It does ring a bell, doesn’t it? That’s cause it took place almost four years ago now, at a time when flashmobs were all the rage. Whether it’s four years or 14 years, when there are BMWs and drifting involved, it’s going to be hard to forget.
But in the name of Throwback Thursday, we reckon this memorable stunt is worth a revisit.
Although filming was originally planned to take place in Santiago, Chile, an earthquake forced a last minute relocation but the idea of drifting at a roundabout – thought of in Chile – was retained for the shoot in Cape Town, South Africa.
The shoot required one of Africa’s grandest roundabouts, the Coen Steytler Roundabout, to be closed down for two full days – all for a one minute 47 second video; a video that reportedly did not even have an official plot to begin with!The then Marketing Manager for the 1- through 4-series models at BMW AG reportedly said, “There is no official plot like most commercials would have. The use of the M235i was intended to portray a message of nimbleness of BMWs”.
Though the roads were closed for filming, the on-lookers obviously had no idea what was to unfold. The entire video was reportedly shot by one of the guys from The Fast and the Furious franchise…surprise, surprise!
The five drivers involved – Rhys Millen, Dai Yoshihara, Sam Hübinette, Conrad Grunewald and Rich Rutherford – were all household names in either the drifting or the stunt driving scene.
The BMW M235i(s) used were automatic transmission prototypes which were apparently destined for the crusher and were mostly stock except for the modifications done on the handbrake to allow the car to be drifted more easily.None of them were even equipped with the M limited-slip differential, an essential ingredient to get the M235i to kick its tail out. Instead, those involved opted to weld the rear differentials instead! According to one of the drivers, they were driving at 75% of their potential, because BMW did not bring any spare cars.
As epic as the video and the stunts were, the drivers credited the video’s success to the M235i’s steering feel, overall balance, sheer performance and its transmission’s ability to hold the engine at redline without automatically upshifting.A particular automotive media in the US even went as far as to say that, “the Epic Driftmob is also the equivalent of hurling five sleek red middle fingers at Audi and Mercedes-Benz”, as they did not have RWD models then that were capable of such a stunt.