BMW M GmbH is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a look back at the models that made the brand what it is today.

BMW M GmbH is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a look back at the models that made the brand what it is today.

Starting at the beginning, BMW Motorsport GmbH was founded in 1972 and consisted of 35 employees who worked under Managing Director Jochen Neerpasch. Under this tenure, the company developed the 3.0 CSL and a rally-ready 2002. Neerpasch also managed to attract a number of racing drivers including Chris Amon, Toine Hezemans, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester.

Having found success on the track, BMW M started offering high-performance versions of the 5-Series in 1974. They featured a sport-tuned suspension, beefier brakes and more powerful engines.

The company came into its own with the introduction of the M1 in 1978. A remarkable supercar in its day, the M1 was homologated for production and a few hundred road-going models were built.

In 1980, Neerpasch left BMW Motorsport GmbH and was succeeded by Dieter Stappert. He would oversee BMW's entry into Formula 1 with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 800 PS (588 kW / 789 hp).

Four years later, the company launched the M5 and the M635CSi coupe. The sedan was described as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and featured a 286 PS (210 kW / 282 hp) engine which enabled the car to hit a top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph).

After finding success in Formula 1, BMW turned their attention to touring car racing and introduced the M3 in 1986. Equipped with a four-cylinder engine that produced 195 hp (143 kW / 192 hp), the model proved to be a stunning success.

In more recent times, the company's lineup has expanded to include a vast array of models that are available in a variety of body styles. Earlier this year, the company launched M Performance Automobiles which has a lineup that consists of models powered exclusively by a tri-turbo diesel engine.

Check out the press release for additional information

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BMW M GmbH celebrates their 40th anniversary