Sales of BMW M cars reached a new record high in 2021 ahead of the brand’s 50th anniversary this year, with 163,542 deliveries translating to a 13.4% increase over 2020’s total of 144,218 units. Looking back to 2019, when a record 135,289 M cars were sold, things are on a clear upward trend for BMW’s performance-dedicated subsidiary. In digesting these figures, it’s important to note that the totals include two distinct categories. The first are the genuine M cars, like the M3, M4, M5, M8 and X5 M, for example, which BMW now terms high-performance sports cars, while the second are the M Performance automobiles, like the M235i Gran Coupé, M340i, X3 M40i, M440i, M550i xDrive, and the like, which are referred to as performance cars.
“This success is the perfect start to our anniversary year,” said Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “M is in a stronger position than ever as it celebrates its 50th birthday.”
Despite their controversial looks, the current M3 and M4 lineup is proving to be exceptionally popular, and their market introduction is said to have gotten off to an extremely successful start in 2021. The array of M3 and M4 variants, which includes Competition trim-level and M xDrive-equipped variants in sedan, coupe, and convertible form will soon be bolstered by the introduction of the M3 Touring—but not in the U.S.
“The response to the new generation of the BMW M3 and BMW M4 has been simply overwhelming,” reports Timo Resch, vice president of customer, brand, and sales at BMW M GmbH. “We can therefore expect demand for these iconic sports cars to continue on an upward curve in 2022.”
In addition to the M3 and M4, the X5 M and X6 M were also identified as being among the most popular BMW M models currently on sale. While we’re on the subject of BMW’s X vehicles, the X3 M40i is also a primary growth driver for BMW M, which only makes sense considering the model’s overall popularity since its unveiling for the 2018 model year. The X7 M50i, the fastest and most potent version of BMW’s largest SAV aside from the Alpina XB7, is also said to be particularly popular.
On the M Performance side of the equation, it’s the 4 Series that’s proving exceptionally fashionable at the moment. With a full model array unveiled over the past two years, the second-generation 4 Series can now be had in coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupé form. Of those, it’s the M440i and M440i xDrive that fall into the M Performance category, and BMW says they’re strong sellers. Once again, this is despite the range wearing BMW’s most divisive and polarizing design language in decades, but in line with BMW’s own claims. The i4 M50 is also of note in this regard, as it has a similar design, and is an M Performance automobile.
Looking forward, BMW M is set to introduce a number of other important M models in the near future, including the iX M60 and the XM. The latter of those is the first standalone M vehicle since the legendary M1, and is set to be the most powerful BMW yet. The market launch of the iX M60 is slated for June while production of the XM is scheduled to commence at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg later this year.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]