Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh, joy

Don't roll your eyes in disgust when I say this, but I'm going to talk about cars, OK? I said don't roll your eyes; especially not across the floor towards me - you know how that freaks me out. Put them back in and pay attention.

So yes, I'm going to talk about cars (I will, of course, do it in my usual wry style; failing that I'll pop a cock joke in at the end).

It all started when I was driving to work in Clubbie when a little red light flashed on to indicate that it needed a service. It proceeded to come on every day for the next five days I Immediately leapt into action and called the dealer to book it in, and was told they could do it two days later. Because I need to get to work, though, I said I would need a courtesy car. I was then told they could do it about four weeks later.


I was then told that my courtesy car would be a BMW 1-Series, a car I've always wanted to drive because quite frankly it's the next logical step if I ever feel I outgrow Minis.

And then, thinking about how I'd like to drive a 1-Series round for the entire day rather than just to and from work, I decided to take the day off, thus negating the actual need for a courtesy car to enable me to get to work.

Welcome to my brain.

Anyway, today comes (obviously) and I'm so excited that I get up really early, have a cup of tea, and shoot over to the dealers ASAP to get Clubbie in quickly and head off for some fun in the 1. The handover goes very quickly, and the guy says to me "your courtesy car is parked round the side of the building."

"Great!" I say, snatching the key off him and legging it out the door. Of course, being a BMW it doesn't actually have a key - rather a little plastic thing that looks like a spaceship that you need to dock with a slot in the dash. Basically just another excuse for me make spaceship noises as I fly it into an imaginary spacedock, then. And, of course, being well-versed with this keyless business now, there would obviously be no repeat of the embarrassing "how do you start the car?" incident from when I had a 5-Series a few years back.

So I head outside, round the corner and there - oh, (in finest Cockney-rhyming slang terms) you are having a giraffe.

Now, I've never driven a billboard before, especially one emblazoned with the word JOY in a rather uninspiring looking typeface, but while I momentarily thought about stepping back into the dealership and hoofing the key-thingy back at the chap who gave it to me while shouting "I WILL NOT DRIVE ANY FORM OF PROPAGANDA REGARDLESS OF HOW GOOD THE CAR IS OR HOW VERY MUCH I WANT TO DRIVE IT AND ENJOY IT!" the thought of then having to phone Sparky Ma and saying "I'm stranded in West Drayton, could you come and get me please?" meant that I just sucked it up, looked past the stickers, and got in the car.

The first thing that struck me was that the previous driver must've been a T-Rex or something, because the chair was all the way back and the steering wheel was right in my face. After sorting that out, I very gingerly set out.

Within a few minutes I felt very much at home in the 1-Series. One of the displays was identical to that found in Minis, which meant I understood exactly how little petrol they'd given me (14 miles worth - I could spit more), and while it was the least powerful engine in the range (a 1.6) it was pokey enough and actually quite rapid. Compared to the VW Golf I had last year when Clubbie was off the road, I'd actually say (in contrast to many of the car magazines that I've read) that I preferred the 1. Now admittedly it wasn't as big as the Golf - I'd actually say it was really no more spacious than Clubbie inside - and it had a curiously small glovebox and oddly-shaped rear doors, but the way it pootled around town was more involving and, well, fun. It also had very comfortable seats, with had the added bonus of a strange extendible thigh-supporting thingy - a bit like an automotive lazy-boy, I guess, but without the potential for flinging your legs in the air while you're doing 70mph on the M4.

Note strange extendible thigh-supporting thingy at the forward edge of the driver's seat; the passenger side one is RETRACTED. While I was playing around with it (while the car was parked, I hasten to add) I set it to its maximum reach, which pretty much lifted my feet clear of the pedals.

But while I thoroughly enjoyed the 1-Series, it only reinforced once more why I like Minis so much. For a car that's roughly the same size, around the same price, and with a similarly powerful engine as Clubbie, the 1 was remarkably different in character. Driving a Mini is a bit like having an enthusiastic terrier on the end of a lead - it's characterful, always darting about, and making you smile; you change gear quickly and often - like it's shouting "THIRD, NO WAIT, FOURTH, C'MON CHANGE!" The 1 felt more chilled out; I'd hit about 45mph on the motorway and it felt like some business dude in a suit kicking back and loosening his tie - "yeah, what, like, sixth gear? Yeah sixth, why not?"

So at the end of the day I was more than happy to have Clubbie back, clean, shiny, and fully serviced. They even added a bit of that stuff that makes your tyres look showroom fresh (or greasy, depending on your point of view).

And to top it all off, I finally got round to buying the new BMW iPhone cable that charges my iPhone 3GS while I drive. HAPPY. DAYS. INDEED.

Post over, and no cock jokes. I shall let you insert your own.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

"I shall let you insert your own."

Great! Where's the lube?

Annnnnd... On with the comment proper:

Tim said...


Inexplicable DeVice said...

You know, I'd rather have a Mini than a 1 Series. Dratted fish-faced little trogolodyte of a car!
Although, those under-thigh, support-enhancing, extending & retracting gubbins look soooo useful. I kind of wish Car had them...

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Ooh! You surprised me, there.

Tim said...

I snuck in when you weren't looking (the transporter's been zipping me all over the place while I've been trying to escape from the jelly babies).

Don't hold back on your thoughts about the 1-Series!!

CyberPete said...

That BMW is odd looking. I don't like it. I am however loving the Mini though and if I was to buy a car today and not think about price or anything like that, I'd get a Mini.

Tim said...

I don't mind the look of the 1, but of course I prefer Minis!

Tara said...

That tire *does* look showroom fresh! I'm glad Clubbie has returned all beautified!

I've never seen one of those thigh extender things for a car seat. Interesting stuff!