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all this rambling about how great the m3 is makes me smile.

i really don't figure all this praise for car.  i drove my business partners'
one extensively, before he got rid of it.  it was the real (non usa) one, and
apart from awful quality (we're talking rubing strips, rear dams, and interior 
fittings falling *off* here), it was not a great drive.  on a track maybe,
where you have predictable conditions, known braking points, known behaviour,
and consistency will reward the driver.  that and smooth conditions is a major
advantage to fast times.

which is why i am bemused with some people's preoccupation with the way their 
car behaves on the circuit.  who cares?  does it make a difference in the real
world?  imho, it does not.  i'm much keener to see how a car handles a bump in
mid corner, a sudden patch of gravel roadworks, or of wet tarmac, or a sudden
application of brakes mid-way through a corner.  try these things in an m3, and
your'll be wiping your seat.

i had such encounter a few nights ago, the rain had cleared, but the raod was
still wet, i was pressing on, in the dark, trying to make a dinner appointment
with tracey asleep in the car.  i was pushing about 140km/hr and cornering
hard, when after entry to the corner, i encountered a car travelling at about
50km/hr just coming off the verge on my side of the road (!).  brakes hit hard
(left foot), and my right foot stayed on the gas.  the rs2 gave an oversteer
lurch, squatted, and went around the outside.  great car.  adequate driving. 

the m3 is certainly not great on the open road in new zealand conditions.
interestingly i have recently encountered a number of ex m3 owners who have
agreed. point to point when you don't know the road, when the conditions
change, when it might be wet, where the quality of the road varies greatly - is
*not* the m3's element.  for that you need either perfectly dry conditions, or
good reflexes.  interestingly "performance car" magazine agreed when rating the
new s4 much better than the evo m3 (which came 3rd).  mid pack, sir.

so did one of the aussie rags which rated the wrx (with poor brakes btw) faster
point to point than any of their big 220kw v8 machines.

all this reminds me of the time i looked at a 928gts.  now, this car was lauded
to the skies as the last great 928, and a significant improvement on the
(928)s4.  i asked my car dealer why it was for sale, and the sales guy (whom i
have dealt with extensively), said "the guy wet himself a number of times with
the car, and had to sell it.  he told me that he couldn't drive it comfortably
at speed without fear.  he bought a 911c4, and is much happier".

could audi provide better cars in the usa?   of course.  is it going to?  well,
the s4 is going on sale afaik.  then you can make your comparisons...

now, not wishing to rub it in, i won't tell you that i'm off for a swim in
perfect sunny conditions, and then i think  i'll go for a run...  ;-)

'95 rs2 
'90 ur-q