Let’s do a non-food post today, for a little change… although I must say the subject matter is more sumptuous than any food.
Since late last week, car enthusiasts have all been busy talking about the latest baby in the car scene… the all-new BMW 3-series, that’s what it is.
The official launch by BMW Malaysia was celebrated over 2 evenings last week at The Mines Convention Centre. I chose to go on the 1st evening, because… well, simply because I just couldn’t wait to see the car. Of course, prior to that, I have already seen it on YouTube and various other online sites but nothing beats seeing the real thing, right?
The invitation card said the event should start at 8.30pm. Well, by “start” it meant guests were ushered into the hall which was draped all in black with spotlights shining on all the 3-series models on display there, starting from the very first one – the E21 which was introduced way back in 1977! The MC for the night was David Yee (of Li – Life Inspired tv channel-fame) and he finally announced the commencement of the event at 9.30pm when the crowd has swelled to 1,000 plus. That’s when the drapes on one side of the hall were released, revealing an inner section of the hall which had a long “driveway” erected in the centre. Huge projection screens and monster speakers were mounted and suspended from the ceiling. The music and lights blasted the whole hall, which was enormous, by the way.
As BMW is a sponsor for the coming Olympic Games, the night’s theme was centred on that. There were live demos on gymnastics, martial arts and fencing. Music from the 1970’s came on and the very first BMW 3-series was driven out onto the driveway, followed by all the other models and accompanied by the appropriate songs popular during the respective years. I was getting impatient by then… like, WHEN are they going to come right to the point, huh?!
Finally, finally… the Star of the night emerged and the crowd broke into thunderous applause!
Let’s start with the lowest-priced model… the 320d… the selling price for this is RM268,800…
And this is the 328i… going for a cool RM309,800…
Of course, the top-of-the-range is the 335i…costing almost half a million ringgit. Fork out RM488,800 and this baby is yours…
Look at that butt!
I shan’t go into all the technical specifications of the car… you can get that on the BMW sites and Paul Tan’s site. All you need to know is that this baby is powered by Twin Turbo and that it’ll be just pure havoc to unleash all that power on the road, especially the 335i!
Last Sunday, I was thrilled to test out the new 3-series. Again, this was an invited event. I had to RSVP my attendance in advance and chose the 12pm slot. I have never attended an “organised test drive” like this and before going there, I had thought that it would just be a normal, regular test-drive. But heck no… Auto Bavaria – the largest BMW distributor in Malaysia had put together a special test-drive. I was told ALL the time slots were full (there’s one every hour) and those who RSVP’ed late were disappointed.
The event was held at the Sime Darby Properties Gallery in Ara Damansara and there were 10 units of the new 3-series for the test drive. Prior to that, all confirmed participants were ushered into a hall, again draped in dark, for another presentation on the car.
In that darkened hall, there were 2 units all covered up and once the presentation was done, the cloths were pulled away, revealing the new cars. Then the MC called out the names of the participants and the numbered car they have been assigned. Well, everyone’s names were called, except mine! A minor screw-up there… when I approached them, I was told that Car No.10 was mine, hehe! And we had this car all to ourselves (3 of us) with just Andy, the sales guy, who also hopped in.
Now this wasn’t the regular kinda test drive… which I had earlier imagined to be done one-by-one. Oh no, this was done convoy-style! All 10 cars, with 2 participants/drivers in each (ours had 3!) were lined up and there were 2 marshalls in the convoy, one leading and one more sweeping the back – behind our car. So, the ride started from Ara Damansara, heading towards the NKVE and Damansara and then the whole convoy had to make a pit stop at a petrol station for a change of drivers – the 2nd driver took over. What a sight that must have been … a long line of the sleek 3-series babies eating up the highway! We then headed back to Glenmarie, towards Jalan Temasya where there was a long straight stretch of road (without bumps) for us to ram the car! Oohh… that was great fun! And all too soon, the drive was over and we had to return to Sime Darby.
Our test-drive car was a 328i and boy, was it powerful! Of course the 335i wasn’t available for the test drive, so the next best is the 328i. Put it to “Sports” mode and I could feel the throttle raring to go… just waiting for that bit of pressure on the accelerator and the car was like a wild stallion pulling at the reigns. I can’t imagine how the 335i will perform! Just stay out of its way if you see one on the road soon, ok!
So how is this new beast? It purrs like well-fed feline, very responsive and eating up the km with quiet raw power, raring to pounce at the slightest touch. I could almost feel the immense surge of that twin turbo fire lurking under the hood. The road-holding is superb, in the little distance that I was driving it. It must be good – the Germans don’t compromise on this, I’m pretty sure. Now I’m just waiting for Auto Bavaria to let me have the car for a weekend so that I can thrash it up the North-South Highway to Ipoh, and back … and then, I can say for sure, the road-holding is second-to-none.
For the time being, BMW brought in a few hundred CBU units from Germany and every one of them has been snapped up. So, for the rest who wants to book, wait for the CKD units (assembled in Kulim, Kedah), expected to roll out in June this year.
The re-styled dashboard… and I absolutely love the joystick aka gearshaft… just a light flick to engage the gear and to park, all you have to do is press “P” – no need to push or shift the gearshaft – so darn cool!
OK… now let me get back to my dream… I want a WHITE one … the 328i will do lah… with RED seats – yes, they have red seats option!