Audi Duty

Luis and the other millennials may not get the joke in the title, but I couldn’t resist. The new (to me – a 2018 actually) Audi Q7 had a couple of minor flaws that needed fixing, so I found myself in a loaner 2021 Audi Q5, which turned out to have a few bells and whistles, not on my older model. First off, it started yelling at me whenever I went faster than 80mph (the speed required to avoid being rear-ended on Rt. 128 – oops, I95) on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. On the way home, now in the dark, it started dimming the high beams without prior authorization by me. It generally made good choices but wasn’t as quick to go back to high beam as I would like (older eyeballs seeking as much illumination as possible). Then it started to steer for me when I tried to change lanes. I had experienced this behavior in other cars but hadn’t realized this car had it and that I had inadvertently turned on this feature. To add insult to injury, it started telling me to put my hands on the wheel when it seemed to me they were already there. I was afraid it was going to yell “CLEAR” and put the paddles on me next. I suppose these things make cars safer, but I do worry that it encourages lower concentration.

The second non-Porsche story for this month is the tale of one of my duplicate bridge opponents, Helene. She is 99 and sharp as a tack.  At age 92, her kids chipped in and got her a five-year lease on a Mercedes. When the lease ended, they suggested that she should perhaps not drive anymore, but she promised to take Ubers at night and prevailed by noting, “and I don’t need a Mercedes.” So, she got a two-year lease on a Honda Accord Sport (I’m not sure that “Sport” gets you more than a better radio). This lease was to end in May, but she extended it for six months and recently turned in the car with the notion that she wouldn’t drive in the winter anyway. I asked her what she was going to do in the Spring. She said she thought she would buy a Tesla! – and tells the following tale:  she came into some money a few years ago and asked her financial planner – who also is her granddaughter – what she should do with it. She was told she was pretty secure; why not buy a growth stock.  Which one?  Her great-granddaughter had recently been in a science fair with a tesla coil experiment, so it was natural to buy Tesla stock. And so why not get a new Tesla for your hundredth birthday? And while she is a good bridge player, I’m not volunteering to be in the right seat if she ever puts her right foot on the floor. God love her. I’ll bet she does it.

The third and final non-Porsche story is the new Bakin’-mobile.  The Mustang is still being prepared for sale (it would make a nice Holiday gift – don’t forget to use the code PCANER for your 10% discount), but we got the new BMW (as in 1997 M3) to Thompson for a shakedown. Two of our team belong to the Drivers Club there, and we made it to the last member day of the year. (Shout out to Lou Gingerella and the other Thompson folks for a great catered lunch, relaxed atmosphere, and perfect November weather.)  While the M3 isn’t going to keep up with the Mustang on a big track, it handled beautifully, sounded great, was easy to drive quickly, and we all got down to decent – and almost identical –  lap times. There are a few nits to pick over the winter, but it will be a fun car to campaign next year.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Gala at Foxboro Stadium. Go Pats – who needs Brady anyway?