exercise in machismo
By Liane Praza-Oracle on Feb 11, 2005
Some time ago I had to stop using my beloved 1982 Fiat Spider as a daily driver. It is an aging Italian sportscar, so a minor tantrum was to be expected from it once a year or so. But, getting to work was becoming an increasingly stressful endeavor. So, a hunt for a new car began.
Many hours were spent talking me out of waiting for the less-than-reasonable new Elise about to be released in the US. Eventually, I had to cede to the logic of a compromise car. Practical, reliable, maintainable, and even used. I've never been a fan of the Miata's handling, and while the Honda S2000 had the sweetest little engine you've ever heard, its lackluster steering feel would have always left me wanting. I've always loved the BMW M-coupe's looks, and a test drive confirmed everything I'd read about its performance. Lots of power and perfectly predictable to handle. But, no convertible. That was a non-starter.
After a month or two of foot-dragging, I managed to swallow my pride and climb into an M-roadster. Ok, it can probably be forgiven for looking like the Z3. All the power of the M-coupe, but plenty of body twist just waiting to jump out and bite you at the most inopportune moments. What a brute! Still, that's a lot of the appeal, and there were a few reasonably priced low-mileage examples to be found. So, we jumped in and bought one of those examples.
What prompted this useless anectdote? A friend sent along a link to a review from the Car Talk guys. They've, as usual, got it pretty spot on. Fortunately, I haven't run afoul of the law with the beast yet.