I'm Brad and I live in Nashville. Last week, I had the opportunity to take a million-dollar road trip.
To be completely accurate, it was a 1.15 million dollar road trip. (The total value of all the five cars I would drive.) And I was fired up about it. I was going to visit Mischa in Minneapolis and take a fantasy drive. I'd fly up Wednesday, hang out Thursday, and take the drive Friday before flying back to Nashville. I was living my adolescent (and every car lover's) dream.
The trip did not disappoint.
I spent Thursday morning riding shotgun with Mischa in the Cayman GT4 as he led a private event on their fantasy drive. The Porsche is a true driver's car. With tight-as-a-drum suspension and enough acceleration to interrupt your train of thought, it was a great ride. I rolled footage on a GoPro as we drove through the Minnesota countryside. Watching how excited each of the drivers were and seeing the joy on their faces got me even more excited for Friday.
But first, pork chops.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Anton of Anton's Floor Coverings. See, I was riding shotgun with Mischa on a corporate event Anton had booked for his employees. Anton brought his grill to cook lunch. He graciously gave me what was literally the best pork chop I've ever had. Fork tender, lightly smoked, and still juicy. I thought the bratwurst I had first was amazing. The pork chop topped it. Thanks, Anton!
Hunger sated, and well rested, we go to Friday. It was my turn to drive. We started with a safety briefing, ran through a short orientation video, and then we got on the road.
Cruising out through town in this line of cars is quite an experience. More on that later. But here's my breakdown of each of the cars I drove.
2015 McLaren 650S Spyder
I was most excited to get behind the wheel of the McLaren for a very specific reason. I can distinctly remember reading about the first production McLaren, the F1. Production ran from 1992-1999, and only 106 were produced. This was at one time the world's fastest production car.
I was in high school, and I remember reading my parents the horsepower stats, noting how it could go 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and then 0-100 in 6.3. I also remember them rolling their eyes and asking, "who would ever need such a ridiculous machine?"
Me. That's who.
Well, not really. I drive a 4Runner. <shrugs>
Anyway, the 650S did not disappoint. Currently sporting a black and red spider-web wrap, she looks bad. Real bad. At 6'2" 270, I couldn't make this a daily driver, but once I got wedged in there, it felt like I was wrapped up in a rocket sled. The 650S is purpose-built to go fast. And it does that well.
With both the McLaren and the Lamborghini, I felt like I was swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. The car's capabilities were so obviously light-years beyond what I asked it to do. And given the price tag, I had no interest in getting anywhere close to that edge. I didn't even really want to know where it was.
That said, it tracks around corners like it's glued to the road. It launches forward at the lightest stroke of the gas pedal. It rumbles, straining at the bit. She is a mighty beast, and she always wants to go faster.
2015 Lamborghini Huracan Spyder
The Lambo is every bit as impressive, if slightly less comfortable than the McLaren. Again, I'm taller than most, so I was a little wedged in.
Still, the looks you get in a black convertible Lamborghini are worth the suffering. Forget the double-take. People drive up next to you, cameras out to get a picture. Want to know how it feels to be famous? Drive the Lambo.
Anyway, I didn't drive like I had Mrs. Daisy in the back, (although with no trunk and no back seat, she'd be pretty uncomfortable sitting in the engine), but I again got nowhere close to pushing the Huracan. I didn't need or want to. Still had an awesome time tooling around some turns.
And the engine sounds. The engine sounds. Here. Listen.
2015 Bentley Continental Concours Edition
On the other end of the comfort spectrum, I drove the Bentley. I hopped in, got comfy, and fired up the massaging feature of the driver's seat. And as well as it handled and accelerated, it was easy to forget you were in a performance sedan. The dark black dash, silver knobs, and Bentley logos simply stink of class. Hopefully, some of it came home with me.
2016 Audi RS7
Ahh, the Audi. The RS7 may be the most modest car in the Auto Vault fleet, but it's still amazing. The 4.0L V8 puts out 560 hp @ 6600 rpm and delivers 516 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm. You're basically driving a four-door Lamborghini. Which is a nice combination. Comfortable, well appointed, and full of amazingly cool tech, it's also nimble, easy to drive, and quick. Real quick.
2017 Audi R8 V-10
I saved my favorite for last. The V10 with cylinder on demand™ engine efficiency technology puts out 540hp @ 7,800 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. The cockpit is amazing, the display is eye-popping, and the car is a joy to drive.
The Audi R8 offers an amazing combination of incredible performance and cool technology. It is a car any enthusiast would love to drive. I did.
So. We made our way out to the country, enjoyed a nice afternoon drive, and came back in a pack of cars that seem almost comically out of place on a normal road. Even the most modest car in the fleet is beyond anything most of us will ever drive. So, it's no surprise that people wave, people gawk, people want to take pictures.
It's an amazing experience. And it's an experience that completely lacks pretense. As Mischa said to me, "I don't care who you are or what you drive. If you like cars, if you're into cars, you're okay by me. Those are my people."
And anyone who loves to drive, who wants to experience the best the automotive world has to offer should make it a point to take one of these Fantasy Drives. Trust me. You'll be glad you did.
At the end of my trip, Mischa took me to the airport Friday afternoon in the Lambo. Tight squeeze, but we got it done. My carry-on took up the entire front-trunk and my computer bag went in my lap. As he dropped me at the terminal, heads turned and people stared.
At the car, obviously. Anyway, a man standing on the curb waiting for his ride looked Mischa's up and down. He nodded and said "Whoah. Nice car."
I gave him the upwards nod that told him what we both already knew; I was just along for the ride. But what a ride it had been.