Driving Notes

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience

May 24, 2017

by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo of 2017 B7 Alpina by Paul Clinton.
Photo of 2017 B7 Alpina by Paul Clinton.

BMW is hosting six Ultimate Driving Experience events around the U.S. this summer and fall that puts drivers behind the wheel of the 2017 540i, the first of five planned 5 Series models in the lineup's seventh generation.

The events provide five driving events that showcase the entire lineup from the M2 to the B7 Alpina with BMW instructors offering tips and more in-depth training to attendees.

AutomotiveFleet.com attended the Southern California event, which ran from May 11 to 21 on 50 acres of concrete outdoor parking across from the Santa Anita Park horse racing track in Arcadia. The event drew about 4,500 attendees.

To quicken the pulse, the event offered an Autocross course with BMW driving instructors coaching us through straightaways and hard cornering in the 540i and M4 with "floor it" and "brake" at strategic points. No cones were harmed during the exercise.

The 540i capably managed the course with more refinement than the high-revving M4, which provided enough raw power to knock down an elephant. We skipped the Car Control Clinic, Teen Driving School, and VIP Nights, but participated in the Street Drives with some of BMW's higher-end models.

Photo of 2017 M4 by Paul Clinton.
Photo of 2017 M4 by Paul Clinton.

The streets of Arcadia provided an apt setting for cornering with BMW's Alpina B7 xDrive, a modified 7 Series with an enhanced luxury interior and a twin-turbo 4.4L V-8 that makes 600 hp. The car, which retails for over $82,000, provides a 0-60 mph time of 3.6 seconds.

The M6 Gran Coupe is powered by that same engine block that's set up with a 560-hp rating. This one's another powerhouse that quickly picks up speed on longer straightaways.

Lastly, we drove the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar with a 357-hp powertrain that includes a three-cylinder gasoline engine. The car's butterfly door will turn heads, and getting into the vehicle takes a unique approach that invovles backing your way in to the lower seating position.

The rear cargo space is the size of a shoebox, but buyers aren't aquiring this $140,000 vehicle for long road trips. It has a range of about 250 miles.

During the event, BMW's lead driving instructor, Rich Beam, provided some cogent tips to increase safe operation of the vehicles. He offered tips such as "keep your eyes up," "look where you want to go," and "don't look at obstacles" because "we steer where we stare."

Beam provided an excellent explanation of understeer and oversteer and ways to recover from those situations. For an understeer situation where the driver has not turned quickly enough on a curve, Beam advised this driver not to add more steering, keep their eyes on the intended path, and keep off the gas. For an oversteer situation with too much steering, Beam advised that driver to correct, pause, and recover.

BMW is offering four more events in San Francisco (Aug. 11 to 17), Dallas (Sept. 2 to 10), Chicago (Oct. 14 to 22), and New York City (Nov. 2 to 12). If you're in those areas on those dates, you can sign up for the events here.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email: (Email will not be displayed.)  
Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

FleetFAQ

Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Recent Topics

What tool do you use to calculate residual value on heavy equipment? Thanks,

View Topic

We are planning on installing CO sensors in our FORD SUV Interceptor. Looking for choices as to what seem to work best.

View Topic

Fleet Documents

974 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Author Bio

sponsored by

Amy Winter-Hercher

Senior Editor

Amy is an associate editor for Auto Rental News and Business Fleet.

» More

sponsored by

Andy Lundin

Assistant Editor

Andy Lundin works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

» More

sponsored by

Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

» More

sponsored by

Eric Gandarilla

Assistant Editor

Eric Gandarilla works on Automotive Fleet and Fleet Financials.

» More

sponsored by

Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

» More

sponsored by

Paul Clinton

Senior Web Editor

Paul is the senior web editor for Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Government Fleet, Green Fleet, Vehicle Remarketing, and Work Truck. He has covered police vehicles for Police Magazine.

» More

sponsored by

Thi Dao

Executive Editor

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

» More

Sponsored by

Generally, leases with a fixed term where the lessor assumes certain risks of ownership, notably depreciation and funding, plus takes responsibility for providing certain defined levels of administration.

Read more