In Switzerland we just have a very short timeframe when we can drive without the fear of finding two meters of snow on the road. The timeframe this year was extremely short; in June mountain passes were still closed, and most probably, when this article airs, somewhere in October, passes will be closed again.
Due to a multitude of work projects and personal responsibilities, this driving season I was just able to do a couple of proper driving trips.
As Steve McQueen’s wonderful movie “24h of Le Mans” poster said:
LeStrat takes to you for a drive in the country.
The country is Germany. The drive is at 200MPH
It’s been already 10 years since I published this article in which I test drove a VW Golf IV R32. Nothing has changed ever since; the sportiest version of the Vokswagen Golf is still the reference among hot hatches.
Why do I say that? My route buddy drives a 7th generation Golf R. You know: 4-pot 2 liter engine making 310 hp, haldex all-wheel drive and 7-speed DSG gearbox.
That car is nuts. In the test drive from the video below, the Pistonheads journalist says that it’s almost impossible to leave one of these hot hatches behind, nevermind which super sports car you drive.
My Vantage is far from delivering modern supersports car performance. I had to fully commit to keep on track with the Golf on slower corner exit, where the DGS gearbox and turbocharged engine have a big advantage. In fast bends the Vantage still has the upper hand, despite its disappointing Toyo Proxes Sport tires (we will talk about these tires in a future article).
The Black Forest roads are so insanely gorgeous that we barely found the time to stop, while linking one road with another until we reached our destination. I was utterly surprised not only with the landscape, but also with the mountains in this location, which I imagined completely flat.
We made the whole Swiss part of our journey, from Zug to the border in Koblenz by secondary roads; Nothing especially noteworthy because although the landscapes are nice, Switzerland is not a place where you can have fun with your car if you don’t want to spend a night in prison.
We briefly stopped in Waldshut-Thiengen to unload our bladders and decide which roads to drive. It was raining, so I had no much hope for fun.
We decided to avoid Hochstrasse 500, expecting to find very dense traffic. My road companion, who already knew the area, suggested that although Hochstrasse is the famous road there, there’s plenty of better roads all around. I decided to pay heed to his words and off we went through the roads he suggested. Shortly after the sun started shining again.
As I said, we were so focused on driving that we didn’t make any stops to take pictures of such a beautiful landscape. We just made some photos on our way back, but the landscapes were completely different in that part of the journey; not so schwarz, and not so Wald. If you have played “The Need for Speed Porsche 2000” you can imagine the roads in our fist part of the journey.
The first road led us to a hilltop through a succession of curves, camber changes and slopes difficult to forget. Add to the dish a lush forest surrounding everything and the experience is somewhat sublime. In this part of our journey we drove really fast, taking the tires near their limit and messing around with the balance of the car just like children. It was a very fun drive indeed.
We then linked with another road where we found a beefed Jeep Grand Cherokee who decided to also enjoy a bit our group trip. No match for our much nimbler and lighter cars. After a while he decided to stop and we could continue our route, being surprised by the amazing diversity of every new section we found, each at least as enjoyable as the one we had just left. We drove very fast roads with plenty of high-speed curves, mousetracks where the Vantage was a pig, mountain passes, lakeside roads… all of them with beautiful landscapes where the lush forests always prevailed.
By the time we arrived at our destination, the Titisee, it started raining again. Just in time for our lunch break. We actually needed more time to find a nice restaurant than what it took to finish our Schweinshaxen and our alkoholfreies Bier. Shortly after we were back in our cars and sun was shining again.
Next stop: The best Black Forest cake. A must in this part of the word, right?
After finishing our cakes and talking about the fun we had during our trip, we set out on our comeback route through wider and faster roads with the sun shining next to us. On these roads, especially in the faster, longer bends I could notice how the Golf was suffering a bit of understeer, while the Vantage was sublimely planted, this is his habitat for sure.
Before crossing borders we made our last stop to buy a proper Rindsfillet. 1.5kg of it. The last part of our driving day, already on Swiss roads, was just a mere formality to get back home. Nothing to report.
This was a trip we will surely repeat after winter. Maybe with different cars. Keep posted.