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THE STEERING COLUMN

A wild ride in BMW's X3

Could wild animals and a rugged landscape be the reasons BMW's best factory is in South Africa?

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At Kruger National Park, you're not allowed to roll down a window, much less leave your car, and I think there's something to be said for leaving wildlife alone to do its thing, so it will leave you alone in turn. The twisty roads and landscape's ruggedness are pure joy when you're on the right side of an indefatigable machine like the BMW X3.

Johannesburg, South Africa

I SET OFF in a BMW X3 xDrive30d, determined to spot the "Big 5", the magnificent creatures for which South Africa is famed: leopards, lions, rhinos, elephants and Charlize Theron.

Why an X3? Because BMW puts the mid-sized crossover car together there, in

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