On July 14th I had the privilege to drive many of BMW’s wonderfully engineered machines to the max. My day started with a quick car control informational session going over the basics (oversteer, understeer, front/rear load, etc). Since I pre-registered for the Autocross event in a fully loaded 228i M-Sport we proceeded to a fleet of them. Each car having the instructor and 3 individuals. I would say there were about 10 228i’s available. We drove over to the Autocross track where we were then given another informational session. After that the instructors took us out showing us what a reference cone and rolling on the throttle meant. My instructor was quite fun and helpful as he did one slow lap and then one quick lap.
I was first in the driver in the seat and boy did I have fun! “GAS! GAS! GAS! BRAKE! BRAKE! BRAKE! Rollllll on the throttle” the instructor commanded me as I gripped the Alcantara suede steering wheel feeling my insides twist and turn with such excitement. I’ve never auto crossed in my life before and I can assure you it is exceptionally fun. After 3 laps I handed over the wheel the rest of the 2 drivers while I sat in the back seat. Hearing the tires squeal made me realize how much faith BMW had in its product to allow total strangers to push their cars to the absolute limit for a total cost of $0. After all the drivers went, the instructors then handed us all iPhone’s with a BMW app installed. The phone was mounted to the windshield while I sat in the passenger seat and the instructor absolutely went bananas on the car in a few laps. I was absolutely astounded with my instructor’s ability connect drifts from directional changes.
After my Autocross event I then proceeded over to the tent where I can drive any BMW there. My choice was the 650i Gran Coupe, BMW z4, and BMW 750li. I was surprised when one of the workers walked me over, programmed my navigation and left the vehicle saying go have fun. The fact that I was in the car by myself with no one restricting my ability to drive the car astounded me. I was even more surprised that the navigation not only took me around the immense MetLife Stadium outer ring but right on to the highways with public roads. I can say that those cars were pushed to the absolute max and each car had a complete driving dynamic. I was surprised by how aggressive the handling and throttle response was on the 650 or the nimbleness of the z4 and the sheer brute force of the 750. All cars had a different attitude but the same BMW magic we all know and love.
When pulling the 750li back in I noticed the 45 degree contraption and a lonely BMW x5 sitting next to it. Intrigued I headed over and was greeted by sitting in the passenger seat of the all new x5. There the instructor demonstrated the fine off road capabilities of climbing a 45 degree incline to the very top. Then with the hill descent control engaged simply showed me how the x5 easily rolled down the hill with 0 input from the instructor. My assumption to show the aggressive gearing ratios for off roading in the x5. Impressed but I still believe Range Rover’s have far superior technology for this type of driving. That is if you’re willing to take a $90k truck off roading. Last but not least I walked over to the skid pad where the instructor demonstrated the capabilities of the traction control by throwing me into some good old fashion donuts.
I walked inside the main tent where I was able to sit in the new BMW i8 and my dream, a Yas Marina Blue BMW M4. Boy did it look gorgeous. I rounded out the day with some snacks and finishing my day with a conversation of Formula 1 with one of the instructors. I strongly recommend if one of these events comes to a city near you to take full advantage of it. You do have the option of driving the new BMW m3 sedan where they teach you art of performance racing. A cost of $650 is mandatory but I honestly believe it is a steal compared to the BMW Performance Driving school in South Carolina.