Regardless of how much you know, or think you know, about driving a high-performance vehicle, there’s always more to learn. What better place to do it than at a BMW driving school?

If you’ve just purchased a new or new-to-you BMW like an M4 or an M5, with horsepower numbers in excess of 500hp, I hope you know what you’ve gotten yourself into. Just the sheer fact you’re behind the wheel of the aforementioned BMWs, it’s easy to drive harder and faster than you’ve ever done in lesser vehicles. It’s also that much easier to get over your head in a situation that you’re not capable of recovering from. Not to say anyone reading this isn’t capable of driving a high-performance vehicle, but you could probably benefit from enrolling in a BMW Driving School.

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The More You Know….

There are plenty of people who’ve read the above and wonder how much more there is to learn about driving a car. I’ve been that person regarding taking an advanced motorcycle training course. I’ve ridden and raced motorcycles and ATVs over a large portion of my life and felt confident in my handling skills on two wheels for both dirt and street riding. After two days of an advanced training course, I came out with so much more knowledge, my riding experiences from then on have both saved my life from both road hazards and distracted drivers.

This would lead me to believe that new BMW owners would likely benefit from some advanced driver training at one of the two BMW Driving School locations. There must be a benefit to schools like this since most automotive manufactures have their own driving schools, including the Porsche Driving Experience, Cadillac V-Performance Academy, Ferrari Corso Pilota, and many more.

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With that said, you have two classes to choose from if you’re considering attending BMW Driving School. Their basic class is anything but, since they market the school as “discovering why the Ultimate Driving Machine isn’t just a tagline.” Offered as a one or two-day class, BMW instructors start you off in a classroom setting to go over maneuvering procedures to prepare you for taking what you’ve learned to the track. That’s where you’ll go through adrenaline pumping exercises involving panic braking and other evasive maneuvers that eventually lead you onto the wet skid pad. Instructors put you to the test to see how much you have retained during the day by setting you out on the handling course for a timed lap.

The two-day course takes everything from the one-day course and includes even more skill-advancing tutorial for actions like their Double Lane Change Course and high-speed braking from 70MPH. This course also gives you the opportunity learn about off-road handling in a variety of vehicles and end the experience with the grand finale enjoying a bit of performance driving in three different BMW models around the test track to learn all the handling characteristics of each.

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While this is a ton of fun, it definitely comes with a price as the BMW driving school costs $849 for the one-day course and $1,699 for the two-day course. Both courses are also offered for less experienced teen drivers at the same prices, so they can be better prepared for life behind the wheel.

Get the M Experience

If you feel that your driving record and skill are good enough, and you want a more advanced program than what the basic BMW Driver’s School has to offer, BMW’s M Driver’s Program might fulfill your need for speed. If you’re new to the BMW M family, the one-day M school ($1,550) is a great way for you to get familiar with the performance capabilities of your new whip in a closed course environment.

In this course you’ll get seat time in a range of vehicles from the nimble M2 to the powerful M8, pushing the limits of each to see just how well they perform. If you’re a new M owner, you get to learn the limits of your vehicle on a wet course, master the art of drifting, learn about proper lines for aggressive cornering, test the high-speed ability of the M cars on the high-speed course, and finish the day practicing what you learned in a time attack.

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A two-day course is also available where you get more seat time, which is what we all want, and an additional course module on a technical autocross course. This is where you’ll master the art of throttle and brake control through short, aggressive turn-filled courses. Of course, see what I did there, with more instruction and seat time comes an increase in price. Taking the BMW Two-Day M School starts at $3,995, but the amount of knowledge you come out with is priceless.

If you think you can learn everything you need to master a BMW M vehicle, think again. The BMW Driving School also offers an Advanced M School that you can only enroll in after completing either of the lower M drivers’ courses. Apply what you’ve learned but at a much faster pace and higher speed when you’re in the Advanced M School. This is where you pilot your M around the various courses behind your highly skilled instructors. As they show you the fastest lines on the course with increasing speeds every lap, you’re being prepared for the full course lap driving to see how you’ve retained and applied your skills on the multiple courses they have. This two-day course isn’t for the faint at heart and starts at $4,600.

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The great thing about any of the above courses is that you’re learning the full handling potential of the BMW M series cars that are all meant for everyday driving on the street. A bonus class that is offered at the BMW Driving School is the M4 GT4 School. With packages starting at $2,795, you essentially get to be a race car driver for a day. Available in a full- or half-day program, you get fully suited up (helmet, fire resistant suit, gloves, and shoes) and fitted into a M4 GT4 where you can feel the effects of grippy race tires, front splitter, and large rear wing at high speeds on a closed course. The next best thing you can do at the BMW Driving School is get your SCCA certification, but that’s a whole different story for a different day.

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The one downfall about the BMW Driving schools is that they’re only available in two locations. With one campus on each coast of the US (Thermal, CA and Virginia International Raceway @ Alton, VA), you really must want to take this course and plan accordingly. This could mean overnight accommodations for multiple nights and even airfare that all racks up the costs of the experience.

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Real World Reviews

Is the BMW Driving School worth the cost? Since I haven’t been myself, I can’t honestly give you a solid answer. Based on my experience taking the advanced MC school that I described earlier, I would say that you’ll likely benefit and possibly enjoy taking one of these courses. If you aren’t comfortable with my recommendation, maybe you’ll appreciate comments from some Bimmerfest forum members who weighed in on their experiences. Member Autoputzer compared his two-day M school experience at VIR to a Porsche school he attended at Barber Motorsports Park and said that the school was a blast!

“Do the 2-day class. The second day is much more fun than the first day. They turn you loose on the track on the second day. If you catch the guy/gal in front they have to go through the pits and let you by. The BMW instructors aren't as uptight as the Porsche instructors. Get a Porsche a little sideways and you get black flagged for some "verbal individual instruction." But, its M School, it's just an encouraging word on the walkie-talkie... "Nice save, Auto!" – Autoputzer

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Retaxes, another Bimmerfest forum member, did the two-day school and claims “it was a course all drivers should have to take on a repeated term.” Retaxes says that the drivers were allowed to push the cars to their limits and that it was “training one will not forget. Thanks BMW.”

So now that you have a good idea of what to expect, are you intrigued in attending a course at the BMW Driving School. I know I am. Getting the opportunity to push the Ultimate Driving Machines to their limits sounds exciting but getting the chance to drive the different models and testing the different engine and drivetrain packages are what really intrigue me the most.

If you do end up enrolling in any of the classes, be sure to follow up in the comments with your experience so others can read about them. If I’m ever given the opportunity to attend myself, you’ll definitely be hearing back from me.