Power and pace on the back roads
Sometimes coming fresh to a car or cars can reawaken appreciation. But, to be honest with you, the likes of the BMW X5, 7-series and even 5-series, at this stage, are what they are: excellent proponents of the art of luxury driving in different guises.
I didn't participate in the Mondello runaround of performance BMWs but the looks on the faces of those who did told their own stories.
But I did take the new 520d, 740d and X5 4.0d for a gallop around Kildare. It was then I realised just how good a good car can be.
I won't go into major detail because I have them lined up for more detailed drives -- but here are the key factors that stuck in my mind.
The X5 with its new engine was so quiet I was wondering had I missed something when I drove it previously.
No, some of the others said, it is remarkably quiet. If you think about it, here is a large SAV (the 'A' is for activity as opposed to utility) with preposterous power, huge tyres, huge body and yet in the cabin it is eerily quiet.
The 740d is similar in its power and pace and, even though I have driven the rival, it still came as a pleasant surprise to feel how taut and sporty this large luxury motor can be.
And then there was the newly arrived 520d, the 5-series most people will want to drive. A great chassis underpins it and with plenty of power, one couldn't help but feel it is the mid-size saloon most of them want to beat.