BMW is no stranger to showing off the precision-driving capabilities of their cars and professional drivers, but this week BMW M is set to reveal the first in a series of promotional stunts focused on the new S55-powered M2 Competition.

The subject? Popping balloons—with laser beams!

The promotion—which looks to have been achieved using real, non-CGI effects—has been teased with a series of three videos, the last of which can be seen above, but it’s also a great opportunity to look back on some of our favorite stunts—real and CGI—from BMW’s marketing history.

Surely most enthusiasts will recall the impressive achievement from the BMW Performance Center late last year, when they set a Guinness World Record for the longest drift, and incorporated multiple mid-drift refueling efforts to achieve the required duration. The video itself is below, in case you’ve forgotten what Matt Mullins, Matt Butts, and Johann Shwartz achieved in order to prove that the new AWD M5 can, in fact, be locked into RWD for as long as you need—even if what you need is eight hours of continuous drifting.

One of the most notable in recent memory was the famous “Walls” commercial, shown in the video above courtesy of BMW Canada and highlighting the M2 Competition’s spiritual predecessor, the 1 Series M Coupe. In the video, the N54-powered two-door slides through precisely-arranged cutouts of itself in what appear to be concrete walls. While it’s undoubtedly cool—and shot in an original, raw style, with only audio production to complement the action of the car—this commercial actually incorporated substantial CGI to add in the walls afterwards. It’s still a fun watch regardless.

Moving backwards in history, we arrive at what seems like a typical ad showing off the E92 BMW M3 GT2 at Sebring.  This was produced by BMW of North America during their “Joy” ad campaign, but the greatest joy comes from seeing the behind-the-scenes photos of how the ad was shot. For this one, they didn’t use a Russian Army camera vehicle, but instead picked one of the few cars that was suited to chasing the M3 race car on the track: the E90 M3 road car. If you’ve ever wanted to see an E90 M3 with camera rigging instead of doors, check out BMWBLOG’s archived article on how it was done right here.

To close off this brief history lesson, we’ll stop off in 2001 to take a look at a more scripted commercial. This one hails from BMW South Africa, which actually has a long and fascinating history of bringing BMW models to the next level. But for this spot, the car in question was the globally-produced E39 M5, and the subject was—well, something else entirely.

By this point, most people have seen this spectacular M5 commercial—it was, in many senses, one of the first viral automotive videos, hitting the Internet before YouTube even existed. But if anyone has any doubt about the legendary aura that surrounds the E39 M5 (and BMW’s marketing efforts of the early 2000s), take a look at the clip below in all its 4:3, shot-on-film glory.

Once you consider BMW’s history of impressive and well-produced stunts, it’s easy to see why we’re excited to see where BMW will go with the new M2 Competition’s upcoming record series—and to see where they go next!—David Rose



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