It all started in 1972, when two ex-ford racing executives joined up with BMW, Jochen Neerpasch (an ex-porsche team driver) and Martin Braungart (an ex-mercedes rally team driver). They changed the sports division of BMW, which had been experiencing lots of success throughout the 60's in many racing cups with their new 6 series, into a seperate company within BMW known simply as M for motorsport.
The first M project was the 3.0 CSL (3.0 for the liters and CSL for Coupe Sport Light):
Engine: 6-cylinder in-line
Valve linkage: SOHC, 12-valve/DOHC, 24-valve
Displacement: 3191/3498 cc
Bore x stroke: 92 x 80 mm/94 x 84 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0 : 1
Power output:430 horsepower at 8500 rpm
Transmission: Getrag 5-speed
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut, aluminum
Rear: Semi-trailing arm, aluminum strut damper units
Wheels: Front: 16 x 13-inch BBS
Rear: 16 x 16-inch BBS
Tires: Front: 300/625-16
Weight: 2341 lbs.
Years of construction: 1972-1975
Which won 5 European Touring Car Championships during its run, along with national championships in many european countries. CSLs were so successful they continued to win races into the late 1970s even though production ended in 1975 to make way for its successor, the 6 Series.
But the very first Car put into production by M, which could actually be bought by the general public was the M1:
Originally designed in 1978 by Giorgetto Giugiaro, it never saw any factory sponsored sanctioned touring races because of production and homologation requirments it failed to meet. It did however enjoy success by privately owned race teams.
The car was originally being produced in a lamborghini plant, and was designed by an italian, which explains its italianesque styling and feel. Its often described as an italian supercar with a german twist, being the twin cam straight six wailing behind your right ear.
Cylinders: 6 in-line, mid mounted
Power: 277hp @ 6500rpm
Torque: 243lb @ 5000rpm
Max Speed: 162mph
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.5sec
Fuel Consuption: 14.4mpg
Front Wheels/Tires: Alloy 7x16 205/55 VR16
Rear Wheels/Tires: Alloy 8x16 225/50 VR 16
Engine Mangement System: Kugelfischer-Bosh Mechanical injection
It ended its production run in 1981 and the world had to wait 3 more years for the next M badged, road going beast, the 635csi:
6 in-line, mid mounted 24 valve
Power-256 hp @ 6500rpm
Torque-243 hp @ 4500rpm
Max Speed-149 mph
Acceleration-0-60 mph in 6.8 sec
Fuel Consumption-10 mpg city/19 mpg highway
Engine Management System-Bosch Motronic
0-60 mph 6.6 sec
0-100 mph 15.7 sec
Top Speed 149 mph
This car was a regular e24 6 series with a slightly detuned M1 engine mounted in it. Now since the chassis was never designed to hold this engine, it had to be mounted at an dd 30 degree angle, The M balanced out the e24 chassis with a close ratio gearbox, a MUCH improved suspension and servo assisted brakes on all four corners.
The car was still rather luxurious though, equipped with power leather seats, climate control, and an electric sunroof, the sport minded midll aged business man was still in comfort as he carved corners.
Although it was a heavy car, it had great performance for the time. This put it in a pretty heavy price bracket, making it compete with the likes of Porsche with thier 928, and ferrari with their 308 GTS.
Now while the 635csi was tearing the road up from 1984-1989, M also released (in the same year) the e28 M5:
The e28 M5 is a four door sedan, featuring the same engine contained in the
635csi, the M1 engine. Id like to go off on the e28, but Id rather leave that to our resident e28 owner...Bav, anything to add?
Well, the M5 ended its run in 1987, but thank god they already had something out that would fill the gap left by the e28 m5.
More on next post....