|December 11, 2013 Follow us Like us|
Knowledge is power
Initially hesitant, Tiffany Fernando attends the BMW Ladies’ Press Event at Boomrock, sampling a range of cars from the company, and departs a more confident driver
As a reputably horrendous driver, I was reluctant when asked to attend the BMW Ladies’ Press Event at Boomrock. Thankfully I was convinced by my publisher that this was precisely what I needed to build some confidence in my driving skills. I headed off to the airport on the same morning of the Hobbit première, praying that the road blocks wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience.
Having met up at the airport, nearly a dozen of us took the slightly long but scenic route to Boomrock. After some coffee, cake and casual introductions, we were introduced to our instructors and the cars placed strategically on display beside the lodge.
Before we were set loose on the track, we were first given a rundown of the more interesting specifics of the vehicles on display. No technical jargon was thrown around—what we were told about the cars were facts that would be of interest to us as drivers, a fact I appreciated as a complete amateur appreciator of motorized vehicles.
The X1 Sdrive20d was shown to us first. Whilst we didn’t drive it, we were shown how highly customizable and personalized these vehicles are. Each vehicle comes with two smart keys that not only memorize key functions like seat position and radio channels favoured by the driver, but the individual’s driving style as well. The vehicle adjusts to complement the manner in which you drive, which is a fascinating addition.
The run-flat tyres ensure that the driver doesn’t have to tend to breakdowns in difficult areas of the road, further enhancing safety and ease of travel. As fuel prices rise, one can take comfort in the fact that technology has begun to outdate the need for spare tyres, which in turn means a lighter vehicle that reduces fuel consumption.
Following the introduction, we were separated into four groups of three and rotated amongst separate events. Whilst some of us honed our shooting, archery and knife-throwing skills, others were allowed to evaluate the vehicles first-hand.
Every one of us got to drive the 125i M Sport and 320d around the track a few times and test the new braking system in a planned area of the circuit. The 3-series has passed the Euro NCAP driving safety tests with flying colours and earned five stars in order to be noted by Mark Gilbert as the Ultimate Driving Machine.
This doesn’t make it easy the first time you have to try the car under test conditions. The first time, every fibre in your body protests against making the car rack up to a solid 70 before slamming on the brakes when your instructor tells you to. It seems risky, foolhardy and becomes incredibly fun to do after a few trials. The instructors really know what they’re doing and knowing you’re in safe hands makes for a fantastic learning experience. After a few trials you’ll learn to trust both the car and your instincts a lot more than you did before. Overall, getting behind the wheel of these cars in a controlled, safe environment really allowed me to understand myself as a driver—an insight for which I am extremely grateful.
Even more exciting was the time we got to spend bring driven in the X5 Performance Edition and the M3 Coupe. Following our trial runs around the circuit to test the braking system, we were taken to the M3 in groups of three and driven around the track at top speed by an instructor. Nothing quite beats the adrenaline rush of being driven around a racetrack fast enough to leave imprints of burned rubber behind!
Following the one-man-race in the M3, we got to experience the all-terrain capabilities of the X5. A majority of us ended up in stunned disbelief as the vehicle handled all manner of terrains with absolute ease. Occasionally, we even ended up hollering blue murder as our instructor did things like drive downhill with his feet hanging out of the car or pretend to drive up cliff walls. Hilarity of stunts aside, the vehicles drive beautifully regardless of whatever obstacle you throw in front of it. A simple push of a switch or button and the X5 adjusts to the hills and mud so quickly you’d think it had a mind of its own.
Once we had taken a moment to stop shaking (although the shaking may have just been me, since everyone else seemed quite collected) we were driven back to the lodge to relax with a glass of bubbly and take in the breathtaking views surrounding the Boomrock lodge. The ocean was an endless blue that blended almost seamlessly into the clear blue sky, and a few of us even tried the little golfing challenge outside. Unfortunately, none of us managed to tee off several hundred metres in the wind to win thousands of dollars in prize money, but we did get to enjoy a sumptuous three-course meal provided by the resident chef at Boomrock.
We headed back home soon after the meal, as it was heading into early evening. All said and done it was a lovely afternoon at a spectacular location. I walked away with more than just knowledge of the BMW vehicles—I learned about myself as a driver, to trust the car and to trust my instincts and most importantly, to not shuffle the steering wheel. The BMW Ladies’ Event was an exciting and eye-opening experience that is recommended to car enthusiasts and beginning drivers alike. •
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Tiffany Fernando is associate editor of Lucire.