With China surpassing the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest auto market, and with luxury auto sales (and traffic jams) there increasing dramatically over the past year, we've seen some of the world's top high-end automakers pulling out all the stops to appeal to China's wealthy elite. From special China-only models by Rolls-Royce to one-off artist collaborations by Ferrari to special elongated models by nearly every major carmaker worth its salt, the mantra in the China auto market seems to be, "if you build it, stamp 'China Limited Edition' on it and jack up the price, they will come."
Apparently, BMW has heard this loud and clear, as the company recently announced it was going a step further than just producing more typical elongated sedans, and will release a very limited (only 30 produced) edition, China-only M3 Tiger -- so named because 2010 is, in the Chinese lunar calendar, the year of the tiger -- in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the M3's entrance to the China market.
As BMW M-Power recently reported, the M3 Tiger is something of a mixture between the BMW M3 GTS and BMW M3 Competition Package Coupé, yet switches out the carbon-fiber roof of the latter for a sliding glass sunroof. Much like previous China-only limited editions like the Ferrari 599 HGTE, most of the modifications in the BMW M3 Tiger are strictly superficial, from the striking orange paint job and black 19-inch wheel rims to the black leather seat covers, featuring embroidered tigers in orange stitching. Whether these superficial changes are appealing or hideous is open for discussion.
As Motor Ward helpfully points out this week, the limited-edition M3 Tiger will start at around 1.08 million yuan (US$159,000), though iFeng (Chinese) puts the price at 1.25 million yuan (US$184,000).