BMW M design is known for its distinctive and dynamic features that emphasize the sporty and powerful character of the M models. One of the most recognizable elements of BMW M design is the use of double design elements, such as the double spokes, double wings, double slats and double twin pipes. These elements create a visual harmony and a sense of balance and symmetry in the M cars. But how did the iconic BMW M design come to life?

A Sketchpad Sparked BMW M’s Iconic Design DNA

The origin of the double design theme can be traced back to the E36 M3, which debuted in 1992. The E36 M3 was the first M car to feature the iconic double-spoke wheels. Then in 2000, the BMW E46 M3 came to life with the second generation of double-spoke wheels which were designed by Marcus Syring, former head of BMW M Design and now head of design for future ALPINA products. Syring used to sketch the wheels in full size, drawing 8 to 10 different versions for each vehicle. His wheel design was selected for the E46 M3 and became a signature element of BMW M design.

Since then, the double design theme has evolved and expanded to other parts of the M cars, such as the double wings for the aero mirrors, which improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise. The double slats in the M kidneys, which are wider and more angular than the regular BMW kidneys, create a more aggressive and distinctive front end. The G80 M3 also features double design elements in the side fender. Of course, the double theme is also present inside the M cars, with the double spokes on the steering wheel and the unmistakable twin tailpipes at the rear.

The Double-Theme Evolved Over Time

Certainly, the theme has evolved over time. Presently, you’ll notice dual elements not only in the rear diffuser but also in upcoming BMW M products, extending to the interior of the headlights. A closer look at the G80/G82 M3/M4, including the CS models, reveals the incorporation of these dual elements. While it may appear as symmetry to some, it’s all integral to the distinctive BMW M design language.

The double design elements are not only aesthetic, but also functional in many cases. They enhance the performance, efficiency and stability of the M cars, while also creating a visual identity that sets them apart from other BMW models. The double design theme is a testament to BMW M’s philosophy of combining form and function, beauty and power, elegance and sportiness. But beyond the tangible, the double theme became a visual language. It spoke of duality, of power harnessed and waiting to be unleashed. It mirrored the driving experience itself, the delicate balance between control and exhilarating chaos.

The next time a BMW M speeds by, really check it out. Notice the double spokes on the wheels, the air wings cutting through the wind, and the twin exhausts letting out their powerful breath. It’s not just a car; it’s like a talk in metal, showing how a single, inspired double look can be so impactful.

If you’re interested in some BMW design behind-the-scenes stories, then grab the “BMW: Behind The Scenes” three-volume boxed set which will be available soon – at a pre-order price of $299.95/€270/£78.11. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.