A Northern NSW police command is a little hot under the collar after one of its new BMW highway patrol cars was destroyed by fire during a hot pursuit.
It was certainly a hot case; the BMW 530d was completely incinerated by the blaze, which allegedly started after officers parked the turbo-diesel powered patrol car on a grassy verge in the midst of a pursuit near the northern NSW town of Tweed Heads.
Credit: Marg Huxley
The officers had stepped out of the car to lay tyre spikes in order to slow down a fleeing suspect, but witnesses said that the long, dry grass appeared to ignite around the car’s exhaust system.
The police car was well alight within minutes, resisting the officer’s best attempts to arrest the blaze with hand-held extinguishers.
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It’s an expensive mistake – the BMW 530d police cars have only been part of the NSW Police Force fleet for the last 12 months, as the incumbent fleet of ageing Holden Commodore and Ford Falcons are pensioned off.
A typical example of a BMW patrol car costs the NSW taxpayer more than $100,000, once the vehicle has been outfitted for police work.
The turbo-diesel BMW is, however, already a firm favourite with NSW highway patrol officers, thanks to its size, speed and fuel economy. Officers have told WhichCar that they can easily get 1000km from a single tank of diesel.
The similarly new Chrysler 300 SRT, however, isn’t as popular with the NSW rank and file, with two officers admitting to averaging between 200 and 250km from a tank of petrol in the Chrysler.
BMW 530d (left) and Chrysler 300 SRT in NSW Police livery.
As a result, several commands around NSW are holding onto examples of the V8-powered Holden Commodore, with some approaching 200,000 operational kilometres.
Other states have adopted the Kia Stinger as a highway patrol vehicle, while western NSW commands use Volvo’s XC60 T6 SUV to patrol country roads.