I’ll get this out of the way now, sorry for not taking more pictures. And sorry for no GoPro footage, I don’t own one and had no way of setting up a phone to record either. Which, to be honest, is fine with me.
As I previously posted about, Mrs. Humpkins and I took part in the 6/16/18 Audi Driving Experience at Autobahn Country Club. Upon entering we were greeted by a selection of Audi RS cars (RS3, TT-RS, RS5) and R8 parked out and about for show. We also saw a short AutoCross set up for the direct comparison drives. We went into the clubhouse to sign in and, again, an RS3, TT-RS, and R8 greeted us.
First we walked around and checked out the facility, including peeking behind the black curtain (which was in no way part of this event):
Back to the event...
There was a fine selection of assorted lunch wraps, chips, drinks, and cookies. Our orientation/briefing started at about 2:15 and ran to about 2:40. All in all there were about 28 people, but only 24 drivers (24 for a reason). So we got split up into Groups A and B - two groups of 12 drivers and the non-driving guests with them. Luckily, we were in Group A - meaning we were starting with the comparison drives and ending with the track drives!
We walked out to the comparison AutoCross set up. They had an A4, 330, and C300 in one line and a Q5, X3, and GLC300. All were similarly equipped and priced. We started by driving 2 laps in each of the crossovers. The GLC felt very torquey and floaty - very much a comfort based drive when not in Sport mode. The X3 was surprisingly nice and peppy but a bit stiff. The Q5 felt very familiar, quick but not jerky, a bit of roll/float, but not as bad as the MB. I actually walked away thinking the X3 was a much stronger competitor than I previously thought.
Next up for us were two laps in each of the sedans. I started with the MB again. The C300 felt almost as jerky and floaty as the GLE, which is quite an achievement for small-ish sedan. Again, very jerky on the throttle in sport, but, it was certainly comfortable. The 330, again, quite peppy and fun, but the steering wheel was fucking awful. For that price I’d assume I wouldn’t get a round hunk of thick rubber. The A4 was, like the Q5, a nice mix of the other two. It’s comfortable and quick. I walked away from the sedans thinking, for my preference, neither compared to the A4.
I’m admittedly biased in these comparisons because our last 4 cars have been Audi with one MB mixed in. So that’s partially why I don’t have a more thought out review of it, but it was fun to compare them back to back in the exact same driving situation. Also nice was the fact that the Audi instructors/staff were not pointing out flaws or where they think the Audi vehicles are better. They pointed out pretty much all positives of all 6 vehicles to let us judge what we like for ourselves.
Now, what we were all really there for...
This portion was set up as a lead-follow. Instructor in the R8 lead, followed by driver/passenger in a R8, driver/passenger in a RS5, driver/passenger in a RS3, and finally instructor in a RS3. Two groups of 6 people, two people to a car, 2 laps for each person in each car.
Our first track drive was in this RS5. This was the car I most wanted to drive. What? Not the R8?! Well, yes, the R8 was top of the list - but in terms of a car we could actually attain, the RS5 is tops on the list for me. This thing goes like hell and sounds incredible. Going through the turns it wanted to go a little wild but was easily kept under control. The suspension held tight and we didn’t feel like we were going off the rails at any point. It is surprisingly comfortable at speeds at the top and bottom of the speedo. I got out of the RS5 after driving and passengering just as happy as I could be.
Our second vehicle was this Silver on Red R8 V10. Um...AMAZING. First thing I noticed was why in almost every review they say this is one of, if not the most comfortable super car on the market. The thing makes the noise of a demon and in the blink of an eye you’re going way too fast (subjectively/situationally speaking). While this was a shorter track, it didn’t take long to push 100 before coming into the next turn (probably could’ve but they were keeping us at manageable speeds for obvious reasons)*. The handling is spot on and it doesn’t feel like it’s a lot of work to drive or like it wants to get away from you. The R8 does exactly what you ask of it, so long as you’re asking the right thing, of course. Mrs. Humpkins and I are still grinning like idiots, 2 days later.
After 4 laps each, our final 2 each were in the lovely RS3. I’m not so sure what my expectations were about this car, but I feel like it lived up to them. It’s like an angry little Tasmanian Devil that just wants to go. Thing is, when you’re hitting the corners, it feels like it wants to go all kinds of crazy on you. This is the only one of the 3 cars where we both felt like we might lose it on a turn if it wasn’t hit right. In it’s own way from the other two, it was a blast. I have a lot more respect for the RS3, and I understand the love of it a lot better now, but I still feel like it’s too tight inside for my taste.
After both groups were done (about 4:25) we went and did our exit surveys, got our gifts and went on our merry ways. Much happier than we probably were earlier in the day. All in all this was a very well planned and executed event and worth the 65 minute drive to get there. ACC is an impressive place and we are now looking into an annual membership. I wish we had more time with the track cars to really get a better feel and to have more to say, but we happily took what we could get.
*We were the first group of the weekend to push close to 100 mph on the track. Fastest I saw was 96 - 97.
And finally, of note, seen in the parking lot: Gallardo, F430, Huaracan, various M cars, various S cars, a McLaren 650S, and this: