The story begins with the 3.0 CSL
“A company is like a person. If they do sport, they are well trained, enthusiastic, more efficient,” said Robert A. Lutz, member of the BMW Board of Management in 1972. BMW has followed this principle since the “New Class” appeared in the 1960s. Works and private drivers nurtured the sporty image of the Munich company, drove a BMW 1800 to 2002 umpteen successes, were present on the racetracks of the world. But so were other brands. And there were many well-motorized cars for the road. On the other hand, if you wanted real sportiness, you had to tune it up (“hairstyle” back then), which was almost common practice in the 70s.
It was the time of bright colors, speed meant skill, speed meant progress. BMW recognized the market, wanted to offer sportiness from the factory and use the appeal of motorsport more effectively for the entire brand. A new, independent subsidiary brand should take care of it, consistently serve the dynamic driving culture and be much more than horsepower ostentation.
BMW was a pioneer in factory tuning
The M1 remained the only in-house development
Motorsport GmbH (in 1993 it became M GmbH) initially took care of competition engines and vehicles, promotion of juniors and driving courses (“driver school”) for civilian customers. Then the development of road vehicles began, which brought forth the M1 in 1978. M5, M3 followed, after all almost every series had its M spearhead in the 2000s.
The art of engine construction always came first
Real M vehicles (own key number in the vehicle registration document), on the other hand, were developed in the M halls (since 1986 in Garching on Daimlerstraße!). And for a long time there was a consistent opinion about how they should be – you could also say attitude. hp were not achieved simply with massive displacement or supercharging, as with others, but with high engine design, fine materials, high-speed concept and delicacies such as individual throttle injection.