Vacation… all I ever wanted? or “Dude, where’s my car?”

(Please note: there is a car story here… really.)

The word “vacation” has never been one that has meant much to me. Growing up time-off from school or work was an opportunity for my loving family to work on the house, an exercise in perpetual futility. Tear down a wall, build it back up. Paint the inside, outside, walls, parakeet and dog. Backyard flat? Hell, the kids can dig that fish pond. Oh, and it needs to be 4-ft. deep. I’m not really complaining… just unlocking the door so you can understand my malfunction. To me a vacation is really just a time to get things done, even if it is work related, and really not to lounge on a deck or vegetate. Not that something like that is wrong mind you… I’m just damaged in my way of thinking compared to most of the human race. Thanks for another thing, Mom and Dad.

Anyway, now that I am an adult and away from that interesting “experiment” I am expected (by my wife and friends) to take a “real” vacation, but I’d have to say that my definition of the actual action is a bit… skewed. A couple of weeks ago I was flying home from a “glorious” vacation with my wife and two year old son and I was thinking… why isn’t this plane going faster? I mean… doesn’t this thing have afterburners, warp drive or something that’ll push this tug through the air faster? I’m very satisfied that we got to go, but it really needed to be over sooner! No, seriously! I won’t bother saying where we went, because you’ll say “what the heck are you whining about?”… so the lips are sealed. I won’t even hint except to say that I found out, according to the doctor I visited afterwards, that I am allergic to the sun. I always knew I was a creature of the night, now I guess I can prove it. Thank goodness I brought work related stuff along. While my wife took her turn at trying to subdue the savage caged beast my child had morphed into on the flight home, I began to drift into thought about the new vehicle that was waiting for me back at the office (See, I told you there was a car in here).

Our good friends at Bosch sent us a sent us a shiny, new BMW 535D diesel equipped with an “M” package. Now for you folks not in the know, this is a BMW 5-series body with the beefed up suspension and all the bells and whistles powered by an in-line 3.0 liter six turbo diesel. Ah, but it doesn’t just have one turbo… it has two! See, saying “turbos diesel” just isn’t very good grammar. Anyway, the turbos are not equal in size as you’d expect in a normal twin set-up, but are instead sequential in nature: one little and one big. Kinda like Fat Man and Little Boy, but with explosive performance in mind. The tiny sucker spools up like mad to get you launched (low-end stage), then the large one wakes up forcing more gravity on your unsuspecting body (mid-range stage) and then all the exhaust flow is diverted to the large one, totally taking charge and continuing the thrust until you run out of road or nerves (top-end stage). All of this switching around is seamless. And when I say launch… well put it this way: the off the line power is so good that when you stab the throttle it feels like someone is in the seat behind you pulling you back by both ears. If not for all the electronics that BMW packs into this bullet, the take-off would resemble a greased pig running on an ice skating rink. Everything you ever wanted in a turbocharged car to be is right there… without sacrificing luxury and style, and it’s a diesel! Only problem: it’s not available in the United States.

So what’s the point of Bosch loaning this bad boy to us? Aside from the opportunity to harvest our drool and palm sweat for some sinister plan is the opportunity to lead by example. One of the things that both Banks and Bosch believe is that diesel should be the performance option on cars and trucks. Really, think about it. The torque is right there off the line in loads, no matter the engine size. Power? Without question. Economy? More than enough to shake a stick at. Compare the two comparably sized BMW engines, gas and diesel, and look at the specs. When you’re done rubbing your eyes tell me that we’re wrong? By the way… there is no smoke and less noise than you’d ever imagine. You literally have to tell people that it’s a diesel when it is running.

Ok, so how do we get these kinds of engines into our cars here in the States? The answer is to create awareness, and that will create demand. That’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re doing demonstrations for the magazine folks so that they can write about it in a more mainstream way than this. And if this is the first time you ever heard of this car then think about the fact that your buddy hasn’t either. What about his buddy… or wife even? Now that you know about how diesels have changed and that there are no compromises how could you not want one powering your favorite make of vehicle? Are you going to show this blog to your buddy? Will he tell his? Seeeeee, it’s working already. And when news about this hits bigger type magazines… maybe the wife will want one?

Hmmm… I wonder what plans my wife has for our next vacation? Hopefully it’s someplace dark with an internet connection. I’ve got things to do.

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