Here was the plan: take a $112,000 Mercedes E63 AMG S Wagon, a Subaru STI, a BMW 228i, and a 1973 Volkswagen Baja Bug, and blast sideways on a snow-covered private test track hidden in the woods of Connecticut. Simple, right?
Here's the thing about Jalopnik. Up until two weeks ago, I was convinced that things did not get any better than this job.
But that was two weeks ago. Then I went to Connecticut.
This is the first video of our newest series, to be joined by others in the future. What is it? Ok, let me break it down. We do neat stuff! In cars! Cars that are cool! We're calling it Neat Stuff in Cool Cars! I don't know how we ever got so clever. Suggestions on what we should do next? Drop them in the comments. Will we listen? Maybe!
So two weeks ago we visited Consumer Reports' automotive testing branch, tucked away in the woods of Connecticut. What's interesting about CR is that they buy their own cars and do their own independent tests on them. That means they send people out to dealerships to purchase the cars they review, they have a garage as big as a dealership's service center to handle them, and they also have a test track.
Consumer Reports has its own private test track. I have now seen the next echelon of how good life can get.
The people at CR were kind enough to leave their track covered in snow for us to go hoon the living daylights out of the cars we brought:
- a 577 horsepower Mercedes E63 AMG S wagon
- a 305 horsepower Subaru STI
- a 240 horsepower BMW 228i
- a 50? horsepower 1973 VW Baja Bug
The idea was to just go screw around and after not too long, we decided to see who could pull of the best long, sweeping drift in the car of their choice.
Consumer Reports' head of auto testing Jake Fisher took the rear-drive BMW. His powerslide was perfectly smooth and sweet.
My boss Matt took his beloved Mercedes wagon and, after a few tries, managed to get a hang of the car's hugely powerful V8 and recently standard all-wheel drive.
Travis took the STI and unsurprisingly whipped the best slide out of anybody, huge rooster tails of snow shooting off all four wheels.
I, in the Baja, was just happy not to crash.
The strict automotive conclusions we got from our day of 'testing' were straightforward: the more manual control a car had, the more fun it was. The more driven wheels a car had, the better it was at carrying speed in the snow. The more power a car had, the more you slammed your foot to the floor and grinned.
The more apt conclusion was this: holy crap, I need a private test track and I need it now.
Let me say thank you to Consumer Reports and Jake Fisher for letting us play in your sandbox and let me also say thank you to Devin Clark, Nick Stango, Chris Person and Freddy for shooting the whole day and putting this video together. This is the first of what we all hope to be many episodes.