Last Saturday morning I was walking through the village about to get my daily bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel from the main base lodge when I noticed BMW had set up a luxurious display in the courtyard. They had the First-Ever X-2 parked right next to the fire pit, and the all-new X-3 mounted 15 feet in the air on a trailer pedestal. Underneath the X-3, were plasma TVs, and Free Espresso. I went to go check it out simply for the free espresso, and ended up mounting 5 GoPro cameras to a BMW X-3 before going for an off-road spin.
I got into the X-3 with Professional NASCAR Driver James Bickford and headed to the golf course parking lot. When I first struck up a conversation with James on the way over, I asked him what he does for BMW. “I just drive for BMW, but I’m really a professional race car driver” he replied as he punched the pedal from 0-40 miles per hour in under 2 seconds down the access road.
James is only 19 years old, so when he told me he was a professional NASCAR driver, I almost laughed and replied, “Yeah…and I’m an aspiring screenwriter”. But I did a Google search on him, and he was no joke. He couldn’t have been a more legit race car driver. His wiki page outlines his entire career, over 6,000 followers on Instagram, and his cousin is Jeff Gordon. Ever heard of him?
I was unsure about riding shotgun with a teenager behind the wheel of a car. But after seeing some of the stuff this kid did with a car on YouTube, I looked over to him and said “I want you to drive like we’re running from the cops, and film this.”
There was a course outlined with cones as we pulled into the parking lot. There was no sign of gravel or cement anywhere. The lot was riddled with snow and ice. James reassuringly said “Don’t worry, We’re going to get rid of all those cones. I’m going to show you what these things can really do in the snow.”
We got rid of all the cones, mounted 3 GoPros on the exterior of the car, 2 on the dashboard, and put the snow sled in drive.
James stomped his foot on the pedal. I was expecting my neck to slam back into the back of the headrest. But it laid still. Outside you saw all the snow being kicked up from the tires, smacking against the bumpers. Yet you couldn’t hear a drop of the action. Exterior as tough as a bull, but smoother than a duck on water.
Reaching the end of the parking lot, James would jump on the break and start spinning the wheel like he was turning off a water valve. He would pull the steering wheel as far left as possible, as the back the car swung behind us. As he was whipping the car around, he then started to spin the wheel all the way to the right, straightening out the tires and finishing off a perfect 180…on ice I might add. Once he stuck the landing you know I had to throw out a Talladega Nights quote.
We were doing donuts, we were Tokyo Drifting, and we were spinning all across the ice. Not once did we ever lose control. The tires on the X-3 never lost traction in all that slush. That’s why driving a BMW is like a duck on water. There’s so much going on when you dare to drive through those rugged winter road conditions, but the BMW makes it feel like a drive up the California coast. Be sure to check it out this weekend, these drivers will show you how to tame those German sport sleds in some of the harshest conditions.