by George Matsheke
posted in Cars
On Monday we landed from the ‘South Africans Travel Too‘ trip from Zambia through Zimbabwe and I had one last trip to make before the year ended. Come Wednesday I headed straight back to the airport to make my way to George. Now there is something cool about flying in so that you can fly out again, that just says you are making things happen or you are just living your best life. This is the last stretch before everything shuts down and 2018 plans are put into motion. As a business you begin to reflect on wins, disappointments and lessons while you hope for a better future for the following year.
I have appreciated the relationship we have with BMW over the years and one has learnt how the car brand works. I was actually more excited by the thought that we will be staying at the Oibaai Hotel Golf & Spa in George (we stayed there when we were at the BMW 5 Series Media Launch). We landed in George and we were met by the people of BMW to take us to a nearby farm where the new BMW X3 was lined up and ready for us to test drive. Now, knowing these kinds of situations, the first critical thing to do is to find a driving partner that you like because they can either make the next two days hell or heaven. By now you kind of know more people than you did when this started so you have more options, I partnered with Mxolisi Mhlungo who works for Kaya FM.
He started driving because I had a phone call scheduled at 2pm and I needed to focus on it and I also needed to respond to a few emails as well. What you notice with the new BMW X3 is that its bigger and meaner than the previous models – which is awesome in my eyes. So I figured that the X3 is the mini version of the X5 and the X4 is the mini version of the X6 (I haven’t driven neither the X4 nor X6). I love the comfort of the drive as a passenger and it’s definitely a nice one for a small family as well. Its not too big, its not too small and it has all the features one needs for everyday living, even a bit of off-road driving now and again. The boot space is about 550 litres and up to 1600 litres, the rear-seat backrests can fold down electronically just by pressing a button. The new BMW X3 can definitely handle gravel very well, I now fully understand why SUVs are getting more popular than other makes. When I think about going back home to Tshamahansi or Thutlane in Limpopo, I think about the 10km gravel road that I need to deal with therefore, something like this makes more sense for on and off road.
The interior features are similar to the 5 Series, and there’s a minor update – one feature that impressed me was the emergency break system that puts the hazard on when I brake harshly. The sound system is decent and M40 steering wheel is really comfortable to handle.
We get to Knysna and check in and get told that we need to be back at reception around 7pm for the media briefing and dinner. Let me just start by saying that the Conrad Pezula Resort & Spa is the best place I’ve ever been to in my entire life, WOW! So we get driven to our suites in golf carts because the place is big and it reminds me of Zimbali but better. I get there and its big and its 5 star level and I must say the views are amazing as well, the bathroom has a huge shower and its spacious. I ended up being late for the media briefing because I was so blown away by the suite. The dinner was great and what I love about these dinners is always meeting new people, because the world is small and big at the same time. When it was time to go back to the suite I couldn’t wait to just to take a bath and wear that silk robe. As I get dropped off, the driver offers to set up the fire place in my room and I am thinking that I could live like this for a week or so hey. The best part is to be woken up by the sun, I didn’t close the curtains because I wanted the sun to wake me up. We had breakfast and chose a different car and went back on the road.
I remember when I was new to this test driving game and I was extra careful with the cars and drove very slowly, I remember Eddie Maluleke showing me a thing or two with regards to testing cars. I put the car to the test on the gravel and on tar, the X3 handles the corners very well during high speed. There is something exciting about leaving dirt for other cars to deal with when driving and putting it on sport mode. I think BMW has figured the trick in building an all round car and the X3 is no exception.
BMW X3 M40i:
Six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Capacity: 2,998cc, output: 265 kW at 5,500 – 6.500 rpm, Max. torque: 500 Nm at 1,520 – 4,800 rpm.
Acceleration [0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)]: 4.8 seconds, Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph). Fuel consumption, combined*: 8.4 – 8.2 l/100 km (33.6 – 34.5 mpg imp),
CO2 emissions, combined*: 193 – 188 g/km. Starting from R991 100
BMW X3 xDrive30i:
Four-cylinder petrol engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Capacity: 1,998cc, output: 185 kW at 5,200 rpm, Max. torque: 350 Nm at 1,450 – 4,800 rpm. Acceleration [0 – 100 km/h]: 6.3 seconds, Top speed: 240 km/h. Fuel consumption, combined**: 7.4 l/100 km, CO2 emissions, combined**: 168 g/km. Starting from R742 800
BMW X3 xDrive30d:
Six-cylinder in-line diesel engine, eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Capacity: 2,993cc, output: 195 kW at 4,000 rpm, Max. torque: 620 Nm at 2,000 – 2,500 rpm. Acceleration [0 – 100 km/h]: 5.8 seconds, Top speed: 240 km/h. Fuel consumption, combined*: 6.0 – 5.7 l/100 km, CO2 emissions, combined*: 158 – 149 g/km. Starting from R868 300