In this feature, we will test drive and give a thorough report on some of the finest offerings from premier international automakers*
Third place is a shitty spot to be in. Especially when you’re making an arguably superior product. Audi is used to it, though. They’ve been doing it for two decades. Mercedes has the prestige, and BMW is known for being the ‘sportier’ of the three marques. Meanwhile, Audi hangs back like some kind of forgotten middle child, never doing either thing well enough to overcome the sometimes undeserved reputation of its siblings. But, middle children have their uses. You wouldn’t invite your rugby playing, beer swilling son out to a five star restaurant anymore than you would tell your gentrified dandy to go climb a mountain. That’s where the middle child comes in. He’s balanced enough to do anything. He’s just as comfortable pulling a G around an exit ramp as he is taking a beautiful woman to The Met. And in the case of the Audi, your son is quite the looker. I would like to have sex with him.
Metaphors gone to hell aside, I was thrilled when I learned that I was going to test the all new 2012 A7 sedan. I don’t know why I was so thrilled, considering that I don’t work for any automotive site or publication, and this decision process consisted entirely of me waking up and thinking ‘I’m going to go test the A7’. But, there you go. Sometimes we can even surprise ourselves. “What are we going to do today, boss? More masturbation? All right!”
So, I get dressed for the occasion and amble on down to the nearest Audi dealer. It doesn’t take long for me to ascertain that things are not going to flow smoothly.
“Absolutely not.” said Chad, my Audi sales rep.
“Look”, I said, “all I want to do is test drive the car. You guys still do test drives, right?”
“Not in this case, we don’t.” Chad said, looking at me disapprovingly.
“What is this? Some kind of discrimination? You harking back to the history of the brand? Am I not ‘Ubermensch’ enough for you? You gotta be a card holding member of the Aryan Brotherhood to get in one of these hatewagons?”
“Not at all.” Chad said. “But, you’re standing here, in what looks like a soiled bathrobe, and I’m pretty sure that’s grape jelly on your left foot. When I asked for ID, you handed me a picture of Cap’n Crunch that you had obviously cut from a cereal box. Now, if you showed me some proper identification, and let me run a credit check, I’m sure we could oblige…”
“HATECRIME!” I shouted. “Audi is trying to turn America into a fascist police state! The four rings stand for oppression, racism, Mussolinism, and uh…some other bad shit! Fuck this! I ain’t in it. You know why? ‘Cause I’m from America! I like chicken and baked beans after church! I like cat-napping in the porch swing! I like…”
“That’s just country song lyrics, I’m pretty sure.”
“Ich bin Highlander!” I shouted into Chad’s face, then stormed out.
The dealership thing didn’t work out like I wanted, true, but if I let a little word like ‘no’ stand in my way every time I tried to do something, I wouldn’t be a journalist. I stopped by my house for a few things, then headed to the mall.
I found one by the entrance to Garfield’s. A beautiful example in a black that was so deep and rich I could see my soul’s reflection. And my soul had a boner. For this car. I waited nonchalantly by the A7 until the owner came out.
“Can I help you?” the forty-ish man asked, when he saw me standing by the car.
“Is this yours?” I asked, “The new A7, am I right?”
“Are you wearing a bathrobe?” he asked, as he pressed the button on the keyfob that opened the trunk.
The lid rose slowly but powerfully. Actuators or some other such thing controlling the speed of its ascent. I throbbed.
He put his bags in the trunk.
“Spacious.” I said.
“Yeah. Listen, if you don’t move along, I’m going to have to call…”
The interior of the Audi is even more breathtaking than its exterior. Creamy leather in a quilted pattern, layered oak inserts, just the right amount of chrome. And buttons? Holy fuck are there some buttons in this thing! I’m pretty sure I know what, like, half of them do. Even the plastic is high quality. Though it’s a largish car, the interior is pleasantly snug. It’s like being wrapped in a soft, white leather vagina. I suddenly felt like whoever is married to Barbra Streisand.
Second opinions are valuable. I always like to get a different point of view when trying things out, to remain objective. What I needed was a co-pilot. I pulled up to the bus stop, off Virginia Ave. There was a large, well dressed black man standing there, waiting for the 5:50. I rolled the window down.
“Hey man, you need a ride?” I asked.
“DO. YOU. NEED. A. RIDE?” I asked again.
“I’m not deaf,” he said, “just wondering if I’m trapped in some kind of parallel universe where white dudes in luxury cars offer me spontaneous rides.”
“Look, it’s not like that. I’m testing this car out, and I was wondering if I could get your opinion on it.”
“You a serial killer? You fit the profile. Especially with that bathrobe on.”
“No, seriously. I just want your opinion.”
He looked around, sighed, and said “All right, but if you try an stick a needle in my neck or some dumb shit like that, I’m gonna fuck you up.”
He got in.
‘What’s your name, man?” I asked.
“Derrick. But most people call me Big Sexy.”
“Codpiece.” I said, offering my hand.
“All..right.” he said, and shook it.
“So, what do you think about the interior?”
“It’s beautiful. Like a big white vagina.”
“That’s what I thought!” I said.
We drove around town, but the speed limits are woefully low. I got on the highway and floored it for a while. The size of the engine concerned me at first, being only a 3.0. But, Audi wrung every pony out of it, attaching a roots-type supercharger to the mill. The result is smooth and surprisingly quiet power. I couldn’t even detect a hint of supercharger whine. But, I knew that it would be good in a straight line. I wanted to see how it handled.
“We need a big parking lot.” I said.
“There’s a Wal-Mart off this exit.” said Big Sexy.
I took the exit at speed. The car handled it swimmingly, but there was a deep thump from the rear.
“Is there something in your trunk?” Big Sexy asked.
“So, why do they call you Big Sexy?”
He gave a little self-conscious laugh. “I guess it’s ’cause I will mack on anything, you know? I ain’t picky. I’ll take ’em old, young, big, small. They all need love, you know?”
“How old is old?”
“Oldest one was…let me see…seventy-two.”
“Yeah, but listen. the genitals don’t get old, you feel me? The lady around the moist-moist might get older, but that nan-nan? Same as it ever was. And the older ones are really appreciative, an shit. I got a lot of good stuff out of that.”
“Dinner at Western Sizzlin’, this pinky ring,” he held up his left hand, which had a huge jeweled gold ring on the smallest finger, “some commemoratve plates. I don’t know who was on them shits, but I sold them on e-bay for some good money.”
“I know, right?”
We got to the Wal-Mart parking lot. It being only about 6PM, the place was still fairly busy. But, I saw a space in the back where very few cars were parked, that I thought would do well for pulling off the kinds of maneuvers that I was contemplating.
The A7 doesn’t play around when it comes to handling. It’s body is a aluminum, steel composite to save weight. It has three selectable modes, the most intense being ‘sport’, which stiffens up the shocks and lowers the car, while turning off some of the car’s electronic ‘babysitters’. Finally, Audi’s famous Quattro adaptable all wheel drive rounds out the package.
All that technical stuff disappeared when I dipped the throttle and cranked the wheel. I was one with the machine. With every figure eight, slalom, and doughnut I pulled, I was telling the laws of physics to suck my dick.
Big Sexy was grasping the ‘oh shit’ handle, and doing his best to avoid outright whimpering. All was going well until I went for that power slide and, right before coming to a complete stop, careened into a large, older woman in one of those funky motorized chairs.
“Oh shit!” screamed Big Sexy, as she popped out of the seat like a spring-loaded geriatric and hovered for a second before crashing down to the pavement.
“The world of Motorsport has claimed yet another life today…” I said, pretty much to myself. In truth, I was just babbling, and trying to find a way to leave the scene without causing more bloodshed. I was about to floor it when the speakers emitted a chime.
I looked over and saw that Big Sexy had exited the vehicle, and was rushing to aid the fallen senior citizen. Rarely had I seen a large man move so fast. I sighed, put the car into park, and went to assist.
Big Sexy was holding the elderly woman in his arms. She had a glazed, shocked look in her eyes, but I didn’t see any blood or limbs pointed out at odd angles. “Holy shit! Did you fucking see that?” I said. I don’t know what I was trying to do, but it was quite an uncomfortable situation.
“Are you all right?” Big Sexy asked her.
She looked at him, and her eyes seemed to come into focus. “I…I think so.”
“Yeah.” he said, his voice slightly lower. “You’re just fine.”
“I think I might be.” she said.
“Where do you live?” he asked.
“Right around the corner. I take my Rascal here when I need to go shopping. What happened? I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.”
“No way. ” I said. “The ride height on a bus is much higher. We would have decapitated you if we were in a bus.”
“My cart? What happened to my Rascal?” she asked.
I looked at her mode of transport. The chair had taken the brunt of the damage. The frame was slightly taco-bent, and one of the larger drive wheels had come off.
“It is fuuuuuuuucked.” I said, making my voice go falsetto on the last word.
“You think we could fit it in the trunk?” Big Sexy asked.
“Naw.” I said, as calmly as possible. “The trunk is nowhere near as big as it looks.”
“Damn.” then, to the woman, “You got anybody that can come pick it up?”
“My husband.” she said. “He’s at the Eagles club right now, but he can do it when he gets home.”
“Good,” Big Sexy said, still in that low tone of voice. “That’s real good. Let’s get you home.”
He picked her up and placed her in the backseat. He lifted her legs and slid his body in beneath them.
“I’ll just sit back here with her. Keep her comfortable.” he said.
He pointed at her two bags of groceries, which had remained remarkably intact. I only had to chase down one rouge clementine. I put the bags in the front seat.
Walking around the car, I noted the point of impact. there was a small ding and a few scratches, nothing more. If you’re going to smash into septuagenarians mounted on motorized chairs, the Audi is a good pick.
As we drove the short distance to her house, I tried out the stereo system. The Audi is equipped with a 630 watt, 14 speaker Bose system. I searched the stations for something that would appeal to my new passenger, and found and oldies channel. There is nothing like Bing Crosby at 120 decibels to sooth the elderly.
We reached her house I got out and grabbed her bags. She was walking now, limping and leaning on Big Sexy. He took the groceries from me as he passed.
“I got this.” he said, as he walked her into the house.
I waited. Ten minutes. Twenty. Thirty. I was about to say screw it and leave when a clunking old Buick with a weird rack on the back pulled up in front of the house.
An older guy got out. Wearing plaid orange pants and a canary yellow polo shirt, he weaved drunkenly as he walked. He looked at me suspiciously. I only nodded in return. This seemed to satisfy him, though. He returned the nod and walked into the house.
Two minutes later, all hell broke loose. Big Sexy burst from the front door like a wildibeast in full charge. He had on one shoe and his boxers, the rest of his clothes were cradled in the crook of his left arm. The old gent from the Buick was hot on his trail, and he had a fire ax.
“Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!” Big Sexy said. I noticed that the tone of his voice was much higher now.
“Dear lord man, what have you done?” I said.
Big Sexy was running for the car, but I could see that he wasn’t going to be able to get inside before the old guy swung the ax. I took a few steps back. “I’d break left.” I said.
Big Sexy did as advised, and the old dude buried the ax in the roof of the Audi.
“Now, see…” I said.
“What the hell is wrong with you!?” the old man screamed. “My wife is seventy-six!”
“A new personal best!” I exclaimed.
“Listen.” Big Sexy said, “It ain’t even like that. I…”
“I’m gonna kill you!” the old guy screamed, pulling the ax free of the roof.
But then, Big Sexy bucked up, dropping his clothes and raising his fists. “Oh yeah? Bring it, old man!”
The guy looked down at the ax he was holding, then at Big Sexy. Then back at the ax. He raised it, but it became evident that he didn’t like his chances when he slammed the ax back down, into the hood of the Audi.
“Jesus Christ.” I sighed.
Big Sexy backed away, picking up his clothes and staring to put them back on. He worked his way back over to where I was standing. The ax went up, came down, went up, came down. Peals of metal were curling away from the car like petals from an expensive aluminium flower. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the scene from ‘The Big Lebowski’. The one where John Goodman beats the shit out of the Corvette while screaming ‘Do you see what you get when you fuck a stranger in the ass!?’ You know the one.
“Man, I’m sorry about the car.” said Big Sexy.
The old guy was working his way to the rear of the vehicle now, ax rising and falling a silent generation machine.
“Well, it happens, you know.” I said.
“You don’t seem that upset about it. I’d be..”
Just then, the old dude dropped the ax on the trunk just right. All that ax smashing must have buggered the actuators or something, because it popped open like a novelty gag. The old guy was about to swing again when he stopped. Stunned, he took a few steps back.
Slowly, out of the trunk, came the owner of the car. I had bound his ankles and upper body in packing tape. I had also put some over his mouth. He hopped around, moaning loudly. I can’t be sure, but I think he was cursing at me.
“Motherfucker!” Big Sexy shouted.”I knew it!”
“I am not a serial killer!” I shouted back.
Big sexy gestured at the man, as if to say explain this.
“I had to tape him up after I tasered him. These cars, all newer cars, have an interior release handle. I couldn’t have him pulling that. I had to test the car, right?”
“Man, I’m on parole.” Big Sexy said.
“I’m calling the cops!” the old dude yelled, and ran inside.
“We should go.” I said, walking back to the car.
“Man, ain’t no way that’s going to start.” Big Sexy said.
I got in, and pressed the start button. The engine came to life.
“Gotta love the Germans.” I said.
Big Sexy ran to the passenger side and got in. “What about him?” he asked, cocking his thumb over his shoulder towards the taped up car owner.
“He’ll get out eventually.” I answered.
The ax blows had effected the aerodynamics of the car. There was an odd whistle whenever we went over twenty miles an hour. The trunk also wouldn’t stay closed. When we went over any kind of bump it would pop up an kind of ‘wave’ at the car behind us. For a while, we were stuck in front of a group of guys who would alternately yell ‘HEY!’, and “HO!’ whenever it happened. Hip hop hooray, indeed.
“This is a sixty-six thousand dollar luxury automobile.” I said.
“Was.” Big Sexy corrected.
“But it started out as one. We’ve got to test the presence of this car. The gravity. We should take it somewhere nice and see if we can still get valet service.”
“And we’ll need some girls.”
We drove around downtown for five minutes before we found them. They were walking down King street, both too blonde, wearing too small shorts and tank tops that were ill-equipped to hide the small stomach rolls caused by their poor diets. Hoop earrings and dragon lady nails. They were perfect.
We pulled alongside them. I tried to lower the passenger side window, but it only went down a quarter on an inch before stopping. I sighed. Big Sexy opened his door.
“Ladies!” I called, trying to sound like I wasn’t trying to pick two trashy town chicks up off the street.
“Stop.” Big Sexy said. “Let me.”
“Heeeeeey.” they said back in that annoying cutesy tone that so many girls adopt when they are trying to flirt.
“Ya’ll snow queens wanna go get something to eat?”
They looked at the car, then at Big Sexy, then at me. I might of been imagining it, but I think they lingered a little too long on my bathrobe.
“I don’t know.” The one with the red scrunchy in her hair said.
“Did I mention it would be free?” Big Sexy said, elbowing me.
They looked at each other, then, “Yeah, a’ight.”
They got in the back.
“This car is nice, on the inside.”
“Thank you,” I said. ‘Shame about the outside. I think that whole ‘Skynet’ thing is finally coming to pass. We were attacked by a skid loader.”
“Uh…huh.” one of them said.
We pulled up in front of Quatillmo’s. The valet took a step back, a look of horror on his face. But, being the good employee that he was, he finally walked over and accepted the electronic key fob thingy.
“Take good care of her.” I said, handing him a crumpled up Jesus comic that I found in one of the pockets of my robe. He got in and drove away. The trunk lid waved at us as he went over the hump in the entrance to the parking deck.
Quatillmo’s was a pretty classy place. As such, they were reluctant to let me in wearing my current attire. I started to complain loudly about driving all the way over here in my Audi A7 to be refused service in a restaurant that I had read received a ‘D’ on their last heath inspection.
Did you know that some of the higher class eating establishments have loaner attire in their coat check rooms? I didn’t. The suit was ill-fitting, and the shoes were two sizes too big, but I made it work.
We sat down to eat. I ordered the 14oz filet, with a very expensive wine. Big Sexy was talking to the girls, but something about their voices had me tuning them out. I finished three quarters of my meal, then excused myself to the bathroom.
Three quarters of the way through your meal is the best time to skip out on the check, I’ve found. Nobody really expects you to do it yet. I cupped my hand to my ear and held up one finger as I passed the maitre d’, and walked outside.
The police were going into the parking deck now, lights flashing. They had probably tracked the car through its GPS, which meant the owner got free. Good for him. I would miss the car, though. The Audi A7 is a beautiful machine.