It’s always a good sign, the inquisitive glance over your shoulder in the direction of the shop windows you’re driving past. It says you’re still interested and excited by the car you’re in and you’re not ashamed to risk a cheeky peek on occasion. It’s a time kept tradition and as part of a bonding process between man and machine it stands as affirmation of the initiation process.
In honour of this tradition, the 997 Turbo Convertible and I did check each other out in the reflection a couple of weeks back, when the weather was glorious, that one weekend where we had 32 deg sunshine all day. Yeah fine, shoot me, but it was a perfect day for many reasons and glancing at that oversized Gap shop window, I couldn’t help but feel I was blessed with the luck of the gods for that afternoon. And I felt that the bond was complete.
There I was, sat in that car, good looking woman sat in my side, the shopping bags of excess in the back seats, hood down and the world at my feet. Suddenly, I understood the joys of owning this car. Granted, that kind of day comes once a year, if that, and you need to weigh up the incredible sense of wellbeing generated on that one summers day, versus the remaining 364 days of depressing rain in the UK. It has, after all, been a cloudy summer ever since that day and I’ve not seen a clear sky since.
Of course, that’s a harsh assessment, but it does imply some truths. Life’s all about balance and that sliding scale is adjusted according to the kind of person you are. For me, that one particular day, cruising around in central London, posing in a car pretending to be 2011 summer-wear catwalk model, judging by the sheer number of photographs taken of the car, was so obscenely awesome that the compromise was almost worth having to drive the car with the hood up for the rest of the year.
And it is a car about excesses and perfectly suited to the life of someone who spends a lot of time in central london. The black wheels really set off the car and it gains both admiration and derision in equal measure, probably for the same reason. It demonstrates a type of lifestyle which even I succumbed to, even if it was out of my own reach in reality.
The lazy tiptronic gearbox works terribly when in pursuit of raw thrills, but for cruising around town, soaking up the sun, it was merely sufficient as it gently shifts from one long ratio to the next, allowing you instead to bask in your own glory.
Make no mistake though. Even though the tiptronic makes brisk progress difficult (the gears were way too long for a turbo charged car with such a specific power band), once you did get those turbos spooling, it really was a very quick car and I suspect there’s no more effective a way of giving yourself a scalp massage. I remembered later on when I drove my RS again I was almost slightly underwhelmed by it’s power delivery. Almost.
Frankly, the only reasons for disliking this car can be very quickly made better by adjusting the options list. Dump that awful gearbox in favour of PDK, get a better, thick rimmed steering wheel and maybe even add the letter ‘S’ to the boot.
I was actually quite upset to see it go, even if i was comforted by the approach of imminent rain. Since then the weather hasn’t been anything like it was for that week I had the car and that’s consolation in itself, as I’d have been truly depressed if it was.
Would I swap my RS for one? I’d almost certainly consider it. Given how few track days I’ve done this year, the RS is almost wasted on the driveway. Lately I’ve been needing to drive to work in the City a lot and in the RS that’s been an exercise in self control and tolerance. Only today I attracted the unwanted attention of City police again, driving erratically, swapping lanes often and doing, wait for it, FORTY miles per hour. I’m just a giant animated bill board on wheels selling crack cocaine to small children. The Turbo in contrast was a joy with it’s compliant suspension, four seats, auto box, sat nav and Bose sound system. I will stress though, this car needs a companion in the passenger seat, perhaps even in the drivers seat. Just make sure he/she is good looking!
It’s a fabulous car and if you can afford such a luxury as a second toy, nothing really ticks as many boxes. It massages your ego, tickles the senses and fools you into a false sense of delusional grandeur. I know, I’ve changed my tune somewhat. But I guess that’s what a few days of awesome weather does. It puts this car totally into perspective. It’s not a pure drivers car in the manner I’ve come to judge. A quick drive in the RS yesterday up and down the road had me reversing back into my garage with my heart beating and my legs shaking – no joke. But the Turbo offers itself as a driving pleasure that can only be truly savoured at the right time and the right place. Reach that zenith and you’ll have your awakening.
Excuse me whilst I engage in the pastime enjoyed by all car enthusiasts the world over, I’m just going to pour over the classifieds.