Taking my BMW to its 1st proper car meet: Adrenaline, revs & huge grins

The M340is, modified 530d, 320d, and 328i let out demonic roars, the 760li flew into oblivion, my E90 pushed me back into my seat.

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BMW. Three letters every enthusiast recognise and want in their garage.

It has been a while since we have brought Popcorn home and yet it still feels like the honeymoon phase is going on. Driving in Mumbai, one has to keep a calm composure. For guys like me, driving in automatic is comfortable, no question; but how often and where can we pull out the full potential of a machine? I had quite enough of driving slow and I wanted to unleash the inner speed demon.

And then I attended my first BMW owner’s meet.

There are no better speed demons than this bunch. Drifts, peel outs and burnouts, pops and bangs, power modifications, blinker fluid; nothing can be compared to a BMW in these departments. Whenever I played any Need For Speed games and I was engaged in a cop chase, my favourite dialogues that were prompted by the AI were “The suspect is in a BMW XXXXX” and “Send backup, we cannot keep up”. Not that I want to reenact my video games, and go to jail; the possibility of getting a speed ticket kind of excited me. And with a whole bunch of retro and modern Beemers, it sounded like a treat.

After the admins spent a week planning the drive, we were to assemble outside a popular enthusiast meetup late one Sunday evening. I was quite excited as this was the first time I would be attending a proper car meet where my very own car would be part of the convoy. It was quite nerve-racking as well, as I knew the people who I would be accompanying were serious veteran drivers. After spending the whole morning cleaning the car, I waited through the day for the evening to arrive. Covers off, diesel refuelled, tyres filled with air; I made a move for the drive. After driving through some traffic, the Victorian ghost towns of Fort and Ballard Estate were a welcome change.

From what I had encountered in the past, I often found these groups and meets majorly attended by older gentlemen, but this was not the case. The group members’ age varied from someone as young as me to a gentleman probably in his fifties. The whole atmosphere was lively, with conversations ranging from our respective BMWs to the modifications done on our cars.

The night was young, the engines were primed, and it was time to go. The route: Eastern Expressway and back. I was at the tail of the convoy and the sight in front of me was a profligate display of BMWs.

The cars that were in front of me:

  1. F02 760li
  2. Two G20 M340i XDrive
  3. Sleeper spec F30 320d
  4. F30 330i M Sport
  5. Modified F10 530d
  6. The "Flash F30" 328i
  7. E34 525 TDS
  8. G02 X4 M Sport XDrive30i
  9. and a Panamera that was featured on the site a few weeks back (yes, there was a Porsche in a BMW meet, not that I’m complaining)

We stealthily left Ballard Estate, but we made our presence known through our exhausts, pops and bangs, and stage tunes. The dials on all the cars had turned red, and all hell had broken broke loose. The M340is, modified 530d, 320d, and 328i let out demonic roars, the 760li flew into oblivion and my E90 pushed me back into my seat. Flybys and flaunts were visible to the naked eye, and a sea of kidney grills left many motorists excitable. A few started following our convoy, and a few more tried to have a race with me and a few other cars. It felt like I was part of those Russian style electro music videos.

My concentration was at an all-time high, it felt as if a switch inside me had been flipped. All my worries before the drive had faded away, I felt one with my car; I could flit across the expressway in a jiffy. The engine felt like it had “Mugen” (unlimited) power and it could go on endlessly. The acceleration was both exciting and seductive, and engaging the Sports and Manual mode of the gearbox was a joy. The speedometer had gone beyond the halfway markers, and the car just kept on giving me the confidence that it could pull further. I cornered through the curves like a gymnast, the steering response was tight and precise. This was the legendary handling of the E90 that many people spoke to me about, it felt so natural I did not have to think about it.

I was also observing the other cars of the fleet as we drove on. Three particular cars won over me that evening:

F02 760Li: A perfect summary of it would be a limousine that can do voodoo magic. I had a hard time keeping up with it. The N74 engine in this can make 536 bhp and its power delivery is instantaneous. The car was so glib in its movement, I lost track of it within the first five minutes of the expressway. It is a sad thing that the BMW V12’s orchestra has reached its swan song, but after seeing this car in action, I don’t think we enthusiasts can say goodbye to such a brilliant motor. Unless synthetic fuels say otherwise, these engines will live on in the memories and hearts of those who can enjoy them while they still can.

G02 X4: This car was a surprise packet altogether. For an SUV or a crossover, it had the agility of a butterfly blade. The owner of the car had taken an identical X4 for a road trip down south, and his accounts made me wonder are we getting harsh about the move to SUVs and Crossovers. Granted that there are more of these than Sedans and Wagons (BMW and other manufacturers if you’re reading this, give us Indians a few fast wagons and Alpina cars), but the more I see these cars performing on the road the more tempting they seem. The X6 M, Urus and the upcoming Ferrari Purosangue are proof of this.

M340i XDrive: a 3er I really fanboy over, this car is just marvellous. The B58 straight-six is a morose banger, no wonder Toyota has taken it for the Supra. The all-wheel drive is an added bonus. It makes you sweat to keep up with these cars. The exhaust note is heavenly, especially when the car is equipped with an M Sport exhaust. When we finished the drive, we were joined by a member with an M340i equipped with this exhaust. He had parked beside a stock exhaust M340i and the two cars compared this. Besides the M Sport exhaust, he shared an interesting piece of information with us: the early allocation of the M340i in India came with a slightly louder pops and bangs tune due to EU regulations allowing it at that time.

I don't know how they do it, but Bavaria manages to create the very best driver's machine. Throughout the entire drive all the cars, despite varying in power, managed to keep up with each other and build each other's momentum. It felt like an Above and Beyond set; the progression perfectly rose and dropped, but the energies keep on rising. We returned to the starting point, chatted for a bit and made a move, bringing a dynamic start to the week that followed.

These are the moments which leave an everlasting image in the mind and inspire us to do more. By the end of this drive, I can say that my libido and testosterone levels were raised. The adrenaline, revs, and speed left a huge grin. It felt like I owned the road and no one could touch me. This has left me with an urge to further work upon Popcorn and turn it into a purebred sleeper. What more lies in the future, let’s see; the potential is really high. In the back of my mind, I can already see my next Beemers. What spectacular machines these cars are!

Here's what BHPian Dr.AD had to say on the matter:

Wow! These are some amazing cars! Lovely cars and a lovely meet. Thanks for sharing this report.

Such early morning meets are great fun, and I can imagine how much fun it would have been chasing such a lineup of cars and listening to those sounds.

Maybe someday I would love to drive my BMW to Mumbai and be a part of such a meeting too.

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