BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time

Think BMW M’s M3 Touring, M2 and XM were enough to celebrate the big 50? Think again…

BMW M 50th

BMW has given us our first look at its long-rumoured 50th Anniversary model, a very low-production special edition that will reference the iconic 1973 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ homologation special. While the car is heavily camouflaged, we can say judging by its proportions that it’ll be based on the current M4, but fitted with a bespoke body and some intriguing upgrades inside, too.

Looking at the new model, we can clearly see a completely new front end that downsizes the kidney grilles from the current M3/4 size to something slightly more restrained. This is emphasised by the re-positioned front number plate, which now sits below the grille, covering essentially the entire centre section of the lower intake. Flanking the plate are two more intakes in similar positions to the M3/4, but to each side are now two further round openings that reference the CSL Batmobile.

The bonnet is bespoke, and frames the new grille whilst also slightly overhanging the M3-derived headlights to give them more of an aggressive scowl. Look closely and you’ll also see a slight mismatch between the bonnet line and the front wings, suggesting that CSL Batmobile-style fender fins have been integrated into the design too. 

BMW 50th

The second released image is even more revealing, showing off a totally redesigned rear end, boot, and flanks. The rear haunches are the most dramatic element, folding over the rear wheel arches separately to the main body, a design element that was first shown off on the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage concept in 2015.

These then integrate into a new boot lid that incorporates a wing feature with two defined uprights that blend back into the rear quarter panels. The rear lights are a familiar shape to the M4, so we expect they could be the same laser units developed for the new CSL, and the rear plate’s also been repositioned to the lower bumper giving the boot lid itself a vastly different look. The lower bumper is also bespoke, but the four fat exhaust outlets from a base M4 are still visible. Look further up and you’ll notice a roof-mounted aerofoil also as found on the original Batmobile, and the wheels also look like new units, distinct from any current BMW wheel design.

BMW has not revealed any mechanical specifics about the new model, but look closely at the camouflage and you’ll find a few hints as to what to expect, as the ‘6MT FTW’ wording visible on the wrap would go on to suggest that it will feature a six-speed manual, while up front a similar ‘I like it rare’ image suggests its numbers will be limited. Whether this model will feature any power increases on the current M4 manual available in other markets remains to be seen, but given the big torque deficiencies of the non-Competition model, we suspect that dramatically increased power and torque figures aren’t on the table. 

BMW hasn’t given any indication as to official numbers or pricing, but word has spread that this won’t be an inexpensive special edition, with sources suggesting that it’ll cost well over £500,000 – something that wouldn’t be surprising given the sheer amount of bespoke components already visible. There’s also no specific time frame for its reveal, but production is pencilled in from November, suggesting a public debut will be due closer to those dates.

This of course isn't the first time BMW has played with the notion of bringing back the 3.0 CSL in a modern context, having brought two concepts to motorshows that were a direct interpretation of the original. While the production version has taken a few years to materialise, we'd guess the concept will give us a good look at what to expect when we see the 50th anniversary car in full later this year. 

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