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AUDI TOUR EXPERIENCE
THE narrow, winding highways criss-crossing Europe's Alpine region are renowned among petrolheads and the general public alike for being some of the most exhilarating drives in the world. And the views are breathtaking: during one special moment when this writer drove there two years ago, the road broke through the fog just in time for a glorious sunset, which enveloped the entire mountaintop vista in a melange of yellow, orange and red.
A journey like this will only be complete if you were piloting a dream car, a desire that brands such as Audi, which supplies its top-of-the-line Audi R8 V10 plus sports coupe for its R8 Alpine Tour, capitalises on (Porsche also runs a comparable programme with its legendary 911). The trip takes you from the meeting point at Munich airport through some of the most scenic routes in neighbouring Austria.
This includes its highest sealed road, the 48-km-long Grossglockner High Alpine Road, that soars to an elevation of 2,500m and contains 36 challenging bends.
While your passenger takes in the sights of the commanding Kitzbuhel mountains or one of the many picturesque lakes, savour the power and handling of Iron Man's preferred sports car as it tackles the steep inclines and hairpin corners.
Accommodations and meals are similarly premium. Stay two nights at the A-Rosa Kitzbuhel, a five-star ski and spa resort built in the style of a Tyrolean castle, and lunch at the legendary Interalpen Hotel, whose restaurant boasts two Gault Millau toques.
BENTLEY MOTORS FACTORY TOUR
If you appreciate how luxury objects are crafted, just like in days of yore, consider signing up for the Bentley Motors factory tour the next time you're in the UK.
Located in Crewe in the heart of England, a short 90-minute train ride from London's Euston station, the facility has three areas that are from time to time open by appointment to the public.
Your host is likely to be a veteran who knows the ins and outs, like the former marketing executive I met when I visited last year, who was brimming with anecdotes gathered from his four-decade-long career at the company.
First up, see how a Bentley car may be customised at CW1 House, a brand-new showroom named after its postcode and enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass panels. Much of the bright and airy space is allocated to showcasing the latest models, but the most fascinating portion has to be the dedicated personalisation area.
The paint and leather samples in every colour imaginable are just the beginning; there are also various opulent options on display, such as the in-car drink coolers configured to your preferences: flutes, if you habitually imbibe champagne, or tumblers, if your beverage of choice is a single malt.
The tour segues to the Lineage Exhibition that parades the marque's historic vehicles, from the majestic 8 Litre that was founder WO Bentley's company car in the 1930s to the priceless 1919 EXP2 prototype, the oldest surviving Bentley.
After the intense anticipation, you are finally allowed into the inner sanctum, where the finest leather and the most precious wood are amalgamated with beautiful sheet metal to create a shiny new Bentley car.
Here, learn how artisans hand-sew bull-hide using a method called double stitching that serves no purpose other than being more aesthetically pleasing than straight needlework.
Also observe how pieces of exotic veneer are hand-picked from a giant humidor to be mirror-matched and book-matched so that the result will form perfectly symmetrical patterns in the sumptuous interior.
BMW ALPINE XDRIVE LEVEL 1 COURSE
Want to learn to drift a car in the snow, just like how the presenters do it on BBC's Top Gear? Now you can.
BMW New Zealand offers a training experience that lets you try your hand at snow and ice driving in what are the only car testing grounds outside the northern hemisphere.
Set on a plateau in the country's Southern Alps near adventure central Queenstown, the event offers all the thrills and spills. In fact, the objective is to get your car out of control - then seize charge of it again.
Learn to break traction and power slide in a snow circle with deft steering wheel and pedal action. Beat other participants and the clock on a slalom course while trying to keep the nose of your car pointed in the right direction. See who's the fastest in a drag race on slippery ice; no easy feat, because a lead right foot will merely spin the wheels and bring you nowhere.
BMW deploys its latest cars for the event, such as the twin-turbo X6 and X5M sport activity vehicles. Both are equipped with xDrive four-wheel-drive technology whose traction makes these cars simpler to handle than rear-wheel-driven ones.
But daredevils fret not, for there is a professionally driven hot lap in a powerful M3 coupe with peak speeds of over 140km/h that is guaranteed to send your pulse racing.
Included in the package are two night's villa accommodation at the luxurious Millbrook Resort, whose picturesque 27-hole golf course alone is worth a day or two's extension; helicopter transfer to the event venue; local airport shuttle; and meals and drinks. Dates for 2016 are Aug 6-19.