A Visit and Look Into the BMW M Studio.
Report by Dackelone
It all started off with a casual mention to member Papethova
(in a PM email while he was planning his 1M ED) that I (Dackelone) would "die" to see the inside of M HQ in Garching. I had been outside the M HQ many times to make my own spy photos… but I would really like to see the place from the "other side" of the gate/fence. Well, I got my wish!
Patethova put me in touch with 1addicts member M3 Adjuster
(Mark). You might remember M3 Adjuster was one of the "lucky twelve" who came to Leipzig (he won the M-Power.com contest
!) last year to test the 1M first hand. M3 Adjuster was one of the lucky few BMW enthusiasts to drive the 1M prototypes hard and fast – last fall. All on BMW’s dime! Well.. he was hooked… because less than a year later Mark just had to own a 1M and come to Germany to pick up his new baby. Mark had that same silly grim on his face as he took delivery at the Welt as he did in those M photos and videos last year. The 1M is a special beast.
Mark was nice enough to invite me to come with him - to go to the ///M Studio. I really did not know what to expect there. I only knew of that room – we all have seen some pictures of it before online. It was a great day!
Basically, the M Studio is a very large showroom that M GmbH uses to show perspective customers what is possible – to custom order on your car, as well as to showcase some of the latest M cars and M-sport models from time to time. It is not just (for) M models, however. ///M is responsible for not only the M production cars but also BMW Individual (custom order optioned cars), BMW Motorsports, and BMW driving schools. M also does in house tuning for some non M cars like the Z4 drive35is. ALL is handled thru BMW M GmbH in Garching. They are a company within a company. BMW M is separate from BMW AG. It is more like two sister companies – but they are separate companies.
Our tour guide gave us a very nice tour of the studio and provided insight into BMW's future. He explained to us that last year China bought more BMW’s than any other market. But, the USA is still a close second. One interesting fact is that the US purchases over 60% of M models – something China doesn’t even come close to doing. The USA is the M market. We were also told that BMW is mindful of the US market and what kind of cars it desires. The 1M is the first car with "us" in mind. He said the new F80 and F82 M
will be another one.
We were also shown some unique Individual custom accents and options like the Neiman Markus editions, headrest stitching, and the like. IF you can dream it up, BMW can build it! We were also shown this white trim with some scale skin on it. We were asked to guess what animal this was… no one guessed correct. Can you? I will post the answer later.
There was also a series of photos on the wall of some of the many details that go into a hand made Individual BMW. There were some interesting things like the various high end audio systems available thru Individual.
As we walked into the M Studio the first car on our left was a black (CtrinSchwarz Met = Citrus Black Metallic) hydrogen powered seven series: ActiveHybrid7L with a 465 PS hydrogen powered 4.4L v8 engine. The inside of the car was simply amazing! Not just the back seat but even for the driver – everything was top notch luxury! Even more eye popping was the final price of 160K euros.
Then came a F10 (550i Touring) wagon in Amazon Silver Metallic – an amazing color! This 550i had 407 PS (twin turbo) from a 4.4L v8. Some of the Individual options were: Alcantara headliner, wood trim (dash and doors) special wood inlay in steering wheel, and Style #349 19 inch wheels. The white interior of this 535i with the honey colored wood trim really “popped” when looking at it. I am not a fan of wood trim – but I liked this car’s interior a lot!
Then we had a 730d Individual in Citrus Black Metallic (what a great color!) with AmaroBraun (brown) full leather interior. This car had a fridge in the back seat, 20 inch staggered wheels, wood inlays for the steering wheel, and black piano accents on the door sills.
After that came a F10 535i Individual sedan, 306 PS N55 powered six with DCT automatic, Champaner Quarz Metallic ( Champagne Quartz Metallic ), Edelholz Satin im Nussbaum Honig Braun (real satin wood trim in honey brown), exterior Individual stainless steel trim (trunk area) and door sills. It also had a staggered 20 inch wheel setup with PS2 tires, and the rear windows had these cool built in privacy screens.
Then we came upon a very special car: Karl Lagerfeld's personal limousine custom made by Individual -- a 750iL L7A. This 7-series limo has been lengthen by some 20 centimeters (chopped at the B pillar) and has an electric glass divider window that separates the driver from the back seat. It has fold down desks, videos screens, rear AC, tissue box intergrated into the rear doors (btw our guide tells us this is a Individual signature – bc almost every Individual car has those tissue holders built into the rear doors!). I couldn’t help but wonder IF the car’s paint color might have been some of the inspiration for Valencia Orange on the 1M. This car and the "Turbo" prototype (the car from the early ‘70’s that that later became the base for M1) in the Museum both have a wild orange color that has some chameleon characteristics to them.
Karl Lagerfeld's personal custom limousine's color is: (base coat) Gold Orange Metallic with special effect maroon brown metallic (Kastanienbraun metallic). The paint had very different looks to it depending on your viewing angle. The more I looked at it the more I liked it.
Then we came to a brown 730d sedan Individual in Citrus Black Metallic with full leather in Amracbraun. 20 inch style #301 wheels that were staggered setup, Individual door sills and alcantara headliner and special Individual shadow line trim.
Then we came to this sweet E92 M3 coupe in a silver-ish color. I missed taking a picture of this M3’s option list, unfortunately, but Mark remembers it as a Moonstone White M3 and it was around 98,000 Euros.
Then came a black 1M. There was nothing really special about this car. It was just a standard production 1M. But check out the prices over here!
Finally, came the icing on the cake for me! An E92 M3 GTS in fire orange! What a car. I did notice that this must be one of the prototypes because it did not have a serial number on the CF dash trim like on the "normal" production GTS or CRT have.
As our tour was wrapping up our guide showed us a few pictures on the "wall of fame," of celebrities who own BMW's special optioned cars. The man with the white 1M is the Prince of Bavaria! Not too shabby BMW. I think he is just like the rest of us… lucky to have (owned) one!
While we were talking with our guide we could hear the rumble of something wild. Turned out it was the prototype E90 CRT in dark blue with those lovely race seats and a M exhaust. Man did that exhaust sound mean! Very race car like but quiet enough (just barely!) for the street. We also saw many new M6 coupes and M5 testwagens parked all around the M compound. We saw a frozen blue metallic e93 M3, a frozen gray e92 M3 and quite a few 1Ms. Way off in the distance I spotted a Sedona Red 1M test mule… this was the very first testwagen that had the bolted on black plastic rear wheel flares that was photographed in a lot of spy shots two years ago. I also saw one M6 convertible and heard a new M5 rumble past on the street – I never tire of the sound of that new engine. We also saw a few X1’s and X3’s around with one 5er GT within the //M compound.
It is also interesting to see the many modified BMWs parked all along the street. It is obvious that in order to work at M you have to be passionate about your job. And I would say by looking at all the BMWs parked on the street that many of the employees ARE passionate about BMWs.
There was this M3 in white that had a CF hood and rear CSL-like trunk lid parked along side of the HQ building. I asked about this car… seems the owner worked on the CRT project… made a one off CF hood for himself and then painted it black on his white M3. I was not sure what the trunk was made out of… but the end result looked very slick. That is what I call loving one’s job!
Hope you enjoyed our insight into the M Studio and M facilities at Garching!