BMW Destination Innovation

June 30th, 2006 by Thinus Leave a reply »

Maropeng, Cradle of Human Kind
Near: Magaliesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
GPS: -25.96822, 27.66591
When: 2006-06-30
Who: Thinus, Werner
View all photos on Ringo

BMW Destination InnovationBMW Leo Haese Centurion invited Werner and me to come and experience some of their technology and innovation at this magic site in the Cradle of Human Kind.

About the event one can only deduct one thing: they wanted to impress! We were about 30 people, and on arrival this morning at this world heritage site hub, we were greeted by a polished fleet of BMW machines that were clearly out of the everyday man’s league.

The table was set: 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, X, Z series were all represented, including some big names like 330i, 530i, Z4 roadster, 650Ci Coupe and Convertible! and something under a black cloth…

BMW Destination InnovationDrinks and food were served, and after an impressive show on a full 360 degree panoramic screen, showing off all the new features BMW has added to their cars, the idea was clear: we were gonna taste it all first had! First some skid pad action to show off run flat tires and active steering, where each one of us got to navigate a cone marked figure 8. This was done first in ‘normal’ 330d, then in 330d with all 4 tires completely deflated, and lastly in the 330d with active steering.

BMW Destination InnovationAll cool, but not fast enough, so they announced the next game: each couple will be randomly allocated 2 cars, drive to an unknown destination, swap into the next car and drive a different route back. Easy, and the rules were simple: only you and your friend, no instructors or sales people, no limits except yourself, a nice, narrow twisty country road, one lane in each direction, with no shoulders for any error. We had to drive about 50km out, using only the in car satellite navigation, projected in front of you using heads up display. The destination turned out to be a high profile golf estate called Pecan Wood, on the banks of the Hartebeespoort dam.

BMW Destination InnovationThe cars were packed with goodies, all with individual or sports packages to show off a bit. Our first car was a 523i. Head-up display, dynamic drive, active steering, active cruise control, high beam assist, night vision, run flat tires, voice control, tip-tronic gearbox. The list doesn’t stop.

I’m not a car magazine writer, so no lengthy driving review, which anyway uses only emotional words and can’t tell the next guy how it actually felt. Just believe me: these cars handle like magic. Try this trick at home: Go off the tar road with two wheels onto loose gravel, doing 150+km/h, stand dead on the breaks and if you still get to control where you are going, that’s really something. To drive a little too fast on an unknown road and have upcoming turns showed right in front of your eyes makes you feel like a fighter jet pilot while pulling G’s in the next unknown corner.

BMW Destination InnovationSweeeet…!

And back at base, the car under the cloth was revealed to be the new, straight from Geneva Motor Show, Z4Si Coupe… Dammit!

My favorite for the day was still the all new 650Ci Convertible. Black with pearl seats. If you don’t drool while seeing one of these, you either own one already, or are dead.

Thank you BMW for this treat and a half! I’ll keep on test driving your cars if you keep on inviting me to shows like this :-)

1 comment

  1. Derek says:

    ssswwwwwweeeeeeetttt

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