Two couples, one BMW X5 and more than enough luggage for a weekend getaway, and we were ready for our trip to the mountains bordering Lesotho.
The day got off to a daunting start as we made our way to summit the Tenahead mountain along the rocky, curvy road. It was an eight-hour journey that promised discomfort and exhaustion, but the black BMW X5 took it all in its stride. The twin exhaust beast hugged the winding mountain road with precision, tempting me to fantasise about my debut in the Formula One for a moment, such is the confidence that comes with being behind the wheel of the X5.
Little credence had been given by my passengers to my personal driving skills until we were in this off-road masterpiece. The head-up display projected our current speed as well as the speed limit on the windscreen, which is a skillful way of ensuring that the driver’s eyes remain focused on the road ahead. Driver comfort is top of mind and the slick brown leather seats can be adjusted electronically to cater for multiple drivers. The iDrive control system is operated by scrolling through the onscreen menus using a rotary device located close to the gear lever for easy access.
The different suspension settings for various driving conditions comes in handy on a long drive such as this and, along with the comfortable seats and spacious interior, the smooth ride made us almost forget about the rocky Eastern Cape landscape we were navigating. We had reached halfway by sunset only to realise we’d lost cell signal and could not rely on our phones for navigation. Fortunately, we were more than prepared for a few hours of night driving to get to Tenahead Mountain Lodge, as the X5 is equipped with satellite navigation and a night vision camera that illuminates pedestrians normally invisible in the dark.
We had forgotten that city slickers had become off-road adventurers, until we emerged from our cocoon of comfort and elegant luxury and saw a layer of dust covering the graceful, German-engineered body. Whoever said off-roading is uncomfortable and certainly not stylish has definitely not cruised the Lesotho mountainside in a BMW X5 and we were more convinced than ever that it had been designed for our ultimate driving pleasure!
Images: Palesa Mulaudzi