Every year for the past 10, BMW has taken 2 fleets comprising of a selection of brand new BMWs and tours BMW dealerships around the country to raise money for breast cancer research. All of them are decorated with pink vinyl graphics and they let any Joe off the street to drive them around. For each mile driven BMW donates $1 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Our local dealer has done it about every three years and Donna and I have participated in 2000, 2003 and now 2006.
Lots of Cars — When we arrived at 1:00 there were quite a few cars sitting around waiting to be driven. I don’t know who the guy with the camera is, he wasn’t from a local TV station, I guess he might have been the tour’s official videographer. (03/28/06) Oooh, Here Are Some Of The Big Boys — There are a few empty spots meaning there were some cars out on the 15 mile loop they have mapped out for us. Left behind and looking a little forlorn on this misty, gray day are a 750i & a 650i convertible. (03/28/06) Getting Ready — Helpful volunteer, Jason, makes sure you at least how to operate the basics of each car before they let you drive off the lot. This is the first car we will drive today, a 650i convertible. (03/28/06) Number 14 — Each car has a number on the windshield and a key fob to match. Even with the toned down version of the I-Drive in the 650i neither Donna nor I could figure out how to change the radio station. (03/28/06) Donna Photographs Her Chauffeur — The 650i car squirts forward with authority at just a touch of the go pedal. And it is so comfy, I’m going about 70 and it feels a lot like 30 MPH. On this chilly day with the top down on this big car, just the rear glass sticking up is inadequate as a wind blocker for the front seats though. (03/28/06) Z4 — Donna is waiting for me to get going. We drop the top, well we push a button and wait for the gears and motors to lower the lined cloth top, before heading out on this loop. Although it seems like a long time for the whole operation to take place, it is speedy compared to the previous 6 Series car. (03/28/06) Number 2 — Our second car, the Z4, is number 2 in the southern fleet. It is an automatic with some paddle shifters on the steering wheel. I tried a couple of times pushing in either direction and couldn’t make the thing shift out of D. (03/28/06) You Looking At Me? — Another portrait of that unknown non-professional driver on an open course, Brian the Red. (03/28/06) Number 8 — Our third ride is the bigger BMW SUV, the X5. It rides pretty good for a tall vehicle, but it is still fairly wobbly compared to the first two cars. It has very large sunroof that we opened, but had to close it shortly there after because it made helicopter motor noises above 60 MPH. (03/28/06) What? — You want me to drive this big old around again? OK, OK, it does ride nice, but after that can I drive something a little more fun. (03/28/06) Number 18 — Car number 4 was a newly redesigned 3 series. For some reason this is the only picture we took of this car. No key fob nor driver shots. I think if I made about 50 per cent more than I do now, one of these would be my OTM. The seats are a thing of beauty; it is like they were made for me. It has just enough get up and go to feel fast, but so much that you will get in trouble with the law just going to the grocery store. The only downside was the throttle by wire, like all these cars, was a little disconcerting, but I’m sure you get used to it. (03/28/06) Status Car — Donna gets ready to climb into a 750i for our last lap of the day. This is the car that the guys on the Board of Directors of your company or your typical specialist doctor drives. (03/28/06) Number 16 — After driving the entry level Beemer we jump into the big gun. Note the very elegant wood trim. This baby had 12 way power seats that included a butt massager option for the driver, which Donna tried unsuccessfully to shut off using the I-Drive during our whole 15 mile loop. (03/28/06) Whoooosh — If you look past the good looking gentleman behind the wheel you will see the scenery blurring by outside the window. At the next to the last traffic signal before turning the car back in I decided to punch it and see what would happen. Triple digit speed in about the time it would take the Miata to get 45 MPH is what. (03/28/06) Signature Car — Everyone who signs up and drives a car gets to put their John Hancock on the surface of one of the cars that isn’t driven, but has the same graphics as the others. The first time, in 2000, I signed a X5 and the second go round in 2003 the signature vehicle was an 540i. (03/28/06) Look For Us — If any one else out there does this event this year look for Donna and my siggies near the left edge of the hood about even with the wheel. (03/28/06)