The Break after Break-in
Monday, June 4
Alpina Chur A.G.
[on completing break-in]
6:00am - back on the road, last 200 kms to do to break the car in. Another beautiful sunny day. Traffic!!! What the heck? Ok, so only 10 seconds worth hah is all. LOL
Sleep-deprived and jet-lagged all at the same time, we felt a bit ragged waking up at the crack of dawn. We had a few more hours until the 8 a.m. service appointment at the dealership - enough time to put a few more hundred kilometres, hopefully getting us up somewhere in the vicinity of 2000km on the odometer. No breakfast, no prep, just out the door and into the car. We did laps up and down the 120 km/hr-limit highway outside of Chur, and by the time 7:45 a.m. rolled around, it was time to head into the city. We pulled into BMW Alpina Chur A.G.
at 7:50 a.m.. Odometer reading: 1,932km. We had managed to put one thousand, nine hundred and thirty kilometres on the M2 between Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. until now, just forty-six hours later.
I met with manager Fabian Schmid, who was able to converse in english and who had been most accommodating in setting up my break-in appointment in the first place. The break-in service required a 3-hour block of time, so after doing the initial paperwork and handing the keys over, we finally had a little bit of time to wind down. On the way out of the dealership, Luke and I got a talking-to for taking a picture of the M2 on the hoist in the garage (apparently they don't like unauthorized snooping....)
The BMW dealership was conveniently situated such that we could undertake a relatively short walk down one road into the city's historic old center. There we had a very relaxing and satisfying breakfast in a cafe in a quiet square. On the way back to the dealership, we stopped at a grocery store to stock up on supplies and snacks for the next few days - both for on the road and for in the flat.
Chur Old Center
We returned to the dealership a little early, hoping that the car would be completed (how long can it take to replace various fluids and do an inspection?), and sure enough, the car was ready. We re-took possession on the M2 and drove back up the valley of the Vorderrhein to the flat.
Tidying up the flat
Now with no looming deadlines, we could continue unwinding, unpacking, relaxing, and getting ready for our week in the alps. We set about tidying up the flat, which had inevitably become dusty and grimy since the last time it had seen use (which apparently had been quite a while - I think Miriam's family needs to vacation more!)
After unpacking and tidying, we chilled for the afternoon: some much-needed napping, some relaxation out on the balcony (which offers a beautiful view across the Anterior Rhine Valley to other hillside towns and the mountains above them).
Now, you would think that after 48 hours of rushing around, getting sleep deprived, and sitting in the car for so long, that we'd be sick of it. But... the call of the road - the twisty road - was still to be felt. With the M2 broken in, and with unexplored alpine pavement just a short drive away, I - we - couldn't resist... in fact we couldn't countenance *not* using the rest of the day to have a little *real* fun in the M2, so curious to stretch its legs. So, at around 7pm, with roughly two hours of nearly summer solstice evening light to go, Luke and I stole away and headed up-valley, towards the nearest high alpine pass to us: the Oberalppass.
Resting after a marathon break-in
The late evening in the upper reaches of the Anterior Rhine valley was overcast and a little dark. Dank and somewhat gloomy, with a chill breeze. It was also... empty... and as we passed the last little settlement before reaching alpine terrain, the road widened up: from a rather narrow, rather averagely-paved blacktop to a wide, perfectly engineered ribbon of smooth tarmac.
We could now finally let the M2 sing a little. Dipping deeply into the throttle delivered a rush of torque; we could now let the smoothly-balanced inline-6 rev towards redline - hearing for the first time the *brrrap* of the turbo's wastegate between shifts.
Over the top of the pass, with temperature now down into the single digits and large snowbanks still adjacent to the road's edge. The road was virtually deserted, which was, of course, perfect.
We swapped back and forth a few times as we drove over the top and down the also-excellent twisties (although perhaps less extensive and tight than the eastern side had been), then turned around and did it all again.
Before setting out on our trip, way back months before, Luke and I had already determined and agreed that we were going to learn the M2's underlying handling traits in their purest, rawest form. To that end, before we negotiate a single hairpin in anger, we turned off all traction aids and stability control. We wanted to approach the car's limits, like we had for every other sports car or racing vehicle we had driven to date in our lives. We had a healthy respect for the dynamics of a rear-drive vehicle, and we were pretty confident in our ability to not let things go sideways (pun intended).
Downloading and Selecting
And so, being out here on this cool and gloomy evening, finally getting to push the M2 on some quiet and fantastically twisty tarmac, we discovered that - it was really fairly predictable. It wasn't a handful of quirkly, unpredictable, unstable motions. We pushed a little harder with each turn and discovered that the back end was quite planted, not really at all prone to sudden, snappy oversteer. We (or at least I) found that I had to give things an extra, deliberate kick to break it free. Then again, I'm always hyper-sensitive, hyper-predictive of when I think oversteer might occur, and maybe it's just the traction control in my brain that is automatically taking over, guiding my throttle foot.
Anyhow, it was exhilarating and exciting to be out here, working this sports car, enjoying all of the aural, visual, and seat-of-the-pants sensations. We returned down-valley to the flat as dusk settled, happy - and excited - to explore more beautiful roads in the coming days.
After that we cooked ourselves up some pesto pasta for dinner. Right settled in, we were.