5 Sept 2014

Fleet - Sweaty Biking, Not Selling The BMW And The Audi Still Has It

That might seem like an odd headline but it neatly sums up my recent activity with my own vehicles. To sum up I've got a 2005 Audi TT 3.2 V6, a 1998 BMW 323i SE Touring and a 2011 Triumph Street Triple.

Given the sunny weather I've used the Triumph quite a lot, usually for long journeys rather than pottering around on.

I recently had a meeting in the glorious garden of England that is Purfleet.  Well, OK Purfleet isn't exactly a green, rose-filled garden, more a waste strewn square of concrete with an old sofa and some mattresses left to rot and a ruddy great HGV parked in the middle.

I didn't fancy driving down the congested M4 and round the M25 so I took the bike. The sun was blazing and it was edging 30 degrees, and I toyed with the idea of wearing my jeans but common sense took over and I kitted myself out in full leathers.

The M4 was utterly horrible with drivers accordioning from 70 to 0 and back again with miserable regularity.  The M25 wasn't much better. It was depressing to see the variable speed limit area, and associated cameras, had spread all the way round to the M20.

The southern section of the M25 used to be quite fun but now it's a state-controlled cash generation area. It was quiet in some areas but the variable speed limits were randomly set to 60, 70, 40, 50mph. This resulted in the few cars that there were slowing, speeding up, slowing again, speeding up again and ultimately bashing into each other.  I saw two up-the-arse shunts in 40 minutes which were directly caused by these stupidly random limits.

If I'd been in a car the journey would have been hell and would have taken twice as long as it did.  On a motorcycle you can filter between traffic, undertake the idiots sitting in the outside lane and basically enjoy the freedom of being narrow, nimble and quick.

It was damn hot in the leathers but overall it was worthwhile taking the Triumph.

I had wanted to reduce the fleet to just one car so put the BMW up for auction on eBay.  It's in fine condition and had just one owner before I bought it, who kept it in pristine condition and kept the receipts for every penny that had been spent on it.

I wanted £1,000 for it and put a reserve of £999 on the auction. It had a ton of views and watchers but the bidding ended on £600.  I've put that down to selling at the wrong time of year and will SORN it and try again soon. It's just not worth selling it at such a loss.

I ran a Toyota GT86 for 10 days which turned out to be pretty much the best and most agile sports coupe on the market (as distinct to a more expensive performance car).

After it went back I jumped back in the TT and was impressed with how it held up against the market leader, even though it's 10 years old.

The Audi is four wheel drive and doesn't have the same sharp turn-in or glorious control and feedback the rear wheel drive GT86 does, however it makes up for this with a more comfortable interior, far more grunt and acceleration from the V6 engine and is the Toyota's equal on a motorway cruise.

The Mk1 TT is often criticised by so called experts but its strengths more than make up for its weaknesses. The hatchback boot makes it practical, the four wheel drive gives it tons of grip, the BOSE audio system sounds fantastic and it's still an innovative and stand-out design (both inside and out).  The steering isn't half bad either.

Here's a video review of my TT:

Update: I put the BMW on eBay again, and it sold almost straight away for £950!

By Matt Hubbard