Taking all-new BMW 4 Series Coupé for a drive
Pretoria - I am not a motoring journalist who can talk the torque but I do enjoy a nice drive in a fancy car at a nice place.
So, after the pressures of recent months, I thought “why not?” when I received an invitation from BMW to attend the launch of the new BMW 4-Series … especially as it entailed a day trip away from my dining room table home-office.
As I parked at ORT early on Wednesday morning I realised the last time I’d been at the airport was in January and it was strange to see the empty main arrivals hall and sad to note some shops (including Woolies) have closed down.
It was a bit busier in terminal B and there was coffee to be bought at Vida e as I waited to board FA292. Our group of five were met outside Cape Town airport (only passengers are allowed in the terminal buildings) and driven in the comfort of two 7 Series to Lanzerac Estate in the winelands where we enjoyed a light lunch and briefing about the three models of the new BMW 4 Series: Coupé (420i and 420D), Convertible and Gran Coupé.
The cars sell at a range from R755 400 and R848 300 depending on sport-kit specs, with the Gran Coupé going for a cool R1.1m.
We heard more about the history and popularity of the evolving 4-Series, its latest technology, handling, driver comfort, assistance features and target audience ... at which point we were itching to go outside and see the cars for ourselves.
There three sporty cars were waiting - gleaming in the sunlight - so, of course, we first took pictures of the cars (and of us with the cars) before pairing up for the test drive.
As the odd one out (the only woman, the only non-motorhead, new to this kind of thing and suddenly feeling a bit apprehensive about my driving skill) I approached the men to ask if I could “navigate” for one of them instead.
So it turned out that I got to spend a pleasant afternoon with Vivien Natasen behind the wheel of the 440i and later the 420D as we drove a 280km scenic route past many well known wineries, towns and landmarks, over the Franschhoek pass and back to the airport through the stunning Overberg area.
As Vivien put the cars through their paces, commenting on performance aspects, we chatted away. He is an innovation specialist who founded Neo Africa, a lover of supercars, and a new dad, so we spoke of children and cars, disruption, corruption, media and all manner of things ... realising that we had, in fact, met previously at an event in Pretoria.
I was a useless navigator, missing many of the cues in the booklet we’d been given but it didn’t matter as my driver has a home in Cape Town so knew the roads well and, when I urged him to go faster or asked him to stop so I could take a photo, he was happy to do so.
I won’t say out loud where the needle reached as we may be hauled in for questioning by the cops, but to say I was very comfortable in the passenger seat, felt super-safe as the car is built for speed and has great road holding, and I had an experienced driver at the wheel.
For a few hours I could simply allow myself to forget about work, wind down the window, admire the view and smell the sea.
If you, the reader, want tech specs, do look out for our motoring editor Willem van der Putte’s review next week or go on the bmw.co.za website. If you have the lifestyle and can afford it, I suggest you go on your own test drive.
Pretoria News Weekend