For the past ten years, BMW has been rolling up to one of the world’s most elite proving grounds and converting more than 40 hectares of stunning snow-capped alps into pristine playgrounds for high horsepower, tyre-sliding fun.
BMW Alpine Experience each year revisits picturesque Queenstown with a focus on thrills, hospitality and pure unadulterated luxury—sporting an incredible line up of their finest vehicles, which for this most recent 10th anniversary extended beyond just the X series and included the M, and M performance range. An expansive fleet dripping with adrenaline, these cars were open to participants for a total of nine days, available for them to test their driving skills in the hot seat, alongside professional BMW instructors, across slaloms, high-speed hot laps, ice drifting, figure eights and road-course layouts.
The snow-covered racetrack positioned 1,500m above sea level between Queenstown and Wanaka, is part of the iconic, industry renowned Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds. It was here that drivers were given the ultimate test as they drew on all the patience, precision and skills necessary to control the slide of their vehicle across the Southern Alps’ snowy vista. Whether a seasoned motor-head or a novice looking to elevate their experience, they got a taste of the same track that remains a highly sought-after winter test centre for the global automotive industry.
Participants were transported to the proving grounds with an exhilarating helicopter ride where M range models like the BMW X7 xDrive40i M Sport, X7 M50d, and M850i xDrive were all ready, waiting to push through the ice. On the flight up, guests were treated to views of barren tussock landscapes with snow-capped peaks rising high above the ski resorts and vineyards of Central Otago. Nothing but New Zealand’s storied scenery led up to the big moment, landing on the SHPG grounds.
After the driving experience comes the traditional end of the day where guests gather for a big celebration dinner at one of Central Otago’s finest establishments, followed by a relaxing stay in luxury accommodation.
This year, the full BMW Alpine Experience wasn’t able to go ahead due to warmer than usual weather conditions in Queenstown—which unfortunately meant less than adequate driving conditions. Had things been different, this year would have seen its first-ever night drive experience amongst fire installations and a spectacular display of M-car headlights dancing across the Southern Alps. Let’s hope that for their 11th year, BMW will re-attempt the M Town extension of the already electrifying BMW Alpine Experience.