Thursday, October 22, 2015
We are an odd bunch when it comes to vehicles. You would think that bike racers would be a bunch of Prius driving tree huggers, or that we would just buy a Honda Odyssey to get all of our stuff and friends to the races. That however is rarely the case. We race bikes for a reason, and a Prius or mini van isn't going to get us into and out of a traffic circle faster than the dude driving the lumbering SUV. We want a car that can hold a couple of bikes, accommodate a roof rack, and still be fun to drive.
I've been racing for a while, and for a long time the parking lot at races had a bunch of Subaru Outback's in them. It was a sporty wagon, with all wheel drive, a manual transmission option, and it got decent gas mileage. Between my wife and I, we ultimately owned three of them, including one pretty cool XT model with a manual transmission and turbo. Plenty of friends and co-workers accused me of being a lesbian while driving those cars, but let's face it, they were good cars and if I was a lady, I'd still dig the ladies. It was an accusation that I could live with. Then Subaru went ahead and super sized their wagon. Basically they turned it into a low riding SUV, dropped the turbo, and I'm pretty sure they don't even offer a manual transmission anymore. Subaru? No thank you.
As time went on, I looked at other options. The Audi A4 wagon was pricey, didn't offer much storage, and was later discontinued. The Prius? As you might imagine I actually never looked at that option. The Subaru WRX? It has only been offered as a sedan in recent years. So what was a racer to do? As it turned out, VW came to our rescue. Sporty wagon with a manual transmission? Yes please. Turbo diesel that could go 600 miles on a tank? You bet. Environmentally conscious at the same time? Bonus! I could laugh at those losers in their Prius's too, and laugh I did. All Wheel Drive, or 4MOTION as you call it, would have been nice but given the limited car options out there it was a sacrifice that could be made.
As the last few years have gone by, it's amazing how many VW diesel wagons began to fill the race parking lots. These days you can't swing a rolled tubular without hitting a tdi wagon. As a bonus, VW was even a USAC sponsor, and you could get a VW for $500 below invoice if you were a USAC member. Actually you still can. Of course now VW you have let us down. It turns out the tdi wasn't what we thought it was. We were/are polluting the environment, and when fixed it is unlikely that our SportWagen's will be, well, sporty. Worst of all, WORST OF ALL, those Prius drivers are laughing at us. That stings the most.
So clearly VW, you need to do something to make it up to us. The market is yours to lose or keep. My advice? Bring the Golf R SportWagen to the US and include a manual transmission, not some Busch League dual clutch automatic. If that can't happen, you could at least have the common decency to give us a GTI version of the SportWagen. I really think you should just go all in though and bring the R with a manual. As much as it pains me to say this, I currently own a GTI, and my wife recently acquired a Golf R. I'm usually fairly secure in my masculinity but knowing that she has 292hp under the hood while I don't is a bitter pill to swallow. Sure she let's me drive her car sometimes, but if you brought the Golf R SportWagen I'd have the following:
1. A car that is almost as fast as my wife's.
2. A car with 4MOTION that could get me out of a muddy parking lot after a CX race.
3. A car that held more bikes and gear than our GTI or Golf R.
4. A car that quietly gave the finger to all Prius drivers.
And you would have:
1. My forgiveness for lying to me and destroying the environment under false pretenses.
2. My money.
So in closing, do we have a deal?