Thursday, 13 December 2007

BMW Driver Training Malaysia

By Dr Long

Ah! Another safety driving course…this one conducted by the very same people who profess that their automobiles are “Ultimate Driving Machine” and gives “Sheer Driving Pleasure”. While my emotions were kept in check – having attended quite a few others Teutonic driving courses - I was pretty curious how these guys are going to convey all techniques and its associated driving dynamics using a monomorphic fleet of (E90) 325i.

In contrast, the Audi Quattro Driving Experience in 2005 had a mix of A6 and A8 quattros while the Porsche World Roadshow in Jan ‘07 had their 911 (997) variants, Boxsters, Cayman S and Cayennes. Even the recent Mercedes-Benz ASE 2007 had a spectrum of B170, C200K, C230 V6, E200K, E280, S280L and new S300L taken through different driving exercises. That said, the BMW Driver Training felt to-the-point with only 325i being used, driven and of course, abused. Inevitably, they were some product experience therein as well, as expected.

Fearing that I may be mobbed and devoured by BMW owners if they see me arriving in my Mercedes-Benz E200K - much like a wooly lamb entering a lions’ den - I had gone to the BMW Driver’s Training hitching a ride in Dan’s 325i. Sure enough, there were only BMWs clustered together in the Sepang F1 Circuit paddock area parking lot that day. I must commend BMW owners of being a united and passionately outspoken lot when it comes to their favourite ride, so you can imagine how unassuming I was trying to be, quietly blending into the background of their camaderie and bonding.

Without going into the specifics of all driving exercises, the compulsories of such safety driving event which took place were:

Ø Theory briefings on the physics and dynamics of steering, cornering, braking and acceleration. Safety features like ABS and DSC/DCT (BMW’s electronic vehicle stability program and traction control)
Ø Seating position and steering techniques
Ø Double slalom
Ø Brake, Steer and Release
Ø Emergency Lane Change
Ø Understeering
Ø Oversteering
Ø Slalom Competition

At the end of the BMW Driver Training Sunday, I must say that:

1) The whole BMW Driver Training was meticulously organised and had concise intermediate-level syllabus (Apparently, BMW Fahrer-Training standards are the same the world over)
2) The instructors i.e. Wong Kah Keen, Kevin Kung, Hammond Lai and Ivan Khong were excellent. Let’s just say local instructors understood us participants better somehow and were very patient with our varying degrees of skills and daringness.
3) Emergency braking aid like ABS needs a hard kick on the brake pedal to work best.
4) Safety electronics like DSC/DTC worked very well to keep the car from straying from intended driving path and/or spinning in acute driving emergencies i.e. reining in understeer and oversteer.
5) BMW 325i’ steering weight and accuracy, chassis strength and balance are impressive.

Last but not the least, can we have the taxi-ride or flying lap aka BMW 325i Track Fascination around Sepang F1 circuit some other day? (There was some motorcycle racing event which took the track on that ‘fateful’ day)

To all the BMW Driver Training' instructors, especially Hammond, go easy on that BMW’s 50:50 weight balance thingy (don’t have to keep repeating it lah!) and you guys are among the best!

*The writer expresses his sincere gratitude to BMW Malaysia for the BMW Driver Training experience.

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PARKER said...

Nice pictures of the bmw. It is my dream car because I think It’s equipped with all the contemporary devise which make Formula1 driving a sheer pleasure. Wish I can win a ride in that.

drlong said...

I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. Where are you from, Parker? There may be just a BMW Driver Training near your hometown!

Happy motoring :)

Azrin said...

Hello Dr Long,

I am keen to take on the driver's training by BMW, but not sure if its going to be a boring safety talk about driving.

Do you think it will make my drive in my BMW more enjoyable?

drlong said...

It will definitely make u a better driver, if you haven't attended any of the driving courses as yet. Theory classes are minimal, rest assured.
Happy motoring dude :)

ny defensive driving said...

Nice traning I would like to join this.