The BMW M division has a special place in my heart because it’s what got me hooked on the Top Gear brand. I was watching downloaded videos of former presenter Tiff Needell reviewing cars, and one vehicle in particular stood out—the E39 BMW M5. The video opened with the M5 just sliding and screeching around a deserted airfield, with opera music providing a proper Wagnerian background to the German car.
Only after the smoke cleared did Needell step out and talk about the car. Then he drove it some more and showed how “beautifully balanced” the M5 was by driving straight, then spinning the car 360 degrees, then catching the slide. I know it is also a testament to Needell’s driving abilities, but the sight of the Bimmer drifting was so exquisite it almost brought a tear to my eye. (I’m not watching the video as I write this; this is all from memory.)
That video opened my eyes to how awesome a motoring show can be, prior to that I could only get my car fix through motoring magazines. The motoring shows I knew then were like tranquilizers that could put an elephant to sleep.
During a trip to Singapore courtesy of official BMW distributor Asian Carmakers Corporation, I had a chance to visit the only exclusively BMW M dealership *Clarkson pause*… in the world. The name of the dealership is Munich Automobiles. Be warned: You are about to see a lot of photos, the maximum amount our Traffic Stopper/online managing editor/sweetheart Barbs would let me post. And I even had to split it into two parts.
Get ready for some car porn.
Upon arrival I was already floored. Parked in the lot was a BMW M3 GTS.
The M3 GTS is a limited-edition M3 that’s been lightened by 300 pounds, and the engine has been enlarged to 4.4-liters from the ‘regular’ M3’s 4.0-liter V8. Power output goes up to 444hp from 414hp. Only 250 were built and all are already sold.
Inside the showroom my eyes were drawn to the 1-Series M Coupé, my BMW car obsession du jour.
The M3 Convertible is also highly appealing. On my bucket list I want to drive this around the European continent.
I took a photo of the spec sheet to give you an idea of Singaporean car prices. That figure at the bottom roughly converts to $333,000—that’s insane considering a Ferrari 458 Italia goes for about $240,000 in the United States. That’s approximately P14 million, almost double what a similar model would cost here in the Philippines.
A BMW M engine would make a nice display in your living room.
What do we have here, it's another BMW M3 GTS. Maybe not all have been already sold after all.
Let’s see how much it costs.
Okay 668,000 Singapore dollars is a little more than half a million US dollars, and equivalent to P22 million pesos. Before taxes, that’s already more than a Lexus LFA.
Here’s a look at the seats and the rollbar.
This badge says this car is number 70 of 250.
Most of the cabin is alcanatara and carbon fiber, and there is no radio nor air-conditioning that comes as standard.
The M3 GTS’s track-oriented tire.
This is what the dealership’s drinks bar looks like. While you’re waiting for your drinks you can stare at a map of the Nurburgring. James May won’t like this.
I can tell they have very good taste in magazines.
This is where the lucky bastards customers wait, relax and count their money in their heads.
BMW designs some of the best wheels in the industry.
They have a music player that doesn’t play normal music, just M engine sounds.
From the lounge there’s a clear view of the repair bays. It looks more like a living room than a repair area.
This is what heaven looks like in Ferman’s mind.
Customers can watch their car being worked on from the comfort of the lounge.
(to be continued)