The antagonism accessory initially created to facilitate BMW’s motorsport affairs during the 1960s and 1970s, BMW Motorsport GmbH went on to be amenable for some of the best acclaimed alley cars of all time.
M division was founded in May 1972 with 35 advisers to supplement BMW’s alley car portfolio with distinctively added models. By 1988, the aggregation had developed to 400 advisers and apace became a axiological allotment of BMW’s bazaar presence.
The aboriginal car to be awash with an M brand was the BMW M1, advised by Paul Bracq with final touches by allegorical artist Giorgetto Giugaro. Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1978, the mid-engined coupé featured a 277bhp six-cylinder agent taken from the 3.0 CSL and was able of 165mph.
Only 456 accumulation M1s were built. Later, the M1 spawned a racer to attack in a one-make series, Procar. Despite alluring drivers such as Hans-Joachim Stuck, Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet, the alternation lasted aloof two years.
In 1979, the car admired as the aboriginal able M car for the alley was launched. The BMW M535i was the antecedent to the E28 M5 and was a high-performance alternative of BMW’s accepted 5-series saloon. Powered by the 215bhp 3.5-litre M30B34 engine, it congenital Recaro seats, bigger brakes, a limited-slip cogwheel and a close-ratio transmission.
Four years anesthetized and the M635CSi was launched. M activated its abracadabra to the 6-series, applicable the new M88/3 agent which developed 282bhp and fabricated the M635CSi acceptable for 158mph. Aloof 5,859 models were built, although affluence of bottom models acquired M badges adapted by owners – a trend that continues today.
The aboriginal M5, based on the E28-generation 5-series, set the adapt for a achievement saloon. It accumulated the best of the 5-series – comfort, clarification and anatomy affection – with awfully bigger performance. It could ability 62mph in 6.5sec and run on to 153mph; fast alike by today’s standards. With luxuries such as electric windows, axial locking and ablaze admixture wheels, it was axiomatic the M analysis were alpha to ambition the exceptional sector. A ancestors alehouse car developing this ability was ahead exceptional of and it was a action that paid off for BMW.
Arguably the best acute year in the history of BMW M was 1986, with the barrage of the E30 M3. The aboriginal M3s produced 197bhp from their high-revving 2.3-litre inline four-cylinder 16-valve unit. However, the afterwards Evolution and Sport Evolution models produced 217bhp and 235bhp respectively. Zero to 62mph in 6.9sec, affiliated to touring-car-esque handling, it was a beauteous amalgamation still highly-regarded to this day.
Two years later, a larger, added comfortable anatomy carapace meant added ability back the E34 BMW M5 came to the ahead in 1988. Utilising the 535i chassis, it was akin to a 311bhp, 266lb ft 3.6-litre straight-six motor, afterwards upgraded to 3.8-litres from 1992. With a top dispatch of 177mph, it was the fastest four-door alehouse in the world.
The BMW 850CSi was the abutting M came to developing a supercar. It was an M car in all but name, and took over from the ancestor M8. The 850i’s agent was acquainted so abundantly that BMW assigned it a new agent cipher – S70. A 5.6-litre V12 – the alone M car to affection 12 cylinders – and 375bhp fabricated it acceptable for a bound top dispatch of 155mph. It was BMW’s flagship car at the time and congenital avant-garde kit such as alive four-wheel steering.
The E36 M3 had a adamantine act to chase back it launched in 1992. It acquired two added cylinders over the four-pot E30, and the new archetypal eventually spawned coupe, convertible and alehouse versions. It was initially offered with a 3.0-litre straight-six developing 282bhp, but afterwards models acquired a new 3.2-litre straight-six from 1995, which additional ability to 316bhp. The E36 M3 was accustomed as one of the best administration cars of the nineties, and in 1997 alien BMW’s Consecutive Chiral Gearbox.
In 1998, BMW M appear the M Roadster and Coupe. It was a amalgam of the Z3 – a car abundantly abhorred at the time – and the E36 M3 Evo, from which it took brakes and abundant of the suspension. The M Coupe, either accepted as the breadvan or antic shoe depending whether you were British or American, charcoal an ambiguous achievement car with a band following.
The aforementioned year saw the barrage of the E39 M5, a car created in far greater numbers than its predecessors and congenital on the aforementioned accumulation band as the approved 5-series. Ability was now up to 394bhp from the new 4.9-litre V8 and 0-60mph accomplished in 4.8sec.
The millennium saw the addition of the third bearing of M3, the E46, which offered up 338bhp from its 3.2-litre beeline six. For the aboriginal time back the E30 M3, a alehouse adaptation was not available. With a 0-62mph time of 5.1sec and bound to 155mph, it is advised one of the greatest all-round sports cars, decidedly in CSL guise.
That archetypal was a failing limited-edition adaptation of the E46. It was 110kg lighter than the accepted M3 auto and the acquainted 3.2-litre straight-six was up to 355bhp. It is still admired as one of M’s finest creations.
2005 saw the addition of the best avant-garde M5 to date. The E60 M5 featured a 500bhp V10 which was advised to articulation the car with BMW’s Formula One effort. It was the fastest four-door alehouse at the time of its release. Able of 200mph de-restricted, it was alone accessible with the SMG III consecutive chiral gearbox. It boasted a host of technology to alter the dispatch of gearshifts, and the disciplinarian was able to acclimatize ability achievement on the move.
The aforementioned year saw the barrage of the M5’s sister car, the M6. It apparent a acknowledgment of the hot 6-series, not apparent back the M635CSi, and offered a able GT in BMW’s line-up.
The final naturally-aspirated BMW M3, the E92 auto debuted in 2007 with a 4.0-litre V8 blame out 414bhp at a exciting 8300rpm. In 2008, the four-door E90 alehouse was launched. This archetypal additionally saw the admission of BMW’s M-DCT twin-clutch gearbox. The E92 served as the belvedere for the GTS. Aloof 250 were built, and it was powered by a 444bhp 4.4-litre V8. It admiring a amount tag of added than £100,000.
M’s aboriginal SUVs hit the showrooms in 2009. The BMW X5 M and X6 M both backpack a 555bhp 4.4-litre V8. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo rivals alternate predigious performance, auctioning 62mph in a about 4.5sec, but breach assessment as to whether a high-riding archetypal adapted to backpack the aforementioned appellation as the M3 and M5.
Despite accident two cylinders, the F10-generation BMW M5 charcoal one on the best supersaloons on sale. Like the E60 M5 it replaced, it bristles with technology, all in the following of ultimate performance. Its abundant the aforementioned adventure with the accepted M6, which is now awash as a coupe, convertible and a four-door GranCoupe.
The aforementioned year, the 1-series M was launched. Lauded as the spirtual almsman to the E30 M3, the bound run’s iconic cachet was assured. The limited-run archetypal had a added clue and ability came from a 340bhp adaptation of the agent from the 335i.
2014 would see a big about-face for the admirable M3, back the F80 archetypal accustomed alone as a four-door and the coupé adaptation morphed into the M4. Both acclimated the aforementioned 425bhp inline six, codenamed S55, which would see the M3 embrace turbocharging for the aboriginal time. An uprated M3 CS would access afterwards with bargain weight, carbon fibre advanced addle-brain and a ability hike, but it would be the M4 that recieved the best acute variant: the M4 GTS, a track-focused archetypal with ability pushed to 493bhp acknowledgment to a baptize bang arrangement – the aboriginal to be acclimated in a accumulation car for twenty years.
The success of the 1-Series M meant a abate M analysis coupé was about inevitable, but it wouldn’t be until 2015, back the 2 Alternation had replaced the approachable 1 Alternation coupé and convertible. The M2 became the new babyish of the M line-up, and in abounding means acquainted it, with a single-turbo six-cylinder agent and a anatomy that couldn’t absolutely accumulate up with the Porsche 718 Cayman as the actual best in the chic for handling. That would change with the M2 Competition, which was accustomed a automated check and a downtuned adaptation of the M3’s twin-turbocharged beeline six. Supremely counterbalanced and composed, it bound became one of the best driver’s cars BMW now makes.
A new F90 bearing M5 would access in 2017, adapted with a heavily revised twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 that would acquiesce the super-saloon to ability 190mph on the autobahn and breach 62mph in 3.4sec. Abundant of that raw dispatch was bottomward to all-wheel drive, a aboriginal for the M5, admitting drive is alone beatific to the advanced auto back the rears lose traction. A committed rear-wheel drive alone approach meant it could still bear the aforementioned alongside aggro of antecedent generations, too.
More SUVs would chase in 2019, with the X3 M and X4 M administration the aforementioned twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre S58 powertrain. Ability achievement for the Competition variants was hiked to 503bhp, admitting xDrive all-wheel drive and a aerial active position would trim some of the activating archness we’d appear to apprehend from cars accustomed the M badge. Raw achievement of anniversary car wasn’t up for debate, though, and would act as a tantalising brain-teaser for the upcoming M3, which is set to use the aforementioned engine.
M Division’s latest conception is the M8, accession in coupé, convertible and Gran Coupé forms with the aforementioned 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 as the M5, acquainted to aftermath a brief 616bhp. Added than a two-door M5, it was BMW’s attack to beef in on Bentley, Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG’s ascendancy of the admirable tourer space, admitting an ever accustomed autogenous didn’t conceivably do abundant to abstracted it from the blow of the line-up.
As for the future? an M3 based on the G20 3 alternation is appropriate about the corner, with a radically redesigned M4 set to chase anon after. A bunched M1 hot bear is on the cards, with four-wheel drive and abundant ability to attack with the 400bhp Mercedes-AMG A45S and accessible Audi RS3, and an M2 Gran Auto based on the aforementioned belvedere is additionally planned. The M2 coupé will break rear-wheel drive, and will see an alike greater ability hike.
Beyond that, it seems amalgam ability is attractive acceptable while the aggregation turns its focus from agitation to electrification, admitting back the aboriginal amalgam to abrasion an M brand will access is still an unknown.
BMW plots above amplification of M achievement range
New BMW M2 to spearhead hotter inferior M line-up
Video: BMW M3 CSL with chiral gearbox analysis | The greatest M car?