BMW also says that it needed to drive to the North Cape of Europe to conclude this test, but as someone who drove a Miata with the top down in March to the same island of Norway, I would argue they did it mostly for the pictures and to have some fun.
Here’s the science behind my wild theory: Looking for some guaranteed cold in Scandinavia, carmakers usually end up in either Finland or Sweden to do their winter testing. Up high north in Finnish Lapland, the town of Ivalo acts as the main hub for the industry, with private proving ground Testworld and tire manufacturer Nokian’s own winter wonderland being the main attractions.
In Sweden, Luleå is a major city with a good airport and temperatures dropping well below -20ºF to freeze the northernmost arm of the almost saltless Baltic Sea. A touch further to the west, the town of Arjeplog is where Bosch built its winter test center. If you drive all the way up to Nordkapp, the northernmost point of Europe on the Norwegian island of Magerøya, you’ll hit both the deserted roads of Finland and Sweden before crossing the Norwegian border, only to realize that thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Norwegian coast is much warmer than the middle of the land further to the south, with the ocean straying free of ice, and the roads cut free from snow on a regular basis. Mind you, BMW has this to add:
“In the process, test engineers evaluate above all the interaction between drive and suspension systems on road surfaces with a low friction coefficient. Unsecured tracks, icy roads and ice surfaces especially prepared for test-driving on the edge of the Arctic Circle offer the ideal conditions to precisely coordinate the motor control technology, the electric four-wheel drive and suspension control systems right up to the limits of longitudinal and lateral vehicle dynamics.”
Indeed. Additionally, the final stretch of the route known as E69 is particularly tight and scenic, so I’m happy that BMW’s development team could drive their 500-horsepower electric crossover to Honningsvåg, the cute town where most who visit North Cape reside.