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OVER 120 BMW M cars travelled in a convoy last week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BMW’s performance brand.

The convoy started from the Ingress Auto’s BMW Damansara dealership and made its way to LaLaport Bukit Bintang City Centre where the cars filled Gourmet Walk, the roar of their exhausts reverberating along the buildings.

It was the largest gathering of BMW M cars in Malaysia and managing director Hans de Visser believes it might also be the largest in Southeast Asia. It was organised by the M Owner Malaysia community with the support of BMW Malaysia.

At the event, one of many around the world celebrating BMW M’s anniversary this year, there were also other activities where cars with the most striking liveries were picked for awards, and the public could also vote for their favourite.

There were also music performances and engagements with the public with exclusive merchandise given away.

As part of the M for Malaysia Day celebrations, the BMW Group also awarded the winners of the search for the oldest BMW M models of each model series in the country – a nationwide contest that was held in May this year, in conjunction with the anniversary. Three of the six winning BMW M models were placed on special display at the gathering for public viewing.

Also in conjunction with the anniversary, BMW introduced 6 new models, led by the MY edition of the latest M850i xDrive Coupe. The other 5 models were the new M3 Competition and M4 Competition Sedan and Coupe (both with the M xDrive for the first time), M5 and M5 Competition, and showing BMW M’s electric future, the i4 M50.

“This year, as we commemorate 5 decades of rich history as one team with a united passion for BMW M; let us not forget the unity of Malaysians as one nation who are also celebrating 59 years of national identity,” De Visser said.

“It is a true delight to witness this passion that Malaysians have for the brand in full strength, demonstrating not only their pride and love for our motorsport division but for Malaysia on such a significant day as well.

“We hope that the Most Powerful Letter in the World will continue to resonate with the diverse yet close-knit BMW M community here.”

Over the past 50 years, BMW M has given the motoring world many iconic performance cars – models like the legendary M1, M3, M5 and M635CSi.

The M1 was the first-ever official M car, making its debut in 1978. Only 456 units were produced with pure racing technology that continues to be admired to this day.

The M635CSi is one of the most significant models in the history of BMW M. In 1984, the 4-seater continued the concept of high-performance 6-cylinder in-line engines that the M1 had established earlier.

But like no other M model before it, it embodied the ultimate symbiosis of luxury and high performance. Dubbing it “Sharknose” and “Bayern-Express”, the first “Six” had a production period of over 13 years – from 1976 to 1989 – making it BMW’s longest lasting series.

Although BMW M focused almost exclusively on the construction of performance and racing cars, many BMW enthusiasts were also looking for the BMW M power and badging on road cars.

The M5, which premiered in 1985, offered high performance with elegance in its segment.

It was followed by the M3, launched in 1986, which quickly became one of the most iconic BMW M vehicles in the line-up for its numerous championship victories in touring car racing, while also performing impressive on the road.

BMW M has followed market trends and when enthusiasts came to appreciate SUVs, it developed the X5 M and X6 M, the first M models with 4-wheel drive and turbocharged engines.

Today, the BMW X family members with M badges include the X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition.

And now, with electrification underway, the company is also responding accordingly with the debut of its first fully electric model in this anniversary year.

For a company like BMW M, which has built a reputation producing cars with superlative performance, this means that the same kind of performance is expected even with electric models.

This is promised with new iX M60, which has a powertrain output of 455kW/619ps and up to 1,015Nm of torque.

And while it is claimed to be able to go from 0 to 100 kph in 3.8 seconds, it will also be able to travel up to 566km, factory tests have shown.

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