New BMW M Books for 2022
Wait! Young person! Read this! Maybe you don’t buy or read ink-on-dead-trees books, but maybe you should make an exception. These three are glorious, they're great values, and the photo quality is much better than any monitor. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled article…
With BMW M celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1972, we’re treated to at least three beautiful new books on BMW M and BMW M Cars. With the publishing business being what it is, not many new BMW books come available each year. One exception was BMW’s centennial year of 2016, when there were plenty of fresh books brought to market.
This year seems to be almost as good as 2016, with at least three spectacular new offerings. I mention the difficulty of the publishing business above. The challenge is the financial feasibility of publishing a book today. That feasibility is almost impossible. So how do these three offerings make it work? They have got to be subsidized by BMW. In all three cases, the productions costs have to be far in excess of what the books are being sold for.
If that’s true, thank you BMW! They’re beautiful books and are all worthy of a place in our libraries. All three books are hard cover, oversized, quality paper, and weigh a bunch. They are actually three art books; it just so happens the art is our favorite type of art: BMW M Cars. And each book is under $50, while they ought to cost, based on the size and production values of each, over $100. Get one of each.
BMW M—50 Years of the Ultimate Driving Machines
By Tony Lewin
Forward by Jochen Neerpasch, Founder of BMW Motorsport GmbH
9.5 x 12.0-inch page size, 4 pounds
224 pages, English
Published December 21, 2021 by Quarto Publishing Group
Hardcover with embossed E30 M3 on the front
This book was the first published of the bunch and may be an actual commercial venture, but they’re going to have to sell a bunch of them. I hope they do. Lewin is a veteran British automotive journalist and does a good job. The fifteen chapters cover from the founding of BMW M through the current company and its products, and a bit on what we can expect in the future. There is a nice section on the BMW M Styling Department headed by Marcus Syring. The last chapter is on M’s electric future and a little on the first M motorcycle.
Most of the coverage is devoted to the street M Cars, although there is coverage of racing activities through the decades. The text is supplemented with nice data tables for each street M Car. The price is ridiculously low for what you get.
BMW M—The Most Powerful Letter in the World
By Andreas Braun
Forward by Franciscus van Meel, CEO, BMW M GmbH
10.5 x 12.5-inch page size, 6.5 pounds
304 pages, English and German
Published July 28, 2022 by Hirmer Verlag GmbH
Hardcover with dust jacket
This is clearly a factory effort; Andreas Braun works for BMW Group Classic as the Curator of the BMW Museum since 2008 and has authored several other books for BMW AG. This is the biggest of three big books, in a large horizontal format and weighing 6.5 pounds!
Since it is in both German and English, they’ve used small fonts to fit it all in. And there is a lot of text here in the 304 pages. Organized in seven chapters, the history of BMW M is covered and the early models such as the CSL and M1 get thorough treatment. A nice timeline leads us through the 50 years of M.
The design treatment gets special coverage. This is especially interesting to review the evolution of the five M3 generations. There is also good coverage of the concept cars that M has done.
An interesting side note: this is one of the few published sources that actually has the facts straight on the production of the M1s. Most sources say they were built by Baur but this book has the full and more complicated story. I take that as a good sign.
There are a lot of two-page-wide (double-truck in the trade), super-high-quality photos. Like the other books here, this is really an art book. The color photos are supplemented with historical black-and-whites and even some paintings. Lovely!
Motorsports coverage is much heavier here than in the Lewin book. Nice, as this really ties the street M Cars back to their racetrack roots.
The last part of the book is a chapter on “M-Classics and One-Offs,” which covers some of the more obscure products that have been produced by BMW M. Examples are the E36 M3 GT Coupe, the E46 M3 CSL, the E90 M3 CRT, the E92 M3 GTS, the F82 M4 GTS, and plenty of others. It is a veritable greatest hits gallery. And then there is coverage of the M3 pickups, the M8, the E36 Compact with the M3 motor, and, of course, the X5 Le Mans.
By Jürgen Lewandowski and others
11.25 x 11.5-page size, 4.25 pounds
240 pages, English
Published August 31, 2022 by Delius Klasing & Co and BMW M GmbH
Matt white hard cover with glossy black ///M
The last of the three to be published, this is another factory effort with Delius Klasing listed as the copyright holder but BMW M GmbH as the publisher. It’s a joint venture. This is also the artsiest of the three and I really like it for that. Artiest, like how you might ask?
Well, the paper is a bright white matte, which really makes the text and photos pop. More? There are three ribbon pages markers, in red, blue, and purple, of course. The page edges are colored in slanted motorsports tricolor. Want more artsy? This is the first book I’ve ever seen with the Table of Contents in the back! That’s just weird, but it is a gorgeous book.
There are several authors, but the primary one seems to be Jürgen Lewandowski, who always does a first-rate job. The writing is as good as the artwork.
The M Cars are put into their context of popular culture at the time. Thus, this is the only one of the three books which includes photos of Abba, Mark Spitz, Steve Jobs, Madonna, Flo-Jo, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga.
There is also a section that features some of the M Car collectors around the world. The biggest collection is in Japan. It looks crowded!
Marcus Syring, the designer, is also featured in this book. He gets as much attention in these books as the BMW M CEOs. This is the only book with a feature on the women designers within BMW M, which is pretty cool.
All three books feature the BMW Art Cars, which is interesting since the Art Cars are within the purview of the Marketing Department at BMW AG. While the BMW Art Cars command a lot of ink generally, that’s their purpose, after all, this book has a fresh spin on them. Usually, Art Car features trot out the same old photos of the cars and artists we’ve all seen from BMW’s archives. Not here. The car photos I’ve never seen before, and the photos of the artists are generally from years before they did their Art Car. Thus, photos of a much younger Calder, Stella, Lichtenstein, and others than I’ve ever seen before. The photo of a very young David Hockney in a seersucker suit is a high point.
Total cost for all three books is about €/$125.00 plus shipping, which is about what any one of them should cost. I bought mine from Amazon Germany (Amazon.de). Not only do they sell everything at a discount, but Amazon’s shipping also is cheaper than other European sources. And the shipping is a bit of an issue, since the combined weight of the three books is about 15 pounds! Reinforce the coffee table and enjoy!
Plus, a Bonus
And a late addition. This is a magazine, but it is 160 pages and wholly devoted to BMW M Cars. This is Tazio Magazine, Issue 5—Autumn 2022. This was released September 1, 2022, and is titled Special: 50 Years of BMW Motorsport. Tazio is an art magazine devoted to cars. While ostensibly a periodical, it really is a fourth book on M Cars, but softcover and with (a little) advertising. Still, it too is drop-dead gorgeous.
The cover is a painting of a 3.0CSL race car. Inside there are features including an interview with Jochen Neerpasch, Hans Stuck talking about his years with BMW, the BMW turbo engine used in Formula 1, the Le Mans win in 1999, and much more.
The magazine is available from www.taziomagazine.com. It is only €18,00 plus shipping.