BMW-SG in Munich 2023: Back at the Welt

For Bimmerheads in Munich, it really is a no-brainer to pop by the Welt and the museum whenever they’re in town, not just because it literally is the centre of all things BMW but also because unlike most places in Munich that open only between the hours of 10-11 am, the Welt opens its doors at a rather early (especially for Germany) 730am. Which makes it one of the perfect places to start a day in Munchen. The other is, of course, Kaffeerösterei at Viktualienmarkt which coincidentally opens at 730 am as well!

Or, you can do what I always do, pop by the coffee stand first for a morning cuppa (and a delicious pastry) and then hop onto the nearby U3 U-Bahn towards Olympiazentrum.

While I have been here on a number of occasions already, the sight of the BMW Welt and their iconic 4-Cylinder Building never fails to excite me.

Outside, a beautiful M8 was getting prepped to enter the Welt. These are such beautiful Grand Tourers, if only they didn’t evolve into such expensive machines! (Relatively speaking of course. Yes, yes, I know it retails for S$180,000 brand new in Germany. Stop reminding me!)

At the same time, a trailer pulled up to unload its contents. I guess it has to be something cool when it is being pulled by a trick-looking Cayenne.

Inside, Vision Dee was on display, this is one of two Vision Dee’s built, the other car, a white one, was at the time heading towards Singapore! This version is with the sweet colour-shifting E-ink panels.

While it does look very similar to the Vision Neue Klasse, there are some notable differences which makes the newer Neue Klasse appear much closer to being a production car.

A variant we don’t get here in Singapore, a 330e plug-in hybrid Touring.

And one of the cars I was in Germany for, the iX1. Looking especially good here in blue. Still no news yet on when the iX1 will arrive here. Pity our archaic and backwards-looking regulations when it comes to EV vehicles. Taxing EVs based on their power output is stupidity onto another level and blindly penalising innovation, engineering excellence and technological progress.

This M3 was sitting in the cordoned off delivery area which means someone spec’ed their M3 with the entirety of the M Performance Parts catalog. While it might seem like a silly thing to do considering the obscene prices of original add-ons, due to the very strict rules regarding aftermarket parts buying a car with manufacturer options is one of the few ways an owner can drive a hopped-up vehicle legally without hassle from the Popo.

After discussing homologation with TUV with Nikolas at Bavarian Econs, I can confirm that driving a modified vehicle in Germany is a formidable challenge. There’s a meticulous process for testing and obtaining type approval for every modification, and there’s no room for leniency in these regions. If the police suspect any modifications on your vehicle, there’s a high likelihood that you will be pulled over.

Just how rigorous are the regulations concerning aftermarket parts? Let’s consider wheels as an example. In Germany, there’s no universal wheel that fits all vehicles. Each wheel must undergo testing and approval for each specific make and model. In other words, a wheel that has been tested and approved for a 3-Series M340i cannot legally be installed on a 320i unless it has been subjected to testing on a 320i. This explains why the selection of aftermarket wheels in Germany is relatively limited.

Of course, you can take the initiative to have a wheel tested and approved, but this requires a solid understanding of the paperwork involved and a significant financial commitment. To avoid all this hassle, it’s much simpler to order performance-enhancing components directly from the manufacturer, which is where M Performance Parts come into play. This also clarifies why prominent German tuning companies construct entire vehicles from the ground up, sparing customers the trouble of dealing with TUV.

At this point, the car that was sitting in the Porsche pulled trailer was finally unloaded and brought to its display area, and it was truly something special.

This is ROWE racing’s M4 GT3, fresh off winning the gruelling 24-hours of SPA.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the trophy. What a sight.

Looking resplendent with its bug splatters and battle scars on display. This is how a race car should look.

After I got my fill of ROWE goodness, it was time to head over to the museum. Let’s go!

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