Words by Gugu Masuku

It's been 45 years since the first lightbulbs flickered on at BMW’s Rosslyn plant, and who would have thought that this place would one day give birth to legends.

This past week, BMW Group South Africa took some time to pay homage to some of the most iconic vehicles to come out of their Rosslyn plant with an event dubbed “The Legends of Rosslyn”. In attendance were the BMW 325iS, 333i, X3 30d and 340i. Arguably the most prominent vehicles in this Rosslyn selection were the BMW two E30s; 325iS and 333i. Both hit the SA market in the early 1990s and have left a mark in the hearts of many South Africans, young and old! 

 

Affectionately known in townships as “iGusheshe”  or ithemba lamahumusha, we took these two legends back to where they rose to fame – the hood, Soweto to be specific. Driving through the streets of Vilakazi Street, we were greeted with cheers and whistles from the locals, in true admiration of the iconic gusheshe, mind you these two e30s were fully refurbished, making them look like they first did almost 30 years ago.

 

In response to all the commotion and celebration, I did the only appropriate thing to do in such a situation and showed gratitude by revving up the iS in true South African fashion, only to receive more cheers and whistle in return. Very special I tell you!

Of course, this celebration wasn’t just about the two elders, although they very nearly almost stole the show. The very last BMW 3 series (number 1 191 6043), a 340i in plain clothes made an appearance. De-badged and without the M-sports kit, it's quite deceiving, since it boasts a surprisingly potent 3.0 6 cylinder with outputs of 240kW and 450Nm.

BMW South Africa had it all worked out so perfectly because the very first X3 to come out of Plant Rosslyn at the beginning of May this year just so happened to be an X3 xDrive 30d, it too didn’t disappoint on the performance side of things. For a diesel SUV, it proved it to be exceptionally responsive – zero lag detected – just sheer forward momentum!

Going forward, no further 3 series models will see the light of day from this local plant, number 1 191 6043 marked the end of an era, and the X3 30d marked a new dawn for the 45-year-old plant. Here’s to many more Legends!