After an entire day of driving around the Alpenstrasse and the BMW Welt and Museum visits done, what else can a petrolhead do when visiting the beautiful city of Munich? If you have the time to spare, a trip to BMW’s Premier Driving Academy in Maisach might be just the thing to satisfy your insatiable need for speed.
Located on a former airport just 30 kilometres west of Munich City, Maisach has been home to the BMW Driving Academy since 2012 and is one of the largest road-safety training sites in Southern Germany, covering an area totalling over 130 hectares (1300000 square meters). Giving all experienced and novice drivers plenty of room to play around.
On location is a full fleet of Ultimate Driving Machines, Minis and Motorcycles available for use on a plethora of driving experiences. From beginner driver safety courses through to hardcore drifting lessons on the BMW M4, there is something for every keen driver.
Those who desire a more individual driving experience, can also have a tailored programme to suit their preferences.
Which is where we came in, being booked in for 1/2 a day on a Customised Experience with the BMW M2. Once again a car i’ve never had the chance to sample on our local roads. Pushing this car to its (and my) limit in the safety confines of a track should make for an interesting day ahead.
As always, we began the day in the classroom, where safety details and instructions were briefed and simple driving dynamics were explained. With the theory lessons quickly taken care of, it was time to get into our M2s.
First lessons of the day were of course seeing how well we can stop the cars in both wet and dry conditions, having done this exercise in previous Driving Experiences, this exercise was easily familiar, but being at the helm of an M2 did manage to keep things fun and engaging. This car shuffles!
Having an excellent instructor egg you on even when you don’t listen to their speed limits also kept the atmosphere upbeat!
Of course all of us eventually started to behave.
Repeated runs at a range of speeds and conditions will ultimately make you realise just how important driving at a safe distance and speed on public roads can be when it comes to stopping a car in an emergency.
With the braking exercises completed, it was time to see just how fast all of us can go with a timed slalom event. With a group of automotive journalist as company, everyone was being ultra competitive, even when they tried to play it cool and when the only prize was bragging rights! Still a great time nonetheless.
Now comes the best part! Drifting in the circle! With the computer controlled LSD fitted on all M2s, the M2 was just sublime in its handling, having no trouble kicking its tail out and hanging loose, making us look like driving heroes in the process. This was by far the most fun lesson of the day.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and once everyone completed their dori dori sessions, it was time for us to head to the main event.
Time to play follow the lead instructor in his own M2. Making things harder, Mr instructor even tried intimidating us by taking off his (rather cool looking) BMW jacket.
As the lead following car on the initial run, the more i kept up with Mr instructor, the faster he went! He was really going for it with full bore foot to the floor acceleration non-stop out of each and every corner.
Yes, some cones were inadvertently run over or thrown up into the air in the process.
The M2 felt really in its element on these runs and has such a confidence inspiring chassis that you can really lean into when going into the bends, its carbon ceramic brakes displaying no hint of fade even after repeated abuse. This car is pure magic.
At the end of the run, even our instructor was a happy camper, having had the chance to go much faster than usual!
While it was all fun and games for us drivers when we were at the Driving Academy (with a certificate to show for it), what we brought home with us were not just memories of an enjoyable day, but important driving skills to last us a long time to come.
If you are interested, do visit the BMW Driving Academy Website to arrange a session. You will not regret it. Access to the Academy is much easier and recommended if you have a car but there is a public transportation option, just remember to set aside 2 hours to travel per direction.