Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ultimate Drive for Susan G. Komen, Day 1

So today was the first of my two drives this week. My first drive was at 9am, but unfortunately due to traffic, I got there at 9:15 and literally walked by my first scheduled car, the 335i coupe, as the Australian guy running things signed him out in it. So I went and checked in, signing the "Whatever dumb ass things you do in these cars, there's no way in hell BMW can be held responsible" disclaimer/release form. I then went down and asked what I could drive. Luckily for me, the 650i coupe was free so I got in, adjusted everything to my liking, and hit the road.

The course went from the BMW dealer on McDowell, east to the 101, south to the 202, west to the Priest exit, north on Priest to McDowell, then finally east back to the dealership. The best part is the twisty section of Priest/North Galvin Parkway between East Van Buren and McDowell.

The second car I drove was the 528ix. This was probably my favorite car of the ones I drove for a daily driver. Plenty of power, very comfortable, and a very smooth ride. I didn't realize it was the all-wheel drive, signified by the "ix", until I took the picture above.

After that, I was able to get into the second car I reserved, the 650i convertible. It was just after 10am, bright sunshine, and 72 degrees. If there is such a thing as perfect weather for a convertible, this was it. While not quite as solid as the coupe is, it's still a great car.

My favorite car of the day to drive was the 335i coupe. I'd heard great things about the twin-turbocharged engine in the 335i, and at first it unimpressive. However, once I got on the highway, it came to life. Once in mid-to-upper revs, the response is amazing. Hit the gas, and it just surges forward. Driving it through the twisty section was incredible. After I finished and was talking to some of the other guys there, most of them found it their favorite or second favorite behind the 550i sedan, which I will drive on Saturday.

Another one I was looking forward to hard-top convertible version of the 335i. Top up, it was very quiet. After about 1/2 mile, I put the top down, set my hat a size too small, and took off. The engine was just as much fun with no top. It, too, had a noticeable reduction in rigidity, but not too much. Even more impressive was that I was able to out-drag guy in a 750i from a stoplight. That amazed me as well as him. I could certainly live with this convertible.

The final car I drove was the coupe version of the Z4 roadster. Sadly, I didn't like it. Visibility was horrible, with huge blind spots and a nearly useless rear-view mirror. Pill-box was the word that came to mind. It shared the great engine in the 335i, but the cramped interior made it hard to for me to maneuver it. I'm about 5' 10, and I had the seat all the way back and it squeaked against the back of the cabin. The ride was also very harsh. While a beautiful car to look at, I would take the 335i over it in a heartbeat.

I also drove the X5 3.0 SUV. Even with the smaller engine, it was a nice drive. Definitely underpowered after driving the other cars, but still very livable. The 750i was a nice car, too. I think I drove another vehicle, but I can't remember it.

After talking with the lady who organizes this event, I found out that the event on Saturday is the last one of the year. Both of the fleets will be at the N. Scottsdale location and it sounds like it should be fun.

After I finished drive around 1:15pm (traffic at the 101/202 exchange was starting to get bad), I signed the Signature Vehicle for this year, an X3. The Signature Vehicles are put into the BMW museum.

Finally, the best non-car part of the day. For the third year running, they had a chocolate fountain. Oreos, strawberries, pineapple, angel food cake, marshmallows, pretzels, and rice crispy treats were available to be put under the chocolate. A rich, delicious treat after the great lunch they provided. Freshly grilled kielbasa, steak sandwiches, fried fish, french fries, pasta salad, caesar salad, and a couple other dishes. And it was all free. :)


Anonymous said...

The so-called "Bangle butt" look on new BMWs has been controversial, but I like it, especially on the 6 series. Alas, my own BMW driving experience has been limited to my wife's X3, which we just traded in for a Mazda CX-9 in order to have more cargo room for strollers and such.

Andy said...

Thanks again for the information about this event. I enjoyed the 328 and 528...and also the food!

Yankee1969 said...

SB, The X3 always seemed small to me. The first one I drove at an event had horrible seats. I felt like I was sitting on the seat, not in it. The one I drove this time was much better, but I'm still a car guy. The 3-series wagons are pretty sweet, especially with awd. The CX-9 has gotten some great press but I've never tried on.

Andy, the 528 was great. Smooth and just the right amount of power. I'd love to have one, but man, they aren't cheap.