Well, today was a beautiful day for a Komen drive. For those of you who are not aware, the Susan G. Komen “Drive for the Cure” is an annual fund raising event that gives people the chance to drive many BMW’s while contributing to a great cause. For every mile driven on the “fleet” cars, BMW donates $1, up to $1,000,000 annually. This is my fifth year to participate in this great event. This great event to me is not just a chance to drive numerous BMWs; it is also personal because my grandmother was a survivor of breast cancer as is the wife of the conductor of an adult community band I played in for years. My grandmother was lucky as she has no chemo or other treatments. The wife of our band director was not….she went through a living hell with the radiation and chemo.
Today was not as typical as in years past. There were simply too many people this year and it seemed like there were simply too few cars. Several weeks ago I made my reservations for two cars in particular: the new M3 and an Alpina B7. I knew that these two would be in HIGH demand and I was not disappointed. BMW basically has every car in the stable available to drive with the exception of the M5 and M6. However, what WERE available for the drooling was the new 135i and 128i as well as the 335i and best of all, the new M3!!! I made no attempts to drive the Z4’s, X5’s or 750Li/760Li.
First things first….while waiting for my turn in the M3, I got to drive a 335i Coupe. Though the 335i had a Steptronic, the car was still a blast to drive. Fast, stable the sedan was well poised at both low and high speeds. Totally fun and with a 6-speed, likely a beast. Wait, add some Michelin PS2’s, some front and rear sway bars and a teensy stiffer suspension and you will have a Sake killer!!!
Now the fun began….it was my turn to drive the M3. First, something occurred that I will definitely let BMW NA know about. I had made my reservation for the M3 at 1:00PM. To be fair, the M3 had gotten off to a bad start with some minor engine issues as well as a flat tire early in the day. However, the early morning rush had mostly left, so by 1:00PM, it should have been ready. However, the person in charge of the event was clueless and suddenly it came close to a free for all. I think that the goober in charge sometime forgot that besides the people who were just walking up, there was still a list of people with reservations. I and several others had to remind the guy that yes, he DID have another list of people who took the time to register in advance. I finally had to be a wee bit forceful to finally get my chance behind the wheel of the M3 and man, was it worth it!!! Everything I liked about the 335i went out the window once I fired up that monstrous V8!! WOO HOOOOO….talk about get up and go. The power from 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th was startling!!! In 6th gear doing 90 on the freeway I could still punch it, leaving the Corolla in my wake!!!
The next car up was another revelation for me. The new 135i…what a rocket!!! I can honestly say that this car felt almost as fast as the M3 though by the time I got the 135i, the traffic was starting to get thick. Once again, add some PS2’s, a stick and some front and rear sway bars and HOLD ON TIGHT!!!!When you are done with your driving, there is what is called a Signature car in the showroom. This is a chance for you to sign your name on the car and this remains a tribute to the cause. What was the car this year?? None other than the new X6!!! The car is smaller than I imagined and looks interesting up close and in person. No drives in it as it is still too “new”….
Now, the bad news. No Alpina B7 today. First, the people taking the B7 out were obviously taking different routes. Most people had the cars back in less than 20 minutes, but the Alpina stayed out for as long as 35 to 45 minutes per run. At 2:45PM the traffic was getting too thick for any real runs, so I decided to call it a day. I am still hacked that despite my 1:00PM appointment (with a confirmation number in hand) I never got to drive the Alpina. I am going to suggest that if BMW is going to have a reservation system, then they need to stick with that plan. Do NOT let some “20-something” decide who does and who does not get to drive a car. Maybe they need TWO people out there to control the people who show up versus the people who have reservations.
Of well, c’est la vie!!! I am still the happy camper as I got to drive the three other main cars I wanted to drive! Since Irv is going to be my dealer, I will never go into the local place to just “try” cars. The 135i, 335i and M3 are STUNNING cars and damn, it was nice to get behind the wheel of a new Bimmer. Too bad the Komen drives come around only once a year!
In closing, there are no pictures. Bummer, as my DSLR is dead. Then again, the sunlight was VERY bright and we were blessed with the “white” fleet (the other fleet that goes around the country is the “gray” fleet), so any pictures would have been poor.
I encourage any who read this to go to http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Experience/Events/Komen/Default.aspx and see if a Komen drive is coming to a dealer close to you. It is FUN as you can drive any BMW you want (except an M5 and M6) while supporting a GREAT cause!!
This article was brought to you by Mark W.