Very few car-makers have such an envious back catalogue of iconic performance cars like BMW M. It all started 50 years ago with the M1 supercar but for enthusiasts, the M535i is regarded as the first proper ‘M’ car. Subsequent launches like the first M5 and the E30 M3 laid out the template for the performance saloon and gave birth to a genre that is thriving even today. Now, BMW is putting the M Series firmly where it belongs, on the pedestal.
On 24 May 1972, the partnership agreement for BMW Motorsport GmbH was signed and to celebrate 50 years of glorious performance cars, BMW is doing what it does best; by launching a special edition of its new M3 and M4 performance cars. However, rather interestingly, these editions are market-specific and will come with individually selectable equipment options along with different design features.
Limited to 500 units, the BMW M 50 Jahre edition M3 and M4 come in historic BMW M colours along with forged alloy wheels. In Europe, there would be the two-door M4 M 50 Jahre edition which would be available in exterior colours: Carbon Black, Macao Blue, Brands Hatch Grey, Imola Red and San Marino Blue. Buyers in these markets would be able to spec 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels with Orbit Grey Matt and Gold Bronze matt paint finishes. Underneath, it’s a different matter.
BMW has confirmed that both of the edition models are powered by a straight six-cylinder engine with up to 375 kW/510 hp, M TwinPower Turbo technology and high-revving characteristics. Furthermore, that power is transferred to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, depending on the model variant, or fully variably distributed to all four wheels using M xDrive technology.
For the Chinese market, the colour choices are Fire Orange and Stratus Grey in conjunction with the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Interior updates for this special edition M4 include door sill panels embossed with the lettering “Edition 50 Jahre BMW M”, a metal plaque on the centre console with the lettering “M4 Edition 50 Jahre BMW M” and optional M carbon bucket seats.
Markets like US and Canada get the M3 M 50 Jahre edition with a choice of five exterior paint schemes harking back to its predecessors including Vermilion Red to Techno Violet, Interlagos Blue and Fire Orange to Limerock Grey. Customizable M performance options and forged wheels finished in Orbit Grey matt round off the rest of the changes. Australia would most likely get the European spec M4 Edition 50 Jahre model along with a substantial price hike but the exclusivity and historical significance would mean that these cars would be sold out in an instant.