Last week I was invited by BMW South Africa to par-take in what would be an incredible 3 day journey across 3 provinces in the all new, locally assembled BMW X3. Called the X3 xPlore tour which involved a selected few media, mainly compromising of motoring journalists to experience what the first few models made locally by BMW at their Plant in Rosslyn were like as models that were used in the launch last year were all fully imported. It would be a good gauge to see if the locally made models compared equally to those which were assembled outside South Africa. With the plant being upgraded to accommodate the build of the X3, that would be one of the main point of interest in this 3 day tour, but as I soon found out that there was a lot more that BMW had up it's sleeve for us, which is why I decided instead of giving you one long post about my 3 day journey, rather I break it down into segments that are worthy of a story in it's entirety.
Day 1 started off at the brand new home of Auto Bavaria in Midrand, one of the flagship BMW dealerships in the country. It was a great way to see what the modern BMW dealership would look like, with a dedicated //M car show room, lifestyle section for BMW clothing and accessories, a big open show room floor with a range of the models, from sports coupes, sedans and the X range. We were addressed by BMW SA CEO Tim Abbott on the importance of this tour and what it meant to them as a company, as they have already had a great history with their Rosslyn plant, being the first outside Germany to contribute to the BMW coach works build and for the first time changing it's product line from the 3 series to the X3. There was a handing over ceremony, where BMW donated two of it's X3 test units, which were marked for destruction as per policy over to the Rhino Orphanage, a non-profit organisation, dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of rhino calves orphaned by poaching.
First up on the tour was getting a sneak peak at the upcoming BMW X Lifestyle Park, what is this you ask? Well its BMW's very own off road playground. Now I know what you all are thinking, "BMW doesn't make cars that can go off road", well that's where you're wrong. BMW's reason for building this is noting the shift in sales with more than 30% of BMW's global sales being made up by BMW X models. The XLP which compromises of a 1.3km off-road track .The X range of vehicles with xDrive are very capable as I soon found out. While it may not be a fully fledged 4x4, with BMW's xDrive system, the vehicle is more than capable to tackle the obstacles present at the X Lifestyle Park, most of which are pretty demanding.
The facility which will be open to the public in November will offer off-road Driving Experience courses from R2,750. Here customers can put their X models through its paces with various obstacles like hill descent, soft sand driving, water wading and rock crawl to name a few. Apart from the off-road track, the XLP will offer various family-orientated lifestyle experiences such as abseiling, zip-lining and park runs. Also on the site will be a BMW Lifestyle store with BMW accessories, a coffee shop and food stalls with it playing hosts to fitness activations.
Stay tuned to the blog as we will bring you more about our BMW X3 xPlore Experience.