ICE, ICE, BEEMER

L ACHL A N S P ENDS THE DAY ATOP A MOUNTA I N AND GE T S B EHIND THE WHE E L O F A F L E E T O F BMWS IN A N AT T EMP T TO M A S T E R SNOW AND I CE D R I V I NG UND E R E X P E R T TUT E L AGE

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature - Photos:

BMW Alpine xdrive Ex­pe­ri­ence

For a long time, I have heard about, read about, watched videos of, and cov­eted a day with BMW for its Alpine xdrive Event at the South­ern Hemi­sphere Prov­ing Grounds (SHPG), half­way be­tween Queenstown and Wanaka. Who would turn down an ex­pe­ri­ence to drive brand-new BMWS with reck­less aban­don across snow and ice?

Luck­ily enough, we had a trip to Queenstown booked for my wife’s (ahem, 21st) birth­day when we re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend this year’s event which hap­pened to co­in­cide with our trip.

Un­der the guid­ance of BMW’S Driver Train­ing team, led by Mike Eady, we were run through the dos and don’ts for the day. Top of the don’t list was don’t take any photos of the sur­round­ing build­ings or other ve­hi­cles not branded ‘BMW Alpine xdrive’. Why? Well, the SHPG is just that, a prov­ing ground for most global man­u­fac­tur­ers to come and test their ve­hi­cles on snow and ice in the north­ern­hemi­sphere sum­mer. We were told that the prov­ing grounds were founded when some ex­ecs from Toy­ota took a chopper trip over a few moun­tain ranges in the area some 20 years ago and approached the owner of this land, who was told that the ter­rain was suit­able for ve­hi­cle test­ing and asked to lease some space. SHPG now con­sists of 490 hectares of per­fectly groomed snow and ice, and runs for three months of the year, of­fer­ing snow and ice flats, ride and han­dling roads, and a 200-me­tre in­door re­frig­er­ated ABS Hi/lo fa­cil­ity (an in­door skid­pan).

the skid to keep it go­ing. With Lars’ Ger­manic bel­lows of “Power! ” over the walkie sys­tem, one has very few op­tions but to keep one’s foot buried to the floor and hope for the best. Once the heart rate had dropped a few beats, we were once again back in the hot seat. Quite lit­er­ally, as the seat warm­ers in the 423kw (575hp) Twin-turbo V8 BMW X5 M kept us toasty as we were pit­ted against our fel­low at­ten­dees in slalom drag races and ‘in the gate’ races. While the X5 M and X6 M are ca­pa­ble of zero to 100kph times of 4.2 sec­onds on as­phalt, the snow deems all cars equal, but the noise was enough to make them the pick of the day.

Fi­nally, head BMW driv­ing in­struc­tor Mike Eady, in an F30 M3, demon­strated hot laps around a des­ig­nated course. Be­ing the only rear-wheel-drive car at the event, the M3 was shod with snow tyres, mean­ing drift­ing be­came an ex­er­cise in ab­so­lute pre­ci­sion and push­ing the bound­aries of physics.

After a quick de­brief at day’s end, it was off to the his­toric Cardrona pub for a well-de­served beer or two, then on to Mill­brook to get ready for the prize-giving and gala din­ner.

Our ver­dict? The BMW Alpine xdrive is a su­perb ex­pe­ri­ence that ev­ery mo­tor­ing enthusiast should add to his or her bucket list.

the time with com­par­a­tively small-scale man­u­fac­ture, mod­i­fi­ca­tions and changes rather came and went ac­cord­ing to sup­ply avail­abil­ity, cost, ef­fec­tive­ness, etc.

In South Auck­land, reg. 881DXF had be­come GC1696, but still re­tained the GB badge. By 1990 I un­der­stand the to­tal cost to re­store the car had run well into six fig­ures. Not an in­con­sid­er­able sum then — in­deed not now, ei­ther. Fi­nally, how much did I pay in 1971? £580. John Bull, UK PS: As an aside, the XJS that

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.