BMW’s presence at the 2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was a wonderful mélange of classic and modern cars, spanning decades of M history. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to shoot some of these beauties gathered in the wonderful scenery provided by the shores of Lake Como in Italy. With the new M4 CSL celebrating its world premiere at the show, it only made sense for BMW to bring the M3 E46 CSL as well.

Other high-performance models from the same segment were there, including the M3 GTS and the iconic M3 Evo from the E30 era. Seeing them all in one place makes it easy to understand why so many people have fallen in love with BMW and its legendary M sports cars. Fun fact – it was literally 50 years ago today when the partnership agreement for BMW Motorsport GmbH was signed.

Even though the M formula has drastically been changed over the years to include a multitude of SUVs and M Performance vehicles, there are still plenty of models tailored to traditionalists. The M2 G87 will likely be the closest to the core of a BMW M car, but we mustn’t omit a new and exciting addition. Yes, we’re talking about the M3 Touring G81, which will celebrate its official premiere next month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Let’s keep in mind BMW is among the last performance luxury brands to offer a manual gearbox, not just for the base M3 and M4 models, but also for the upcoming M2. In addition, there are still plenty of cars on offer with rear-wheel drive and the company has promised to keep the inline-six and V8 engines alive until at least 2030.

Sure, a modern-day M1 would’ve likely been the perfect way to mark 50 years of M, but it’s not happening. The Vision M Next concept won’t be morphing into a production model either, while the XM is not what enthusiasts had hoped for in regard to a dedicated M car. Seeing the glass half full, BMW will celebrate the M division’s milestone with a new 3.0 CSL, one that will give the M4 CSL a manual gearbox and 600 horsepower in a retro coachbuilt body derived from the 2015 Hommage concept.

Until that happens, enjoy our photoshoot with a few blasts from BMW M’s illustrious past.