BMW puts the 2012 Olympic Torch through its paces
BMW is rather proud of its in-house environmental test centre. Located in Munich, it holds five different test 'cells' - each designed with a different purpose in mind.
Three thermal wind tunnels - 'climactic', 'thermal' and 'environmental' - can replicate wind, precipitation and temperature conditions from the most extreme environments on earth, while two other chambers - 'altitude' and 'cold test' - can simulate the sort of conditions only mountain climbers would be able to experience.
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This all comes in very useful, as I'm sure you can imagine - after all, BMW sells cars all over the planet, and it's handy to know that your Z4's windscreen will still defrost its self at 20 degrees below zero.
It's not just BMW its self making good use of the facilities though - over the last few months, the wind tunnels and test chambers have been refining something entirely different: the 2012 Olympic Torch.
The logic for doing this is actually fairly sound: as we know from living here, the British Isles represent some of the most diverse climate challenges you're likely to meet. On the one hand we have the blustery, cold conditions of the Scottish Highlands; and on the other, the often record-breaking heat-waves experienced by South East England.
As the Olympic Torch travels the country this summer, changing between 8,000 pairs of hands along the way, it'll have to contend with all of our country's extremes - reaching the snowy peaks of Snowdon and undoubtedly its fair share of rain and wind elsewhere; all the while remaining lit.
If you've ever tried to light a match on an even mildly breezy day, you'll understand the challenge this presents.
The good news, then, is that it's more than up for the challenge. Having been subjected to the worst BMW could throw at it, the torch passed with flying colours - enduring temperatures from anywhere between -5 and 40 degrees centigrade, winds up to 50mph, driving rain and even heavy snow without so much as a flicker from its flame.
Former decathlon gold medallist Daley Thompson - who, like a true Briton, battled the simulated icy conditions with nothing more than a smile and a medium sized umbrella - seemed duly pleased with the result.
"The Olympic Torch Relay is set to build excitement for London 2012 throughout the UK, so it's really important that the Torch can cope with our unpredictable British weather.
"Seeing the facility that BMW has and knowing the Torch has been tested so robustly makes me sure we're going to be able to build that excitement ahead of a brilliant summer of sport."