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BMW Introduces X5 Drving School at Performance Center

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Jan. 14 -- Driving lessons are taking a new turn at the BMW Performance Center, with the introduction of the X5 driving school. Designed to help X5 drivers get the most out of BMW's new Sports Activity Vehicle, the class offers essential lessons in handling and safety for drivers of all sports utility vehicles.

``Getting behind the wheel has a whole new meaning at the X5 driving school,'' said Tom Strahs, Driving School Manager at the BMW Performance Center. ``Using our specially-built 'Other Roads' course, students will experience a winding 1.4 mile route with gravel, water and dirt trails that simulate a variety of road conditions. These exercises, combined with lessons on a paved course, will provide participants with a thorough understanding of vehicle dynamics.''

In a novel approach for demonstrating transfer of weight of the Sports Activity Vehicle, BMW developed the teeter-totter, on which participants learn to balance the X5 and drive safely on uneven surfaces. While driving on and off the teeter-totter, participants also learn to maintain precise vehicle control at slow speeds.

``Key to this course is knowing the center of gravity and how it impacts driving in a vehicle with advanced handling,'' explained Strahs. ``Participants are able to learn and practice using the X5's many advanced features such as Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Brake Control, and All Wheel Drive.''

Other lessons include: handling rock angles up to 45 degrees, and learning safe river-crossing techniques and Hill Ascent Control and Hill Descent Control on uneven surfaces using BMW traction systems. The ``Other Roads'' course also includes cornering at ground speeds at gravel surfaces and ground clearance limits.

Paved road lessons for the X5 school feature vehicle control at varying speeds, accident avoidance maneuvers and an autocross lesson that demonstrates weight transfer and balance. The road course can be configured 35 different ways and uses special features not found in most driver training programs. For example, students learn how to control a vehicle on an ultra-smooth concrete skidpad, which produces a slippery surface that simulates black ice. Accident avoidance maneuvers are taught on a water wall corridor -- one of only a few in the world -- where they are ``surprised'' when obstacles ``appear'' in front of their moving vehicles. An emergency braking zone gives students the opportunity to learn the relationship between speed and stopping distance and how to brake with an ABS-equipped vehicle on both wet and dry surfaces. The X5 school is $495 per person, with multiple dates scheduled for 2002. To sign up for any BMW Performance Center program, call 1-888-345-4BMW (x4269).

About the BMW Performance Center

The BMW Performance Center is home to the BMW Driving School, Delivery Program and world-class conference center. Its facilities and programs offer visitors a unique automotive-related experience. At one location, a visitor can tour the $1.6 billion state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, browse the Zentrum museum showcasing more than 75 years of BMW automotive and motorcycle history, host a corporate event and enroll in one of several driving instruction programs.

BMW Group in America

BMW of North America has been present in the United States since 1975. Since then, the BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW, BMW Motorcycles and MINI brands; a South Carolina manufacturing operation; DESIGNWORKS/USA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. The BMW Group is represented in the U.S. through a network of 341 car, 321 Sports Activity Vehicle and 153 motorcycle retailers. BMW US Holding Corp., the Group's headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.