Recently, I was driving down the 401.
Well, I say ‘driving,’ but in reality, I was doing my best to listen for the Oboe in the orchestra during the finale of the ‘1812 Overture’ while simultaneously getting a massage. I don’t even know if there is an Oboe, in that piece. Actually, I’m not even sure what an Oboe is, but I needed something to do, because I certainly wasn’t being troubled by the proletarian act of driving. Sure I was doing some steering, but my speed was controlled by radar, my climate was managed automatically, my bum was being massaged, and I was soothed by Star-Trek-esqe ambient lighting. I was also marinating quite comfortably in a built in cabin scent called “Dusk of Shimmering Desert” (I’m not making this up). This is some of the optional kit in the new BMW 640i GT, (read my full review on DoubleClutch.ca of this car) and it got me thinking. As I looked down at the digital gauge cluster, I realized that if I were 7 years old, the animated graphics during the digital change between ‘normal’ and ‘sport’ would have truly blown my mind. But yet there I was looking down at it, and saying to myself, hmm Audi’s displays are cleaner. I had to stop myself, and re-set. What am I doing? This gauge cluster is AMAZING.
Us folk who drive all these cutting edge cars get too caught up in blatant comparisons between them. There is some truly amazing tech out there right now, and occasionally we need to pull out the opinions that are jammed firmly up our journalism, and be more amazed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the peerless engagement of older cars, with their heavy steering, naturally aspirated engines, cable throttles, and lack of traction control. But something can be said for driving around in Zac Efron (Modern, crisp, probably smells great) rather than Harrison Ford (old, temperamental, likely smelly). Now I’m not saying modern cars are always better. Far from it in fact. But I am saying that maybe we should go out of our way to celebrate the fact that the E63 AMGs can decouple its front axle so it can pull off incredible slides, or that the Ford Focus RS can almost drift for you, or that you can have a wicked-hot 2.0 turbocharged engine that gets great fuel economy on the road, but can produce more power than an 80’s Ferrari on the track. The point is, we are living in an incredible era of cars right now, and I’m as guilty as the next dude with unregulated access to social media, of complaining about things that were science fiction 5 years ago.
As Throttle House moves forward many cars will come through it. I’d like to say that I’ll forever look upon technological advancement with a twinkle in my eye but the reality is, I’ll probably fall into the trap of taking this stuff for granted. I suppose those types of opinions help drive development forward, but when I’m being whisked down the road, ears filled with Bowers and Wilkins, and eyes on a colour heads up display, I’ll try to remember that within my lifetime, I have hand cranked windows, used an 8-track player, and remember being genuinely amazed when the radio first showed the name of the song playing.