DfTC – The Event Itself

To what extent does technology help drivers get out of trouble? In short, it helps a lot.

All-wheel drive and various control systems made us forget, for instance, that the X5 was an SUV while we threw it around corners. Better yet, they made us forget we were driving in horrible weather in the first place!

Just think about that for a second. That's like saying you can skydive without a parachute and not die on landing.

But that's only true to a certain degree...

DfTC – 2014 BMW 435i xDrive

Having done a couple laps with the 428i and (regular) 435i, you prepare to take the next car 'round the second track for all it's worth: the 435i M Sport, the one with the magic suspension...

Hammer down through the slalom, taking each turn faster as you go. By about turn three or four, the back end of the car already starts to lead the direction of travel – despite the all-wheel drive – squishing a cone or four in the process. Not to worry though: to keep the correct side facing forward, all you have to do is lift off and the car finds traction.

Just as you're about to enter the brief straight you notice that, because of a giant puddle and an errant cone from somebody's previous run, you're not sure if its entrance lies through the giant puddle or right next to it...

You flip a mental coin and end up in the right place.

So down the straight you go, into a 90-degree turn and...BOOM! You're blind!

DfTC – 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i

As always, a professional driver briefs our group on the point of our impending adventure. "Push the car until you feel it just slightly start to understeer and then let the systems do their thing," he says.

Alrighty then.

So you head out for your first run in the X5 M Sport. To say that this truck is confidence-inspiring is an understatement, despite both being in a lake and being an SUV.

Having gradually built up some very nice speed in the slalom, you charge the roundabout only having lifted off – no brakes applied.

The X5 seems to be holding on as you steer it through...

BMW Drive for Team Canada

Imagine my shock waking up to a torrential downpour – after a month of dry, sunny weather – on the morning of BMW's track driving event...

Remember how everybody was always excited to have school cancelled due to bad weather? Try telling your fourth-grade self that one day, you wouldn't want that to happen.

With no cancellation notice in my inbox, I sailed drove to the event. Walking from my car to registration already got my shoes soaked – but no matter, I was about to go indoors.

Review: 2013 VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid

After having tried Ford's hybrid models, I've concluded that regular hybrids are compromises, different from conventional cars in all the wrong ways.

Plug-in hybrids, though, surprised me in that they actually drove well. So when I was given the keys to a VW Jetta Turbo Hybrid – which isn't a plug-in – I fully expected bad history to repeat itself.

However, taking this Jetta through an autocross course revealed that the world's gasoline-electrics have another surprise up their collective sleeve...

Review: 2014 Jeep Patriot 4x4

The diamond-water paradox (or, the paradox of value) challenges how something essential to survival like water is much, much cheaper than something decorative, like diamonds.

This thought is rooted in the economic theory of value, specifically value in use: something that's more useful overall should therefore command a higher price than something that's less so.

Making it official

I realized that I completely forgot to tell an amusing chunk of the Fića's arrival story! Let's hit the rewind button and return to December 2010, when the Fića's ship had just docked...

Until you jump through the hoops do all the necessary paperwork, the Queen actually owns what's in your shipping container as soon as it touches Canadian soil!

However, no progress could be made before customs did an inspection of my car and its container. This being the government, the moment they decide to do the inspection is as predictable as a coked-up squirrel...

Nothing new

Well, not exactly. The part above is brand-new, but the ensuing story is the ghost of Christmas past experiences...

It seemed too optimistic to expect that the existing column stalk assembly could be repaired. The sixth time is most definitely not a charm...

At this point, it's also impossible to continue the repairs without a working assembly.

Naturally, I went online to the usual place and ordered a new one that's compatible with my generation of Fića. It was in my hands a week later, as promised. So far, so good, then? Nothing like what's befallen my Fića and I time and time again?

Well, that's what I thought – until I opened the box.

Review: 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Touring

The art of rational decision-making is theoretically simple.

One puts their priorities in order, and evaluates candidates based on how well said priorities (and how many of them) are satisfied. The chosen candidate scored the best.

This adheres to rational choice theory: wanting more rather than less of something.

Electric Test Drive

Electric cars are things that rich people buy when they're bored of their fourteen other cars, or what hemp-wearing hippies would drive if they had the money...

Also, you have to go far out of your way to own an electric car, especially since they're so slow and limited. They are also mercilessly expensive in every way but the gasoline bill.



Hybrid Test Drive

Hybrids shall save the world: they are the sole eliminator of global warming and fill the hole in the ozone layer just as quickly as the leaves on their instrument panels grow.

Or so the eco-mentalists will have you believe.

It's no secret that this is just a bunch of fluff – especially in the automotive world, where it's well known that diesels get better fuel economy, are cleaner, and aren't compromises. As a result, plug-in hybrids must be even worse, right? They're like hybrids on steroids.

Turns out, there is a secret that eco-mentalists have managed to effectively and selfishly keep from us petrol-heads.

That is, until now.

Turbo Test Drive

Any car guy knows how to kill time while his car's in for service. So, while my older turbocharged Volkswagen was in, I tried out some new turbocharged Volkswagens, both in manual and DSG form...

I left surprised, in a way I would never have expected.

The uniform makes the car

Ever wonder why I had the Fića painted in police colors, or if Fićas were ever actually used as real police cars? Wonder no more...

Size matters

There's a small update with the car's progress!

But first, there's a matter to discuss beforehand. Something that, when seen on its own, you might not notice any shortcomings with – and yet, when it's visually compared to other similar things, you can't help but see the difference in size...