Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 – The return(ish) of BMW

BMW is making a return – and by return, I mean back at the Tokyo Auto Salon. While I’ve attended TAS over the years and witnessed BMW’s official presence come and go, their big comeback last year showcased an exaggerated kidney grille as the centrepiece of their booth. However, since the 2023 edition of TAS was rather subdued, their return this time around feels more impactful. While it might not be uncommon for Japanese manufacturers to flex their performance credentials at the Tokyo Auto Salon, it’s much rarer to see a foreign manufacturer join in the fray. This year, traditional rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz are here to flex some Deutsche Power.

BMW’s oversized grille from 2023 has, of course, made a comeback, and alongside that eye-This includes the i5 in M60 guise, an M3 Touring, an M8 in a Le Mans-inspired wrap, and topping it all off is an M2 fully kitted out with wild M Performance parts.

While it might initially raise eyebrows for a manufacturer to offer aftermarket parts for their precision-tuned performance vehicles, the reasoning becomes clearer when you delve into the intricacies of Germany’s strict TUV regulations. The TUV imposes rigorous testing and approval processes for any aftermarket components, including wheels, making life a bit complex for Germans seeking an even higher level of driving exhilaration. This complexity has given rise to specialized tuning companies like Alpina, AC Schnitzer, Hartge, Hamann, Brabus, and RUF, which can even provide complete cars. Acknowledging this, BMW M has now entered the aftermarket arena with M Performance Parts – high-performance components straight from BMW, carrying full TUV approval and backed by the factory warranty.

With their recently released M2 gaining significant traction worldwide, what better stage to showcase M Performance than at the Tokyo Auto Salon, featuring that very car.

From carbon-fibre aerodynamic elements including splitters, spoilers, and mirror caps, to a titanium silencer system and a carefully calibrated lowered M Performance suspension, every detail on this enhanced M2 pays homage to M’s motorsport expertise, amplifying the already aggressive stance of the M2 and giving it an even more menacing presence. While this fully decked-out M2 might seem a tad too outlandish and almost out of place in Munich’s BMW Welt, it looked right at home in Tokyo.

As electrification firmly cements itself in the automotive landscape, BMW’s inclusion of an i-car at the event was expected. However, this wasn’t just any ordinary i-car; it was a menacing black-on-black i5 M60, also fitted with M Performance parts. With 601 horsepower, 820Nm of torque and a 3.2-second acceleration to 100km/h, this electrified 5 series will definitely move!

Also wearing full M Performance regalia was their M3 Touring. This sought-after wagon garnered considerable attention this year, and it’s not hard to see why. Boasting an attractive design, formidable firepower, and spacious accommodation for the entire family – dog included – many argue that the M3 Touring stands out as one of, if not, the most comprehensive M-car yet.

Keen to see the other M3 Tourings? Stay tuned!

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