Marc's Public Blog - Cars

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Below is a recounting of various car events I've attended along the years, from car club meets, autocrosses, track events, and enthusiast drives.

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2004/12/11 Well, 400hp will be enough afterall :)
π 2004-12-11 21:06 by Merlin in Cars, Ncars

Current Music: AVB - ASOT 172
Current Mood: Like a kid with a new toy :)

Funny how things work out, I went to check out and test drive the RS6 I had
seen available. Turns out the owner just put it for sale a few hours before I found the ad. While I liked some parts of it (outside of what I read online and little "details" like 450hp :), it had quite a huge trunk, and a reclining back seat if you needed extra space (handy to fit a snowboard or huge luggage). Unfortunately, the avant (hatchback) model never got imported in the US. For that matter, the current model had less than a 1000 units imported in the US altogether, making it rarer than an NSX.
Anyway, it does look nice

And then, I drove it...
Well, of course I made use of the paddle shift since I'm certainly not going to settle for an automatic today. Long story short, tiptronic gearboxes suck. Sure, they're smart, sure they'll make sure I don't overrev the engine by downshifting when I'm not supposed to (i.e. 4th to 3rd instead of 5th). It will even resist auto-shifting when you have lateral G-forces (i.e. in the middle of a hard turn). But, then, it also decided that I didn't have enough RPM to shift from 4th to 5th or auto shifted back to 1st when I stopped at a red line (which is kind of what I wanted, but that's just back to an automatic box, and that just annoyed me).
On top of the fact that I hate automatic gearboxes, the shifts took close to one second after I initiated them on the paddle shift, and that was just utterly unacceptable.
In the end, it just felt like a fast boat, and I don't like driving boats, even if they do have 450hp.

So, it was back to the BMW dealership to see the used M5 they had just received, and do a luggage fit test on my way back home for lunch (I was lugging a couple of pieces of airline luggage with me to give me a idea of what trunk sizes I was dealing with).
I can't believe I'd ever say that about a car salesman, but he levelled with me from the beginning, knew what kind of driving I was into, and sold me on the certified pre-owned concept: paying a little more for a car that's been thoroughly checked, brought back to spec, and will be fully warrantied until december 2007 (it's a 2002). Quite frankly, for that kind of car, it's not only a nice insurance that you're not being a lemon, or an overly abused car, and it's also nice not to have to worry about all the hassles of being from an individual, getting a VIN inspection, getting it to green slip or AAA for a full 100+ point inspection, etc, etc...
I'm not a big impulse buyer, but there was definite value in being able to drive the car away an hour and change later. I also really appreciated just being able to tell the guy "look, so I'm not into playing games, haggling and all that unpleasant stuff: what's the real price you can sell it for", and him returning with his final price 5mn later.

Thanks to help from Xav, I got the car home, and we went for lunch to celebrate after that :)
My only two small complaints about it would be: no cigarette lighter adapter in the back, for passengers to get laptop power :) and more importantly, the reverse gear is very easy to mistake with the 1st gear (that's more disappointing and a real life potential problem if you back up into the car behind you when the light turns green)
Apart from that, it has a lot of nice amenities, pretty much all the options that were ever available on that model (including a folding back seat, which strangely enough, was a rare option, but something I wanted very much). I'll probably spend the rest of the evening reading the manual and fiddling with all the buttons (of which there are many :)
I think one of the most impressive parts of the car, outside of fixing very stupid driving moves that you might try (its rims and tires are a bit more money than a miata if you smack a curb :), is how quiet it actually is inside, and how you have no idea that you're suddenly driving the speed you are before you look at the speedo and slow down.

I also felt a bit bad buying the car on the spot without going home and going through the used M5 ads I had seen online, but having done that now, it turns out it was the only M5 anywhere close, it had all the options I could have wanted, and it was actually quite fairly priced, especially for a certified vehicle.
And boy, does it feel nice to fulfill an old dream (yeah, I still remember watching one of my first Top Gear videos, and tiff driving the M5 sideways . If I quit my day job, I can also become a cab driver :)

Now, I just have to figure out how on earth I can plug in my empeg in there. That's definitely not going to be a piece of cake... Oh, and after upgrading my 4 door car, maybe I need to buy a new pair of shoes without holes on the side :)

Info and stats on the M5 if you're curious

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