BimmerFest Europe 2024: A BMW Enthusiast’s Dream

BimmerFest is the premier car event in Europe exclusively for BMW enthusiasts, and it’s a permanent fixture on my calendar.

This year was no exception; last month I headed to Raceway Venray – Europe’s fastest 1/2 mile oval circuit – here in the Netherlands, armed with an empty memory card and a fully charged camera.

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The unique venue demands good running shoes as you spend half your time standing on the banked track. As you can see, the steep banking is no joke.

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As always, certain paddocks were reserved for specific BMW themes. This year at BimmerFest Europe, there were dedicated areas for Alpina, classics, and a modified top 10 selected by Z-Performance wheels.

Various BMW clubs had their own spaces too, with MFlight being the largest. Most members of this club hail from America but are stationed at a US base just across the border in Germany.

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Standout cars for me included the twin-turbo V12 E36 (stay tuned for a closer look in a follow up spotlight), and the E23 7 Series at the H&R booth.

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I have a soft spot for older models, but this M3 Touring G81 caught my eye too, even with its controversial kidney grilles.

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Every year, BimmerFest Europe proves why it’s the ultimate gathering for BMW enthusiasts, and 2024 at Raceway Venray was no different.

At Manhart, aesthetics take a back seat. Unlike other German tuners, Manhart always starts under the hood, putting performance above all else. This philosophy is evident in their latest creation, the MH5, a reimagined M5 available in various power configurations. The model you see here is equipped with the ‘900’ package which translates to a staggering 928hp and 1,240Nm of torque. For context, the standard M5 has an already impressive 625hp and 750Nm.

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From London to Las Vegas to Venray, the R44 Performance M3 Touring has seen more of the world in one year than me.

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In BMW circles, AC Schnitzer definitely needs no introduction. This M2 demo car showcases all the parts the German tuner offers for the model – from software programming that boosts the car to 560PS and 650Nm, to a carbon spoiler and canards, custom wheels, and lowering springs.

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To my eyes, the E46 M3 is the most beautiful of the M3 generations. This particular M3 made the journey from England for the event. In my book, having AP Racing brake callipers means you’ve built a serious machine, and here they’re just the start of the performance upgrades.

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The first-generation M2, the F87, makes the latest generation look like a giant. This particular car features Moton Suspension and Titan7 wheels, resulting in a distinctive and finely tuned machine.

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This Touring started life as a 316d and has been transformed by Full Car Tuning, using an M3 CS F80 as a donor. The result is a unique and expertly crafted fusion of two distinct models.

The Manhart MH8 5.0 V8 is a limited edition, with only five units being made. This is #1. The base for this build was a 1990 850i, with its original V12 engine swapped out for a 4.9L V8 S62B50 from a BMW E39 M5.

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Only 259 units of this Alpina E21 2.8-liter model were ever produced, making it a rare find. The engine originates from a 528i, which Alpina further tuned to produce 200PS and 248Nm of torque. These figures were quite impressive back in 1988.

Among the Alpina lineup, I spotted this E36 Touring, which appears to be a B8 4.6 in the Touring version. This car is rare. When creating it, Alpina couldn’t increase the displacement of the original E34 540i 4.0-litre V8 block due to the Alusil-coated cylinder walls, so BMW forged a new block specifically for this application, increasing the displacement to 4.6 litres in the process.

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Arguably one of the most beautiful BMWs ever made, this BMW E9 shines in Diamant Schwarz. Up front, A CSL air dam and bumper delete enhances its appeal, while the wheels – although slightly oversized – complement the aesthetic perfectly.

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This Z1 is no stranger to Speedhunters; it was featured last year via IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER. It’s a stunning machine from every angle.

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Although all popular BMW models were represented, BimmerFest Europe 2024 showcased a definitive shift towards the M3 Touring and the new M2.

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As the sun set over Raceway Venray, the rumble of engines and the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts echoed through the paddocks, leaving an indelible mark on yet another unforgettable BimmerFest Europe event.

I’m not done with my coverage just yet though. Stay tuned for a spotlight feature on a few of my favorite BMWs from the event.

Jeroen Willemsen
Instagram: jaccojeroen

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15 comments

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1

Unfortunately, here in switzerland at least, BMWs reputation has been destroyed by certain people from the balkans who drive them on the streets like it's their personal racetrack.

2

TBH it looks sad. Hope there were cool projects that weren't captured in this shoot. I don't mean those are bad, but... wrap + wheels + tune on a last-gen M is kinda basic for the tier-1 event. Personally, I would expect many home-tailored cars with all kinds of different suspension setups, different stylings, different generations, different engine choices, swaps, projects, etc. Most bimmers are awesome platforms to build exactly what you want. In a place where I'm from there are so many ways to build even something as boring as M47 320d. But almost stock expensive cars are a natural result of degrading freedom in Europe - tuning is a crime.

3

I would argue that current performance cars are already extremely good out of the box, so there's really only 3 things you can do to it:
1 - add more hp and make those extra horses unusable
2 - make it look better, which with bmw's current styling is impossible
3 - make it too compromised for the street and too compromised for the track

4

Seeing a last gen m2 and the current gen m2 really showcases how far BMW has fallen in terms of styling

5
Jeroen Willemsen

The size difference is massive

6

you need to hire some real photographers if you want this site to survive. how many 3/4 front views? all. you get flat pics like this using the auto settings on a dslr or a cell phone. you cant find a photographer in central europe thats also a "speedhunter" and give him some euros for petrol to travel? bmw scene looks lame now. the only intresting cars there were the alpina estate and the 70's bmws. everything else looked cheap like knock off parts (i know they arent always) this site is getting disapointing. theres a fantastic summer of motorsport and shows and you'd never know because "speedhunters" is showing you? get it back dino or focus on japan, like you did really well.

7

The only photographer worth his salt on this site Is Mark Riccioni. But then again, he also works for TopGear.

8

Just CANNOT stand that Godawful grill!!!! WTF were they doing at BMW? Crack?!!

9

This has to be the best BMW meet hands down loved every single car

Also to everyone complaining about the grille shaddup

10
takumifujiwara13954

We'll shaddup when BMW stops screwing around with their identity, which is very soon now.

11

Jeroen

You coming to MPact East August in Pocono, PA? You think this show was good!! I went last year. Place was packed with Bimmers.

12

you cast a block, not forge it.

13
Jeroen Willemsen

Point taken!

14

Hate to post anything negative, but I agree with the other posters that BMW's modern design language is completely lost on me.

I found MBZ quite ugly a couple generations ago, with the drooping body lines on the side, but they are looking better now. Nu-BMW styling is a whole new level of mystifying.

All this being said, I have always loved their paint colors, with Isle of Man Green being a recent favorite

15

Just passing here to say that BMW's current design language is awful. Shame it has come to this, they used to make such nice-looking cars!

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