Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Luscious Metal: My first test drive of the year.

Sometimes, life stops sucking just long enough to remind you why it's worth it all. Yesterday was one of those days I was glad to have gotten up. Only one day prior, my VA site had a big pizza & beer party (four or five different kinds of beer, too) for a big teleconference regarding some good business we just got into, so the mood was still pretty much "up" around the typically low-key and all-too-quiet site.

Anyway, to the meat of it: A co-worker of mine, one with whom I always enjoy discussing cars (one of our favorite subjects) and Canada (I love the country, he's an ex-pat) dropped by and said "look out your window." So I did, and... Whoa, that's one gorgeous BMW M5. (The car in the pic on that link is the same color, too.) Word was already spreading around that $coworkerguy had acquired some truly luscious metal, and they were climbing on him like flies on shit trying to score a ride in the car. "C'mon man, you gotta' take me for a ride in that," I heard no less than four people say within a minute. I glanced at $coworkerguy and said quietly "later on, when the time's right, I'd like to get a closer look if it's OK with you..." He smiled and said "oh yeah."

So, once he'd gotten back from taking the guys out to lunch (they seemed to enjoy the ride), I was outside taking in some sunshine, caffeine, and nicotine. The other guys went right back into the building, so I hung around for a minute while $coworkerguy was checking out his new ride. They got to be passengers. I'm a terrible passenger. There's about a million things I don't do well and never will. Being a passenger in a really sweet ride is one of them.

It's a 2000 model, but in better-than-showroom condition. 10,000 miles on the clock, comprehensive maintenance records (nothing but the best in this ride), and... well, it just looked DAMN good. No "iDrive" bullshit to mess up the experience of putting the driver in touch with the road. This is BMW when they really meant business. Paint on brand-new 2006 models doesn't look this good. The engine smelled new. I was impressed. I was infatuated. I was... wanting more.

When it was just the two of us admiring the car, $coworkerguy hands me the keys and says "want to get in?" But of course I would. The moment my ass hit the perfect leather seat (whereas I usually don't care for leather seats, these are works of art) and my hands gripped the wheel, I said "oh, I'm in looooove..."

He points to the ignition, indicating I should start her up. I do. The engine awoke from its brief slumber the same way I do -- ready to kick someone's ass. With a smile on my face, I ask $coworkerguy "shall we putter around for a bit?" He grins back and says "sure." We both buckle up.

Now, my VA site is located in a rather dense traffic area. So I stayed off the main road, and had a little fun on the side streets. Open road is wonderful. Point-and-shoot games with slow-moving SUVs in a car like this, not. "Go ahead and open up the throttle" he said. Did this guy know what he was asking for? Apparently he did. "I thought you'd never ask..." I cracked it to about half-throttle... and immediately pinned us both to the seat, as I expected. $coworkerguy didn't freak out, so I was encouraged to continue.

Near our building, there's a nice straight stretch of road the runs a little more than 1/4 mile. Perfect. I took a nice soft launch, and at about 5 mph I decked it -- rocked us both back, and the tach climbed to 5000 in about half-a-breath. I immediately caught second gear, and felt the ass-end kick itself to the side just a little, as any proper rear-wheel drive car should when it's really putting power to the ground. Power is good. "M Power" is... VERY good.

Looking over at the car's owner, he was all-smiles. Apparently he knew somehow that I knew what to do with his car, and also what not to do with it, so I was complimented by that. Trust like that is important, you see.

On the way back to the office, he decided to show off the car's different suspension settings (apparently we had been set to "touring" at first), so he engaged "sport" mode, and asked me to light it up again.


This time, the car somehow seemed just a tiny bit quicker, probably abetted by the stiffer suspension settings that eliminated all possible "squat" when you nail the Go Pedal. When you're used to maybe 150 horsepower in a daily driver, 400 angry German horses under the command of your right foot is quite the change of pace. I didn't need another cup of coffee for the rest of the day.

The buzz still hasn't worn off. It was like riding every ride at the amusement park, in 10 minutes.

Of course, not to be outdone, I have another coworker at my MD site who drives a nicely-supercharged Z06 Corvette. Says it's a bit more than 500 hp at the wheels.

He just asked me if I'd like to test-drive it some time...

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