Amit Ray, author of the book, World Peace: The Voice of a Mountain Bird,said, “Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and downs but that’s its beauty.” Humanbeings are not perfect – so it makes sense to want to drive perfection…drive the perfect machine. However, BMW, their promise is, “Sheer Driving Pleasure.” Because pleasure experienced on the brink of perfection – is perfection achieved.
This year, 2019, not only did I attend the BMW M Festival, I also had the privilege of working at the event; and I am proud to admit that M Performance culture is now in my blood. “I get it!” The BMW emblem…the M badge…gives people an ideal to strive towards. An aspiration I witnessed from the passenger seat of the BMW X6 M, the M340i xDrive, the X3 M40i, the M3, the i8, the M2: their sheer power provoking laughter and shouts of praise from everyone of my VVIP guests whom I drove with. It was my job to ensure guests had a great time but safety first! Proceeding every vehicle booking, guests were required to pass a breathalyser test, the speed-limit on the dynamic handling track was capped at 60km/h, and overtaking was strictly forbidden. Much to the disappointment and frustration of guests, as the pace was often dictated by slower traffic in-front. Nonetheless, as I familiarised myself with the track’s layout, it became obvious as to how to set-up each of the fifteen corners, get the car pointing straight and the driver accelerating in short bursts – prime of 60km/h. I will never forget one of my guests, he had opted to drive the X6 M, and while we were fastening our safety-belts, I explained the safety rules of which he, and many others, expressed his discontent about the 60km/h speed-limit. He said to me, “Dean, if it makes you feel any better, I own a Golf GTi that pushes-out 600nm of torque!” to which I gently answered, “no sir it doesn’t, I am sure you are a capable and safe driver, but the X6M has 750nm of torque and is the most powerful three-ton machine here!” Needless to say, the young man kept to the speed-limit, but grinning from ear-to-ear – in total awe of the X6 M’s driving precision.
During the course of the event, I had the opportunity to drive the M3, the M340i xDrive, the X6 M and the X3 M40i but the car that won my heart that weekend was the BMW 320d. It was not a favourite among spectators and guests but driving it back to VDC that Sunday evening, I was blown-away by the car’s gliding ride-comfort, untethered throttle-response, seamless gear-shifts – dead-centre and precise steering. Under the sloping bonnet, lies a 140kw, 2.0L, turbodiesel engine and a magnificent ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. Though in convoy and restricted to a speed-limit of no more than 110km/h – my ninety-minute trip to BMW VDC in Rosslyn – the 320d boasted a fuel consumption of 5.2l/100km. In addition, the cabin architecture is plush, and refined with decadent ambiance – perceptive of BMW Live Cockpit Professional. That sports a high-resolution 12.3” touchscreen with Gesture-control, a 10.25” driver-display, navigation, and a prolific 16-speaker, Harman-Kardon surround sound system along with a nine-channel 464W digital amplifier: I felt like Prometheus alone on a hill of fire.
What I found remarkable about the BMW M Festival was, although I was working in obscurity of the extravagant entertainment, flamboyant exhibits, and adrenalin-packed motoring activities – none of which I was able to sample – yet not for one second did I feel like I missed-out on anything. Just like BMW M Festival 2017, M Fest 2019 has left an indelible impression on me.
Written by Dean Joseph