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Old 20th October 2011, 23:45   #1
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Default Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

BMW India has been on a roll, for quite some time, especially since its foray into the 20.XX Lakh SUV market with the X1. Now the X range has been expanded further with the X3 (it comes with the Xdrive system).

BMW held an event called BMW Xperience, primarily to showcase its new launches, and also generate interest among the clientèle about the BMW X-Drive system.

At this event, I also interacted with Dr. Andreas Schaaf, India head of operations for BMW. I had gone for the X-perience, and also understand, what drives BMW, and how are they going to steer themselves over the next few years.

The starting of the event was of course, all about the newly launched X-3, the smallest of the X-drive equipped SUVs in India. The new X3 is not really a mini X5, as it used to be, its actually now much bigger.

This also means a price close to the X5, if you take the 258BHP diesel. At 47 lakhs ex showroom, its only marginally less than the 53L X5!

And if these two are too plain jane for you, then you always have the option of spending almost 70L on the 30d powered X6.

But since this event was more about showcasing the X3, the main display cars were all X3s.

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The end of the song and dance marked the start of the Press conference

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The BMW X3, being presented on the stage.
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If you have keen eyes, you will see that the fuel efficiency is prominently displayed on the sides.
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Truly a sign of the times when a 40+L oil burner showcases fuel efficiency of 16.09kmpl boldly!
Another pic of the X3. Due to smaller size and cleaner lines, its actually quite a looker
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Dr Schaaf shared with us some future plans about BMW India, and also the current performance of the company in India
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Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2011 at 09:23. Reason: Small corrections
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Old 20th October 2011, 23:50   #2
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Default BMW - Future plans

Regarding the future, BMW is going to introduce the 330d convertible in the market, in the hopes of starting a "new segment".
The display piece parked there
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The big announcement was the Mini Cooper, not exactly a secret. Right not its not decided what variant will come, and market research is going on, but the pricing front was a real "duh" moment. 25 lakhs. Yes.
Thats 2.5 million Rs. for a car that competes with the like of Polo Sport.

BMW plans to have exclusive showrooms, and capitalize on the cult status of the car.

I clearly asked them, just like X1 in SUV segment, are they planning to come to the sub 20L segment with the 1 series. The answer is no, because in India, people consider a hatch as an economy car, and not something associated with a luxury brand.

But he was quick to add, that Mini is different. Well that the market will tell.

Finally, the press conference ended, and the X-perience began. The briefing was short and crisp. We would be two people in the car (random selection if you are alone), and instructions will be relayed over walky talkie.

The chose of cars was simple. X3, X5 and X6. Choose any one to start with, and then rotate.

The final briefing
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Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2011 at 09:25. Reason: Small corrections
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Old 20th October 2011, 23:52   #3
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Default Re: BMW Xdrive experience 2011 - Gurgaon

And finally, it was now time to get into our cars.
BMW techs had devised a simple round robin scheme, such that everyone gets to try each of the cars.
So there were two people in each car, and there were total of four cars. At the end of every odd lap, the left and right would change places, and then at every even lap you would go to the car in front.

I decided to take the very first lap.
The X3 was parked in the end of the convoy, so I could easily get it, my co-pilot was okay with me taking the plunge first.

Now the X3, is usually called the Baby X5, but this baby is seriously overgrown. Unless you look carefully, the differences between the X5 and X3 are actually pretty subtle. The X3 is not significantly smaller either.

At the other end of the spectrum sits the X6, which... looks different. You cannot confuse it with either X3, or X6, or anything else. Infact, its so different, that even if one came to you in pitch dark with lights off, you would know its an X6.

Coming back to our "lap", the first thing I noticed was that the tires were highway spec on all the SUVs. Sure, the challenges also looked pretty tame, and there was no "real slush" section either, so it should be okay.

So it was time to forget the exterior and get into the X3 for now.
After pressing a million buttons, I was able to get a very comfortable driving position.
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The controls are spot on, the auto shifter is sharp and slick, and the best thing of all, it had the latest Xdrive package. So you get a HOLD button, a hill descent control and hill ascent control as well.

Hold means if you press the brakes on incline, and then release them, the car will not roll. The wheels will be held in position.
Hill descent and ascent assist are the regular stuff. Having hold means you do not really need hill ascent assist, but this had both, and I am not sure what it accomplished.
Hill descent control means, you do not have to lock transmission in first gear manually.

And I am sure it works on the brakes too.

As soon as the radio blared instructions, it was time to move. We were asked to take it slowly, and surprisingly everybody took it slowly. And it made sense too. Only if you do it real slow, you feel the wheels lifting one by one.
Ditto for the rollers.

Coming to the track, it was a simple affair, with various sections designed to showcase the offroad prowess of the Xdrive system.
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The list of challenges
1. Wheel slip
Two sets of rollers. You align your car in a way that the right two wheels have no traction. The system will transfer power to left wheels. Something like on demand diff locks.
2. Mogul course - Basically an articulation challenge
3. Dry river bed - Stony surface
4. Hill - Steep hill to demonstrate HOLD, Ascent and descent
5. Water bed - Driving in 2 inches of water? OR was it 4 inches. Frankly speaking went over my head
6. Side slop - 30 degree side slope to show the low CG
7. Rumblers - Two speed breakers to demonstrate what you get on our state highways(only slightly lower I think)
8. Vertical limit - A small hill, I could not figure out what
9. Sand bed - A bed of hard sand, which was supposed to be soft sand, but became hard, and then was totally useless from Xdrive purpose
10. Not on the map, but another articulation challenge.

The first lap, was nice. Nice in a way that you feel that the car can actually do a lot lot more. For example the two rollers. Why not put and entire line of them?

And the dry river bed. Why not put some real rocks here and there.
The hill looked okay, it was steep, but not heart in your mouth kind of steep. The articulation challenges were nice, but softer sand would have made things interesting.

So all in all, a decent setup, but not really pushing the machine to its limits.

Anyways, driving the beemer was a hoot. Torque literally on demand, with no turbo lag, and effortless steering and speed control.

And the way the machines did everything was a delight. In a regular 4WD you think a lot. Low ratio, high ratio? 1st gear high or 3rd low, diffs locked or open, front locked or rear locked.... blah blah

However, in the X3, I just had the hold and hill ascent/descent activated. Thats it. When she lifted her wheels, I did not have to sweat about which wheel lost traction. At the Mogul section, I let go of the accelerator, pressed brake and then released it. The hold function working, she is hanging with FRH wheel in the air. Then I shake myself in the seat, and the FRH wheel comes down and the rear left goes up.
Give the throttle, and you go forward.

A total hoot.
I am very sure, offroad purists are now staring at the screens with anger and disgust. Something like a machine should not have such decision making power.
But trust me, give a set of proper A/T tires, and a moderately experienced driver, this machine can truly go places. What it lacks in terms of articulation(which is actually nill), it makes up for with its Xdrive system.

Unfortunately, its not a high speed track, so I cannot really comment how this system will behave on a high speed twisty dirt track(think RAID-D-Himalaya), but as far as off roading is concerned, its pretty much on the spot.

After the lap is over, I decide not to jump out immediately, but sit as a co driver and experience it all from a passenger standpoint.

This means I can actually take some in car pics.
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The three legged dance of another BMW, shot from the side window
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At the top of the hill in the ascent/descent challenge.
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The "30 degree" incline. According to BMW, you can actually go at 40 degree climb, but this course is more like a kindergarten course.
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At the completion of the lap, its time for the X6. Now X6, is a truly different animal. You either love it or hate it. That said, with its ultra wide low profile tires, and the low set stance, it was really looking out of place among its SUVish siblings.

And the way it drove was also quite different. Suspension was "Hard", and unlike the X3, it just sort of "slammed" into the ditches, rather than enter them with tender love and care.
And it just had a "hold" button. No Hill descent control, or ascent control. Now if those settings were hidden in the menus, I am not sure, but we managed quite well with the hold button.

After one lap, and a sore back, I decided to walk the the co-pilot lap, and take pictures from outside!

More on that later. I have quite a few videos, and pictures, showing the machines in action, but let me cover the last machine.

The big daddy X5. Now BMW says its not a SUV. What is it? Minivan? MUV. No not that either before you faint in horror. Its actually a SAV, or sports activity vehicle. IT has a hold button, with no obvious hill descent or hill ascent button.
And as I drove it I decided to test something. I put the tranny in 1st gear, rather than automatic "D".
And guess what, I go the exact same experience. This means, the Xdrive system knows which gear to engage, and when to engage.

But whats an event without some excitement. And as I was driving the X5, panic mayday calls came over the radio. Our X3, the one we had driven before, had started giving warnings of failures. Xdrive failure, transmission failure, TCS failure, and maybe even the cup holders failed.
Our "handlers" were quite unfazed. Just switch it off and on. And that was it.
Everything back to normal.

So I guess, BMW may have some gremlins under the hood which require sorting, esp with the new X3 system.

And so ended our drive. And now its time for the action pics.
I ate a lot of dust trying to get these, but it was as much fun shooting, as it was fun driving!

Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd October 2011 at 22:00.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 22:42   #4
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Default Xdrive X-perience : Lights, Camera, Action!

The first video I shot was of the Rollers challenge


And then, I spent some time roaming around the track, trying to catch the machines in section.

Lets start with articulation challenge.
Traditionally, in purist circles, an articulation challenge is designed to be favorable to vehicles with excellent articulation, i.e. the ability to have all its wheels at different level.
Modern SUVs, esp the ones loaded with electronics, and designed for the road, have hardly any articulation. A traditional jeep, with such on road tires, and suspension setup which does not allow any significant articulation will struggle, and just spin its wheels.
Not these machines.

Here you see an X6 with stricly on road tires, lifting her FRH wheel
Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)-dsc3071-xl.jpg

And then she stopped moving, the driver let her hang in there.
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And then as she moved forward, the rear right goes up.
Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)-dsc3076-xl.jpg

Here we have the X3 doing the leg lift. Articulation is not totally absent(like X6), but then its not nearly as good as traditional SUVs.
Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)-dsc3078-xl.jpg

The hill challenge. I wish they had made the hill 20 degrees steeper.
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Going down
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The rumblers
They resemble village or SH speed breakers. Atleast thats what they looked like to me. I did not even understand the purpose? Take me to state highways and I won't bust my belly?
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Walking further, I come to the other articulation challenge.
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Here you see the X5 doing the three legged dance. Notice the undercarriage. Its protected. Really protected.
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Here is another shot from the other challenge area
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The white vertical thingy you see is a giant mirror. Using this you can see the wheels lift. A neat idea I must say

Some more random shots from around the track

The X6:
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In contrast, the X5:
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The signature grill and logo
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The X5 grill
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The unholy trinity, X5 X6 X3 from LHS to RHS

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The collection
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X6 doing the three legged dance
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The control center of the X3
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The X6 innards
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The clean lines of the X3
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The X5 has a more classic side look
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And I will refrain from making any comments about the side profile of X6
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A diagram about X-drive.
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Going totally offtrack here. The 330D interiors
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And this ends our Photo session.
Time for the videos I guess?

Articulation challenge 1


Number 2


The 30 degree angle challenge demo


X6 doing the dance

Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2011 at 09:28. Reason: Small corrections
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Old 23rd October 2011, 22:53   #5
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Default So... What is X-Drive

Car companies usually promise you the moon. No doubt about that. But in the end, the question remains. Does X-Drive really work? Whats it potential? What can I do with the X-powered SUVs?

Well let me answer some questions for you.
Do you have any interest in doing bad roads? If so, do not even think about the X6. Its a machine made for no purpose, except look weird, and go fast, and jar occupants with its stiff suspension. Its a SUV which wants to be a sports car and ends up being neither.
If you like weird things, then do buy it, but then BMW does not offer it in shocking pink. A pink X6, will really look perfectly weird, esp with sparkling stars graffity.

But if you want an SUV, then you do have the X3, and X6.

Now to be fair, I doubt many people will plunge their X-series BMWs into dictches or through shrubs, but then, there are many terrains, which require offroading abilities, yet are light on the body.

And this is where these will excel. Mud, Slush, sand, rocky trails, ice, snow? The BMW Xs will go where probably very few other SUVs can go.

And the reason they can do all that is Xdrive.
Its a system, which works as intended. You literally have diff locks on command. Even if one wheel gets traction, you are through, thats the beauty of the X.

And over and above of doing it, there is also the way of doing it. The Xdrive makes it kind of idiot proof. You let it decide, and it will make the correct decision. you can trust this system. It understands, what needs to be done when.

After a few laps around the track, the articulation challenge area had deep pits where the SUVs momentarily spun their wheels. Multiple times. I landed there and let go of the acclerator. And then gunned the engine to create wheelspin.

I tried to get it stuck.
But she would not get stuck.

This is the beauty of this system.

All you need is one wheel with traction.
And guess what, all these machines were running highway tires. So if you do intend to get one of these for doing the road less travelled, I suggest for a tire change.

That said, new tech always comes in expensive cars first, and then trickles down. Who knows, 20 years from now, we will have simple SUVs running simple technology.

Well more power to the tech!
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Old 24th October 2011, 09:31   #6
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the 4x4 excursions forum. Thanks for sharing, Tanveer!
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Old 25th October 2011, 12:00   #7
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Hi..

It looks like this event happened at DLF-III, The are looks like now stalled 'Mall of India' construction site.

Its walking distance from my house.. I wish I was in India to enjoy this.

Great pictures & Videos.. Thanks for Sharing
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Old 25th October 2011, 12:43   #8
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Nice stuff Tanveer, thanks for sharing! Looks like you came away reasonably impressed

I'd received an invite for 8 pm last Sunday at the same venue for the BMW Xperience. Was flying to Bangalore so couldn't make it. Though I doubt they would have given existing customers as much of an opportunity to "Test" as they gave you guys!
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Old 25th October 2011, 12:47   #9
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Nice one Tanveer. So looks like the X3 is the most capable off-roader in the BMW line up.

The X6 is completely pointless and the X5 is somewhere in between.

None of these SUV's are actual off-road vehicles like the Land rover Freelander2, RR Discovery, Mitsu Montero or Toyota Prado. These look to be luxo soft roaders that can take some bad roads in it's stride.

I think the offroaders on T-BHP will not be impressed with the articulation and probably won't even call this off-roading. lol.
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Old 25th October 2011, 15:05   #10
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Quote:
Originally Posted by manu7781 View Post
Hi..

It looks like this event happened at DLF-III, The are looks like now stalled 'Mall of India' construction site.

Its walking distance from my house.. I wish I was in India to enjoy this.

Great pictures & Videos.. Thanks for Sharing
Venue was close to ambience mall
Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Nice stuff Tanveer, thanks for sharing! Looks like you came away reasonably impressed

I'd received an invite for 8 pm last Sunday at the same venue for the BMW Xperience. Was flying to Bangalore so couldn't make it. Though I doubt they would have given existing customers as much of an opportunity to "Test" as they gave you guys!
Well, I would have been even more impressed if the electronics of one X3 had not failed
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Nice one Tanveer. So looks like the X3 is the most capable off-roader in the BMW line up.

The X6 is completely pointless and the X5 is somewhere in between.

None of these SUV's are actual off-road vehicles like the Land rover Freelander2, RR Discovery, Mitsu Montero or Toyota Prado. These look to be luxo soft roaders that can take some bad roads in it's stride.

I think the offroaders on T-BHP will not be impressed with the articulation and probably won't even call this off-roading. lol.
I think X3 and X5 will fare equally. With proper off road tires, I guess these machines are capable of much more, though not on the level of a Disco with diff locks!
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Old 25th October 2011, 15:34   #11
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Thats a great experience.
I have seen all your videos on your youtube channel before this post

From your posts, it looks like the Xs are quite capable and one can go to the Himalayas and North sikkim without a hitch.
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Old 25th October 2011, 18:26   #12
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

hahaa.. I had my FJ Cruiser with 2.5" lift and did a 35+Deg (Because the meter limited) side slope and didn't tip over.
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Old 25th October 2011, 18:49   #13
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

Guess you had good fun with these beemer's

I agree with Vidyut, they are nowhere close to the offroad category. Sure the gizmo's would allow them to get out of sticky situations but not a vehicle i would want to take on one of the OTR trails or for that matter a jungle safari. Imagine being stuck on a root of a tree with all that weight resting and an elephant chasing

Love the pics!
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Old 25th October 2011, 19:59   #14
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

As great a car as the Mini Cooper is, 25L is nit going to fly. They will sell a few cars as a cult brand, but after that you are faced with the challenge of price and size, along with strong competition in the segment. I own a MCS and while the performance is impressive, it is still a compact hatchback with great handling. Price it right and you haveca winner!
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Old 27th October 2011, 15:06   #15
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Default Re: Report, Pics & Videos : BMW Xdrive experience 2011 (Gurgaon)

WOW !

What a thread & what a detailed coverage.

Short of actually driving the thing, it was almost as good a feel of the whole event as we could have had - sitting in our cabin & not in the cabin of the 'X' !

Definitely - as rightly noted - hard core off-road enthusiasts will not be impressed.

&
90% of the people who will buy these bad boys won't even use 10% of it's prowess !

So - another one of those 'SUV's to be bought by people who don't know what they are buying !


But EXCELLENT brand building exercise by BMW.
Mercedes should learn a lesson or tow.

Although - Mini Cooper @ 25 lakhs ! WHAT ?
Another Beetle?
The Fiat 500 did have its prices slashed later.
But this pricing is just atrocious. Ridiculously stupid.

Would have loved to have a Mini Cooper someday.

P.S. - the 320D Convertible has my curiosity piqued. Any word on pricing ?
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