BMW M is 50 and Getting Better with Every New M Car
Is 50 the gateway to old age? Not if you’re BMW, which is celebrating five decades of its legendary “M” sub-brand in 2022. Nothing says “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” more than an M car, and at its 50th anniversary is the epitome of top shape and getting better all the time.
The M was born in 1972 when BMW created its Motorsports division, winning the Nürburgring 24 Hours a year later with the BMW 3.0 CSL, tricked out in the red-purple-blue colors that now appear on all BMW M cars and models with the M Sport package.
The BMW M1 introduced racing high performance in 1978. Long, low, and with Italian design flair, it’s an automotive icon, and emblematic of M’s performance chops. In three years of production, about 450 M1s were sold.
1984 – 2000
BMW rolled out new iterations of M cars. In 1984, the BMW M635 CSI luxury sportscar, and the first street-legal high-performance sedan, the M5. Many M enthusiasts would say that M cars were cemented in the public’s mind for accessible street performance in 1986 by the BMW M3. The M3 Coupe with a market-leading six-cylinder engine thrilled drivers in 2000, along with the M3 Convertible.
1998 – 2005
BMW added a two-seater M coupe in 1998 and also introduced the third-generation M5 with an eight-cylinder 400-hp engine, proving that power and performance could also be elegant. By 2005, it had grown into a five-liter, 507-hp, V-10 engine. Drivers wanting a sportier coupe got the M6 Coupe that year with lighter-weight carbon components.
The desire for a higher profile and ability to carry more cargo while demanding the high performance only M could deliver led to the first-ever X5 M Sports Activity Vehicle® in 2009. The X5 had been one of BMW’s top sellers. It was a natural transition to give it the M treatment in 2009.
The M went small with the BMW 1 Series M Coupe – considered, as CNET put it: “the most driver-focused BMW of its day, more entertaining than the larger and more powerful M3.”
2013 – 2022
Every few years, BMW adds a new variation to the M line, including the M6 Gran Coupe in 2013, the M2 Coupe and M4 GTS in 2016, and the more powerful M3 and M4s in 2021.
The BMW lineup of M cars now includes electrics, with more to come as the industry adapts to the need for more efficient while still high-performing cars. More are in the wings.
BMW is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new book, BMW M Love, and in collaboration with PUMA a collection of BMW 50th anniversary clothing.
Schomp has been a BMW dealer since 1968 before BMW introduced M cars. We knew, even then, that German engineering was special and would produce unique and fun-to-drive vehicles. We’re a Certified M Center. Visit us in Highlands Ranch, and we’ll show you why BMW – and M cars – continue to excite drivers.