COASTING ALONG WITH A STABLE OF THOROUGHBREDS
Heads turn when a convoy of quality machines hits the highway for a spin
LAST month I was literally feeling a million dollars. Not just feeling, I got to sit in it and drive goodly portion of around the Otways.
Welcome world of the highend day.
When Rex Gorell group offered me a chance take part, I agreed quicker than you could say BMW M5. Well, almost.
That’s how I came to be in a convoy, the likes of which is rarely seen on Geelong roads.
In no particular order, the starting grid was Audi R8, Audi TT, Audi Q3 RS,
S3, F-Type R Jaguar, Jaguar XE, BMW M4, BMW M5, BMW M640,
650, Range Rover SV Autobiography and Sport.
Prices for the Audis alone, collectively, start from $500,000 plus on-road costs.
And on a $279,000 R8 you can add near enough to $70,000 in on-road costs before you factor in the options. Welcome to bespoke driving and world of luxury car tax. Time constraints meant I could not sample all motoring pleasures on offer in day.
You would have needed the best part a week to do them all any justice, adjusting nuances each has, listening engine note.
And, the case of at least one M-series Beemer, being told just what sequences buttons and levers needed be pushed or adjusted to (a) get car started; (b) get it moving forward.
Thus, my observations are restricted largely to the Audi R8 RSQ3, BMW M4 and M640 and the Range Rover Sport.
First impressions? These cars that demand your full attention. One driver said the Audi R8 was “as tight as a drum”, saying he’d never driven something so responsive to slightest tweak of the steering wheel.
And this on Princes Highway heading out Geelong around 10am a wet day — definitely kind of conditions when you’d want your wits about you, especially when piloting vehicle with top speed 300km/h and capable going from 0-100km/h in just over four seconds. Both the R8 F-Type were
of putting up those numbers. To achieve that, R8’s 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine and all-wheel drive combines with a mechanical differential lock, traction control two electro-hydraulically controlled multi-plate clutches in an oil bath. The Jag opts for 5.0-litre
petrol power plant that can deliver 404kW and 680Nm.
The second impression was the day’s automotive stable did not necessarily exude expense to the degree you might otherwise associate with their price tags.
Granted R8 F-Type looked exotic, but in a kind of understated way.
(That said, there are not too many cars whose engines visible through clear cover at the back the vehicle. The R8’s was.)
only obvious giveaway to casual observer might have been that
carbon fibre leather ratio was well up.
Inside, it’s not all burr walnut and sofa-like seating.
The F-Type’s seats were more like racing ones, curving around to hug your body. They supportive rather than sumptuous.
On the other hand, the M640’s seats would not have been out of place in a high-end club.
And news that one the Range Rovers came with seat massage option spread through crowd like wildfire.
Cars like M5 at full throttle are not for the faint-hearted, as I overheard more than one driver say on day (I am paraphrasing their slightly “earthy” comments). But raw power is tempered by some remarkable technology.
BMW has seatbelts that automatically tighten to hold you snug in your seat. The brake discs on the R8 are only marginally smaller than 19-inch forged aluminium rims they sit behind.
And that is addition the battery of electronic and mechanical aids designed to keep you on straight narrow — literally.
There are no long straights coming down the back road into Lorne, but the M4’s brakes seemed like anchors, even in greasy conditions as the convoy gradually made its way down to halfway point of our route.
Coming back passenger seat along Great Ocean Road was great for people watching.
So many thoroughbreds for what was literally a head-turning afternoon some.
By comparison, the final leg back to Geelong in Audi Q3 RS may have seemed little sedate. It is, after all, five-cylinder, smallish SUV that would scarcely seem to warrant a second glance.
But the 2.5-litre engine is turbocharged, car has Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive, sevenspeed S-tronic automatic gearbox and a top of 250km/h.
And like all day’s stable, it had the ability to be heard as much as seen when pushed.
Truly music ears.