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Reader test: BMW 120i

2010-03-16 08:51

Peter Taylor, Wellington

I was on my way to Baviaanskloof and I was going in my BMW 120i with dynamic stability control, run flat tyres and a host of other features.

I left Wellington at about 6.00am and travelled to De Rust on the R62 where I filled up and continued in an easterly direction, joined the N9 in a northerly direction for a short distance and then I saw the sign that I was looking for - Baviaanskloof.

The road started off very pleasantly and I was in high spirits. There were quite a lot of drifts and they were all dry initially and most were signposted but occasionally one or two weren’t and they would appear out of nowhere. Thankfully the BMW 120i also has ABS brakes along with the other aforementioned features so no problem except for the heart rate which increased dramatically every time one of these appeared.

After rounding a corner through a cutting I passed a bakkie traveling in the opposite direction and that was the last vehicle or person I saw until I got to Patensie. Shortly after seeing the bakkie I saw a sign which made me stop and take a photo.

As I was in a hot hatch and not a sedan, I continued on my way!

The terrain and scenery was becoming more spectacular by the kilometer. The drifts were no longer dry and before each one I got out and waded through to the other side to make sure that it was navigable.

After a while I passed a turnoff to Geelhoutbos and the road started climbing. In the bush on the left and hardly noticeable is a sign which reads “Dangerous mountain pass 7 km”. The road wound up the mountain through a series of sharp bends and steep inclines and this is where the DSC traction control showed its true colours.

I was impressed with the way the power was sent to the rear wheel with the most traction to get me over what seemed like impossible terrain. I crawled all the way to the top, breathed a sigh of relief and started my descent down the just as treacherous eastern slope of the pass.

The 1 Series is the baby BMW and this is probably why I managed to get through the mighty Baviaanskloof unscathed. The wheel base is very short and there is virtually no overhang front or rear with all four wheels right on each corner giving the vehicle very good approach and departure angles. The “DSC” Traction Control was my saving grace though, because this is almost as good as a diff lock.

The overall trip was 2 347 km and the BMW 120i had an average fuel consumption of 7.7l/100km.

What a car!

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