530 MLE E12

Unbelievably the first M BMW was produced in South Africa four years before the M1. MLE stands for Motorsport Limited Edition and it was developed by BMW Motorsport in Germany and subsequently built in South Africa. The car was developed in 1976 and sold in 1976 and 1977.

The car was a light weight version of the 530, with many modifications to reduce weight. The racing engines used produced an impressive 202 kw at 6750 r/min with 318 N.m peak torque at 5500 r/min, and a maximum fifth-gear speed of 235 km/h.

BMW South Africa initially produced 100 of these cars for the public to get them homogated, but demand for the cars were so high that they decided to produce more and production numbers are estimated to be 201.

FirstFives has a nice writeup on the 530 MLE

Here a mint local car is shown:


TopCar published a fantastic article about the BMW 530 MLE - go out and buy it! Here is an excerpt showing the essentials.