the X(tr)3me X3 Test Drive

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yes, like you I wondered how EXTREME a BMW test drive would be.
The invitation cites the need to be in casual clothes and sports shoes as alighting the vehicle will be necessary and one may get dirty. 4×4 off road would be involved.
In any case, I was game.
Upon checking my schedule on my phone, which amazingly was clear for the day – how is this possible??? My only conclusion is divine intervention.
YEEEEASSSSHHHH!!! 
I, Penelope is destine to thrash a >RM340K vehicle for half a day.
I am so thoroughly ready and game!
Take it on babe … so the saying goes.
Upon arriving at the designated spot, I ‘chickened out’ for a moment; hesitating to register myself as a driver and surrendering information of my drivers license and signing off the indemnity form. I decided I would be contempted sitting in the passenger seat while this extreme test drive takes place, which thinking about it now seems like a really stupid decision. 
No, not because I was not game to thrash someone else’s >RM340K vehicle, but what was I thinking??!!!? Extreme-thrashing vehicle-passenger seat??? It’s the most dangerous and fatal position to be strap in any vehicle!!!
In any case, I filled out the form and went through the whole registration motion and waited what seems to be an endless wait for prospective owners and test drivers to show up.
A woman with tastefully done tinted red hair in a visor {don’t ask me what’s the need for a visor indoors – it ain’t me wearing it!}, bent backwards from her cocktail table and asked me, “Excuse me? Do you know how much the X3 is going for?”
I smiled and muttered a “No”.
Then sheepishly said, “I suppose we will know shortly” extracting my gaze away from her pave diamond Piaget wrist watch which dial and hands seems lost in the glitter – what use could it be in telling the time then?
In comes a guy with a diamond bezel-ed Breitling watch whose face could possibly pass off as being just a tat smaller than my humble alarm clock, greeting my friend who had extended his personal invite to me. After some niceties, which I had very little interest in as I was feeling extremely hot and thirsty by then – and that’s with us being in a huge air conditioned tent! – my focus strayed on the BMW girls with trays of apple juice, apple-peach juice, apple-whatever possible combination juice … which never came my direction.
We finally were called into a dark room where a promotional video featuring close-up bits and pieces of the vehicle was shown before ending in a lame still photo of  pristine white sand beaches and clear aquamarine blue water with a poignant single coconut tree at the right hand corner which frames the BMW X3 that was finally driven in.
Deciding to exhibit some emotions and interest, I took out my newest baby – the Leica M6 – and shot a few shots. 
OK. OK. I shall tell the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth – sheesh!
I took out the Leica M6 purely to see if I was able to guess and gauge the shutter speed needed for the aperture settings on the 35mm Summicron. Oh well, for a person who has never shot film and manual … oh yeah, I get some ‘kicks’ from getting it almost right.
With that done we were invited to TEST DRIVE!
The coward I was I allowed my friend to drive first and said we would figure amongst ourselves on the driver combination for the 4 legs of driving.
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Out of Desa Park City we went in a convoy of 5; a lead car and a sweeper behind, all armed with walkie-talkies that proved to be a very stressful instructional tool! rather than a comforting communication link it was designed to be.
With countless of instructions being barked at intervals of seconds that went amongst the many like these:
“COMMON’ COMMON’ COMMON!!!!! HIT THE ACCELERATOR!!!!!”
“OK GUYS, PRESS THE SPORT MODE AND HIT THE PEDAL HARD! DO YOU FEEL IT? YEAH… DO YOU FEEL IT?!?!?”

“NOW, GO TO SUPER SPORTS MODE AND FASTER!!!!!! FASTER!!!!!!”

“CAR # {fill in 03, 05, 07} SPEED UP”

“CAR # {fill in 03, 05, 07} OVERTAKE THOSE CARS AND FOLLOW CLOSER. CLOSER!!!”
I was feeling the heat.
Snatching a glace at the speedometer while hanging on to dear life without contorting any facial muscle reflecting fear while we took the bends on Penchala Highway… I swear blood must have drained from my face and extremities – all the ginkgo biloba would have not facilitate or restore circulation!
We were driving around those sharp endless bends at 180km/hr!
Holy @#$%!!!! 
Even I do not drive at 180km/hr on a straight stretch.
With that it was decided that I needed time for my ears vestibular system to regain normality, let alone composure … my friend was to drive 3 out of the 4 legs.
By the time I finally could muster the guts and verbalize “OK. I shall go now” … the X3 ‘chickened out’ on me instead – decided to cut the power from its engine without either me or my friend realising. But seriously, you wouldn’t expect me to realise anything at that moment when my senses is only attuned to having my heart pounding right next to my vibrating ear drums!
Pressing the “push-start button” we were on the road again with me behind the wheels.
Miraculously, the voice barking out of the walkie talkie was less intimidating and urgent that it had seemed when I was doing nothing other than sitting belt up in the drivers seat. 
With traffic to look out for, minimal steering and getting use to a very sensitive hydraulic break, I was in my element! And yes, I HIT THE ACCELERATOR too and got a few encouraging remarks and praises – something I have long figured has nothing to do with better skills but rather lower expectation of men when it comes to women behind the wheels. Hence the very fact that you know where and when to use the wipers is deemed an accomplishment as well! Whatever the case, with praises that are far and between these days, I receive them thankfully.

VERDICT

Did I enjoy the X3?
yes!

Would I exchange my baby Leland for an X3?

errr… ok, darling Leland did feel a bit sluggish when it came to acceleration and city driving … but when it came to putting the X3 down the 4×4 test, Leland and his siblings fair a least a head and shoulder above the BMWs.
Well, let’s face it, the BMW are sporty vehicles. The X-series are built base on this core performance philosophy followed by the fact that its a sports utility vehicle that can do some off-roading. Seriously, who takes a BMW for a 4×4 off road?
Land Rovers on the other hand are built for 4×4 in mind and they pride themselves for being the best 4×4 off road vehicle in the world. 

You win some, you lose some.

With the price tag the X3 carries, well, one is in no hurry for a Land Rover trade-in {marginally better than scrap metal, as I jokingly say}. Rather, I am awaiting for the new Range Rover Evoque – one that is built from the concept car and the most affordable Range Rover one can own with pricing reported to be around RM340-370K.

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 The latest X3 model is poised to raise the bar in its class with outstanding specs: 184 hp, 380 Nm torque, sprint time from 0-62mph at 8.5 seconds, a top speed of 131 mph and combined mpg of 50.4.
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3 thoughts on “the X(tr)3me X3 Test Drive

  1. Why do I hate you again?Yet adore you again?Seriously at 180km/hr around bends in Penchala Link is insanity. There are other people in their Kancils' life to be reckon with too you know. :plolzDO NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN!I am serious.

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