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Skeleton star slides into new BMW X3

Brand ambassador Yun says sport doesn’t compare to speed of car
June 11,2018
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Yun Sung-bin
BUSAN - Global sports fans will still remember the powerful performance of Korea’s “Iron Man” Yun Sung-bin showed off at the 2018 Winter Olympics to proudly claim the gold medal in skeleton. It was the first time an athlete outside of North America and Europe won a medal for a sliding sport in the Olympics.

Impressed by his powerful and agile performance, BMW Korea signed up the 24-year-old Yun as a brand ambassador for its X series SUV lineup.

“Yun was calm even when he was sliding down the course at 140 km/h speed,” Kim Hyo-joon, chairman of BMW Korea explained. “BMW Korea thought his power, speed and confidence matched perfectly well with BMW’s X series,” he added.

Yun received a new X3 midsize SUV to get a firsthand experience of the X family. Yun said he has never owned an imported vehicle before.

A group of Korean reporters sat down with the Olympian on Thursday at the just kicked-off Busan International Motor Show to hear more about his first impression of the car and his future plans as the X series’ ambassador.

Below are edited excerpts of the interview.



Q. What was your image of BMW before becoming an ambassador?

A
. My impression of BMW was that it was a car for young and successful people. I am not lying: my actual dream car was BMW’s X5 since I was young because of its big and muscular image.



How did you feel when you heard that you would become an ambassador for BMW’s X family?

I was more than happy to do so. It was the type of a car that I needed in my daily life because I have a lot to carry around for training. All the more, it is a trend to have a car that is practical these days. I thought it well-suited to my image. I actually don’t have much time to drive around because of my training schedule. But with this car, I would like to take trips to here and there in Korea without time constraints. I think I will be able to sell at least two X3s to my friends and colleagues.



So it has been a week or so since you started driving your X3. How do you feel about it?

I consider performance very important when evaluating a car and in that sense, the X3 was very much above my expectations. I enjoy dynamic and sometimes wild driving and the X3 was able to deliver very strong torque. Most imported cars are known to have stiff steering wheels, but I didn’t get such a feeling when driving the X3. I think such a feeling would appeal very much to Koreans.



Did feel a similarity between a skeleton race and driving the X3?

I think the four-wheel drive function is the most similar element between the two. I heard that four-wheel drive is a system that allows a car to distribute driving power to all four wheels to help stable driving. For skeleton, you have to distribute your weight on the four wheels of the sled appropriately to slide down safely.



You slide at a speed of 140 km/h (87 mp/h), but I heard that it feels as if you are moving at a speed of 300 km/h. If that is the case, driving a car might not feel dynamic at all. What do you have to say about this?

It is much more thrilling to drive a car than sliding in a skeleton race because even if you say it feels as if you are sliding down at 300km/h, I have to be in control of the sled and there is a limit to how much thrill I can feel. I just know that I am running and that I am sliding down. Nothing more. A man’s speed cannot catch up to a car’s speed.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]