We a year ago, I wrote a couple short articles which showed you just how fun it is to drive to Eastern Finland with your friends and spend a day at an ice track with BMW:s everywhere. This year, with an international FinalGear crowd, we did the same.
By now my own BMW is gone, so I took the liberty to attend the BMW club trackday with my Citroën Xantia. It wasn’t really an offense, as you could also see a Passat, a Mazda RX-8 and a Volkswagen Caravelle T5 doing laps amongst the Bavarian machines.
One of the BMW:s partaking was a Cologne-based 1988 E34 535i, which had made the journey all the way here in just a couple of days through Sweden. The guys were planning to sell the car here to a discerning petrolhead. The fact it was on German-spec studless winter tires just made that a little more challenging.
This is a brown, four-wheel-drive, bi-turbodiesel Volkswagen bus being drifted on the track, driven with hand controls.
This M135xi was certainly sprightly.
Despite saddled with less than perfect tires, the RX-8 was a barrel of laughs.
Classic E28 coolness.
An E38 on the track is always a pleasing sight.
My front-wheel-drive Xantia with its front-wheel handbrake wasn’t exactly the perfect track tool, but it had one advantage over the others: had I took a plunge into the soft, deep snow, it would’ve been pretty easy to just lift the suspension and reverse out. The BMW’s steadily and regularly spun on the constantly slippening track, and pushing and pulling the stuck Bavarians was a pastime that never got old.
In actuality, we didn’t originally even make it to the track before one of the BMW:s misjudged the approach speed to a junction and drifted into a ditch. The Volkswagen bus couldn’t pull it out despite 4WD, a coincidental LandCruiser couldn’t either, so a tractor was needed to get the E34 back on the road.
After we had had enough, we gathered for coffee, sausages and pastries and looked back on the day. Thanks to the soft snow, no damage was inflicted on any of the cars, and the German-imported BMW 535i even changed owners – a very happy Norwegian will now take it to his home country. I’m heading back west on Sunday, not before an obligatory Ikea stop where I’ll attempt to fit some CD racks and hallway mirrors into the Citroën wagon.
As far as the Citroën is concerned, it appears to be absolutely comfortable on the highway jaunts, even in icy conditions. It’s not only surefooted, but warms up quickly when awakened from the cold, the stereo is perfectly acceptable, the smoothness of the ride on the highway is probably unparalleled in the 800 euro class and despite being driven briskly to keep up with the larger-engined BMW:s it managed 7,47l/100km. Not super-frugal, but the best reading my cars have produced when I’ve been measuring fuel consumption figures with Spritmonitor.
The only thing leaving me unsure is that there now exists a Norwegian fellow whose LG phone has learned the ways of the Citroën’s infrared remote control fob. This means that as long as I’m in the company of my FinalGear friends, the Xantia will probably not be where I left it when I wake up in the morning.
[Images: Copyright 2014 Redusernab/Antti Kautonen]