A n the beginning was Bob Lutz: Right, the dazzling one US car manager of Swiss descent founded BMW Motorsport GmbH in 1972. When the company was later renamed M GmbH, Lutz was gone again. The very successful BMW 3.0 CSL Coupés designed together with Alpina were an initial exclamation point.
BMW M1 brought success
But the real bang came with the legendary BMW M1 from 1978. The mid-engine sports car developed by the wholly owned BMW subsidiary became famous through the Pro-car races in which Formula 1 drivers fought spectacular battles on the world's racetracks. Only 445 copies of the flat two-seater were built. Not only is the BMW M1 just as beautiful to look at in 2010 as it was at its widely acclaimed premiere, but it was also the initial spark for all of the M models that followed. This applies to racing cars as well as to normal road vehicles, because M GmbH has always been two-pronged.
BMW M GmbH is an automobile manufacturer
M GmbH develops the Series athletes from the BMW M3 to the X6 M and is also responsible for customer racing racers such as the 320si, M3 GT4 or Z4 GT3. The think tank located north of Munich in Garching-Hochbrück currently employs around 500 people and has the status of an official automobile manufacturer - even if the vehicles are not even manufactured by M GmbH. Similar to Mercedes AMG GmbH and Audi quattro GmbH, the M models roll off the assembly line in the production network of the respective plants. Logistical reasons are decisive for this. The birthplace of the BMW M3 is in Regensburg, while the sumo wrestlers X5 M and X6 M come from Spartanburg /USA. But there are no rules without exception: the particularly exclusive BMW M3 GTS comes prefabricated from Regensburg and then completed by hand in Garching.
M GmbH currently only offers eight-cylinder vehicles
After the end of production for the M5 and M6 equipped with V10 engines, M GmbH currently only offers eight-cylinder vehicles - a novelty in its 32-year history. But friends of the in-line six-cylinder, who are still mourning the demise of the M3 E46, can soon break out into happiness again: The 1 Series M Coupé is expected for 2011. Even if the era of the free-aspirating, high-revving inline six-cylinder is finally overseems to be, so convince the performance data of the turbo-six - at least on paper: the three-liter is said to have 350 hp. Not a bad value considering the compact body, which is at the level of the original M3 E30 from 1986.
The price for the one-series M Coupé will probably settle at around 50,000 euros. The new BMW M5 has made similar progress. As expected, the Garching company swiveled from the naturally aspirated V10 to the unit known from the X5 /X6 M. The double-charged eight-cylinder with direct injection, 4.4 liter displacement, 555 hp maximum output and 680 Newton meters of torque are said to be much more contemporary drinking habits than the faded five-liter ten-cylinder. It is an open secret that the future BMW M6 will roll into showrooms with the same drive. Other branches of the M GmbH in addition to the development of complete vehicles are the M Sport packages and BMW Individual, i.e. tailor-made equipment packages with special paintwork, leather colors and interior trim parts.
In 2009 more than 15,000 M models were sold worldwide
Strangely enough, this does not include the M Competiton Package for the BMW M3 or the BMW Power Kits with performance enhancement for the 135i or types 335i. The mother takes care of that, not the daughter. One thing is certain: M GmbH is well positioned in the year 32 after its foundation. In 2009 over 15,000 M models were sold worldwide. The names Rosche, Prommesberger and Richter may be mentioned as the fathers of success. The legendary Paul Rosche ('Nocken-Paule') was responsible for practically all successful racing engines and was logically closely related to the M3 project. Adolf Prommesberger, also a BMW veteran, the longstanding M3 project manager Gerhard Richter and Ludwig Willisch directed the fortunes of the sporty BMW subsidiary for many years. Since 2009, the 54-year-old Dr. Kay Segler, head of the 500-man company.
M GmbH has installed a test center on the Nordschleife
Whoever says M means Nürburgring: This is how M GmbH did have won numerous victories on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring in the past 30 years. The memories of the triumphant race of the BMW M3 GT2 driven by Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus, Pedro Lamy and Uwe Alzen at this year's edition of the 24-hour classic in May are very fresh. The alliance between Garching and the famous Eifel roller coaster is not limited to racing successes, because M GmbH was one of the first automobile manufacturers to install a test center on the Nordschleife. Together with the BMW dealership Warthofer in Nürburg, the tuning of the series M models is being fine-tuned. Not to be forgotten: The use of the BMW ring taxi driven by Sabine Schmitz and Claudia Hürtgen is also coordinated in the test center.
What remains as an outlook? In 2013, BMW M GmbH celebrates it35 year anniversary. Well, if that weren't the perfect setting for a befitting M1 successor. Bob Lutz would certainly like such a guy.