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Old 07-16-2002, 05:46 PM
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A weekend of high temperatures, racing, Lake Chelan, and a possible future Audi

So this weekend, I had the occasion to go home to Eastern WA, and visit my parents and friends from high school who are home from college for the summer.


On Friday night, I was hanging around with my friend Ryan, and he decided to head over to a neighboring town to pick up this girl that he was kind of seeing at the time. Anyway, we come up to a stoplight on a 4-lane highway (which quickly turns into a two-lane) and pulled up behind a mid-90s Mustang GT 4.6 liter, in Ryan's stock 1989 BMW 325iX with 5-speed manual transmission.

As soon as the light turns green, Ryan states "I'm going to drop this guy" then tails the Mustang across the intersection. Still in first gear, he nails it and whips around the mustang (who starts to accelerate once Ryan got abreast of him) and blasts up to redline. 35 mph, we've got several carlengths. Redline in 2nd at 55, the mustang is behind us and not gaining much. Redline in 3rd at 85, Ryan decides enough is enough and hits the clutch and shifts to 5th, gently braking down to legal speeds. When all of a sudden....

A loud blast of V-8 noise erupts as the Mustang passes us on the RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD, which is really weird because he could have passed us on the left side of the road instead of the shoulder (2-lane at this point). He blows by, cuts in front of us, and brakes and takes the first left-hand turn.

NOTE: The Mustang sounded as if it had an automatic, too. From what I hear, early 4.6 liter cars were a good deal slower than the 5.0 liter cars. Still kind of funny what an E30 six-cylinder BMW did to him.

On Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to drive an Audi A4 1.8T Quattro, a 1997 with the 5-speed automatic. All I can say is I know the 1.8T has only 150 hp in stock form, but wow, what a peppy little car! (at least from say, 30 to 70 mph). It was the first 5-speed automatic I had ever driven and I know this is bad, but this automatic felt practically as good for acceleration as a manual trans, with its closely spaced ratios and willingness to hold a gear up to redline and to snap off 2- and 3-gear kickdowns. I think I want an A4 after college....even if I hear stories about quirky problems with them and spotty reliability.

Also got to ride in a '91 420SEL. This thing rode like a cloud, and was scarily refined compared to the early gas W126 I've had a lot of experience with. The V-8 just doesn't reveal its presence at all. hmmm...I think I have some mixed feelings about that. This car was just TOO refined. Were there ever suspension changes to the later W126 that anyone knows of?

Earlier that day, I rode in Ryan's 325iX up to Lake Chelan in eastern WA. Getting there was definitely half the fun; however, above 85 mph (which happened several times when we were passing people) this front end vibration suddenly manifested, making the whole dashboard shake rhythmically. Needless to say, anything faster than that would have been VERY unnerving, I've never experienced the like in a car before.

Anyway, swimming the lake was fun on a 100 plus degree day, especially since it's glacially fed. If any Pac NW members are in eastern WA during the summer months, they need to come see the lake; one can see the bottom even when it's 40 plus feet below in places. It's that pristine. Can't wait to visit there again sometime.


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