African adventure in a BMW X5You'd normally see the BMW X5 on the school run. So how does it stand up to a real challenge?
[SOUND] [MUSIC] Our love of cars can manifest itself in lots of different ways, from the supercar we had on our bedroom wall posters to the amount of money we scrape together to one day own that classic car we've always treasured. For me, though, cars facilitate some of the most exciting adventures we can still have in 2016. And today is just such a day. We're out here with the BMW Driving Experience where this X5 is going to take us on the adventure of a lifetime. The car will push us, itself, and its body to the limits of what we can possibly handle and together we're going to have one hell of an adventure. Welcome to Namibia. This amazing country is located ont he west coast of southern Africa and we'll be starting our journey in the capital Windhoek from there we'll be heading to Erindi the second largest game reserve in Namibia before cutting across the breath of the country to the Atlantic coast taking in a large variety of driving conditions along the way. Finally before driving home again we will take on the might of the Namib Desert and the epic dunes it has waiting for us. The BMW X5 belongs to that cascary of car they used very, very Yet sold to people who'll rarely take it out in anything more severe than a slight rain storm. That said though these cars can do what they say they can. And we're putting them to the test this week. We have some things in store for you. Some dusty roads which aren't that challenging, but we're going to be going up and down some mountains to this dry river bed. And generally just seeing how much this city slicker can really handle itself in some challenging off road environments. The first challenge for the X5 was the matter fo negotiating a mountainous hill climb on unpaved passes, near treacherous looking drops. Having only very recently got off an intercontinental flight on minimal sleep, it wasn't the best state of mind to be in for this, but we soldiered on. Our 3-liter diesel X5 came with all the mod-coms you associate with modern SUVs, including, crucially in this case, hill descent control. As much as it can be satisfying to control a vehicle entirely by yourself you learn in these sleep deprived moments that having a well oiled machine do the hard work for you can be very welcome indeed. With these mountainous passages Traverse we reached our beds for the night and we caught up on our sleep in anticipation of what Namibia would throw at us next. So you know how it is. You wake up on a Monday morning and you check your to-do list down in the office, maybe email your boss back, finish that spreadsheet. Well, today's not one of those days. [MUSIC] Today To do this included. Drive to work in a dried up riverbed. Now because this is a riverbed, it's sand. A mixture of extremely fine sand at the top and mushy gravely stuff underneath which means that traction is next to none. In order for us to retain some of that traction we've dropped the pressure in our tires down from just over two bar to just one bar. They're riding pretty damn flat to give us the extra traction. But even then [LAUGH] there isn't much to be working with. Preserving momentum is important. [SOUND] [LAUGH] And avoiding those is probably important, as well. Now, the BMW experience, like other such experiences in the world, is one where you can buy a ticket, fly out, and have your adventure. And we're very fortunate to be out here right now with some like minded people having fun in like minded cars. And more than anything else it can be useful to have an extra set of hands around in case something goes wrong. [BLEEP] [MUSIC] Well, that's gonna happen whenever play when you're having Having a lot of fun is that sometimes things can go wrong. And my slightly deflated tire became an incredibly deflated tire and ripped to shreds. And I was sliding around on this riverbed in [UNKNOWN]. We're fixing the tire very quickly, hope from the other people on this tour. I should probably get in both my But having fun. Okay, so the cars aren't indestructible and pushing a car level too high even in the best of circumstances can result in a popped and entirely shredded tire. We are back on this dusty trail, though, and back on track. [MUSIC] Our next waypoint was Aiaiba, an area of astonishing natural beauty where the terrain changed from Savannah plains to what felt like a set straight out of the Flintstones. We were promised a mind-blowing view if we could get our cars to the top of a particularly steep incline. Never one to flinch from a challenge, I pointed the X 5 in the right direction and hit the go pedal. Ascent can be a lot trickier than descent in modern cars. Knowing how much momentum to carry and how much power to apply can be tricky. But the x-5 and our guide got me to the top in one piece. The view at the top was worth it. The heart stopping beauty of this country hit me at every turn. But seeing so much of it from one vantage point was Particularly overwhelming, but it was worth it. That decent just brought us down from what must be one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen in my entire life. It was absolutely breathtaking. I just can't believe the majesty of this, [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND] That is not a healthy sound. There are some bushes here in Namibia with barbs like Stanley knives, and when you get a little bit close, your paintwork does suffer a little bit. This specific area here, In the valley between these ancient mountains, it's very dry and dusty. Inversely during the rainy season this comes to life, but right now it's dusty and barren and the trail we're driving is covered in a thick layer of extremely fine sand which make visibility if there's anything in front of you quite poor And traction are an interesting prospect. It requires a little bit more attention than your average Sunday drive. That's what makes it a lot more fun. Even with drive rates turned on, there's only so much that can be done with a two ton plus car gets thrown around with gay abandon [LAUGH] A bit of opposite [UNKNOWN] has to be kicked in to save you. So, the terrain dictates that I take a little bit more control than the car would like to necessarily give over to me. So it turns off DFC so there are fewer driver aids Holding me back are protecting me, depending on your point of view. And the difficulty is, is that this terrain is incredibly slippy. And this car is not the lightest. And we're trying to cram in so much that we're possible that we're putting our foot down. So, [BLANK_AUDIO] sometimes You have to react quickly to changing circumstances. And the dust is forming thick clouds that were [INAUDIBLE] to drive through, so off an obstacles are coming up at very short notice. Add to that the possibility that around any given corner, there could be a wild animal right there in the road. As we've already seen multiple times in this trip. Apparently, that's one of the easiest way to die in Africa if you hit an animal that as big as in you. [MUSIC] Unfortunately, in Africa, there are many of those. And a lot of them play around on the road. [MUSIC] [SOUND] Our route took us to a cooper mine with a windy road that felt like it had been hewed out of the rocks themselves. And after blasting through these fantastically fun tracks, we found ourselves at another riverbed. This one belonging to the Vakrop River. Following this would take us all the way to the ocean. So we ploughed on through this canyon with a promise of one last adventure tomorrow, the dunes of the Namib Desert. [MUSIC] So this trip has been full of absolutely amazing experiences, and it's going to To an end. But just to top it all off, just before we head back home, we've come to the coast of Namibia. Near the town of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay where the dunes meet the ocean to do some dune driving. I've been given specific briefings and we have a guide up ahead because apparently the Difference between an area that's perfectly safe to drive in and an area that is incredibly dangerous to drive in can be as little as a few meters. For those purposes, I am exceptionally glad that we have a very knowledgeable guide with us. But that aside, it's going to be me and the car trying to over Come what have been described to me as some pretty epic dunes, so, let's see what it can do. [MUSIC] The two major dangers are getting beached, And rolling, neither of which sound particularly pleasant, neither of which I intend to do, but [UNKNOWN] camera man is under strict instructions, if I roll film first, help later, wouldn't want you to miss it. Please excuse the radio, I cannot turn it off, because without these guys instructions I I'm kind of screwed. Approach the top of the dune diagonally, holy ****. You're going straight downhill, straight. My god. And remember to smile. Whoo-hoo! [LAUGH] My word, I am just sliding down the hill. Good job! Will do indeed. [LAUGH] And stop and wait there. That was rollercoaster steep. That was just a solid mountain of sand I just drove down. It felt like it was almost vertical. It couldn't have been that many degrees off. Everything's in one piece. Let's do another. [MUSIC] This adventure took me places I never thought I'd visit and gave me experiences I'll carry with me forever. The mountainous terrains and their amazing views, the Savanna and the wildlife took my breath away. Sights so vast they were hard to take in fully and an experience I will never forget. The driving experiences I have had this week have been unbelievable. The sights, the sensations have been something I never thought I'd ever have, but for me the real surprise for me was how How well the X5 has behaved in these incredibly challenging circumstances. Nothing we've thrown at it has brought it down in any shape or form. And whilst we've been pooning through the dunes, tearing through safari territory and driving down dried out river beds, this has kept us going in comfort the entire way. A car that was designed to be used [INAUDIBLE] On the score run can be just as home out here in Namibia. It's nothing short of incredible and this week has been amazing. [MUSIC]