I must say, there’s quite a bit of pessimism surrounding BMW M from long-time BMW fans at the moment. From the odd-ball styling of the next-gen M3’s grille to the lack of electrified cars in the lineup, it seems as fans are quite frustrated with BMW M. So it seems that Autocar felt the need to give M fans a bit of a morale boost and show them just how great BMW’s famous performance division used to be. And can be again.

In this new photo gallery, we get to see a long history of incredible BMW M cars in stunning photos. Everything BMW M has ever built, whether it reached production or not, is in this gallery. Everything from the BMW M1, all the way to the brand-new M2 CS, is in this gallery and it shows off some of the all-time greats. With all the doom and gloom surrounding the brand (deserved or not), sometimes we forget just how many sensational cars have come out of Garching over the years.

What’s interesting is that we also get to see that the M Division could have been even better, as there were some genuinely special cars that thrown in the proverbial bin before ever reaching production. Cars like the original BMW M8, which was a front-engine V12 supercar far before the M8 we know today. Or the E36 BMW M3 Compact, which would have been the ultimate hot-hatch back in its day. What about the E46 BMW M3 Touring, a car that would still be considered one of the absolute greatest cars the M Division ever made?

BMW M is one of the most special automotive brands in history. Even though its current offerings seem a bit at odds with the brand’s ethos, as cars like the BMW X6 M seem almost sacrilegious when looking back at its history, the M Division is still one of the bright spots on the industry. So we might criticize it a lot but looking back at this photos gallery reminds us of why we love the M Division in the first place.

[Source: Autocar]