Despite many women’s reservations these days, driving is not all bad. I certainly love a good long drive out of town for a quick getaway. In September, I was offered the perfect chance to head out not just across the country but across a border as well. For me, September is the perfect time for a quick break from work. You’ve been working hard for 9 months, it is pass the mid-year mark and it’s the time when everybody else starts planning their yearend escapades.
While I’m always up for a roadtrip, I’ve never been brave enough to actually cross the borders of country in a car. For this trip, BMW Malaysia offered up the stylish little X2. This brand new SAV was recently launched in our country and targeted specially for the ladies. It’s compact but still offers a chance for us to get adventurous. This Sports Activity Coupe rides on a BMW 2 series chassis and measures at 4360mm. It’s not too long for the ladies who are looking for a car with a higher ground clearance and at 1824mm in width, the SAC is easy to manage around the parking lot as well.
The X2 is driven by the front wheels and the Twin Turbo engine is paired with a 7-speed Dual-clutch gearbox. You get 192bhp and 280Nm of torque, this translates to a push from 0-100kph in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 227kph. In layman’s terms, this little coupe goes very fast and yet still gives you a fuel efficiency that won’t send you looking for a petrol station every 50km. It’s a simple car to drive and a perfect starter car if you’re only just foraying into the world of driving.
With 340km to drive from Petaling Jaya to the Singapore Border Control, the BMW X2 is definitely a good companion to complete the journey with. You get 470-litres worth of boot space to store all your fashionable wear and you can easily fit another three more companions for the road trip comfortably.
We did mention 340km, but roadtrips are filled with unexpected adventures for us to discover new things along the way our destinations. It’s a good alternative to travel when you’re looking for an adventure. Otherwise you will only be faced with walls, duty free shopping at the airport and long queues at the border control!
Getting our Daily Fix
If it’s a trip down to Singapore, we definitely can’t avoid stopping along the way in the historical city of Melaka. I caught wind of this very Instagrammable cafe and I, of course, couldn’t give up the chance to pay the shop a visit. The Daily Fix Cafe is hidden behind a shop selling traditional Nyonya trinkets. The entrance is decorated with classic items from the 70s and 80s, a hint that you will be entering one of Melaka’s 100 year old heritage houses complete with a courtyard in between. The pancakes are to die for at the Daily Fix. Not only are the gula Melaka pancakes irresistible, the pandan pancakes are as well!
After ordering more than my belly could take, it was time to explore the city a little more. The BMW X2 was definitely easy to manoeuvre around the tight lanes and slip in between traffic when the situation calls for. I loved how the suspensions gave the passengers in the car the perfect bounce to iron out the pockmarked surfaces of the old city yet gives me the handling that a professional would crave for.
Entering Border Control
Two durian cendols, a famous Klebang coconut shake later, we continue our journey to Singapore. This is the first time I am driving across the border to Singapore. Having always flown into the country, I have never experienced the process of not just checking in at the border but registering our vehicles as well. It was definitely an adventure for me to drive through the border and stop to let the guards inspect my car.
As expected there was a long line as drivers try to change lanes in an effort to find the fastest way through the border. Constantly changing lanes will only make the traffic worst as other drivers will have to stop to let you pass. The lanes in the border are narrow and you are required to lower your window for officers to scan your face. The process was fast, and before we knew it I was already trundling along the bridge crossing over to Singapore.
Crossing the bridge in a car is a very different experience from crossing the bridge in a bus. Driving your car you are allowed a full view of the sea and the landscapes on both edges of each country. Signs written in English and warnings about security began to greeted me signalling that I was entering Singapore. If the Malaysian border control was narrow, the lanes built in the Singapore borders are even narrower. The curbs are low so you could easily miss the turning of the curb and driven onto the concrete surface for pedestrians instead.
The process into the control booths was slow as officers would hand pick random cars to stop by the side of the road for a boot inspection. All cars going through the border will be subjected to the inspection and there wasn’t a designated space in between to allow the flow of cars to be smoother. So you understand the massive traffic jam while cars that have already passed their boot inspection wait while other cars finish theirs.
The process was even slower for the registration of vehicles after border control. There weren’t enough designated parking spots at the registration area and you are not allowed to park your car behind other vehicles as a security precaution. The hour long process found me running back and forward to the car parked outside of the border control to get the officers the documents they needed.
Onwards to BMW World
Of course I wouldn’t make a trip down to Singapore just to enjoy the nightlife and all the shopping the country has to offer. I am a self professed car lover, and my knowledge about cars easily far exceeds a man who has no interest and only has general knowledge of cars. I was here for one thing and that was to enjoy the offerings of BMW World of Passion and Joy.
BMW World features 30 vehicles that are either already on sale or are about to go on sale. There is no better way to show case a car than at a show designed to bring out the best of the cars. BMW even had a concept car up for display to show off their vision of a futuristic car. The icing at the show is the BMW i8 Roadster.
We’re all familiar with this stylish hybrid sport car, the car was launched in 2015 in Malaysia to help promote fuel efficient driving. The Roadster is the topless version of the sports car. Other than that, my eyes were instantly captivated by BMW 8 Series. Simply known as The 8, it isn’t a brand new launch to the world but it definitely is one of the first times South East Asian BMW fans get a chance to get up close and person with this beautiful specimen!
BMW is the embodiment of sheer driving pleasure just like the tagline says. There is no other car that drives as brilliantly as a BMW even though many have come close to competing with the drive. BMW World was the perfect chance for fans, like me, to get personal with all the marque has to offer!