Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Brunch @ BMW - Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club

Wanted to post this earlier but got sick and busy with work so here an extra long post to make up for it. I got to know about this event from some friends and being not able to afford one myself I was wondering what this event was all about. Apparently they are letting the public to test drive various BMW that are currently being sold here. Can you believe it some of these cars are worth close to RM 500k and here they were letting your average joe try it out. Not wanting to miss out on this rare opportunity I registered myself online and got up early on Saturday morning. The event was held on the 26th of August 2006 from 11:00am to 6:00pm at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club. Thanks to Paul Tan for letting me to use his pictures on my blog. If you want higher resolution images it's available at his site here.

Reached there about 11:30am and it the parking lot was already packed. Walking into the main entrance I was greeted by various BMW cars but the one that attracted my attention was the white 1 series with M-Sport decals. I think it was a 120i. Walking into the registration counter I was greeted by the E60 M5. Really was a head turner too bad it was in the showroom and not available for the test drive.

Some pictures of the 120i

Got up to the counter and was greeted by some sweet looking ladies. Registered myself and filled up the indemnity forms as well for the test drive. The first car that I tested was the 525i. Luckily for me the crowd was still small at that time as most of them were queuing up for the 3 series or the Mini Cooper S. Seeing that it was my first time ever being in such an event I was quite nervous as to how I should proceed to handle the test drive, all out or in a gentle manner after all this machines could buy me a house and I wouldn't want something to happen to them especially when I'm behind the wheels. The E60 525i Was guided from the registration area by one of their sweet promotion ladies to the test drive area. Was damn bloody excited that I will be getting the chance to drive one of this rare machines that I could never be able to afford in this lifetime. The E60 525i came to a stop and this lady got out the car and left the car door open for me to get in. Like a happy child on Christmas morning I wasted no time in jumping into the drivers seat. The seat was rather forward and took me a while to figure out the buttons to adjust the seat to my liking all this was done electronically and it was smooth as hell just adjusting the seat.

When I was tucked in snugly into the plush leather seat and grabbed hold of the steering the first thing I noticed was the smaller diameter of the steering and how much thicker the spokes seems. Apparently the car I will be test driving is not your regular E60 but a M-sport variant that comes with the full M-sport packages (bodykit,rims,steering). The feeling holding the M-sport steering definitely made a difference.

Familiarized myself with some of the controls and away we went. First thing I noticed as I navigated out of the car park was how sensitive the steering was at low speeds. This was apparently a new featured called Active Steering. This allows the car to change the steering ratio depending on speed thus reducing the effort needed by the driver to turn the car. Really made the big E60 with 19" rims feel nimble at low speeds. The other thing that got my attention was how sensitive and responsive the brake was. I have to admit that I do drive an old car that is more than 10 years old so this could be one of the reason why I felt the brakes on the BMW to be top notch.

Gave it more gas while navigating the turn out of the Bukit Kiara Equestrian club. With every blip of the throttle I could feel the sweet engine begging to be pushed. The response at the low end was very good with a slight press of the throttle causing the car to just happily go as fast as you want it to go. Once I got on to the roads all hell broke loose well almost. Gently pressed on the accelerator easing the car out of the traffic lights joining the traffic. Roughly got an idea as to where we'll be heading and gave it some gas. Before I know it I was doing 120km/h, I wouldn't even have known if I hadn't looked at the speedometer.

From the Bukit Kiara Equestrian we took the Pechala link and the sales lady told me I could try the car at a faster speed. That's all it took for me to floor the car, and also another test car a 325i was ahead of me. We can't let a 3 series be faster than a 5 series now can we ?? They were kind enough to provide a smart tag as well so went through the smart tag lane and all hell broke loose. The car effortlessly revved itself to 6.5k before switching gears, the torque was enough though you don't really feel the G-force but it's enough to get the car moving.

I was doing 160km/h in penchala link and the car felt firm and solid and was going the direction I wanted to go without any dramas. The suspension was a bit on the firm side but I liked it because coming from driving a Japanese car with full coilover suspension this was considered very comfortable. I would have gone faster but she told me that we need to get off the next exit to make a U-turn and I had the chance to test the brakes as well. Getting the car from 160km/h to 30-40km/h was no big deal, definitely will be helpful for stopping the car in an emergency.

Made the u-turn and decided to enjoy cruising in the car. This is when I manage to try out the 6-speed steptronic gearbox. Switched the car to "manual" mode and played around with the gears. Very smooth gear changes and not noticeable even when dropping gears. Gives you some degree of control and fun when you need it and you can pop it back to "auto" mode once you're done.

Drove back to Bukit Kiara Equestrian club with a heavy heart as I know soon I have to part from this beauty (the car of coz !!!). Drove back to the test drive area and with a heavy heart said goodbye to her (the car laaaaa) and thanked the sales person. Now where can I get RM400k to get my hands on the car. Nahhhh maybe in another 10 years time I would be able to own one :)

The ultimate E60 ... the M5 !!! Awesome machine

The test drive left me hungry and thirsty and decided to get something to eat instead. The meal was provided by La Bodega and it was awesome. Basically everything was on the house and you could help yourself to whatever they had, which was like sandwiches,noodles,rice, pasta, pastries and more. Once I was satisfied decided to try some other cars instead. How often can you get to drive fast and enjoy a good meal after that.

The E65 740Li
Met some friends who were waiting for their turn as well and I decided to sign up to test drive the E65 740Li and luckily for me one of the guy also wanted to test drive the same car and it was his turn. So decided to follow him so I could enjoy being the passenger but apparently other people had the same idea as me as well and there were 3 people at the rear. It was rather cramped with 3 people but based on the design of the car I guess it was meant to be more of a 4 seater and the guy sitting in the middle would be rather uncomfortable with the seat being rather hard and the roof being slightly lower due to the control and lights switches being in the middle.

So after the "driver" got acquainted with all the controls that were available to him away we went. It was a "normal" drive around the test drive area but the sales lady took us on a different route than the one I was one earlier. We went to Hartamas area and I manage to feel the comfort level of the car while going through our normal road condition around PJ/KL area. As we head back on to the highway one of the passenger said the driver didn't know how to push the BMW to it's limit and enjoy the pleasures of driving the car. So we stopped at the side of the highway and Mr Enthusiast (let's just call him that) took over the driver seat and away we went making the u-turn at Hartamas interchange and full throttling away the pull on the 740 was really amazing for such a big car. He also tried the brakes a few times causing the car to come to a stand still a few times. The sales lady was rather shocked as she was speechless when Mr Enthusiast asked her where should we go next.

So we went ronda ronda around Hartamas area and Mr Enthusiast keep saying how he love the way the car handles and kept zig zagging on the road heading towards Projet. I was getting a headache at the back being thrown left/right and front/back a couple of times. After a while I got used to it and actually starting to enjoy the ride. Considering that there were 3 of us at the back seat we were rather comfortable during that short drive but if we were to go on an outstation trip it would definitely wiser to go with just 4 people instead of 5. There was once when Mr Enthusiast asked the sales lady to switch off certain features and she was trying her best to find the buttons to do so and she was so determined to find the button that she even looked in between his legs. H Hahahahhah that was really a hilarious moment. So after all that testing we headed back to Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club.

Since I've manage to see what the E65 can do decided to give my drive a miss since it was more fun sitting in the rear anyway. Was sitting down sipping on my drink when another friend of mine, Mr Racer also wanted to test the same car. Since I didn't have a chance to really enjoy the rear previously due to 3 people sitting behind decided to tag along together with him as well. I think the heart of the sales lady must have drop when she saw me once again, this time with a different driver. hahhahahahaha.

So Mr Racer got into the driver seat and immediately starting fiddling around with the controls and asking how to do this and how to do that. Spent a good 10-15mins just sitting there fiddling with the knobs. Since I was alone at the rear decided to try out the controls that were at my disposal. The E65 has separate air condition for each of the passenger behind. You can control the temperature and speed of the aircond according to your liking. There's also an aircond vent at the "B" pillars and an LCD screen at the center console.

So after Mr Racer familiarized himself with the car and controls away we went. The hum of the V8 was awesome as he floored it once we were on the main road. Before I knew it we were already doing 140-150km/h and the car felt planted on the ground. Took some fast sweepers and it didn't feel floaty. Suprisingly it felt very good (as a passenger) in the corners even for such a long car. The funny thing about our trip in the 7 was we left with 3 people in the car and came back with 4. Go figure. Hahhahahahahah. So back to Bukit Kiara we went and finally I had to say goodbye to her (the car and the sales lady... hahahaha).

Some of the other BMW that were on display

I had a blast and really enjoyed myself even though I didn't have the chance to test out the Mini Cooper S as the waiting time was more than an hour. Thank you to BMW and all the people that made this a possibility for normal working people like us to drive some of their best selling marquee. Truly a day to be remembered.

M6 coupe

X5 X5 X5 !!!!

I don't have a digital camera .. boohooo .. so most of the pictures here were taken from Paul Tan's blog. Thanks for letting me use the pictures dude !!! You can read about his experience as well here.