The BMW Eco Drive Experience – Diesel Rocks!

Recently Malaysia underwent some changes in it’s fuel structure (you may have noticed the whole RON95, RON97 thing) since September 1st they also finally changed the diesel fuel quality to something decent – Euro 2M. Apparently by 2011-2012 we will have proper Euro 4M spec diesel meaning we can really have powerful and super efficient cars (they said the Euro 4M engine versions can go down to 4.5L per 100km which is just silly).

So now we can have proper diesel cars like I’ve driven before in Europe, we were invited by BMW (Sashi in particular) on a blogger specific weekend outing to Belum Rainforest Resort to test out the new 320d and 520d sports models.

First of all I’d like thank Sashi, the BMW team and the events team for an awesome weekend and all in all one of the best organised events/outings I’ve ever attended. It was just amazingly done, attention to detail was superb and we were treated with the true premium BMW style from start to finish.

We arrived early in the morning to park our cars at Mandarin Oriental to grab some breakfast, check in and have a short briefing about the trip. We also learnt a little about Efficient Dynamics (the BMW initiative to make more efficient cars without sacrificing a dynamic driving experience).

To hammer the point home, when we set off…all the fuel tank caps were sealed! They boasted that the 520d could do 1000km on a single tank and the 320d could do 800km at least with normal driving (both at around 8L per 100km and down to 6.5L for steady driving)..we were skeptical of course.

Sealed Fuel Tank

There was a flag off for each car…shortly after we were having a police escort all the way to Mutiara Damansara from KLCC!

Flag Off

There I am driving the 320d (fast) just behind the white car (the leader, Ivan Khong). I have to say having a police escort through the busy KL traffic was so far one of the more memorable experiences in my life. Now I totally appreciate why the VIPs always do it, it’s incredible. You can see the video taken by Kim whilst I was driving over at her blog here.

Police Escort

This is the main man, advanced BMW driving instructor and rally driver Ivan Khong. Yes ladies, he’s the one who will teach you how to tickle the throttle. I think I probably got the most infractions through the weekend due to my driving…but hey no-one was hurt and it was fun!

Ivan Khong

Then it was time to go full throttle! All the way to Ipoh for lunch.

BMW Eco Drive Convoy

There were 4 legs to the journey, 2 to Ipoh (mostly highway) then 2 to the resort (winding roads) with each driver driving 2 of the 4. The legs were reversed on the second day so each driver got to enjoy each section (mostly to enjoy the windy part of course). Nothing much to say about the highway driving part, it’s a BMW – it’s quiet and comfortable! We encountered some rain, at that point I discovered how annoying automatic windscreen wipers are. When you want them to be faster, they are slow, when there’s only 3 raindrops they are fast!


I found the windscreen wipers a bit difficult to operate, but they wiped the it’s good enough. The rain cleared up thankfully and we were back on full steam ahead.

BMW Eco Drive Convoy

We stopped for lunch at a place in Ipoh called Indulgence and had a few more presentations about this and that. Nothing much to say about the food..I was too excited about the windy driving part! One thing about diesel cars (and the main plus for me) is they have crazy torque and these new beemers are crazier than most. Take my Airtrek Turbo for example it is a car thought to have crazy torque pushing out 343Nm/253 ft-lb with a kerb weight of around 1520kg. Now the 320d Sports Efficient Dynamics edition for examples pushes out 350 Nm/258 lb-ft of torque with a kerb weight of slightly more torque and slightly lighter than my car.

And wow was it fun driving those windy roads, especially with the dynamic traction control you could really push it round the corners (and trust me we did!).

Pushing the Corners

Our convoy doing some touge roads at high speed, w00t. I’d love to rip this baby on the track with the DTC off..or even the better the 330d sports!

BMW Touge Convoy

I’m not sure how fast we were going…the BMW is deceptively smooth and the power delivery is effortless…but it was fast, so I properly risked my neck taking this pic haha.

High Speed Suicide

And well the official photographer was even crazier in the 530i support car (which had to pump petrol twice by the way) leaning out of the sun roof.


This is what greeted us (along with some champagne) at Belum Rainforest Resort, what a beautiful place – I totally recommend it.

Belum Rainforest Resort

The room was really nice too, facing the lake (and very close to the lobby/restaurant haha).

Belum Rainforest Resort Room

We had a bit of time to relax after the testing drive before heading down for a bbq spread at the hotel restaurant. And well what happened on the Saturday night after dinner shall stay in the forest…where it belongs.

The next day it was up early for some bamboo rafting (wtf…wasn’t too down with that) but it cured our hangovers. Following that it was time for a bit more info about how clean burning the modern diesel engines are and off back to Ipoh for lunch!

Then off for some extremely spirited driving back down the hill where some unintentional drifting occurred and some rather late braking…remember people it’s MUCH harder and more dangerous to drive fast downhill than it is uphill as gravity gives you some natural brakes.

We reached back KLCC around sunset and headed off for some dinner at Lucky Loke. Let’s just say we all would like to relive the weekend over and over again soon…please…BMW! Our car had travelled 779km and the range indicated it still had another 103km in the tank and we REALLY floored it all the way.


Really diesel fuel is the way forward and BMW is demonstrating it with the Efficient Dynamics diesel sports cars. I hope other manufacturers start bringing in more sporty diesel models and put more effort into educating consumers about the benefits of diesel.

Diesel roadtax is also now the same as petrol tax, no longer double and diesel fuel is 10 cents cheaper than RON95. Bear in mind for all petrol cars with this kind of performance you HAVE to pump 1000km for a tank is just WOW. I cry now when my car hits 300km and the petrol light comes on.

Some other posts here:

how a bimmer saved my life… twice
Tickling The Throttle (and other lessons learnt at the BMW Drive)
Eco-Bloggers Diesel Drive 2009 – The Diesel Myths
BMW EfficientDynamics β€” Day 1
Breakfast @ Mandarin Oriental and a police escort

See the full set on Flickr here:

BMW Eco Drive – Dec 2009

*Not all pics were taken by me, those without my watermark were taken by the BMW event official photographer*




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19 Responses to The BMW Eco Drive Experience – Diesel Rocks!

  1. KY December 11, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    I wanna go again!!!! I wanna do this every week!

  2. Tony Wan December 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Hahaha… This must be an exciting ride πŸ˜€

  3. ivan khong December 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    excellent writeup… Kudos to the bloggers for making it incident free, to the cars i mean, not mentioning the regurgitated food, think someone had carrots, and the cleanup by the restaurant staff! Hahahha

  4. TheGunner December 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    Good stuff. I’ve put a link to your post here:

  5. JD December 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    ST the shot of the car on rainy condition is very nice. You’re not outside of the car right?
    Looks like a really fun trip in a BMW.

  6. imantulen December 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    just curious, how was the turbo pull compared to your airtrek?

    i would have loved to take it up Genting to check out it’s torque…. heheheheeeee….. last weekend, i had a jap sport trying to keep up with me… it stuck within 4 car’s length, till the traffic was clear in front of me & i could finally take the racing line up, bye-bye to him….

  7. eiling December 12, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    I love the photos you took! I saw you sticking out your camera taking those shots and I was so afraid that your camera will go flying right into our car behind you! haha….

  8. shetreasures December 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Hoaaaa… Wow.. that is a nice photo. I love to take pictures too.. as i mentioned in my blog πŸ™‚ visit me ya!

  9. Mark Leo December 14, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Fantastic, pretty much sold especially with the fact it can go around 800km on a single tank! Road tax is only at RM780 for a 2-litre diesel engine (compared to RM480 for a 2-litre petrol car).

  10. ShaolinTiger December 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    KY: Every week a bit tiring I think, once a month ok!

    Tony Wan: A little too exciting for some.

    ivan khong: Thanks! Yah thankfully no car related incidents, about the restaurant…no comment.

    TheGunner: Thanks, saw that thread earlier πŸ™‚

    JD: I didn’t take that one, but imagine he was out of the sunroof when he took it.

    imantulen: Pull is different low boost and high natural engine torque so it’s extremely smooth. Plus max torque kicks in earlier at 1,700rpm.

    eiling: Haha thanks, nah don’t worry won’t drop the camera…if we were going slower I would have leaned out of the car..but the speed we were going it was a bit risky.

    Mark Leo: Nope, road tax is the same for diesel and petrol cars since the last budget. No more double!

  11. Azizul December 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    for sure bmw is awesome rocks. anyway how many can afford BMW, tax is high, income is low. by the way, your blog entry n photos are awesome too.

  12. Ndmervin December 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Lucky you! I know how it felt to be led by a police outrider! Used to be a car reporter/reviewer yrs ago. How was the torque?? How do you describe it in word? πŸ˜‰

  13. Philip December 19, 2009 at 9:18 am #


  14. ShaolinTiger December 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Azizul: Yah, crazy prices here but for most middle-class folks in their mid 40’s it’s an achievable dream.

    Ndmervin: Haha yah it was awesome, the torque in one word? Smooth.

  15. Joey Logano Fan December 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    So lucky!! I want to drive a BMW =D Really great photos taken by the way!

  16. ShaolinTiger January 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Joey Logano Fan: Yah it was awesome, truly great driving experience. Thanks!

  17. Sarah January 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    I’m jealous. A friend of mine has one of these but he didn’t get a weekend in a rainforest resort with it. Looks like you had a great time!

  18. ShaolinTiger January 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    Sarah: Yah it was awesome thanks!