The ongoing celebrations of 50 Years of M Power are set to reach a screaming crescendo with the local M Fest 2022 this month, scheduled for the weekend of 15 and 16 October at the Kyalami International racetrack.

From M-Track shows, M-Hot Laps with professional drivers, BMW Test Drive experiences, displays of M heritage vehicles and new models (including the new M4 CSL, XM, and M2) and an M Festival race, to live music and entertainment, the 2022 M Fest promises to be a memorable occasion.

Officially, the 50th anniversary of the founding of BMW M GmbH was on 24 May, but celebrations already kicked off earlier in the year with the unveiling of a special BMW Motorsport anniversary emblem and a unique film, **Huddle Speech**. Divided into four chapters, each lasting a quarter year, the 50 Years campaign celebrated the basic theme of 50 years of BMW M, the 50-year motorsport history of BMW M, electrification, and the unique M lifestyle.

For the year, BMW M presented itself at numerous major international events, including the exclusive Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and the Nürburgring 24-hour race, and introduced a host of spectacular new M vehicles, including the M4 CSL, an M5 Touring, the first-ever BMW XM plug-in hybrid, and the soon-to-be-expected M2.

Also, within this framework of spectacular golden anniversary events and new model innovations was the introduction of the exclusive, dedicated special models – the M3 and M4 50 Jahre editions – on 24 May this year, precisely 50 years after the partnership agreement for BMW Motorsport, now known as BMW M, was signed. 


Initially created to facilitate the Bavarian automaker’s racing programme, which was highly successful in the 1960s and 1970s, BMW M (then standing for “motorsport”) was officially established as a subsidiary of BMW AG in May 1972. Since then, its operations have exponentially grown, and BMW M is now an integral part of BMW’s market activities.

Interestingly, South Africa played a pivotal part in developing the M-trademark with the BMW 530 MLE from 1976 (see our Milestone article and look out for it at M Fest) – the unofficial precursor to the first mainstream road-going model, the M5. Also, the South Africa-only BMW 745i (1983-1987), with its M88 engine, is regarded as an M model in all aspects, except in name.

The success of the memorable BMW 3.0 CSL racing cars (1972-1979) led to M introducing vehicles for sale to the public. The first official M-badged car available for sale was the now iconic M1. It was more of a race car than a daily commuter, and in 1979, the M535i was released, followed by the M5 in 1984.

Some other memorable M-models over the decades include the E30 M3, perhaps the most successful touring car of all times, the E61 BMW M5 Touring with the V10 engine from 2007, the madcap 1993 Z3 M Coupé, the pioneering E71 BMW X6 M, introduced in 2009, and the new G26 BMW I4 M50, introduced last year and signalling a new era for the M brand.


Ready for its local debut, our cover model – the BMW M4 CSL – is the latest in a long line of M-powered ‘Coupé Sport light’ cars, and signals the return of the CSL nameplate to replace the GTS in the performance model monikers.

This ultimate, track-honed, two-seater coupé is defined by a 30 kW power hike over the current BMW M4 Competition Coupé to 405 kW, while meticulous weight-saving measures – including the use of carbon fibre for the roof, bonnet and boot lid – achieve a 100 kg reduction in overall weight. As a result, the new BMW M4 CSL has recorded the best-ever lap-time for a BMW road car at the infamous Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit.


As another highlight of BMW’s model offensive in its anniversary year, the BMW XM is the first BMW M original since the BMW M1. Precisely crafted flourishes in the exterior design of the high-performance SAV recall the legendary mid-engined sports car. 

The M HYBRID drive system in the BMW XM delivers an overall output of 480 kW/653 hp (generated by the combination of the combustion engine with up to 360 kW and the electric drive system with up to 145 kW). It is underpinned by a newly developed, classically high-revving V8 engine with cutting-edge M TwinPower Turbo technology. 


As if the seemingly endless list of icons at the 2022 M Fest is not special enough, the festival will also host the official global reveal of the new BMW M2.

With its thoroughbred racing technology for the road, which never loses sight of the M-cars’ affinity with the racetrack, the new M2 is fresh from its final round of intensive testing at the Salzburgring in Austria. Promising a high-performance drive and a unique, sporty driving experience, even when pushed to the limit, BMW promises a car that boasts a similar performance level to the BMW M2 CS, the exclusive, special-edition sports car from BMW M. 

Lending its powerplant from the M3 and M4 icons, mated to two optional transmission types – a manual six-speed and eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox – the M2 is touted to redefine sheer driving pleasure and is likely to be one of the highlights of M Fest.


It may have a storied heritage and unparalleled history, but BMW M is not resting on its laurels. It utilises this strength for its future transformation. As the 50 Years of M campaign implies, BMW M is oriented towards new performance, electrification, and the typical BMW M lifestyle. Because BMW M is set to remain the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ after half a century and into the future.


To understand the place and impact of M in the fast-paced future, take a split-second look at the milestones in its storied past.

M Milestones

1972: The BMW M Division begins
1973: The BMW 3.0 CSL debuts and dominates the European Touring Car Championship for six years
1978: The BMW M1 leaves the supercar world stunned
1984: The first BMW M5 arrives, kick-starting the M super saloon line
1992: Powered by M technology, the McLaren F1 begins a 22-year streak as the top speed record holder for production cars
2005: Fitted with F1-adopted V10 engines, the BMW M5 and M6 herald a new age of everyday adrenaline
2009: The BMW X6 M, the world’s first high-performance Sports Activity Coupé, is unveiled
2011: The first compact M car, the BMW 1M Coupé, takes to the streets
2014: The turbocharged BMW M3 sedan and the first-ever BMW M4 Coupé make an impact
2019: The first-ever BMW X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition shatter expectations
2020: The BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupé immortalise the M track and road legacies
2021: The future takes shape with the i4 – the first-ever purely electric performance car from BMW M



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