While many auto journalists will tell you they’re just trying to scratch a living out of whatever they can, it’s an undisputed fact that the job has some definite perks. Although we can’t live the life of the rich and famous every day, we do occasionally get invited to drive the cars we cover. For a couple of beautiful days in October, Monticello Motor Club—one of the most exclusive and impressive automotive country clubs in America—opens its doors for the International Motor Press Association‘s (IMPA) Test Days, where schlubs like us get asked to drive some of the best new cars in the world on both a technical race track and the back roads of the Catskill Mountains.
We had just finished considering whether or not our current car would be held in such high regard if it came packaged with a different badge on the steering wheel. Would it elicit stares and draw myriad cell phones, all pointed in our direction, as it does now? Surely, plush carpeting and massaging seats are common enough nowadays to be found in a Kia K900 or a Hyundai Equus, let alone one of the more and more ubiquitous luxury brands. Was our car really so special?
Then we saw it. Driven by what very well may have been a chauffeur, a brand spanking new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG pulled alongside us and, sure enough, compelled my co-driver to utter the following:
The true measure of a performance vehicle has long been based on three things: displacement, number of cylinders and horsepower. The higher each of those numbers, the more impressive the car. The 16-cylinder Veyron, the famous 12-cylinder Ferraris, the affordable power of American V8 engines… all offer varying degrees of sports-car greatness, not to mention an aural symphony of pleasure.
So a car with a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder, 223-hp engine seems more appropriate for a developing market, not a world-leading supercar meant to challenge the existing notion of what a performance car should be.
The BMW i8 Concept Spyder uses every futuristic trick and exotic material currently known to man, along with some horsepower-shredding torque, to preview the Bavarians’ vision of the future of supercars.
The new Mission Impossible movie isn’t so much an espionage spy thriller as it is a 1-hour-and-50-minute-long car advertisement. No fewer than four models in the BMW stable make an appearance in the film, with the lead role going to the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car. Tom Cruise may get his name in the lights, but BMW is the star.
The product placement has its purpose, of course. Marketing folks at BMW hope movie watchers will want to be like Cruise’s Ethan Hunt character and cruise around town in a Bimmer of their own.
And wouldn’t you know it, the very car Cruise drives in the movie is coming soon to a dealer near you, as the BMW i8.