BMW’s New Experience Tour
German luxury carmaker showcased its aspirational product portfolio during the brand’s two-day tour

BMW, the second biggest German luxury carmaker in India, has expanded its driving experience for customers to lure new buyers.

This year, the brand has introduced the BMW Experience Tour in 14 cities, the BMW xDrive Experience in 12 cities and BMW M Performance Training in three cities.

Last weekend, BMW showcased its aspirational product portfolio at the brand’s two-day experience tour and BMW xDrive experience in Pune. The city was the first to host both the driving experiences together.

“This is a unique opportunity to test BMW cars to their limit,” Sheriff Sridhar, a businessman and car buff, told Financial Chronicle. Driving the BMW X5 on different terrain gives you a different thrilling experience and you feel only when you drive it around, he pointed out. He has not yet decided which new model to buy after having bought the BMW 3 Series a couple of years ago.

Another young businessman who declined to be identified said experiencing a car at the dealer showroom before buying and at such event was no comparison. “Test driving a car in different terrain, and using various driving techniques such as slalom, fast laps, corner braking and emergency braking gives you a high,” he said after testing the car.

BMW competes with German arch rival and market leader Mercedes Benz and also with Audi, British iconic sports car maker Jaguar Land Rover and Swedish brand Volvo. According to industry estimates, luxury car market in India fell 3 per cent to 35,000 units in 2016, down from 36,000 units the luxury car makers sold in 2015.

BMW India sold 7,861 cars in 2016, clocking a growth of 14 per cent over the previous year. During January-July 2017, its sales grew 11.7 per cent to 5,159 units in the country.

“BMW driving experiences guarantees the purest form of sheer driving pleasure,” Vikram Pawah, president at BMW Group India, told Financial Chronicle.

The BMW Experience Tour and the BMW xDrive Experience are the keys to completely experience the impressive world of BMW sedans and sports activity vehicles (SAVs) in a perfect mix of safety, comfort and real driving fun, he said.

“Such driving experiences are what give potential customers a unique opportunity to test drive BMW vehicles under all imaginable conditions before they decide to purchase,” Pawah said.

On one hand the customers can discover the driving dynamics of BMW sedans and SAVs while on the other, they can consult with driving experts on safety tips making daily driving safer, he pointed out.

Some of the modules that are offered included off-road driving, hill descent control (HDC), and performance of BMW X-drive technology. The driver training module included exercises in braking techniques, steering, accident avoidance, a slalom course, cornering styles, road hazard maneuvering and low-speed maneuvering.

Participants drove the BMW 3 Series, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, the all-new BMW 5 Series, the BMW X1, the BMW X3 and the BMW X5. The BMW certified drivers also trained drivers on various driving techniques like slalom, fast laps, corner braking and emergency braking. Participants also had an experience of the BMW i8, the all-new BMW 7 series, the all-new BMW 5 Series and the BMW M car at the packed event.

The thrill of high-performing range of sports cars – the BMW M3 Sedan, the BMW M4 Coupe and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe were also on display at BMW experience tour. BMW M Automobiles are produced by BMW Motorsport GmbH, a subsidiary of BMW AG. With sophisticated technology, individuality and safety, the BMW M cars provided a thrilling experience of the exclusive, high-performance driving.
The BMW xDrive experience showcased the sophisticated technology of BMW sports activity vehicles such as BMW X1, BMW X3, BMW X5 and BMW X6. Under the expert guidance of certified BMW trainers, participants also got to experience the extraordinary control, maneuverability and the grit of signature BMW xDrive technology on specially designed off-road track.

In fact, the introduction of the BMW X5 in 1999 opened up totally new dimensions for all-wheel drive vehicles. The BMW X5 is a sports activity vehicle with off-road capabilities that could be driven like a sports car. The concept of the BMW X5 encompassed the development of all-terrain models with a clear orientation towards luxury. The BMW X3 was born with more compact dimensions than the BMW X5 and even more agile handling. With the BMW X6, BMW offered an entirely new type of car, a unique design concept and driving dynamics never seen before – the world’s first sports activity coupé.

The sports activity vehicle segment was further redefined with launch of the BMW X1.The BMW X1 is the world’s first compact sports activity vehicle with a young and modern character.  With its agility and versatility, the BMW X1 guaranteed a new driving experience in the premium compact SAV segment.

The BMW xDrive is an intelligent all-wheel drive system that monitors the driving situation constantly and distributes drive power smoothly between the axles. BMW xDrive splits drive variably to the front and rear axles to suit the driving situation and the surface.

Under normal driving conditions xDrive works with a basic 40/60 torque split front and rear. If there is any sudden change in requirements on account of differences in the friction values between the road surface and the driven wheels or because of the driving situation, the torque split can be varied within a fraction of a second without the driver even becoming aware of the change.

According to trainers, with BMW xDrive reacting within fractions of a second, the system offers enormous advantages in terms of traction. When setting out on slippery or lose ground, for example, the time-lag between the loss of wheel grip on the surface and the re-distribution of drive forces to wheels with grip is only a few milliseconds.

As one drives, the xDrive analyses data from the on-board electronics systems such as speed, steering angle, torque output and other key factors – and calculates whether the vehicle can follow the driver’s wish or if it threatens to oversteer or understeer, thereby preventing the vehicle from swerving.

Michael Gonsalves