A city by the sea, Halifax is famous for many things. Two stand out for me on this day as we explore the downtown core and shoreline roads in the BMW 750i xDrive; Alexander Keith’s Brewery and memories of the Titanic. It seems somehow appropriate given we are driving a Bavarian luxury sedan. Everyone knows the German’s love their beer and few automakers project luxury liner elegance more than a BMW. It’s nice to know, however, we won’t be plying rough waters in our land yacht, at least not intentionally.
Performance in any BMW is stellar and the 7 Series is no exception. Under the hood resides a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. On tap is 400 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 450 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm. Matched to a seamless 6-speed automatic transmission, 0-100 km/h takes around 5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 240 km/h.
Our vehicle is equipped with BMW xDrive, what is essentially all-wheel drive. Under normal driving conditions, the 7 Series features a 40/60 front to rear traction bias. On slippery surfaces, such as the ones we experience today while driving in the aftermath of a hurricane, traction is routed in milliseconds to those wheels with the best grip.
The result of all this technological wizardry is that you never feel xDrive at work. At least not until you suddenly experience superior vehicle control at just the right moment. Halifax has many rough road surfaces, some intentional, some not. Plus what’s a trip to the coast without driving onto a sea-slippery wharf, or around a world-famous lighthouse? There are no missteps with xDrive.
Located near the waterfront area of Halifax on Morris Street in the downtown core, The Haliburtton is a far cry from the big hotels nearby. It oozes character and charm with each creaky step as we ascend to our second floor accommodations, trying not to hit my head on the low ceiling. Our room features a queen size poster bed, sitting area with couch and two comfy chairs, plus a full-size bathroom. Fine linens, soft pillows, a large flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi assure a restful stay. Alongside one of the chairs, a door leads to a small deck area with excellent views of the tight city houses all around. It is a peaceful setting, perfectly suited to the seaside hustle of Halifax.
Dining takes place in Stories Restaurant, an intimate two room setting where we enjoy a casual breakfast. The dining guide, “Where to Eat in Canada” gives it 2 out of 3 stars, claiming it as one of the best restaurants in Halifax.
Our dinner on this night is at the equally impressive, multi award-winning, CUT Steakhouse & Urban Grill, located a few blocks away on Salter Street. We feast on the finest dry aged USDA prime beef, aged and butchered on the premises. Here selections are brought to the table, each cut grilled to perfection accompanied by one Halifax’s most inspiring wine and beer lists. Afterwards, the uphill stroll back to The Halliburton is a welcome bit of exercise.
A new day dawns bright with sunshine and it’s time to go exploring. Watching as the city recedes in the distance, we point the BMW 750i xDrive in the direction of Peggy’s Cove. The 45 km drive winds back and forth through this uniquely Canadian landscape.
As you near the town, the land takes on a solemn, otherworldly flavour. Large, glacial rocks appear strewn haphazardly across short hills. The sea pounds to our left and we arrive at the iconic lighthouse on Peggy’s Cove. Fog surrounds us as we explore the coastline before making a now rainy drive home. Halifax is famous for many things to Canadians; none more so than good beer and sailing ships. But it will always be the rhythmic sound of the sea that brings me back. A visit to Nova Scotia is the finest kind!
2012 BMW 750i xDrive
Trim level: M Sport
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 4.4L 8 cylinder/ 6-spd automatic
Power/torque: 400 hp/ 450 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): Premium (82L)
Observed fuel economy: 12.2 L/100km over 450 km
Warranties: 4 years/ 80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A8, Jaguar XJ Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera
Where to Stay:
5184 Morris Street Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 1B3