You’d think that the deadliest and most widespread pandemic in generations would dampen the world’s appetite for high performance cars, and you’d be wrong. BMW’s M division has reported sales of 144,218 units in 2020, which is a 6% growth. With that, BMW M says that it has significantly strengthened its market leadership.

“The fact that we were able to conclude this exceptionally challenging year with yet a further record is great validation of our consistent growth strategy. We can be particularly proud of the fact that we were able not only to defend our market dominance as the most successful provider of performance and high-performances automobiles, but also to have even expanded it,” said Markus Flasch, chairman of BMW M GmbH.

BMW says that the good sales result was due to the successful market launch of the X5 M and X6 M, which surfaced at the end of 2019. The 2,200-unit special edition BMW M2 CS, which serves as the basis for a new competition vehicle from BMW Motorsport, also received positive response. But it was predominantly the models developed for the 3 Series and 4 Series that boosted sales – we’re talking about M Performance models M340i/M340d and M440i/M440d.

Sales were good in most major markets for the M division. In the US, the most important market for M cars, as well as in China, new records were achieved. Russia and Korea saw growth of over 60%, Italy did 47% better and the UK exceeded expectations.

Moving forward, the initial focus will be on the debut of the BMW M5 CS this month. After that will be the market launch of the M3 Sedan starting in March and the M4 Coupe, both of which have been launched in Malaysia and awaiting deliveries.

As for future product plans, “the wishes of the M Community will be fulfilled by extraordinary diversity,” the company declares. All models with a manual gearbox will be joined by a Competition variant with an automatic, specifically the eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. We should then expect the M2 Competition‘s seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box to be phased out.

Also, xDrive AWD variants of the M3/M4 will be added in summer 2021, a season when the new M4 Convertible will be launched as well. Meanwhile, the first ever BMW M3 Touring, teased in “The Drop” M Town film from December 2020, is still undergoing the series development process.

If all the above M product updates were exciting but slightly predictable, here’s something else – BMW M says that it will be presenting an electrically powered performance automobile for the first time, this year. It’s not mentioned if the car will be a full EV or an electrified hybrid, but will be “a completely new manifestation of the distinctive M feeling”. Speaking of the M Town film, BMW M already teased its “electric” car in the video from last month, via the one-off BMW M3 Pickup.

If it sounds like a big year ahead for BMW M, wait till 2022 comes around, because next year will be M’s big anniversary – it turns 50. Flasch promises “a year full of surprises”. “If I mention the keyword special edition models, it should be clear what our customers can look forward to during the anniversary year,” he added.