It had been a while since our last #DSSCDayOut. The Revelation 01 and coming out of our proverbial closet had us converted into laptop Lucys, as this realisation startled us, we wasted no time in changing our ‘all work no play’ status. However, to make up for missing day-outs regular just won’t do, so we went the DSSC way and moved beyond Delhi’s neighbourhoods straight to Greater Noida’s Buddh International Circuit to experience the stellar BMW M power. Now, car chatter may not be our quotidian, but our BMW M exploits turned us into chuffed power-puffs, and we couldn’t help but share the ride with you.
If Top Gear was a religion, and Jeremy Clarkson the Chief Priest; we’d be the primary devotee. With a recent foray in motorsport-journalism, we knew we were in for a ride (all puns intended) with the able peeps at BMW. As we set foot onto BIC for our BMW M Driver Training, we were welcomed by a trio of high-performance Beemers, the M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe, and the M6 Coupe. All three come with ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) that functions at 12hz as compared to the usual 4hz, and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) with BMW’s MDM (M Dynamic Mode)
Taking in the view, the M wheels had us captivated with their V-spoke light alloys, as the sleek silhouettes of the motor sports cars triggered the driving enthusiast in us. But before we could act on our impulses, the BMW instructors took us through a refresher course in collision avoidance, braking techniques, racing lines, and steering dexterity. Once we were up to speed, we got behind the wheel of an M3 and were promptly thrown into the deep end with some high speed lane changing and drifting.
Within minutes of our first outing in the car, we realised why M is ‘most powerful letter in the world’. The M3 and M4 are powered by BMW’s 3 litre, inline 6 cylinder M TwinPower engine that produces a whopping 431hp and catapults the driver from 0-100 kmph in a blisteringly quick 4.1 secs.
The ‘almost driving into traffic cones’ sensation during fast lane-changing, and nailing the right amount of counter steer to hold a drift got our hearts pumping. This was aided by the impressive dashboard ergonomics, facilitating intuitive control by keeping the driver as the centre point. “The car responds perfectly to my reflexes,” as Mr. Techmeister reported with palpable excitement.
As we moved on to the track, the team switched to the M6 which is a significantly larger vehicle when compared to the M3 and M4. To compensate for the increased weight, BMW have generously fitted it with their 560hp M TwinPower Turbo V8 that gets you from 0-100km/h in no more than 4.2 secs and keeps the M6 from falling behind its more nimble cousins on the track.
We witnessed its power when we pushed the V8 on the 1.2 km long straight to achieve 240km/h with ease, thanks to DSC we didn’t have to worry about spinning off the track. But even though the car’s aerodynamics made us feel like Speed Racer, it was the steering that channeled the vehicle’s sporty inclination. Fit with M Drive buttons for a personalised vehicle setup and right-handed flappy-paddles for both upshifting and downshifting, you can control the entirety of the car’s features without ever having to take your hands off of the steering wheel.
Up next were five different kinds of laps, i.e., training laps, chase laps, individual practice laps, timed laps, and taxi laps. These were in increasing order of driving freedom to gradually allow the drivers to push their cars as far as they could. This also meant an increasing order of exhilaration per lap with the goal of hitting top speeds of 317 km/h for the M3 and M4 and 412 km/h for the M6. the drive was nothing short of Mr. Brew’s description, “Fantastic and mindblowing!”.
Achieving those speeds requires precise gear changes and the 7-gear dual-clutch transmission does not disappoint. The gearboxes easily managed the voluptuous amounts of power and torque thrown at them, allowing us to easily coast past regular driving speeds. It was no surprise then (okay, it was a little) that speeds of 80-90 km/h felt akin to a slow drive, with 50-60 km/h deceiving us into believing that the car is still. But the moment you put your foot down, the M factor comes in with a wallop to accompany your grin as you fly past the grandstand.
With that, our time behind the wheel came to a close. The sting of our reluctant goodbyes was lessened by the taxi laps where we were driven around the track by the BMW instructors, who pushed the cars to extreme limits with some exuberant sharp turns and drifting. Coming full circle, the lead instructor performed donuts; as he swirled the car in circles, we were happy spectators, just the sight of it making us question our driving licenses. That awestruck moment ingrained in our memories, it was time for the trained drivers to receive certificates and doff their hats to the Beemer peeps, to be seen until next time.