After the friendly BMW team takes the group's luggage, we're guided to a classroom. Here, we meet two enthusiastic driving instructors who begin what's best described as Driver's Ed Plus. The training is all about proper seating position, hand placement on the steering wheel, ABS use, and stability control intervention. When it's time to drive, the school provides a vehicle similar to the one you're picking up. The reasoning here, which the teachers strongly emphasize, is that you're free to push hard because you aren't risking your new car with all of six miles on its odometer.
The driving portion consists of a short handling course, an ABS drill, and a wet skidpad. To teach proper emergency stopping, the instructors have us enter a turn at 40 mph and grenade the brake pedal, and after each successive run, they bump up the speed in 5-mph increments. The process builds important muscle memory and familiarization with ABS intervention, a sensation that's far too alien to many commuters.
On the wet skidpad, the instructors demonstrate the effectiveness of BMW's Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with 3 Series sedans. With the system deactivated, we're asked as we lap the circle at 40 mph to flatfoot the throttle. After promptly zipping backwards off the skidpad, the instructors activate DSC and tell us to do the same. This time, with the throttle pinned to the floorboard, we can feel the system modulating the brakes on each wheel, preventing slip. We never lose traction.
After two hours of instruction, excitement falls over the group when we learn it's time to meet our cars. A BMW employee guides each new owner to the office where his or her car sits. After verifying and signing paperwork for the last time, they receive an in-depth look into the vehicle's particulars, from iDrive to how the various contraptions in the luggage compartment work. The thoroughness of a knowledgeable representative walking you through each aspect of the car, helping you learn how to use it in detail, is something that every car buyer should be able to experience.