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BMW celebrates 50 years of "M" with concours events and a special-edition M3

Updated: Jun 7


BMW is celebrating the golden anniversary of its M division - BMW Motorsport GmbH - which was founded on May 23, 1972. Over the course of five decades, the fringe division turned mainstream success has produced an impressive number of M cars beloved by enthusiasts around the globe.


It's rewarded those enthusiasts with the announcement of a new, limited-to-500-units version of the M3, the M3 Edition 50 Jahre BMW M. This will be available in five M3-heritage-inspired paint colors (Cinnabar Red, E30; Techno Violet, E36; Deep Interlagos Blue, E46; Fire Orange III, E92 Lime Rock Park Edition; Lime Rock Gray, F80 M3 CS). Production of the all-wheel-drive, automatic-only, $96,695 sedan will begin in July.



The automaker kicked off the anniversary festivities on May 20 with a special class (50 Years of Mean Machinery: BMW’s M Cars and Their Ancestors) at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, the exclusive concours that BMW Group sponsors at Lake Como, Italy; it's keeping the party going next month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where M cars of road and track will serve as the theme of this year's special Central Feature sculpture during the prestigious U.K. motorsports event taking place June 23-26.




A potted history: The first product of BMW's Motorsport division was based on the E9-chassis CS: the 3.0 CSL was built to homologate the straight-six coupe for European Touring Car Championship racing. A variant of that racing engine would form the heart for the company's first M-badged road car, the exotic 1978-'81 M1. BMW followed this up with its first regular-production-based M models, the M535i and M635i, soon supplanted by the E28-based M5 and E24-based M6. Those models had been swift, luxurious, and expensive: BMW would democratize its M formula with the high-strung four-cylinder E30-based M3 that instituted a new legend. Starting in the 1990s, the M division would contribute to models that didn't get the full "M"-badge treatment, including the M-Design 325i and epic 850CSi. The only BMWs so far to solely be named "M" were the Z3-based roadster and coupe of 1999-2002 and Z4-based variants of 2006-2008. Twenty years on, BMW offers a vast array of M and M-style vehicles and promises an all-electric future for its most important subsidiary.

By Mark J. McCourt Hemmings News

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