Our planet is home to some truly awe-inspiring manufacturing feats. The Burj Khalifa, the Panama Canal, and the Channel Tunnel, to name just a few. Thousands of labour hours were painstakingly put into these projects and throughout history the world has looked on in wonder at the sheer engineering genius that has been utilized throughout their design and development.
The sporting industry alike is awash with these architecturally impressive assemblies, including the likes of the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio, and the Beijing National Aquatics Centre. However, one cauldron of sporting and music greatness, which has existed for almost a century, is the Nürburgring.
Pieced together in less than two years, the Nordschleife, translated as the North Loop, was built in 1925, prior to its official opening in 1927. Rudolf Caracciola, who went onto win a European Drivers’ Championship, the F1 equivalent prior to 1950, laid claim to the first ever motorcar race on the 22.8km circuit.
Following on from Rudolf’s inaugural win, a new GP layout was developed 1984. Racing greats such as Jackie Stewart, Nikki Lauda, and Stirling Moss all had proved their worth as they negotiated their Formula 1 vehicles around the circuit. Nowadays, the vast majority of records at Nurburg are dominated by German drivers, including the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time, Michael Schumacher.
The track itself, which sits comfortably in the middle of a complex with a capacity of 150,000, features 154 different, mostly high-speed corners. The track is not one to be taken for granted with more than 200 people having lost their life here since its unveiling in 1927. It is a true pinnacle of German motoring and in 1947, it was Nürburgring which helped reignite a spark for automotive love in the nation.
When one is asked to consider marks of class within the automotive industry however, alongside this all-encompassing racetrack, everyone’s minds would instantly wander to Bavarian Motor Works. Based in Munich, BMW has connotations the world over of premium automotive engineering. Since their invention in 1913 and the launch of their first passenger vehicle, the Dixi, the manufacturers have been known globally as creators of luxury vehicles. Over the years, BMW has developed a plethora of iconic, and quite frankly, outstanding vehicles, from racing cars, to SUVs, and most recently electric alternatives.
That said, when one considers one of Germany’s greatest motor sporting circuits alongside one of the nation’s greatest automotive brands, was the relationship mutually beneficial? Throughout time, the Nürburgring has played home to thousands of time trials, testing the genuine capabilities of vehicles, on, what 2014 Nürburgring 24 Hour winner, René Rast described as: “one of the most challenging tracks in the world.” In this article, we take at look how BMW has performed throughout those trials, pinpointing some of the greatest vehicles that are flying the flag for Germany in their own backyard.
Concept – Non-road legal vehicles
BMW M3 CSL Supercharged by Loaded
It wouldn’t be a comprehensive list discussing the capacity of a BMW around the Nürburgring without including the fan’s favourite, the M3. The saloon style four-door which arrived on the scene in the mid-eighties has, for its lifetime, been adored by petrol heads throughout the globe. A 3.0 litre engine churning out 425bhp, capable of returning 0.60 in four seconds, is what the vehicle offers as standard. However, this vehicle, by Loaded, is by no means a standard car, explaining why it was capable of clocking a 7:22 with Richard Göransson at the helm back in 2007. The M3, which was predicted to be outputting more than 600bhp, was quicker round the North Loop than the Pagani Zonda — and its worth more than a million dollars.
Production vehicles – road-legal
BMW 1 Series M Coupé
Although other variations of the M5 and M4 lapped the track in a quicker time than the BMW 1 Series, this hatchback, which is most closely recognisable to the Audi RS3, is fueled with compact power — 335bhp of it to be exact. The 450Nm of torque, was enough to see Horst von Saurma manipulate Nürburgring in 8:15 — more than a second quicker than Japanese Supercar, the Honda NSX.
BMW M4 GTS
This vehicle is incredibly rare with less than 30 of them arriving in the UK at first development however, it exists as BMW’s most powerful production vehicle ever established, delivering a top speed of 190mph. Innovation was at play when the manufacturers where at work on this car, with weight reduction a consistent consideration, helping the 493bhp engine achieve 0-60mph in under 3.8 seconds. Behind the wheel, the vehicle offers no shuttering movements that you might come to expect with a vehicle of such high-performance delivery. This helps the driver to achieve an optimum apex strike at every opportunity. At the ring, the GTS, negotiated by Christian Gebhardt, lapped in 7:37, considerably quicker than the Bugatti Veryon 16.4 and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera.
The M5 is one of BMW’s most iconic vehicles. Launched initially in 1985, the car has been through a series of revamps, to finally reach the eight-speed automatic transition that the current model sports, in alignment with its 4.4 litre engine. The saloon car is a hard-hitting, two tonne vehicle bursting at the seams with unrestricted power. Once again, Christian Gebhardt took the M5 around the West German circuit in 7:38:92 — a blistering pace for a saloon car.
It should come as no surprise that one of the most prominent brands in not only the German automotive industry, but the world, has performed with such excellence in the circuit steeped in Deutschland history.