An artist's impression of the upcoming BMW X lifestyle park at Waterfall City, Johannesburg. (BMW South Africa)
  • BMW is currently constructing a lifestyle park where its 4x4 drivers will be able to test their driving skills. 
  • The park features varied obstacle courses which will put the BMW X-range off-roading capabilities to the test. It will also include other facilities such as play areas for kids.
  • We checked out three courses - and drove across rocks, logs, water and soft sand.

A new BMW "lifestyle park" in Waterfall Park, Johannesburg, looks set for completion next month. 

BMW X-range drivers will be able to take their sport utility vehicles for off-road adventures without having to leave the city.

The 4,600 square meter facility will have thirteen different obstacle courses. 

See also: This is what it looks like inside the massive Pretoria BMW factory, which produces 15 luxury SUVs per hour

The BMW X3 on one of the driving obstacle courses at the X lifestyle park at Waterfall City, Johannesburg. (BMW South Africa)

Business Insider SA test-drove the BMW X3, which has been constructed at the local Rosslyn factory, on three of the off-road courses:

Course 1 — Driving on soft sand

The X3 gearing to take on soft sand. (Timothy Rangongo/Business Insider SA)

Soft sand makes for very tricky terrain to drive on and BMW's driving instructors advised us to switch to sports manual mode, and to switch the traction control systems off because "in soft sand, you need to have the wheels spinning a little bit".

We used the throttle relatively aggressive to built up momentum - in order to have constant throttle application. The driving instructors cautioned us not to go on and off the throttle as we would dig ourselves into the sand.

We were also advised to keep steering wheel motions to a minimum for such a terrain.


Course 2 — Driving over rocks and logs

The X3 about to take on the rocks.

This course exposes the SUV to an ultra-rugged terrain of rocks. Going at it one wheel at a time and maintaining traction on the other three wheels as much as possible, we made use of some momentum to slowly carry the weight of the car through the obstacle.

After tussling with the X3 past the rocks, what awaits towards the end of the first course is a hair-raising bridge of very narrow logs - for which one has to perfectly straighten all four wheels to drive across. 

The BMW X3 being driven on rocks and logs. (Twitter)


Course 3 — Driving across water

The BMW X3 being submerged 50 cm deep into a simulated dam. (Twitter)

The water course is one of the most nerve wrecking if you've never driven into a large body of water before. BMW built a simulated dam for which the car is submerged a little over 50 cm deep in the water as it's driven across. 

The key here, according to BMW's driving instructors, is activating the low-range 4-wheel drive and entering the water as gently as possible. Driving across the water at a steady pace generates and maintains a bow wave (indication of a good water crossing). Also, never stop in the middle of the water.

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