In today’s day and age, having a fancy tagline proclaiming your product’s exceptional qualities is just not quite enough. Which is why when it comes to cars, automobile manufacturers spare no expense cashing out cheques their marketing departments are writing.
From the tracks to the streets, competition between manufacturers is fierce, but for most of us whose driving times are mostly made up of doddling about rush hour traffic, getting a first hand experience into what our cars are really capable of is something best left to the realm of video games.
Which is why when the local BMW distributor pieced together an event for participants to manhandle a selection of their latest cars in a controlled environment, we were more than happy to join in. This was, the BMW Performance Festival.
Of course the star attraction of the event was the latest BMW F90 M5. All 600 young and nubile horses present. Our job was to hammer the car down a nice stretch of open tarmac before going hard on the brakes, it was a test and showcase of the latest M’s acceleration prowess. The media briefs say 3.4 seconds but to be honest, we did a few runs and i noticed the 100 mark coming up in a slightly longer time. The problem? No one knew how to activate launch control and non of the instructors clued us in either. We’re guessing they wanted to preserve the car’s gearbox since it kept doing 0-100-0 runs throughout the day non-stop. Still, even without launch control, the new xDrive M5 had no problems getting off the line cleanly each and every time, unlike its purely rear-wheel drive predecessors.
One thing to note was how smooth the entire process was. No slipping, no sliding, just a constant surge of thrust as this big executive express thunders towards the horizon and how reassuringly sure-footed it felt as it clawed into the tarmac when we deployed the anchors. Very little drama, but it sure as heck is efficient. Hopefully we’ll get the keys to this big blue bruiser one day for a proper drive around town.
Elsewhere, a number of series production cars were on hand for us to hurtle through mini auto-cross styled courses, giving participants a first hand insight into what even “normal” BMWs are capable of.
It wasn’t all that exciting when getting into a 520i after driving its sledgehammer bigger brother that’s for sure.
With the recent local launch of the BMW X2 not that long ago, it was pleasant to see a couple lined up for short-term abuse. This worked out nicely for me since i was testing the X2 that very weekend, giving me some extra insights into its youthful handling characteristics.
The event also provided me with a nice backdrop to take some photos of my test car. But more on that next time!
Overall, this was a lovely way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and really, a big up to Performance Motors not just for our invite, but for opening up slots to this event to the general public, there really is no better way to sell cars than letting them sell themselves.