It all started when I decided I didn't want to drive the Cayman on a daily basis no more. With the way it's dialed in right now, and given the current state of my work & life activities, it's really better suited for weekend & canyon duties. The M5 is a fine daily driver but with my short 2-mile commute and constant driving back & forth to different work sites (some just a mile away), I didn't wanna drive it on a daily basis either. I'd feel bad for treating it to cold starts and not letting the oil warm up. And so...
So I decided I wanted something smaller yet still practical with 4 doors, something new where I don't have to worry about repairs, something with a few newfangled gizmos, something with a lighter clutch, but also sporty and fun. A warranty wouldn't be bad either.
It's as if I used to have something like that...
Put that all together and I wound up test driving this Lapiz Blue R as I wanted a vibrant color reminiscent of the Sapphire Blue 981. Something with a little pizzaz, nomsayin'?
Right off the bat I could tell this would be a fun car and would check all the boxes. Adequate power for the streets, something I was familiar with given my brother's S3. The shifter and steering could be tighter but my frame of reference is heavily skewed. I didn't even consider the Focus ST as I much prefer VW interiors, and no interest in the Civic Type R/Veloster N.
There wasn't anything I particularly disliked about it, but while I was there, I also test drove a base GTI. I was expecting a more noticeable performance difference, but given how the peak torque numbers aren't that different and it being ~300 lbs lighter, it felt like maybe it's the better bargain? And thus began a day-long research/conversation fest with the conclusion that right now, the ~$10k delta can be spent on more pressing matters, particularly the great townhouse remodeling event of 2020.
The goal then became to find a GTI in SE trim with the Experience Package. Next morning I test drove this one in Dark Iron Blue. Wasn't my favorite color but decided to talk numbers with the salesman.
While the sales manager was considering my offer, I asked if they could check other stores for the same car, except in Tornado Red as my searches didn't yield any results. He reluctantly searched and found one at another store.
"Yeah...but it's 300 miles away in Northern California" as a sense of relief engulfed him since there's no way I'd consider it.
Son, I've literally flown across the country for a car; 300 miles is child's play.
I called the other dealer, gave them an offer, they countered with something I was comfortable paying, and since the current dealer wouldn't match it, I bounced and made travel plans. Time for a road trip.
Left LAX amidst a gorgeous sunset and landed in Man Jose after a bumpy ride and stormy conditions. This is what happens when the car color has "tornado" in the name.
Flew up with my brother and had dinner with a close friend who kindly picked us up. Hey check out this lamp.
Next morning after enjoying our complimentary breakfast, we walked 2 blocks to the dealer. I checked out and test the drove the car that only had 11 miles on it.
After taking a peak inside the engine bay and checking the brake fluid and coolant levels, I gently lowered the hood on the latch, garnering an approving nod from the product specialist, seeing how most customers slam it shut.
Since the deal had essentially been finalized several days before, it was a very seamless transaction. There was no attempt at persuading me to buy maintenance plans, tire protection services, etc. I financed the car and everything was known and agreed upon. Paperwork was done in 20 minutes, then we waited while they detailed it. Sat inside, looked around, and we were just about to take off when all of a sudden, my brother noticed this on the driver's seat.
Not sure how I missed it the first time but obviously wanted it addressed. They ended up swapping the seat with another one from a GTI on the lot but in the process, noticed 2 other seats having the same issue. Did they hire Edward Scissorhands to remove the seat covers?!
This delayed us about an hour but at least it was replaced and I didn't have to deal with it later on. Started heading south and apparently narrowly missed a hail storm because we saw piles of it on the side of the freeway.
Even got snow on the hills.
Stopped for a potty break, bought some Nutter Butters, water, and checked the oil.
Clouds gave way to sunshine and enhanced moods.
We checked into our AirBnb owned by Richard Dawkins.
Are these...are these pigeon eggs?
It's now Thanksgiving morning and the car is filthy. Not. A. Problem.
As we left Paso Robles, there was no doubt where we were driving through next:
Before we approached the twisty portion, stopped and recreated photos from the summer.
This was my first time driving south on 229 and despite having all-season tires, the car handled fantastically. OK maybe that's a stretch, but it handled well enough where I was enjoying myself, and ultimately isn't that what matters most? Very happy with it in stock from.
At this point we could've taken the longer route and headed east on 58 and south on 33, but due to possible road closures, we played it safe and headed west towards 101. Not before stopping in Santa Margarita for more pics though.
After driving through a few more patches of rain, we caught up with this GT3RS after hearing its exhaust in the distance.
And then passed this homeslice.
Not knowing what our food options were going to be on Thanksgiving, we bought some the previous night and made turkey sandwiches on the..ehem...dining table. Told ya it's a practical car.
Then took advantage of Santa Barbara's scenic coast. The clouds over the ocean look like a painting, no?
Safely back home just in time for one Tornado to face off against another.
Next morning I took the car for the traditional "pic by the tree," something I've done for the last several cars.
I don't have any major plans for this car but as always, I'll keep this thread updated with any mods, maintenance, & repairs, though I'm hoping the last one won't be necessary.