BMW has started its Tour Experience for 2014. This year they are visiting Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Kolkatta. Ahmedabad was the second city on this tour after Jaipur and I was lucky enough to get a taste of this experience on Day 1.
They are in town over this weekend, so BMW aficionados and prospective buyers can get not just a look but also a feel of driving their luxury sedans and SAV's (yes, SAV's, BMW calls them Sports Activity Vehicles not SUV's - Sports Utility Vehicles) across difficult terrain.
The venue for this Tour Experience is the AES ground near Doordarshan Tower in Bodakdev. A specially designed test circuit has been set up for the sedans - the BMW Dynamic Drive - and one for the SAV's - the BMW xDrive Experience. For the SAV circuit, some special equipment - BMW X Ramps, articulation humps, steep hill and incline - has been brought in to demonstrate the unique features of their vehicles as seen in the video below.
The sedan circuit must have had a lot of help beforehand, given that the circus just vacated this ground a couple of months ago, but the team did create dips and highs to resemble off road driving. They even got a water tanker to create a marshy/boggy stretch, but given that Ahmedabad's afternoon temperatures are close to 43C, it barely dampened the ground.
After checking requisite paperwork and licences, people were chosen who would get a chance to test drive these sedans and SAV's on these circuits. Each one got 2 practice runs to get used to the car and winding circuit and then a final run where they were timed. Well, you can imagine the adrenaline rush it gave most of the men/boys assembled there. For me, I was perfectly comfortable being belted up in the back seat. (I would have preferred to ride shotgun, but those seats were taken)
Although, most of the people who test drove the cars when I was there, were most probably driving a BMW for the first time, the cars seemed to respond well to their touch, even when they took wild turns at high speeds.
The highlight of the evening for me, was definitely sitting in the sedan driven by ex Race Driver Mr Wong who went through a series of maneuvers and concluded with a couple of 360degree turns, which were thrilling to watch and even more thrilling to experience. Obviously the degree of control he had over the car, was way higher than anyone else on that field.
BMW has brought their complete range of sedans and SAV's from the 1, 3, 5 and 7 series and the X Range to town and this event is the ideal location to get a feel of all their features and test how they perform in exacting conditions, by experiencing braking, slalom, corner braking and fast lap experience. The BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system is an intelligent all-wheel drive system that monitors the driving situation constantly and distributes drive power smoothly between the axles where it is needed the most.
Mr Philipp Von Sahr, President BMW Group India says "With this unique initiative, we wish to take a step closer to our customers and bring as many customers to the BMW fold and make them experience BMW and sheer driving pleasure"
Well, the team most definitely nailed this directive. For those interested in the technical details, a team of product experts is also accompanying this Tour and are happy to answer queries and concerns if any.
In Ahmedabad, Parsoli Motors is the official Sales Outlet for BMW.