“I’ve heard this is big in Russia, too.” In Russia it depend in which part on country. In Far East used JDM is almost 100% of all cars, because JDMs are few years old, in good condition and not that expensive. In European part of Russia German and Swedish cars are most popular, – BMW, Ford, Opel, VW, Audi, Volvo – imported used from Germany or Switzerland, but not from other parts of Europe, because used cars from Germany or Switzerland are better maintained and are in better condition (no harsh winter e.g.). German cars are easy to maintain and repair, parts are widely available and cheap. German cars like BMW can last like 300K – 400K km with some repairs. The problem with Japanese cars is that they do not drive and handle as well as German cars, parts are expensive and difficult to find and after certain mileage they fall apart – everything breaks down at once. German (or American) cars have problems coming one at the time so you are not overwhelmed with fixing them, and are more durable in general, less disposable if you want. Asian car has a reputation of disposable cars – after say 200K km you have to replace the whole car because everything starts to break down. Nobody seriously considers French or Italian used cars they have reputation of being junk. American cars are not practical in Russia and considered as a luxury.
Setting off up Mill Hill (a little over 400 feet above sea level, so hardly Scafell Pike) is an unnerving experience. It sounds like every single corpuscle, each minute subdivision of capacity in its 1.33-litre petrol engine is being strained. The same goes for (any attempt at) rapid acceleration onto a motorway. Is that banshee wail the engine screaming in agony or just you as a Norbert Dentressangle 10-wheel artic bears down on your rear end? Yes, once the Verso S has slogged its way up to motorway speed it sits there comfortably enough, but you’ve got to question the choice – if you can call it that – of just one, seemingly underpowered, engine ‘option’.
BMW motorcycles have long served European police forces including Germany’s federal polizei . Since 1997, the California Highway Patrol has deployed hundreds of BMW RTs. Not long after, Beemers with lights a’ blazin’ began appearing in the rear-view mirrors of traffic offenders all across the USA. As the R1100RT-P gained displacement and morphed into the R1150RT-P for 2002 and then the greatly refined R1200RT-P for ’05, these “Oilheads” continuously demonstrated their utility as service vehicles. They out-handle, out-accelerate and out-brake more pedestrian Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki police mounts. Good wind protection and safety features such as ABS further qualified RTs as suitable service bikes. BMW further supported police use by offering special side and hazard lights, radar mounts, a high-output alternator, functional cargo space and other tactical equipment.