It’s always a plus when your BMW media invite begins with: “Meet at Mechanics Bay.” This location generally means a helicopter ride to an event that will undoubtedly be something special. In this case, I was correct with the event but thanks to the weather gods not playing ball, incorrect with the chopper. Still, being chauffeur driven in a new BMW X7 to one of the most amazing looking homes in Auckland came a very close second.
Nestled near Tanglewood Retreat just north of Waimauku, is a personally owned luxurious abode that BMW NZ had acquired for a few days. It’s a modern yet minimalistic venue that oozes opulence, boasts one of (if not the) largest man-made lake in NZ and a place that grows the ultra-desirable delicacy, truffles.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a hot beverage, classical music performed by an Octet of strings flown in from the NZ Philharmonic Orchestra and an array of some of BMW’s most luxurious vehicles they currently have on offer – this event was certainly going to be, in BMW’s own words, “The most personal promise of luxury.”
We were welcomed by Karol Abrasowicz-Madej (MD BMW NZ) in his usual hospitable fashion and told about the day’s events that would include a 75km driving loop where we would experience the plethora of prestigious rides we had drooled over on the way in, followed by a lavish lunch courtesy of Josh Emmet and champagne, wines and whisky thanks to Moet Hennessy (evidently no more driving was to be done after that).
Ultimately, the event had been perfected to enliven all five of our senses and maybe even the sixth. We learned a little more about the ethos behind the chariots we would be driving, then headed out to begin the drive.
We opted for the M5 Competition first in Marina Bay Blue. It’s a fierce ride when it wants to be (0-100km/h 3.3seconds) yet is as placid as a lamb when not being stressed. Sure the ride is firm but that’s what you want in an M-Sport car isn’t it? The loop would take us around the country roads that surround northwest Auckland, it offers places to stretch the car’s legs and areas to simply enjoy the scenery, regardless of the rain.
At the next stop, we moved into the magnificent 7. The flagship of the brand in terms of luxury sedan and a vehicle that rides like it’s on a soft carpet. Sporting a new grille and a refreshed lavish interior, it defines luxury, pure and simple. Next, we headed into the first of two X7s. A seven-seat option X750 followed by a six-seat layout with captains chairs and an X740 badge. Both SUVs offer leather furniture and a whole raft of technological wizardry, oh and of course, a very smooth driving experience.
Last but not least, the 8-series. First the coupe with its stunning exterior design and an interior so refined, it would make a board room blush, then, just as the rain eased, the convertible. We electronically dropped the top, switched on the heated seats and air scarfs and listened to the engine crackle and pop as the gears downshifted.
We arrived back at the homestead with virtually all our senses being somewhat overloaded, but there was still one yet to be satisfied – taste.
With the driving behind us, we each received a glass of Krug Grande Cuvee champagne before sitting down to a five-course lunch. Handmade sourdough with smoked butter that was still smoking. Salmon and caviar with a Vintage Krug match. Steamed aubergine with shitake cream matched with a Cloudy Bay Te Koko, spiced Cambridge duck breast with confit leg and white bean cassoulet matched with a Cloudy Bay Te Wahi and finally Hogarth chocolate with truffle ice cream matched with a Glenmorangie Signet – let’s just say, our tastebuds didn’t go wanting.
The entire experience was a full-on lavish affair. From sight and sound to excitement and ultimate feeling, it proved that BMWs are not just a way of getting from A to B but a way to get from here to where you really want to be.