Earlier last week, I took a rather exciting overnight trip to the Catskills in upstate New York for my first visit to the International Motor Press Association’s Test Days. One of the main benefits of the IMPA, this annual event gives members the opportunity to take out various new models from nearly every manufacturer for extended solo test drives.
The event was located at the stunning Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, NY, an extraordinary facility which any car enthusiast would greatly enjoy (initiation fees for membership range from a lofty $40,000-$125,000, if anyone’s interested). Although located in a very remote area of upstate New York, thankfully the surrounding country roads were freshly paved in thick asphalt for optimal motoring.
Most manufacturers brought their A-game, with models such as the Audi TT, Bentley Continental, BMW i8, Cadillac ATS-V, Chevy Corvette, Dodge Hellcat Charger, Ford Mustang, Lexus RC F-Sport, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-AMG GT S, Mercedes-Maybach S600, and Range Rover Sport SVR all available to take out for spins. I was somewhat pressed for time, so I couldn’t wait for seat time in all of the most exciting vehicles. I did, however, get to take out a number of vehicles that were new to me and nonetheless enjoyable on 10+ mile test drives through hilly twists and turns on the nearby backroads.
The event wasn’t just about sports cars, and among the plethora of vehicles I had the fortune of driving were the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, Audi A7, Cadillac CTS, GMC Sierra Denali, Hyundai Genesis, MINI Cooper John Cooper Works, and Volvo XC90. That being said, I did wait for several of the sports cars, most notably the BMW i8. Let me just say that the i8 was the most exhilarating driving experience in a hybrid in my life, and quite possibly of any car.
There was also off-road testing of new SUVs and the opportunity to test exotic sports cars with an instructor on MMC’s 4.1-mile race-grade track, neither of which I was able to partake in due to personal time constraints. Testing continued for a second day, but I really didn’t want to have to take another day off in the second week of my new job, despite my boss’s approval. Additionally, I couldn’t spend another night at the nightmarish Honor’s Haven hotel, that could’ve been straight out of a Stephen King novel. Stay tuned for some more in-depth driving impressions of several of these vehicles.