managed to combine the genes of the BMW X6 with several high-performance components, with a completely new 4.4 V8 biturbo engine with a maximum power output of 408 kW (555 hp). A 6-speed sport automatic transmission distributed the transmission of tractive force to all wheels. The BMW X6 M Sports Activity Coupé is an excellent tribute to the BMW M tricolor.

Sports Activity Coupe BMW X6 M
Sports Activity Coupé The BMW X6 M (E71) has a significant dose of sports genes.

With a Competition Sport Tag

A recent milestone has been the arrival of the BMW M2 CS, which most convincingly defines the concept of driving pleasure. The compact BMW 2 Series sports car has been given the abbreviation CS in its designation, which means the vivid definition of Competition Sport, which clearly shows the course taken by the most athletic version of all BMW 2 Series. The hood conceals a 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinder biturbo with max. 331 kW (450 hp), the chassis is tuned for outstanding cornering. The reduced weight promotes excellent dynamics thanks to the amount of carbon components used.

The most sporty compact vehicle in the 2 Series arrived in 2019 – the BMW M2 CS (F87).

M Performance – The First Electric Car

The BMW i4 M50 (2021) convinces with its net power – the maximum power is 400 kW (544 hp), and the torque is 795 Nm. The electric car is equipped with an M chassis, sports steering, and sports brakes, so it is ranked among the total members of the M family and gains an honest place in the count of BMW M icons. The combined electric range is 416 to 520 km (WLTP).

Fabian Kirchbauer Photography
First electric car with M Performance plaque – BMW i4 M50 (G26)

Text: Peter Stano, photo: BMW