BMW hosted its third M Fest in South Africa, which coincided with the 50th year of M. It also happens to be the largest M Fest in the world, hosted at the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit, after a three year absence, thanks to the pandemic. The event was open to the public on the weekend of 15-16 October while media were treated to the festival on Thursday, 13 October.
Festival goers had the opportunity to experience on- and off-track activities, live entertainment, shop the BMW Lifestyle Collection, created by Puma, and to view BMW’s latest M model, the M2 where it made its global premiere. Other models showcased for the first time on the continent was the XM, and the SA premiere of the M4 CSL.
The line-up included the Red Bull Drift Brothers, South Africa’s BMW DTM driver Sheldon van der Linde who provided hot laps, and Round 8 of the BMW Car Club Gauteng’s M Performance Parts Race Series. A pop-up dealership showcased its latest models, including heritage and classic BMWs.
A first for the event was a segment called M Talks, with guests such as Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M Gmbh, Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa, Sheldon van der Linde, and the Red Bull Drift Brothers Johannes and Elias Hountondji.
Electro mobility journey
BMW SA CEO Peter van Binsbergen touched on how each country is in a different stage of electro mobility, but BMW believes in the power of choice. “We already have three drivetrain concepts on offer: internal combustion, plug-in hybrid, and BEV, and we’re working on a fourth pillar – hydrogen”. He added that the company will thus take longer before it would look at talking about being 100% electric.
“That’s also relevant for us here in South Africa. I know we’re not in the forefront of e-mobility, but BMW already launched the i3 here in 2015, and since then, we’ve led that segment. We’re about to launch two really exciting vehicles, the i7 and the iX1.”
BMW M2 reveal
The BMW M2 will come to South Africa in the second half of 2023, and features a very distinct design. Once again the company has made bold moves with its grille that either you love it or hate it. I love unusual and interesting design most times, so this gets a thumbs up from me.
It has a 3L turbocharged straight six engine with a total output of 338kW, up 66kW from its predecessor, and peak torque at 550Nm of torque. It has an 8 speed M Steptronic transmission or 6 speed manual and will go from 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds in auto and 4.3 seconds in manual. The M2 has a top speed of 250km/h and with the optional M Driver’s Package, 285km/h.
On the inside, you can find a 12.3-inch infotainment screen and a huge 14.9-inch curved display that will run BMW’s iDrive 8 operating system, which also includes BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant. It will have smartphone pairing via CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard features include BMW Live Cockpit Plus with BMW Maps. It also supports the use of a personal eSIM inside the vehicle, and a 5G antenna system.
Comfort features include three-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, and a Hi-Fi speaker system. Automated driving and parking systems include Front Collision Warning, Speed Limit Display with no-overtaking indicator, Lane Departure Warning and Park Distance Control. Options include Driving Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and Parking Assistant including Reversing Assistant.
The Setup button on the centre console provides direct access to the settings options for the engine, chassis, steering, braking system and M Traction Control, as well as the Gear Shift Assistant if fitted. Two overall vehicle setups can be stored and then retrieved using the M buttons on the steering wheel.
The XM was announced last month and finally made its way to South Africa for M Fest. Now this is a vehicle that once again is very bold in design, but at the same time, very controversial.
The XM a 4.4L twin turbo plug-in hybrid with a V8 petrol engine and an electric motor. It will feature BMW’s new M Hybrid drive system that will deliver a total output of 480kW that combines 360kW from the combustion engine and up to 145kW from the electric drive system. It produces a maximum of 800Nm of torque (engine up to 650Nm and electric 280Nm).
The XM can go from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds. The M Hybrid system will offer an electric mode for speeds of up to 140km/h over a maximum of 88km (WLTP). It features a high-voltage 25.7kWh battery and will charge using AC charging up to 7.4kW. Fuel consumption combined is 1.6–1.5L/100 km (WLTP); and electric consumption combined is 30.1–28.9 kWh/100 km (WLTP).
It will also feature BMW’s Curved Display, and runs on iDrive 8 as mentioned on the M2, running cloud based Maps, and optional Digital Key Plus so you can lock and unlock the car with an iPhones that support UWB technology. It will support CarPlay and Android Auto, eSIM support and 5G. A Harman Kardon surround system is standard but a Bowers & Wilkins 1500W system is optional.
BMW M4 CSL
The special edition M4 CSL is a 30kW step-up from the M4 Competition Coupe, with a total output of 405kW. It also holds the record of the fastest lap time at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit for a series-produced BMW car.
It accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds, and from 0-200km/h in 10.7 seconds. I know you might be wondering, but the “CSL” stands for Competition, Sport, Lightweight. Only 1000 units have been produced globally, and about 15 of them have made their way to South Africa, but they were sold out at very early stages.
More info on the BMW SA website.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com