Whenever you read about new BMWs, specifically cars like the 3 Series, M4 and other sports variants, you always hear about how the cars handle twisty roads. All of journalists are guilty of it, as we go on and on about how the car “handles”. But the truth of the matter is that it’s seldom we come across roads that can put any car to a real test. Most of the time that we’re driving, the roads we’re on are flat and straight. At least in the ‘States that’s true.
There are some excellent driving roads out there, but they are few and far between, in comparison to the endless sea of boring roads and highways, littered with stop signs, traffic lights and mind-numbingly low speed limits. Those are the exact opposite characteristics of a great driving road. A great driving road is all about challenge. A great driving road challenges both yours, as a driver, and the car’s capabilities. It usually throws endless corner after high-speed corner until either you are the car says ‘uncle’.
There are a couple of famous roads like this, but they span continents and countries so it’s seldom enthusiasts actually get to drive them. The Stelvio Pass, which runs through both Italy and Switzerland, is one of them and is considered one of the best, if not the best, and has probably the best scenery of all of them. In Romania, the Transfagarasan Pass, a strip of road that looks like fallen ribbon draped across the Carpathian Mountains, could possibly be the most fun of all great driving roads. The unnamed road that we recently drove in Chihuahua, Mexico, that ran through the mountains was filled with relentless blind hairpin turns, one after another, and an endless amount of peril. All of these roads offer fun, excitement, difficulty and even danger, if you don’t respect the road or car enough.
Admittedly, these roads need a good car as well. You can drive the Stelvio in a Toyota Yaris and you’ll be as bored and annoyed as if you were on the Garden State Parkway. But take one of these roads in a BMW M3 or a Porsche Cayman and you’ll fully appreciate what makes both the road and the car so great. And that’s really the beauty of a great driving road. The road is pretty much useless without a great handling car and a great handling car can be boring without a great road. The two need to be together to be fully appreciated.
So let us know what great driving roads you know of and where they are?