Autolust, part 2

About a month ago, I posted about wanting a new car to replace the Lumbering Beast. In some weeks of driving the new commute, I’ve determined that the Lumbering Beast gets approximately 19 mpg on the highway. That’s NOT good. It’s rated (in 2005 numbers) 17/21. It gets more like 15/19, though. I need to improve that immensely.

Going to Germany added some perspective to what you need in a car. Granted, we were mostly in cities, so I saw a lot of city cars, but the German perspective on cars was refreshing.

First, they’re all SMALL cars. Only around what is often considered the most expensive hotel in Berlin (Hotel Adlon, where Michael Jackson famously dangled his infant son out the window a few years back) did we see any big cars (big Benzes and 7 series BMWs). There were virtually no SUVs or trucks in Germany. LOTS of VWs (with the Golf and its siblings being the most popular). Lots of A-class Mercedeseseses, too. I REALLY like the looks of those little cars, but they don’t sell them here and, if they did, they’d be almost $40k (or about $15k over my budget). Still, the Germans got me thinking about cars (and bathroom design, but that’s another topic).

The other car I mentioned in that other post was the 2009 Subaru Forester. I have some history with the Forester, having driven an ’03 for a while two vehicles ago. I loved that car. Sold it to get my MINI Cooper S (which I also loved). I test-drove the all-new ’09 Forester last week. I liked it, but not as much as I thought/hoped I would. Also, its fuel efficiency is not fantastic (20/29), though of course way better than the Lumbering Beast. That’s also the mileage range for both of VW’s american-spec engines (though the 2.0L turbo requires premium fuel).

On the horizon looms the VW Jetta SportWagen TDI, which has a few things going for it as far as I’m concerned: (a) it’s a wagon, and I’m partial to them, and (b) the new Bluetec TDI diesel engine, which is 50-states emissions safe (one of the cleanest engines in production now) and gets 40 city/60 hwy mileage. Oh, and it has a super-large giant moonroof, and I likes those (the Forester has a big moonroof, too). But, that version of the SportWagen (known as the Golf Variant in Europe) won’t be here until the fall. That might be okay, though. It might take me that long to decide what I want.

Stay tuned…

MINI XM… FINALLY!

After months of deliberation, I finally put XM Radio in my MINI. I used the Blitzsafe adapter (BMW/MINI SLD01) and the XM Direct unit. It was a quick and easy install, and it works great! No more crappy terrestrial radio in MY car.

The MINI is here!

Our MINI Cooper S is finally here! We went up to Kansas City to get it Halloween weekend. I can’t get it up over 4500 rpm or over 95 MPH until I put 1,250 miles on it, though. Even with the first restriction (I doubt the second will be much of a problem), it performs amazingly!

Though I was warned in advance, it still amazes me how people will just come up and want to look at it up close. I’ve yet to stop for gas without getting questions or comments from at least one person. People just seem to LOVE these cars. If they only knew how much fun they are to drive, too!

New wheels UPDATE

Our new MINI Cooper S is on the boat and headed for the US! Its supposed delivery date is this coming Saturday. We’ll be visiting family this weekend, but we’re planning to make the trip up to KC to pick up the MINI (and visit the new KC Apple Store) the following weekend.

New wheels

MCS_brg_white.jpgWhen in KC last week, we ordered our new car: a 2005 MINI Cooper S in British Racing Green Metallic with a white top and white bonnet stripes. The pic is of a similar car. Ours has yet to be manufactured yet, and it won’t be here until October. It’s going to be a LONG two to three months.