An Easter miracle

Finding space for his crap sends Ponch splashing north

NATHAN PONCHARD

THE eternal battle with inner-city living isnít just trying to afford even the tiniest slice of real estate; itís finding somewhere to park. And not just any old street park, mixed with all the perils of busted mirrors, kerbed wheels, tree grit and bird dirt. I mean something clean and dry, with room to open doors, pack a bar fridge, unfold a chair and crank a set of speakers.

Since I flew the parental nest more than two decades ago, Iíve never really had a proper garage. So youíll understand my jubilation at being invited to join a bunch of car nuts housing their classics in a graffiticovered warehouse just 10 minutes from my house, for little more than the price of a couple of pints. Cue gleeful girly yelps and utter relief.

utter relief.

The timing couldnít have been better. With Easter on the to-do list, the M4 was primed into action and pointed north for a 125km slog through incredibly heavy rain.

Auto wipers flapping and piercing xenons parting traffic like the sea for whatshisname, I mustíve set a Good Friday record for the Sydney-to-Swansea haul, clocked at an hour and 40 minutes. Equally satisfying, the M4ís brilliant seats and pleasing freeway ride provided the perfect sound stage for INXSís The Swing as it cranked through the 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo.

But the M4ís lane-keeping function is a twitchy little SOB, snatching the car away from white lines mid-corner, to the point where my non-licensed passenger exclaimed ďWhat was that?!Ē As per the norm with these electronic nannies, if you truly need a box-ticking safety feature like lane assist, you probably shouldnít be driving. So I turned it off.

The M4ís steering is quite reactive offcentre, The M4ís steering is quite reactive offcentre, though, and on the wet and winding Link Motorway, a little too weighty in Sport mode. So I flicked the steering into Comfort and noticed that the M4 can feel a little twitchy in really wet conditions. Iím not sure how confident Iíd feel in it doing 250km/h in driving rain on an autobahn, though the terrific drainage and perfect camber of German A-roads means itís potentially never a problem.

Yet the reason I drove the M4 north was for its practicality. Both rear backrests fold almost flat and, combined with a 445-litre boot, there was ample space on the return journey for three boxes of car parts, the red vinyl rear seat from my long-departed í67 Volkswagen Fastback and the rest of our long-weekend baggage.

Now that I finally have a home for stashing cars I donít need, my oldies are finally rid of that mouldy old seat.

NET GAIN Volvo proves the DRINKING SESSION

nice folk at Ikea are not the only Swedes capable of smart packaging Lending the manual M4 to other journos for some Ďwheel timeí didnít help its fuel consumption

Press to pass

ITíS a common preconception that you should never buy a press car. Unsympathetically hammered, they can be a shagged heap of shite at Ďgroundingí time, usually around 10,000km. Yet my M4 has passed that, and she still feels fit. Admittedly, when it arrived with 8066km on the clock it already had new brake rotors, pads and tyres, and when it heads back to BMW in a month, a new clutch is on the menu. But given how well this M4 has been Ďtestedí, it still feels tight and fresh.

BMW M4 COUPE

Date acquired: January 2015 Price as tested: $176,790 This month: 546km @ 16.4L/100km Overall: 2154km @ 12.7L/100km Da Pri Th Ov