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BMW M Turns 50! Celebrates with a Special Edition M3

The M Brand marks the milestone with an M3 Competition xDrive that receives special paint and more to become the M3 Edition 50 Jahre BMW. 500 iterations are North America bound.

It was May 24th, 1972, that BMW M GmbH opened its doors for the first time. A sub-brand of Bavarian Motor Works—well, technically Bayerische Motoren Werke—that would one day turn into an absolute dynamo for driving enthusiasts across the globe. From the M1 supercar, to the iconic E30 M3, to the drift king E39 M5, the M Brand built generations of stunning machines. And now that company is 50.

To celebrate, the brand is releasing a limited-edition special edition named M3 Edition 50 Jahre BMW M. Jahre is German for years, so the name is almost comically straightforward.

And the car, beautiful.

The 50 Jahre starts life as a 2023 model year M3 Competition xDrive. It then heads to the paint shop to receive one of five bespoke paint colors, each one representing a generation of M3. The E30 M3 color is a non-metallic Cinnabar Red; E36 generations are represented by Techno Violet; my personal darling generation, the E46, gets a nod with Interlagos Blue; E90s, with their phenomenal V8s powerplants, are remembered with Fire Orange; and the more recent F80s, with turbo power and monster torque, get coated in Limerock Grey.

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Every 50 Jahre will get a set of 826M style forged wheels painted in matte Orbit Grey, a finish unique to this special edition model. Customers can choose between standard and carbon ceramic brakes, standard brakes will get either red, blue, or black calipers, and carbon ceramic calipers will have a gold finish.

In front, 50 Jahres have a carbon front splitter. On top a carbon roof. And adorned throughout are classic BMW Motorsport logos, as opposed to modern BMW Roundels.

Inside, you’ll see “Edition 50 Jahre BMW M” on the door sills, as well as on an aluminum plaque resting on the cupholder cover. Buyers have some choices inside, such as standard sport seats or more track appropriate carbon bucket seats. But, in terms of features and amenities, you get what you get, which is a well-equipped car. The 50 Jahre includes the executive and parking assistance packages, adaptive LED headlights, carbon fiber interior trim, and a wireless charging pad.

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For good measure, you also get a unique piece of roller luggage, It’s lovely. And, because it’s a 2023 model, the 50 Jahre will be like all M3s with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.9-inch center console touchscreen that blend together for a single continuous screen.

Considering all of the above, I imagine it comes as no surprise that this special edition M is not cheap. Get ready for $96,695 to leave your bank account. And that’s before any optional extras like carbon brakes or seats.

And while this special edition looks cool, it’s more important to just take a moment to give a tip-of-the-hat to BMW M for all the glorious insanity they’ve introduced over the years. I fell deeply in love with the brand when they introduced the E39 M5, with its rumbling V8 pumping out 400 horsepower to the rear-wheels. And got weak in the knees when experiencing the raucous and raspy 333 horsepower, 8000 rpm redline E46 M3, with menacing stance.

Modern technology and trends of todays world make newer M’s a bit less tactile than the originals, but mega power and superb chassis balance is very much alive and well.

More than anything, I’m glad the sub-brand survived these transient times, and indeed thrived in them. Happy Birthday BMW M. Here’s to 50 more!

Image courtesy of BMW