Maybe some of you will recall back in January we ran a little contest asking readers to spec out their ultimate 2-series, and then we'd pick our favorite, have BMW build it, and let them drive it for a week. Well, we almost forgot until BMW called us up and told us the car is ready. All I need to do is drive it across the country.
I think the lowest-end BMW you can get in the US is also my current favorite new BMW, and the one spec'd out by our winner, Andrew Nier, captures everything I like about the car: it's a stripped-down, no-bullshit, bright orange reminder that driving can be very, very fun. Also, Andrew had a pretty good plan and story for the car:
He spec'd out one that would come as close as possible to his hard-working girlfriend's '72 BMW 2002, which is quite clearly the spirit animal of the new 2 Series. The 228i he specified has the 245 HP 4-banger, 6-speed manual, updated suspension, a nice audio system, and I think will prove to be a very sweet spot indeed.
And, not only does Andrew have a great automotive template to work from, he has a fantastic plan for a day that starts with canyon carving along Mulholland Drive, lunch at a great old lump of Los Angeles-area history, and ending the day along the PCH. That's a pretty spectacular day, and we want to help make it happen.
So, we were delighted to hear that BMW finally finished hand-carving the car out of a block of scrimshaw covered in molten steel or however the hell they put these things together. There was one catch, though: the car was delivered to BMW's factory in South Carolina.
South Carolina, as anyone who's watched local news to see the sexy weathergirl/meteorologist can tell you, is way the hell on the other side of the North American continent from all the great places Andrew wants to take his lucky lady.
So, we have to get this car about 2500 miles across the country. The good news is that, as of a couple of months ago, I'm now in NC, and, even better, the LA Auto Show is coming up later this month. So I'm going to drive this 228i from the East Coast to the LA Auto Show and hand the car over to Andrew so he can enjoy his now undoubtedly foul-smelling dream car.
The first leg of the trip starts tonight (well, not counting Step 0, picking up the car, which we'll get into later) and will find me heading to the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville to pit this new 2 Series up against some of its older BMW ancestors.
The good people at the Lane have are pulling out some really good stuff from their collection to let me drive and compare. I'm trying for cars that roughly fit the notion of the lower-end of the BMW line. This should be fun.
After that, I'll be once again flirting with that seductress, Road Madness, as I head to Austin to pick up our own Patrick George. He's got a record, of course, and is by all accounts a very dangerous man, so being cooped up in a car with him and my home-rigged urine collection system should be fun.
I think I'll sleep in the car one night, just to see how well it works. Maybe I'll encounter some of you along the way, and perhaps I'll do a little growing up and learn a bit about life, as taught to me by a wise old hitchhiker in a robe moments before he decides that my face does, in fact, look delicious.
This should be an fun, if I can manage to do it right. Or a nightmare. Maybe both. I guess we'll just have to see! I'll post updates from the road, so you can be warned if I'm passing through your area!