I have to admit that I am a fan of the blue and white roundel from Bavaria. For a century, BMW has produced some of the most iconic cars that have been lusted after by enthusiasts. Having daily driven an E39 5 Series, I can best describe the brand as one that caters to those looking for an executive car with a sporting, dynamic edge.
Last weekend, BMW Car Club of the Philippines hosted the 13th running of Bimmerfest, and needless to say it was a treat for me. Held at Capitol Commons, the park was filled with classic icons such as the E30 M3 all the way to the more modern offerings from BMW. Simply put, Bimmerfest highlighted the best of Bavaria.
2016 is also the banner year for BMW Car Club of the Philippines. The country's official BMW Car Club was recently awarded the BMW International Club of the Year. BMW CCP also holds the distinction of being recognized by BMW AG and the International Council of BMW Clubs.
I arrived early in Capitol Commons and was first greeted not by four wheels, but by two. Also part of the show was BOSS, the BMW Owners Society Safe Riders. Catching my attention was an R60, a classic BMW Motorrad from the mid-50's to the late 60's. This Boxer-engined beauty is one of the many iconic motorbikes to come out of BMW's two-wheeled division. There was also a mix of modern adventurer and sporting bikes that showed up to support their four-wheeled counterparts.
As I moved closer towards the middle of the park, I soon came upon BMWs of various shapes, sizes and ages.
3 Series models, from the first-generation E21 to the current F30 came in different specs and variants. Even a standard E30 325i sedan was enough to warrant my attention, showing marks daily use just the way it should be. A very special 3 Series also made an appearance in Bimmerfest XIII in the shape of a rare E21 320i Baur. This Baur, known as the TC-1, is a BMW approved cabriolet conversion for the first-generation 3 Series. Being a fan of wagons, I also enjoyed seeing an E30 Touring proudly standing next to the newer models.
Speaking of Tourings, there were three present during Bimmerfest XIII. First was the aforementioned E30 Touring in 325i guise. The second was an E36 Touring, also as a 325i and last was an E46 Touring in, you guessed it, 325i form. It turns out the trio of Touring models were all owned by one person. Talk about being a wagon fanatic.
Also part of the show was a stock-looking F30 320d. One may notice the bigger brakes installed on this particular car but apparently it doesn't stop there. A quick chat with the owner hints at more M Performance goodies packed under the hood of the 320d as well.
The 5 Series contingent was well represented too with the oldest one in the bunch being an E28 528e from the 80's. Unlike the 'i' and 'tds' marked cars from that era, the 'e' badged cars meant 'eta' and signified economy or efficient models. Power output was lower but BMW added more torque to make the most out of the detuned engine at a lower RPM. There was also an E34 that was dressed for the occasion, while seeing a contingent of tastefully done E39s made me miss driving my old daily runner.
Another classic that showed up was an E23 7 Series, the first-generation model of BMW's flagship sedan. Also showing signs of being driven regularly, it had a lot of era-correct equipment. A quick peek inside also revealed a manual transmission, unimaginable in the modern 7 Series. Looking at this E23 reminded me just how far F-Segment cars have come. Whereas the new G11 7 Series packs technology unimaginable in the past, the E23 didn't even come with power windows. Instead, you got a plush corduroy interior fit for a 70's CEO.
There was also a nice variety of X, Z and, of course, M cars at the show. Both iconic and current M models were well represented during Bimmerfest XIII. The first M car that caught my eye is perhaps the car that cemented the division's legacy, the E30 M3. Its box-flared arches, deep chin spoiler and rear wing simply shouted the 80's and I admire the owner's attention to detail will all the car's hubcaps facing the right side up. Beside it was the modern counterpart, an F80 M3, now with four doors. This M3 however is packing a slew of performance upgrades, starting with the brakes and carbon splitter. Having gone through the list of upgrades it appears power has also been boosted above the 500 PS mark. A more serious suspension package and the aforementioned brakes also complement the increase in horsepower.
It's not everyday that you see an E82 1 Series M, let alone two at the same place, at the same time. Continuing the M3 family theme was the lone E36 M3 on display and, just in front of it, the new F82 M4. Sadly, there were no E46 M3s on display but the number of M cars on display was fascinating as it is. A Frozen Red E92 M3 was on hand too, straight from the BMW Individual options list. Two E39 M5s joined the show too, making me miss by humble 523i even more.
Going beyond cars, I also met interesting personalities at Bimmerfest XIII. Two members I spoke to were the ones that stuck to my mind the most. They were a father and son duo who each own an E30 325i, both in the same color but with different touches that made them unique to each other. Apart from their E30s, the family also has an E21, an E39 and an E60. To say that the love for BMW runs in the blood is an understatement.
Later in the day, awards were handed out to the participants who displayed their cars. Up first is Best Interior Display which was won by Steven Leung with his E34 525i. For Best Exterior Display, it was Manny Reyes with a sleeper of an F30 320d. Best Heritage Display went to Alfie Bondoc who brought in his E23 733i. It's also worth mentioning that he also brought in his regularly driven E30 325i and E28 525e. The Best Modern Display award was given to Joel Ong with his E60 5 Series while Best Special Display went to the US-Spec Z3 of AJ Flores. New member Sam De Guzman won Best Newbie Display for his Frozen Red E92 M3. Randall Antonio picked up the award for Best of Show with his tuned F80 M3. The rare E21 320 also capped the night with a win as Vince Ermita, owner of the Baur, won Best Guest Display. Last but not the least was the Bimmerfest Fanatic Award, won by Tonet Itchon with an E30 325i Touring. What made Tonet a fanatic was the fact that he brought in three 3 Series Touring models from successive generations.
After being surrounded by classic and new BMWs for half a day, I left Bimmerfest with a delightful feeling. Looking at the cars and speaking to the owners showed a passionate love for the brand, as well as me learning a lot about BMW that day. I look forward to the next event and hopefully see an even wider selection of BMWs from what I saw during Bimmerfest XIII.