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Who would have thought that a small performance garage (located in Garching just north of Munich) with an initial team of thirty-five, would go on to be responsible for some of the most coveted road cars of all time – and what’s more, have its half century milestone be celebrated on the other side of the world.

BMW M Festival NZ

This year, German car marque BMW’s ‘M’ performance division is 50-years young and celebrations have been held in M Towns (a place we’d ALL like to live) across the globe – and this weekend, here in NZ (world leaders in M model sales) we joined in the festivities.

The BMW M festival was held today at Lilyworld (in Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland) and not only were (let’s say) 50 BMW M cars, of all shapes, years and sizes on display but there was the opportunity to be chauffeur-drifted around the track in a new M3 or i4, there were two race simulators to drive, an F1 reaction-speed test and mini golf, oh and a DJ was on hand to spin some funky sounds and help set the day’s tone.

BMW M Festival NZ

For those of us there mixing business with pleasure (I took my family along as an early Xmas present), Adam Shaver – Managing Director of BMW Group New Zealand was there to greet us and explain what was happening.

“It’s a special occasion for us, celebrating the 50th birthday of BMW M, probably one of the nearest and dearest brands to any automotive enthusiast.”

BMW M Festival NZ

He said that NZ is a small market in some respects but really punches above its weight, 

“We are the number one M market globally (and have been for the last 3 years in terms of share) and also number one electrified market in the Asia pacific region,” adding that the amount of enthusiasm here is is truly special, referring us to the amount of cars on display (from the NZ BMW car club) in the concours on the way in. Saying ‘there is a tremendous amount of M history here in this country’.

“[From its humble beginnings] The M division has grown exponentially globally and in fact last year BMW M was the global market leader in performance and high-performance vehicles for the 3rd year running.”

But what of the future of M with electrification, I hear you ask, well Adam shed some light on how they see it.

“What I can say is that the future of M with electrified technology is better than it’s ever been. It’s incredible what they [M engineers] can do with a hybrid and battery technology. When you think that these engineers now have all kinds of new opportunities, they’re testing vehicles with quad motors, one for each wheel… And the excitement at M is incredibly high, despite the fact that it’s a big change – M is a brand that will really be able to capitalise on this change of technology.”

BMW M Festival NZ

Aside from the previously mentioned fun and games, the festival also had some special guests on show, namely some epic historical M’s, the BMW 8 series Jeff Koons edition (one of only 99 in the whole world), and the exclusive viewing of the second generation M2 – that’s rear-wheel drive, shares its engine and transmission with the M3/M4, carbon fibre roof, power dome in the bonnet and also available in manual. Launching in NZ mid next year, priced at $138,900.

BMW M Festival NZ

All in all it was a special day for a very special brand – but we’re now looking forward to next year as aside from the previously mentioned M2, we’ll be seeing the M3 Touring ($188,900) in Q1/2 and the new rockstar XM, the fastest BMW M ever. It’s arriving Q3 next year priced from $294,000 – so stay tuned for more. 

BMW M Festival NZ
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