BMW Car Club Great Britain – BMW Park Lane’s ‘M roadshow evening’
Images by Soni Pone
I had the great pleasure of being invited to BMW Park Lane’s ‘M roadshow evening’ which was to showcase the NEW BMW M5 saloon at their prestigious showroom located in Park Lane, Mayfair. I heard about this in the Car Club newsletter. Being a big BMW fan and also a fan of the BMW M cars I knew I just had to go to see all the vehicles close up.
I had visited the BMW Park Lane Service department in their newly and very well refurbished facility in Stewarts Road, Battersea the previous week for a BMW Routine Maintenance Check and BMW MOT on my M3 CS Coupe.
I invited one of my friends who likes cars, and has just bought a Maserati Gran Turismo to go alongside his Aston Martin DBS, as I thought he might want to visit. Anyway I arrived around 7:30pm and donned my best gear! I arrived a little earlier than my friend so signed in with the meet-and-greet staff and helped myself to some prosecco / champagne and had a wander. Immediately, I looked around and all I could see were fellow executives mingling with the BMW staff or amongst themselves discussing the finer points of BMW M cars. I had a wander and saw a BMW M2 which had M stickers and M stripes plastered all over it in a kind of E9 3.0 CSL tribute. It didn’t quite look like it was an offering from a BMW Dealer but I think it had been done outside the Dealer network. It was very striking and captivating and certainly generated quite a few admiring glances. The NEW BMW M5 was hidden away waiting to be revealed under wraps. Waiters and waitresses were handing out drinks and nibbles to all the executives to keep them well watered and fed. As some others who were on the BMW Car Club – Munich Tour 2016 will know, I can suddenly turn into David Bailey when I am at a BMW Dealership or anything BMW. I was snapping away taking pictures and then suddenly got pounced on by a BMW Salesman!
Now ‘car salesman’ with the general public can sometimes conjure up an image of Arfur Daley or Del Boy. With used car sales in particular I can imagine they get frustrated with the ‘CASH NOW BRUVVA’ money laundering types.
However, with the BMW Dealer salesman at Park Lane, as you would expect that couldn’t be further from the truth. The salesman was very pleasant to talk to and discuss BMWs and cars in general, whilst I guess I was being ‘qualified’. We ended up discussing the finer points of BMW’s pricing strategy of the 4 Series Coupe (which replaced the 3 Series Coupe) being able to charge a bit of a premium over the 3 Series saloon despite sharing many components. This is much in the similar vein to Audi with their A4 saloon and A5 Coupe; also the low take up rate of MANUALs for the BMW M cars when new, yet these versions tend to become more sought after later on.
I had a few more drinks and my friend then arrived. My favourite cars were firstly, the BMW M2 Coupe which had already been sold. It was a pre-facelift / pre-LCI model in Long Beach Blue and DCT. I think it looks simply stunning and it is my favourite M car BMW currently on offer by far, despite being their cheapest M car as well. Other models on display included M3 Saloon, M4 Competition Package, M6 and the M760Li. The M760Li was oh so beautiful. Didn’t get to see the inside properly because it was locked. However, the seats just looked soooo comfortable. It has a V12 engine which is shared with some of the Rolls Royce I think. It kind of evoked a fleeting memory of my old 750iL (E38) which also had a V12 albeit naturally aspirated 5.4 litres and 326bhp of German goodness. If you have not driven a V12 you haven’t lived. You think a naturally aspirated I6 is smooth. Wait till you try a V12!
The other car I liked was the M240i Coupe which was on display. The M5 Saloon reveal featured a short speech from one of the BMW head honchos. Lots of people crowded around the car before it was revealed and lots of cameras were at the ready. I have to say this is a stunning looking car which now features a switchable drive configuration from RWD to 4WD. The interior looked really good and my Aston Martin owning friend really liked the interior. Such a great looking car.
The notable features of this M5 include:
- quad exhausts (which were introduced by BMW initially on their Z3 Ms and E39 M5)
- rear diffuser to help reduce drag and reduce lift, subtle bootlip spoiler
- larger front bumper featuring large air intakes for the brakes and the oil cooler and the engine
- the carbon fibre roof which helps to lower the overall mass and the centre of mass for better acceleration, braking and handling and fuel economy
- the ventilated and cross-drilled carbon ceramic disc brakes which are lighter and less prone to brake fade than their steel counterparts
It will be seen in the road mags when they review it; how will it do compared to its competitors from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar etc in the very fast executive saloon market? Will it be the all-conquering hero like the legendary BMW M5 (E39) which simply wiped the floor with all the competition throughout the lifecycle in many Autocar road tests?
It is simply staggering to think this NEW M5 which now features 4WD (as a first for BMW M which may upset a few BMW purists) now has 592bhp! It was not that long ago the McLaren F1 road car which featured a BMW naturally aspirated V12 6.0 litre with 627bhp was the fastest hyper car in the world! Ok the M5 is a very, very fast EXECUTIVE saloon and is designed for a completely different market and thus a completely different customer (the family man who likes fast cars but needs something practical and perhaps discreet for the work car park) but to think it is only 35bhp shy of what was once the fastest hyper car in the world is simply staggering!!!! I am guessing this is why BMW felt the need to make it 4WD.
A great evening was had, and I thank BMW Park Lane and all their staff for making it a wonderful and very enjoyable experience.
Words by Soni Pone
A trip to BMW Park Lane is always a feast for the eyes and tonight was going to be a notch up, the launch of the new BMW M5. Arriving at the showroom I was greeted by several other Club members and offered a glass of champagne; evenings like this are not an everyday occurrence. With an M2, M3, M4 and M6 GC to pore over before the unveiling, there was plenty to see and talk about before the wraps came off the new M5. Plenty to debate: is the M2 expensive compared to the M3/M4 but much more fun as a small nimble car, does the M3 look more muscular compared to the M4, is the M6 GC the best car to take on a road trip across Europe? These and many questions were debated before we got to see the new M5.
The time was finally here. After a few speeches, the cover was pulled back and there she was in all her glory, the new M5. ‘A subtly visual but much greater mechanical evolution’ was probably the consensus opinion. Everyone had the opportunity to have a good look inside and outside of the latest M creation. It will be interesting to see how the new 2/4 wheel drive is received and how the car performs on the road. One final question came up: will this be the last M5 with combustion only power, will the next one be Hybrid?
So a great night with fantastic hospitality from BMW Park Lane and the Car Club.
Dateline: Monday 2nd October 14:35
Received email invitation from BMW Park Lane to attend ‘An Evening of M’ for the first showroom unveiling of the F-90 M5 at 18:30 on Thursday 5th October.
Dateline: Monday 2nd October 14:36
Accepted invitation without hesitation, and level of excitement starts to rise! Cannot believe my good fortune in receiving an invitation…
Dateline: Thursday 5th October 15:00
Leave home, drive to Warwick Parkway to catch the train leaving 16:17 arriving London Marylebone 17:48, leaving enough time to walk 1.2 miles to BMW Park Lane to arrive at a suitably slightly early time at the showroom.
Dateline: Thursday 5th October 18:20
Greeted by BMW Park Lane Staff, showroom full of M-product – M2, M3, M4, M6 and a parachute silk covered beauty that should be an F-90 M5 – excitement levels are rising. Beer, champagne and canapés are in plentiful supply for a select guest list of only 85 and I am one of them, just cannot believe my good fortune to be here.
Dateline: Thursday 5th October 19:19
After a 10 minute or so preamble presentation, the guests surrounding the covered car, with no particular fanfare the cover is pulled back to reveal the stunning Donington Grey exterior complete with carbon roof – pulses are racing. We all take turns to look, feel, sit inside and play and dream – if only I had £112,000 to spare, to place an order here and now! What a car, what an evening, and I was there.
Thank you BMW Park Lane for the invitation, your hospitality and a memorable evening.