How to Drive Your BMW Like a Gentleman

One great thing that could be argued with BMWs is the subjective dual personality that they possess. Most models have an uncanny ability to provide raw thrills at the country lane on a Sunday afternoon, whilst also maintaining a true wafting, luxurious experience for when you want to cruise down the motorway in sheer tranquillity.

Now as we know, to drive quickly and confidently requires skill and extra learning, on top of the basic driving skills you acquired when you learnt to drive a car in the first place. You learn about car control and track etiquette to do your BMWs sport driving ability justice. But is it the same for the opposite style; is driving luxuriously and smoothly – perhaps even ‘gentlemanly’ – also a skill that needs to be learnt? And if so, what skills does it entail of? Let’s find out.

First of all, let’s establish what actually defines and justifies a ‘gentleman’ driving style. It is, of course, mostly a subjective opinion, but there are a few things out there that I’m sure most of us can agree on.

As we just touched on, the gentleman driving is in essence the opposite of sport driving. That means no flashes of speed, no sudden movements, and no swift cornering. Imagine having a massive bowl of water in your car while you’re driving; in order for it not to spill, you want to be as smooth as possible with all axis of G-force.

When accelerating, be progressive on that gas pedal. If you have a manual drivetrain and a clutch pedal, be as smooth as possible with the transition from biting point to gas. Keep the acceleration linear: you don’t want your passengers to feel a surge as you pull away from the traffic lights. You’re not aiming to get to the speed limit as quickly as possible, and for god’s sake, don’t be tempted by teenage boys wanting to drag race your BMW…

The same kind of mentality applies for cornering, as well. On the track you make use of the weight shift of your car to tuck it into corners, and you make your tyres work until they scream for mercy. To drive like a gentleman, you want your passengers to not even realise a corner has even passed. Got body lean? Your probably just took that corner too quickly.

A gentleman driver looks up how long a journey is going to take, and then adds another chunk of time on top of that. You see, a gentleman driver must never been in any form of a rush. When someone is in a rush, it tends to reflect in their driving style. When you have time to spare, you won’t be inclined to have an ‘elbows out’ mentality, and pull of maneuverers such as zig-zagging in and out of lanes, or barging into a merging situation. They’re all unrelaxing forms of driving and are sure to raise the pulse of anyone sitting in your car.

It’s one thing to be patient on the open motorways and country roads, but it’s an entirely different skill level to remain patient in the built-up manic urban streets. Be courteous, wait for passengers to move out the way if they happen to be on the road, and use your horn very sparingly. The horn is often seen as a tool of aggression, and the gentleman driving style is anything but. Spread the love with the ‘thank you’ hand gestures, and do your very best to maintain the smooth driving style – even if town driving does require sir to be slightly more nippy from time to time.

While driving in your car is often seen as being in your own private little bubble, the truth is of course that you’re going to have to interact with other people every now and again. Those could be random strangers asking for some directions, your fellow passengers, or even the police. And yes, they are called the police – you do not want to call them a slang name such as the ‘Rozzers’ or the ‘Feds’, since it’s simply not gentlemanly. But I digress.

Anyway, back to the point. In the same manner that you make your driving smooth, polite, and relaxing, you need to be smooth, polite (and relaxing?) to your fellow human beings as well. Driving your BMW like a gentleman isn’t just restricted to the driving itself – it’s a damn lifestyle. You don’t want to be doing or saying anything that will be raising the heart rates for either you or the person that has the pleasure of interacting with you.

Lastly, to truly drive your BMW like a gentleman, you need to know the rules of the road back-to-back, cover-to-cover. The gentleman driver doesn’t do anything as crass as undertaking on the motorway, or taking the wrong lane into a roundabout. You’ll be setting an example for all the other drivers on the road on how to drive a car properly, and you’ll be doing it in the upmost style.

So then, let’s finish off by fully addressing the question some of you may still have: is my BMW even the right machine for driving like a gentleman? Well, BMW themselves seem to think so. Believe it or not, on the 2009 750i model (only recently just replaced by the new ‘G11’ generation), had a built-in ‘Gentleman Function’. No, really.

This function basically allows the driver to control the passenger front seat from his side, or better known as the ‘Let me get that seat for you, darling’ function. Sexism arguments aside for a moment, it shows that BMW wish to make themselves known as the Ultimate Driving Machine – in more ways than one.

But whether you own a 750i (congratulations, by the way), or a humble 114i, you will have the machinery under your feet that will enable you to drive like a gentleman. Try it for yourself; you never know how much of a benefit it may bring you in today’s stress-filled world.

Jack Cooper

I'm a professional automotive content writer with a genuine passion and encyclopaedic knowledge of the auto industry. I hold a first-class honours degree in Journalism, a Distinction level Automotive Journalism MA, and work in communications for one of the largest vehicle brands in the world at their UK headquarters.

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