Coinciding with Car Week in Monterey, California, Legends of the Autobahn is an event dedicated to celebrating the very best in Teutonic engineering. National car clubs for Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and of course, BMW team up to throw one of the biggest car gatherings in the United States. Due to the event’s prestige, we’ve actually seen a handful of BMWs debut here – chiefly, the 328 Hommage Concept in 2011 and the M4 GTS in 2014.

An all-German stable means plenty of rare and notable – especially vintage – BMW vehicles were out and about. Here’s a quick review of some impressive BMWs enthusiasts and curators brought out to the Legends of the Autobahn 2023.

2024 BMW X5 M

One of the most notable vehicles from the new school included a radiant X5 M in Individual Santorini Blue. The new vehicle sports a familiar twin-turbo V8 modified by M, now with mild hybrid capabilities. Overall, Santorini Blue looks fantastic on the new X5 M, thanks to the contrast provided by extensive Shadowline trim. Fun fact: this was also our ride for the week and we filmed a video review of it which will launch next week. 

Plenty of ALPINA BMW Vehicles

ALPINA was well-represented at the Legends of the Autobahn, with plenty of enthusiasts bringing out ALPINA-badged 2002s and even a B8 Touring (that’s an E36 wagon with the E34 540i’s V8 stuck under the hood). But new models made just as much of an impression. The best was clearly the ALPINA Blue Metallic B8 Gran Coupe, but a facelifted XB7 also had quite a presence.

Too Many 2002s

I jest, of course – there’s no such thing as too many 2002s. BMW’s legendary sports sedan – debatably the term’s genesis – was out in force. Featuring almost every imaginable color and numerous different details that made no two exactly alike, these builds ranged from moderately restored to fully rebuilt. There was even a 2002 Touring.

BMW 2800 CS

Few vehicles are as immediately recognizable as the BMW 2800 CS, the iconic predecessor to the 3.0 CSL. This one sported fancy ALPINA wheels and everything you expect to find in an ultimate 1970s cruiser, like a wood steering wheel and blue seats. While far from the only one on display, it certainly made an indelible impression.

E21 3 Series

The E21 3 Series has experienced a bit of a Renaissance lately, and there were plenty out and about at Legends of Autobahn. Of particular note is the one we photographed, a 323i featuring the now-iconic twin headlights (as larger-engined models of the time did). This model pioneered the use of fuel injection in BMW’s most mainstream offering and is aging extraordinarily well.

The Rest of the New School: M3 CS, i5 M60, and More

Of course, BMW brought some even cooler stuff out for this special event. Some of the guests of honor included the 590-horsepower, all-wheel drive i5 M60, and the limited-production M3 CS. An iX5 Hydrogen prototype and an LCI X5 M in Isle of Man Green rounded out the remarkable collection of cars BMW chose to bring.

Which Was Your Favorite? 

Were you drawn to the newer stuff like the G80 M3 CS, or did you prefer its much older namesake? Take a look at the image gallery and tell us what you loved the most. Whatever you fancy, the Legends of Autobahn 2023 provided a great enthusiast outlet and had something for everyone. See you next year!

[Top image: Dan Levins /]