Mrs Highmodulus and I spent Valentines Day at the BMW CCA Valentines Day Weekend at the BMW Performance Center in Spartansburg SC. It was fanastic. I got to drive the 2013 M5 for 3+ hours in the Blue Ridge mountains on some super twisty mountain roads- led by two BMW Racing Instructors. Day one was spent with the 2013 BMW M5 (DCT Equipped- I love that transmission), the cars were heavily optioned- can't imagine they were a dime under $120k. The M5 was fantastic- the twin turbo v8 had tons of grunt, and made a wonderful noise (blah blah blah, stereo- I know, when you are driving it you don't notice). The seats were perfect for GT style long drives and also for Jalop style fun on twisty mountain roads. For mostly on the road use it was almost an unbeatable combination of size, power and technology, with a massive dose of Like A Sir style.
But the 2013 M6 I drove on the track did suffer from just how big it was on tight corners and hard breaking zones. Plus it was so fast, it was the one car I actually got off track (yes I shunted a $125k car, but tons of run off on the track meant only my pride was hurt) as even the massive brakes can be overwelmed if you drive it like the M3.
The X6M is just an SUV with a big engine on the track- plus compared to all the other M cars, it compared poorly. Too big, too high, too heavy. My wife loves SUVs and wanted to love this one but came off not liking it for those reasons.
The Z4 35is was the surprise of the performance driving track segment. It was very, very good. I thought all Z4's were kind of soft, mild mannered cruisers for dentists and second wives. Not the 35is version. On the track it was very fun and easy to drive fast. The 35is' 320+ hp/torque combo meant it had enough power for tail out fun- but the rather low design and excellent balance made it superb in the corners and transitions. All this fun AND a convertible hardtop too? You can see why most of the drivers loved this car. It was second on the track to only one car I drove.
That car was the sublime 2012 BMW M3. All of the M3s were DCT cars with the performance package, and they simply were outstanding. Big track, small track, wet skidpad, handling course- the M3 can do it all. My favorites were the carbon roofed coupes (the white one with the red interior specifically). I was smitten with my M3, and genuinely bummed to give it back. This was very bad news for my 2011 X3 35i, as after the first session in the M3 I was plotting how to get one. And after my wife's first session, so was my wife (which is amazing given her love of SUVs and the X3 in particular).
So that was my Jalop weekend at the BMW Performance Center- there was even more stuff (great food, Offroad course in X5s, the BMW Plant Tour, the vintage BMW cars and motos display, the death defying ride home in heavy snow in South Carolina- note SC drivers and the government had no plans for snow, other than copious crashes). Let me know if you have any questions.