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Driving my car

One of the most enjoyable aspects of having the new car is, of course, driving it. I was taking a friend for a drive yesterday, and he asked me why I got that car instead of one that didn’t have the turbo. I told him it was simply the ‘fun factor’. Why else would you get a turbocharged car, if not for the enjoyment it gives you?

I was just doing a bit of reading today about how people drive their cars, and I realised that I have a number of different styles of driving, that take advantage of the functionality of the car and the transmission. I thought I’d talk about those different styles.

The car has three different transmission methods built into it. It’s a Tiptronic transmission, which means that it has Auto and Sports, as well as Tiptronic, which means that you can use the auto gearstick as if it’s a manual by shifting up or down through the gears without using a clutch.

  1. The most common driving style is when I’m driving to and from work in peak hour traffic. Since traffic moves so slowly I leave it in Drive as there’s no need for sports driving when you can’t get over 40kmh (25mph in America). I slip it into Sports when slowing down, as the higher revs helps the brakes bring the car to a stop. 
  2. The second most common driving style occurs occasionally even in peak hour traffic, if I’m at the front of the line while stopped at a traffic light. Otherwise it’s when I’m doing normal driving around town. I slip the gearstick across to the Sports mode which results in faster takeoffs while stopped, or faster acceleration while moving, and then slip it back into Drive for the more economical cruising and activate the cruise control. Cruising at a steady speed is the most common part of this style of driving, with the occasional acceleration to get up to cruising speed. I still slip it into Sports when slowing down (disengaging cruise control, of course), to assist the braking.
  3. Both 1 and 2 usually include passengers in the car, so my driving takes that into account. When I’m alone, however, that’s a different story, and is usually when I go visit friends on a weekend. This is where I can really play with it!The transmission usually sits in Sports mode, and I really drive to the performance capabilities of the car. This includes seeing how fast I can get to the speed limit from standing starts, and taking corners at higher than normal speeds. This might sound a little boring, but you don’t know what kind of fun there is in doing this until you’ve tried it.

    The car has traction control (which prevents the wheels spinning on loose or slippery surfaces) and dynamic stability control (which applies independent braking to the wheels where necessary to prevent the car from sliding out). These features add to the overall safety, which also include anti-lock braking and airbags. Without them, I certainly wouldn’t be driving this style as hard as I do.

On Saturday night I picked up Deidre and her friend Tara from a bit of a girls night out. Tara’s a police woman, so we’ve had some interesting conversations over the time we’ve gotten to know her. A couple of weeks ago she wanted to take the car for a drive, and I let her. She came back half an hour later with a big grin on her face. Deidre said she got to quite a speed…

But anyway, on Saturday night as I was driving us home, Deidre thought that the acceleration of the car was very impressive. I told her that I wasn’t even trying (I was driving according to style #2), and that at the next opportunity I’d show her what it’s capable of. (Every opportunity I can get, I try to have some fun with it, and this was an ideal opportunity.)

I came up to a roundabout and slipped it into Sports to slow down and go around it, as normal. But then when we reached that point of the roundabout that allows for acceleration out of it, I literally floored it (which I don’t normally do since the acceleration is normally impressive enough with just a touch of the accelerator).

With a roar it jumped out of the roundabout and up the road (we probably woke up the neighborhood!). It seemed like only a second before we reached 85kmh (it was an 80 zone, and I try to make sure I don’t get a ticket from speeding!) and I eased off the accelerator to keep it at that speed. The roar dropped to the normal hum, Deidre was grinning, and from the back seat Tara said, “I like this car.”

So do I. So do I… 🙂

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