|Type||Subsidiary of BMW
Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
|Products||High performance engines and cars,
Automotive sports accessories
BMW M GmbH (previously: BMW Motorsport GmbH) is a subsidiary of German car manufacturer BMW AG.
BMW M, "M" (for Motorsport) was initially created to facilitate BMW’s racing program, which was very successful in the 1960s and 1970s. As time passed, BMW M began to supplement BMW's vehicles portfolio with specially modified higher trim models, for which they are now most known by the general public. These M-badged cars traditionally include modified engines, transmissions, suspensions, interior trims, aerodynamics, and exterior modifications to set them apart from their counterparts. All M models are tested and tuned at BMW's private facility at the Nürburgring racing circuit in Germany.
After the success of BMW M products like BMW 3.0 CSL in racing venues and the growing market for high performance sports cars, M introduced cars for sale to the public. The first official M-badged car for sale to the public was the M1, revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 1978. The M1, however, was more of a racecar in domestic trim than an everyday driver. The direction of the M cars changed with the 1979 release of the M535i, which was a high performance version of BMW’s popular 5 Series mid-size sedan.
BMW Motorsport GmbH supplied the 6.1 litre V12 DOHC 48 valve engine that powers the McLaren F1, which, like its engine supplier and manufacturer, has enjoyed plenty of racing success, famously winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995, the first year of competition for the GTR racing variant.
At present, BMW M has offered modified versions of nearly every BMW nameplate, except for the 7 Series flagship luxury sedan and the X1 and X3 compact crossover SUVs. There is no BMW M version of the 7 Series, as BMW did not want its flagship saloon to be powered by a high-revving engine, and as the recent top-performing versions (usually the BMW 760Li) have V12 engines which while powerful are considered too heavy for a sporty offshoot. So far the unofficial "BMW M7" is the Alpina B7, which is produced on BMW's assembly line though its engine and finishing touches are done by auto tuner Alpina.  However, as BMW M shifted to turbocharged engines, there are rumors that there is an in-house BMW M7 in the works, and it is speculated that its performance may exceed that of the BMW 760Li and Alpina B7.
The BMW X5 and X6 sport activity vehicles received M derivatives for the 2010 model year onwards. These are the first M vehicles with xDrive four-wheel drive and automatic transmissions, and also the first M-badged SUV models. However, the E70 and E71 X5 and X6 M were actually developed by BMW Group rather than by BMW M.
Although these are considered the most well known in-house tuning divisions, BMW M has a considerably different philosophy than Mercedes-AMG. BMW M has emphasized tuning only vehicles with "Lateral agility" (which has long been the 3 Series, 5 Series, and roadsters), while AMG has created high-performance versions of many of its nameplates, including flagship sedans and SUVs. Accordingly, "an M car has to be responsive and fundamentally keen on turning as well as accelerating. The M5's technical spec is all about connecting the driver to a car that reacts blindingly fast, whatever request the driver hands down." Until the 2010 model year, BMW M has also never used supercharging or turbocharging, unlike Mercedes-AMG or Audi; for instance the E39 and E60 iterations of the BMW M5 (using naturally-aspirated engines) competed against the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (with a supercharged V8) and the Audi RS6 (twin-turbo). 
BMW M vehicles typically used manuals and semi-automatic transmissions (the most recent type being a dual clutch transmission), in contrast to Mercedes-AMG which largely has automatic transmissions (the 7-speed AMG SpeedShift MCT dual clutch transmission was used on new models from 2009 onward). However, the BMW X5 M and X6 M were the first M-vehicles offered with automatic transmission, a 6-speed Steptronic unit, since this works with xDrive.
BMW M engines were traditionally low displacement naturally aspirated high revving engines, particularly the S85 V10 in the E60 M5 and E63 M6 and the related S65 V8 in the E90 M3. These are the most powerful engines BMW has ever built (not including BMW's S70/2) without supercharging or turbocharging, with an output of 100 hp per liter of displacement, and each has won numerous International Engine of the Year Awards. As late as the early 2000s, BMW regarded forced-induction (supercharging or turbocharging) as low-tech shortcuts to boosting horsepower, stating that this adds weight and complexity while reducing throttle response. BMW purists have noted that while forced induction and/or large displacement does produce more torque for better day-to-day driving, most of them like the "character" and sound of low displacement naturally aspirated engines with high redlines.
However, the late 2000s international regulations trends on reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are cited as the reasons not to continue further development on naturally aspirated high redline engines. The N54 twin-turbo inline-6 which debuted in the 2007 BMW 335i (E90) gives almost equivalent performance to the E46 and E90 iterations of the BMW M3, while being much more practical and fuel-efficient as a daily driver. Starting with the X5 M and X6 M, and featured in the F10 M5, BMW used the twin-turbocharged S63 which not only produces more horsepower and torque, but is also more efficient than the S85 V10. Also unlike the S85 and S65 which do not share a design with non-M BMW engines, the S63 has significant parts commonality with the base N63 V8 engine (which is also has twin turbochargers) making them less expensive to build. At the present (2012), BMW has not considered supercharging yet.
As of the 2013 model year, the BMW M3 (E92/E93) is the only "traditional" M car left, as the rest of the M lineup features turbocharged engines, and the next iteration of the M3 (F80) and M4 (F82/F83) are expected to feature a twin turbo straight-6 engine.
There are several BMW models which BMW Motorsport made changes on, without them becoming M-Cars. This succession of styling (M-tech I, M-tech II) and performance cues came from BMW Motorsports; e.g. BMW 530i M packet or 325i M packet etc.
Vehicles which have been modified by BMW Motorsport, but are not full M Cars, may feature "M" badges, whilst full M Cars will have "M" badges with the model number (e.g. "M3" or "M5"). Two exceptions would be the M Roadster and M Coupe models, both Z3, Z4 and 1-series variants, which only have an "M" badge with no number displayed on the trunk. These cars are full M Cars.
In recent years, there have been 'M'-badged accessories available on BMW's standard fleet as factory options or as part of the "M Sport" package (which is more expensive than the optional Sport package). Examples of this include the E39 and E60 5 series sedans which had optional aerodynamic packages that were strongly influenced by the M5's styling (for example, bumpers with larger intakes). It is not unusual to see "standard" BMW vehicles with "M" badges or ribbons accenting their design. The plain motorsports badge simply stands for the 'M-tech' upgrades equipped on the vehicle (i.e. suspension, brakes, looks or any other modification that has been developed by the M division), therefore the 'M' badge on these vehicles should not be confused with the true 'M' vehicles (except the Z-cars, as mentioned), as they are not fully fledged 'M' cars, just equipped with 'M'-tech upgrades. BMW has offered these 'M' options on their standard vehicles since the late 1970s which explains why these vehicles carry 'M' badges straight from the factory. In comparison, vehicle maker Audi also employs this same type of nomenclature. There are fully fledged 'S' models (S4, S5, S6, S7 and TTS), as well as an optional "S'-line package that can be equipped to their standard vehicle lineup.
An example of 'M'-badged vehicles in recent times include the E60 BMW 550i and E63 BMW 650i. The standard BMW 5 Series and 6 Series only had a choice of either a manual or automatic transmission, but the 'M' Sport package had an optional Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) (a gearbox shared with the M5 and M6)until after the 2007 model year.
Recently (2012) BMW has introduced a new category for 'M' cars, which was branded as the 'M' Performance. They are the first M diesel cars that BMW produces.
To date this includes the M550dx in touring and saloon variants, the X6 M50d and X5 M50d which all share a 381 bhp 740NM triple turbo diesel engine, the former pair are only LHD drive markets currently due to the xDrive layout in the F10 series not being compatible with RHD markets (a RWD F10 M550d was mentioned by Auto Express but has not been confirmed). Official figures put the M550d xDrive’s 0-to-62-mph time at 4.7 seconds and top speed at 155mph (limited), but can be unlimited at 196 mph (315 km/h). It achieved the title of "fastest diesel car in the world".The first petrol M Performance car is the M135i which is a 320 bhp 1 series car. M135i is available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
The M550d is available in both sedan and touring chassis, with a ZF 8HP eight-speed sport automatic transmission including auto start/stop function. Manual and non-sport automatic gearboxes are not available. Unique features on the M550d are the twin trapezoidal exhausts in dark chrome and both wing mirrors and air-intake bars in ferric grey. Other 5 series models have wing mirrors in the same colour as the rest of the vehicle. The front fog lamps, standard on all other F10/F11 5 series models are removed, to make space for additional air-intakes. The door-sill plates are also unique on this vehicle, having a "M550d" inscription. In addition, the F11 Touring model features air suspension on the rear axle, with automatic self-levelling.
Nothing yet has been announced as regards the F30 3 Series M Performance line up but BMW have trademarked (amongst many other monikers) M335, M340 and M350. Further to this M President Friedrich Nitschke has confirmed that the new triple turbo diesel engine will "easily fit" within the F30 engine bay but did not elaborate any further.
|years||model||model||capacity||cylinder||power||body style||global production total||image|
|1978-1981||M1||E26||3.5 liter||l6||204 kW (277 PS)||Coupe||456|
|1979||M535i||E12||3.5 liter||l6||161 kW (219 PS)||Sedan with 4 doors||1,410|
|1983-1989||M635 CSi||E24||3.5 liter||l6||192 kW (260PS) to
210 kW (286 PS)
|1985-1988||M5||E28||3.5 liter||l6||210 kW (286 PS)||Sedan with 4 doors||2,191|
|l4||143 kW (195 PS) to
175 kW (238 PS)
|l6||232 kW (315 PS) to
250 kW (340 PS)
|Sedan with 4 doors
Station wagon (since 1992)
891 (Station wagon)
|1990||M8||E31||6.0 liter||V12||410 kW (558 PS)||Coupe||1 prototype|
|l6||210 kW (286 PS) to
236 kW (321 PS)
|Sedan with 4 doors
|3.2 liter||l6||236 kW (321 PS)||Roadster
|1998-2003||M5||E39||5.0 liter||V8||294 kW (400 PS)||Sedan with 4 doors||20,482|
4.0 liter (GTR)
|252 kW (343 PS) to
279 kW (380 PS)
|5.0 liter||V10||373 kW (507 PS)||Sedan with 4 doors
Station wagon (since 2007)
1,025 (Station wagon)
|5.0 liter||V10||373 kW (507 PS)||Coupe
Convertible (since 2006)
|2006-2008||Z4 M Roadster
Z4 M Coupé
|3.2 liter||l6||252 kW (343 PS)||Roadster
4.4 liter (CRT & GTS)
|V8||309 kW (420 PS)
331 kW (450 PS)
|Sedan with 4 doors
|9,606 + 68 M3 CRT (Sedan);
39,954 + 118 M3 GTS (Coupé);
|2011-2012||1M Coupe||E82||3.0 liter||l6||250 kW (340 PS)||Coupe||6331|
|2010-2013||X5 M||E70||4.4 liter||V8||408 kW (555 PS)||SAV||8,974|
All these cars are true BMW Motorsport models, not M-line sport models that bear BMW Motorsport features such as sport body kits, and interior specs.
In the late 80s, due to prohibitive taxes for cars above 2.0 liters of engine displacement in Italy and Portugal, BMW decided to build the E30 320is as an alternative to the 2.3 liter M3. This car was equipped with a shorter stroke S14 engine and produced 192 PS. BMW produced a total of 3648 units between 9/1987 and 11/1990 of which a majority of 2542 units were made available in two door form (code name AK95). No catalytic converters were installed on this limited version. The steering rack, springs, shock absorbers, and brakes were similar to the normal E30 6 cylinder models (i.e. 325i) with sports suspension. The engine was mated to a Getrag 265 five-speed gearbox in dog-leg configuration.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2010)|
Audi's S and RS models, Mercedes-Benz's AMG models, and more recently Lexus F model(s), are often reviewed in direct competition to a similarly-sized BMW M car, such as the Lexus IS-F vs. Audi RS4 vs. Mercedes C63 AMG vs. BMW M3.
BMW M cars are still the best known in-house high performance derivatives, due to the longevity of their nameplates, and as they occupy the undisputed position at the top of their lineup from BMW. For instance, while the BMW M3 has always been the top-performing version of BMW's compact executive classification, their competition has either undergone designation changes or not been consistently produced. For instance the Audi RS4 has not been offered for every generation or sold in every market, and while earlier generations of the Audi S4 previously competed with the BMW M3, the current incarnation of the S4 has been moved downmarket and is now aimed at the BMW 335i. The C-Class's AMG performance variants are at the top of the C-Class lineup but they have had several different badges (C36, C43, C55, and C63).
BMW M also faces competition from several independent companies offering their own performance versions of BMW models; some performance packs can be retrofitted to existing cars while others are applied to new cars bought directly from BMW AG and converted prior to first registration. Such companies include Hamann Motorsport, Alpina, Dinan Cars, AC Schnitzer and Hartge. The fastest and most powerful BMW M conversions are made by German tuner G-Power,  which holds several World speed records including the M5 Hurricane RR with 372.1 km/h (231.3 mph).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BMW M.|
|BMW ///M Timeline, 1978–Present|
|M3||3 Series||E30 M3||E36 M3||E46 M3||E90/92/93 M3||F80 M3|
|M4||4 Series||F82/83 M4|
|M5||5 Series||E12 M535i||E28 M5||E34 M5||E39 M5||E60/61 M5||F10 M5|
|M6||6 Series||E24 M635CSi||E63/64 M6||F12/13/06 M6|
|M Roadster||Z Series||E36/7 (Z3) M Roadster||E85 (Z4) M Roadster|
|M Coupe||M Roadster, 1 Series||E36/8 M Coupe||E86 M Coupe||E82 M Coupe|
|X5 M||X5||E70 X5 M|
|X6 M||X6||E71/72 X6 M|