Thursday, January 15, 2009

GT-R Spotting and S-Mode

So I'm driving home on the 101 and spot this sinister looking car two lanes over.  I caught a glimpse of the taillights and I knew right away.  It was the new R35 GT-R!  I had not seen one in the flesh before and what a treat!  The car was in the lighter of the two shades of gray.  I actually picked that color for my own GT-R (in Gran Turismo 5P!) and it looked really nice at dusk.  The lines of the car are amazing and are much nicer in person than in pictures or even videos.  

The driver switched over a lane (further away) and took off.  He was headed down 85 south and just like that my GT-R experience was over.  Definitely on my "dream garage" list.

The VW is holding up well and drives good enough "for a family car."  Just barely over 5000 miles in under 4 months and I just discovered my new favorite feature.  S-mode on the Tiptronic.  Yeah, I see you rolling your eyes.  A "real" car guy would have bought a manual.  Sure, but this was the family car and my wife has to be able to drive it.  Plus we bought it at year end and there were only 5 Passat Wagons left in California!  

I've been puttering around in "D" and was fine with the tepid acceleration and slow kick-down of the automatic transmission.  It's just a family car right?  I just let the idiots pass me while I turtle along at 65mph.  Today I took 280 home.  Any Bay Area native will tell you, the average speed on 280 is about 75mph... in the slow lane!  I had accidentally put the Tiptronic in "S" (for Sport) mode a few times before.  Once I chirped the tires for a solid 2 seconds coming out of the driveway.  This time I purposely put it in "S" and boy was it fun!  The trans holds revs around 3k rpm (vs. 2k in "D") and the turbo really comes to life.  Torque is more than adequate (but I still want more!) and she'll go to redline before shifting up.  Going up the hills of 92 wasn't a wheeze-fest like before.  I was behind a couple of cars on the ramp to 280 and decided to go to the outside lane and get around.  I got around the Cam-cord or whatever and saw a little Mini Cooper.  The dual pipes in the middle told me it was the "S" version and I thought, oh well, I'll just slot in behind him on the merge.  But he didn't accelerate through the corner.

Bad Mini Driver! (pun not intended)

I hit the gas and pulled side by side with the MCS.  The stock Michelins held the line surprisingly well, so I kept on the throttle.  I pulled about three car lengths ahead in the curve and settled down.  Wow.  This car really drives!

280 is the perfect road for the Passat.  Higher speed, gentle curves and nice elevation changes.  It was like driving in Germany, and that's why this german wagon was clearly in its element.

Now about that APR chip...


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