Day three: luxury, speed, the future of Bavaria, and the Car of the Year
Time travel to the future and the past.
Tuesday was an important day in Tannisby. All the contestants took part in the elk test at the Sindal airport. Instead of standing there and watching the cars trying to avoid the collision with an imaginary elk, we decided to drive some of the cars left in the hotel’s yard.
There were not too many left, but we managed to pick some interesting vehicles. The Lexus IS 300h was unveiled in January 2013 at the North American International Auto Show, so it is not a hot new item. It has an economical and eco-friendly hybrid drive system allowing for moderate fuel consumption even under the heavy pressure of dozens of motoring journalists carrying out test-sessions. Sitting in the fully equipped sports sedan, zooming on empty Danish roads in almost total silence and then turning the magnificent Mark Levinson audio system almost to the max and listening to Jamiroquai’s Virtual insanity was quite a memorable experience.
We laid our hands on BMW’s brand new electric car, the i3, but we are not allowed to say anything about it until 12. October. For those who have never heard of the i+, it will be the world’s first mass produced electric car featuring carbon-fiber reinforced monocoque chassis. It won’t come cheap, though: prices will be around 45.000 USD, depending on markets and applicable government grants.
Tibor Papp took the Porsche Cayman for a spin. All he had to say about the car through the rolled down window when he returned smiling was "It has a clutch, a stick shift: now I feel I am alive!"
One of the most interesting cars in the Tannistest-fleet was the Talbot Horizon, winner of the 1978 Car of the Year award. This model was also known as Simca and Chrysler Horizon in Europe, but its derivatives were even sold in the US as Dodge Omni, Dodge Rampage, Dodge Charger, Plymouth Horizon, Plymouth Scamp and Plymouth Tourismo. It was when I saw a Dodge Omni at the Shelby-museum in Las Vegas - Shelby made a souped-up version of the Dodge Omni, called Shelby Dodge Omni GLH (standing for “Goes Like Hell”) - that I realized what an important model this dull Golf-class car was. The Omni family was in production from 1978 till 1990 in the US. The first ones had engines sourced from the great rival, Volkswagen. The Horizon was made in France, Spain, Finland and Great Britain between 1978 and 1987. The car on display looked mint, had low mileage, but it was not original, it had been resprayed before. And it wasn’t a good drive at all.
The last car we tested on Tuesday was a Mercedes-Benz S 500 L. 455 PS, 7 speed auto gearbox, LCD instrument cluster, full leather interior, 10 speaker sound system, front seats with massage function, heated and cooled/ventilated seats all over, just to name a few features. The car was overwhelming. Just jump in the rear right seat, press a button to have the front seat move forward, convert the rear seat into an armchair, grab a cold or hot drink kept on the right temperature in the rear glovebox, and let your driver put the pedal to the metal making the slender whale accelerate to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.