Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
In addition to taking it out of the box, the Stewart Motors Group took its recent BMW X Challenge Off-Road Experience outdoors - literally.
The Barbican Circle, St Andrew, was transformed into an obstacle course to simulate extreme off-road conditions, a deliberate strategy intended to give motorists first-hand experience of the benefits of xDrive technology. From February 2-4, registered drivers were allowed to test-drive their choice of the BMW X1, X3, X5 and X6 and Mini Countryman.
Of course, experienced BMW personnel first guided them through the 1,700 feet long, purpose-built X Challenge course featuring a riverbed, ditch, steep hill, very rough road and other conditions designed to test the mettle of the vehicles and skills and mental toughness of the drivers.
Built to BMW specifications, the course in fact proved more of a challenge for motorists than the vehicles. As passengers, most were satisfied that the vehicles' excellent handling was due to the expertise of the drivers. Convincing them that this was due mainly to cutting-edge technology - including xDrive, BMW's intelligent all-wheel drive system which, according to the company, transmits torque to the wheels at lightening speed in order to guarantee optimum distribution - took some doing.
Stewart Motors Group Director Duncan Stewart, told those gathered for the launch that partnership between driver and vehicle was definitely weighted in the latter.
"BMW's xDrive not only thinks when you do, it thinks ahead. Variable torque split means that you can always rely on perfect traction. You will be amazed by the agility, precision and safety of your driving experience, even when cornering at high speeds. At any given moment xDrive is working hard - shifting drive power, reducing over or understeer, enhancing agility and ensuring the best possible traction," he said.
Of course, for many persons the daunting course presented a challenge even from a distance, but the Stewart Motors Group had come prepared, with the director offering this challenge: "This is a great opportunity to compare models under real-life conditions, whether you already own a BMW or if you are thinking about buying a BMW."
For those who took up the charge, it presented a real thrill ride and an appreciation of how the vehicle was doing what it was doing, even without getting into technical details which Ducnan Stewart explained.
"The xDrive system functions on an anticipatory basis. In contrast to conventional all-wheel drive systems, which simply respond to wheelspin already happening, xDrive is able to identify any tendency to oversteer or understeer in advance, based on the data provided by dynamic stability control and then counteract this by proactively shifting the drive torque. In this way, all-wheel performance is ready and waiting even before wheel slip can occur and engine power is converted into driving pleasure without loss," he said.
A first of its kind unique experience, the BMW X Challenge should live on the minds of many Jamaica for quite some time.