My 20 year old son and I just returned from the M Experience conducted at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina Monday March 13, 2006. For those of you who have recently purchased an M5 and haven't taken BMW up on their invitation to attend this event, you need to make plans to attend. As you know, current M5 buyers have up to a year to attend the day long session. All you have to do is get to Spartanburg, SC, BMW picks up the tab for everything else. They put you up at the very nice Marriott near the airport and the Performance Center. They feed you dinner the night before the event, breakfast the morning of the event, lunch that day at the Performance Center and dinner again that evening. We had 20 or so attendees and 4 GREAT instructors, who I want to again thank. All the instructors were patient; had great senses of humor (trust me, they need a good sense of humor with "drivers" like me); and, all in all, just great guys to spend the day with driving M3 and M5 BMW automobiles.
During our session, we broke into 2 groups of 10 each. One group in M3's and the other in M5's. In other words, 5 M3's and 5 M5's. You do skip pad, braking, handling and timed event plus, as a treat at the end of the day, "hot" laps with the instructors. Trust me, I'm convinced these guys have stock in the tire companies. You have never seen so much tire smoke.
I left that day with the real sense that the only modification our M5's need is the nut behind the wheel. M5's are very VERY capable cars; mod your car if you think you must, but trust me, the folks at the M division have built a great car. Thanks to BMW for giving us the opportunity to come to their perfomance center and learn from like-minded BMW lovers about what our cars are capable of and how we can increase our skills to tap that capability. By the way, the session I attended on March 13 was extra special for me as it was my birthday -- what a great way to celebrate the day. Again, all my thanks to everyone at BMW!