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The First Automotive Easter Egg? 408

automandc writes "The October dead-tree issue of Popular Science is reporting that the new BMW M3 contains what they are calling the "first automotive easter egg" in its transmission control software. Apparently, the proper combination of commands to the electronically controlled manual transmission will cause the car to rev up to 4000rpm and drop the clutch (premitting burnout, which is normally impossible). According to the article, use of the feature more than 15 times voids the warranty in Eurpoe. Other limitations of the "acceleration-assist" feature are discussed in this Car and Driver article. According to popsci, U.S. laws won't allow the warranty limitation, so the U.S. version of the software only revs to 1500rpm, but dealers will install the european software if you ask. The only other mention I could find on the web is here."
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The First Automotive Easter Egg?

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  • ....it's was originally called the 'kamikazi dyno', where you trick out the software and the only place you can test it is out on the street.

    Messing with software to control a car is not new, and I can think of many 'features' that could qualify as easter eggs, such as holding the pedal down on 1985 Fords with EEC-IV would shut off the injectors, resulting in a no start.
    • Flood Clear feature (Score:2, Informative)

      by Yakko ( 4996 )
      The "floor the gas to turn off the fuel injectors" thing is by design. This feature is also in GM's cars (at least those which used TBI). This is known as the "flood clear" feature. Of course, if you do this while the engine isn't flooded, the car won't start.

      Apparently, when I was in USAF and the fleet had just started getting fuel-injected vehicles, airmen used to carbs were tripping this feature... so each "new" vehicle had something like "DO NOT FLOOR GAS PEDAL WHILE STARTING" on the dashboard.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So who else is anticipating the day some idiot tries rolling his own acceleration software and winds up killing a dozen people?
  • How To (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KarmaBitch ( 562896 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:40AM (#4357743)
    For everyone that has the $141,000 car (*cough*, umm, yeah I have 2) this is how you do it.

    1) Disable traction control
    2) Select Agressive Shifting mode
    3) Hold the shift lever forward for a few seconds
    4) Slam the pedal

    Your electronically limited to only 30 "acceleration assisted" burn-out's for the life of the clutch (torque converter) and only 1 per hour.

    Fun but, for $141,000 I want a damn 5-speed.
    • Re:How To (Score:2, Informative)

      by Paul Menage ( 36554 )
      Fun but, for $141,000 I want a damn 5-speed.

      Given that the site is fairfax.com.au, I guess that's probably Australian dollars - so more like $75,000 in US money. Still not cheap, but slightly more believable.

      • Re:How To (Score:3, Informative)

        by stuffman64 ( 208233 )
        I saw one (with SMG) for $53,000 yesterday at the local BMW dealer (fully loaded). I asked them about the launch assist, and they said they can get the euro software and install it for a fee.

        If only I could afford even a used car...
    • Re:How To (Score:5, Informative)

      by aluminumcube ( 542280 ) <greg@@@elysion...com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:21AM (#4357862)
      For everyone that has the $141,000 car

      It's a US$49,000 car with the SMG II transmission. You are, of course, forgiven if you are refering to other currency. In the US, while an M3 is expensive, most of the people I know who own them work very hard in fairly regular jobs and purchased their M3's as a sort of 'Attainable,' 'Practical,' 'Dream Car.' Performance/$$$, the M3 is a lot better then almost every other high performance sports car.

      life of the clutch (torque converter)

      The SMG has no torque converter. Like on F1 cars, the SMG is a stardard manual gearbox fitted with computer controled actuators that do the same work your hand and left foot would do in a standard manual transmission. The clutch part #s for the manual and SMG M3s are the same.

      Fun but, for $141,000 I want a damn 5-speed.

      The standard transmission version comes with a 6 speed. The M3 CSL version (which will cost around US$150K, if it's even offered in the US) is only equipped with an SMG however.

      Hey, you computer guys get to nit-pick technical details about obscure hardware, can't a car guy do the same?

    • Re:How To (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ibanez ( 37490 )
      Apparently you don't know much about these cars...

      They start at $50k and go up to about $58k, and that is with the SMG II transmission (the one referred to in this artilcle).

      Its called Launch Control. Its not an easter egg. Its designed into the transmission on purpose. Yes you are limited to 30 launches using launch control, but it is for the length of the warranty.

      There are NO torque converters in this transmission. It is not a transmission like on the Porsche, etc. It is a fully manual transmission with a hydraulic clutch. They are not burn-outs. They are actual launches. When launching a car, it is your goal to spin the tires. So the car spins the tires momentarily then gets traction back as soon as possible.

      Why would you want a five speed? F1 cars, the fastest, best handling race cars in the world, use the same type of transmission.

      Ferrari has a paddle shift transmission. It shifts gears in 60 ms (If I remember correctly) and the BMW SMG II transmission shifts in something like 30 ms (Don't remember the exact number). It is humanly impossible to shift that fast with a normal manual transmission. This is the greatest production transmission on the market.

      Keep your mouth shut unless you know what you are talking about.
    • by CrazyJim0 ( 324487 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @06:15AM (#4358058)
      Take the shift stick, and shift up,up, down, down, left right left right, brake, gas then turn the key.
    • Re:How To (Score:3, Informative)

      by operagost ( 62405 )
      The six speed manual gearbox is an option.
    • Re:How To (Score:2, Funny)

      by EvilAlien ( 133134 )
      Why the hell would anyone buy an M3 with automatic transmission?!

      I think that is a bigger question to ask here. A sportscar without a stickshift is like a Slashdot without a Linux evangelist.

    • I have a 5-speed 88 Camry. Standard. The "easter egg for this one is easy, burn outs rate at 90% success.
      Put in first gear. Hold gas until car revs at a high rate (no tac on this car). Press gas down all the way while releasing clutch. Watch your new tires lose tread rapidly, and inhale the smell of your clutch. Enjoy the p/o'ed looks of old people in adjascent cars.

      Funny, this easter egg seems to be included in most "standard" shift cars? - phorm
  • Hardly the first (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:41AM (#4357745)
    The Honda NSX has had a nice easter egg since the early 90s. To disable the antilock brake system (this is not the traction control, for which there is a switch), no you don't pull out the ABS fuse, you do this:

    1) pull up the handbrake two clicks
    2) rev the engine to 4,000 and hold it there for a while (a few seconds)
    3) the lights will flash
    4) voila, ABS turned off!

    You need to power cycle the car to get ABS back on. This is an easter egg beacuse (to my knowledge at least, I've never owned one of these, but I've driven a few for maybe a few hundred hours total)) it is not documented anywhere (at least not in the manuals a normal customer gets).

    • I guess the above really qualifies as an easter egg, as it is intentional and undocumented.
      The Audi Climatronic also has a secret life of its own: It contains everything needed for the on-board computer, which officially is sold seperately. I am unsure if that counts as an easter egg, as it may be intentional, or just overlooked. While documented on the Web (Google Cache, original site down) [216.239.33.100], it is not found in the manuals (heck, they WANT you to spend extra for the on-board computer)

      Alex
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "it is not documented anywhere"

      That doesn't make it an easter egg. It usually just makes it a "power user" feature.

      An easter egg is something that gets put in without approval, and makes it into the final product without being discovered.
    • This applies to the Honda/Acura Integra also, or at least it did in the earlier model years (pre 1998). The newer ones don't seem to do this unfortunately but you can just yank the ABS fuse and get the same result ;)
    • Since it works on many Hondas, I always thought there was a technical reason for this. Like that the ABS could be damaged if you were driving around with the emergency brake partially on.

      -Paul
    • I like to go on test drives and do this. Won't the purchaser be surpised when the ABS doesn't work? :)
  • by NeuroKoan ( 12458 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:41AM (#4357746) Homepage Journal
    I can see it now; toe to toe late one night ata stoplight. One man revs his engines, the other responds with a growl of his own. The other prepares his mind for the upcoming duel, the other is hurriedly inputing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a.....

    I'm just gonna stop there....
    • One man revs his engines, the other responds with a growl of his own. The other prepares his mind for the upcoming duel, the other is hurriedly inputing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a.....

      The other morphs into a dragon and bites the bonnet off the opposing vehicle. ;)
    • "Man"? I don't think of the sort of kids who do this as men.
  • VW Polo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spectrum- ( 158197 ) <gsmitheidw@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:43AM (#4357754) Homepage
    I had an 1984 VW Polo. It also had an easter egg - normally most electrical controls are locked out while the key is not in the ignition. But I discovered by chance that if I turned on the headlamps then flashed full beam headlamps on twice and then continued to hold the switch in, then I could operate most electrical circuits in the car such as the ventillation, window wipers etc.

    • Re:VW Polo (Score:2, Informative)

      by jd678 ( 577145 )
      It's a trait of most older VW's, and it's simpler than that - just turn the lights on, and pull the full beam on - the X-relief relay turns on allowing most electrical accessories to run, ie radio, blower fan, electic windows, and whatever else happened to be fitted. The actual cause is a bug/feature in the electrical system, and can be traced by having a good look at the wiring diagrams - I can't remember though at the moment what causes it mind.
    • Re:VW Polo (Score:3, Funny)

      by BeBoxer ( 14448 )
      That's funny. I used to do the same thing in my moms '83 Audi 4000S when I was a kid. I have no doubt the two cars are 95% identical, so it makes sense. I never knew for sure if it was something that worked from the factory, or if our car had been brutalized by a mechanic at some point (we bought it used.)

      I also found that pressing the kick-down button underneath the gas pedal could sometimes cause the air conditioning indicator to half illuminate. That and when it was low on oil, I could get a warning buzzer to go off if I turned right hard enough. I used to tell my friends it was a high-G warning that my parents had installed because of my bad driving. Ahhh, I loved that car.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:48AM (#4357770)
    As I recall the Ford Windstar 2001 has an Easter Egg as well. Flick the windshield wiper on and off 20 times in quick succession and the wiper motor will burst into flames. Ah, those crazy minivan designers, with their silly little pranks.
    • The Ford Aerostar does this without any user input. I've personally witnessed three Flaming Aerostars that spontaneously combusted and I've heard of many more.
  • by yobbo ( 324595 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:49AM (#4357777)
    Imagine all the CEO's who read this article and thought 'SWEET!' , ran into the car park, got in their beamers and drove out the back of the building to lay a fat one.
  • by Jabes ( 238775 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @03:51AM (#4357783) Homepage
    Sorry to disappoint (and it would be a waste of a whole slashdot story), but the acceleration assist is documented in the manual.

    You need an M3, and you need SMG (the Sequential M Gearbox).

    Basically, you stop the car; turn off DSC, change the drive logic to (S6).

    Now, hold forward the gear selector, and floor it.

    When you release the gear selector you will launch. Get ready to change gear quickly, first gear doesn't last too long. The warm-up lights become "gear change indicators" and flash at you when its time to change gear.

    One thing that isn't mentioned in the manual is that if you press the accelerator quickly when setting this up, then it will do a "burn out" start, but if you press it more slowly then you will get a traction controlled start.

    Pretty awesome.

    And yes, I own an M3.
    • Maybe I am missing the point of the story...
      Now, hold forward the gear selector, and floor it

      Floor it? Is the sole purpose of this to simply do a burnout or possibly a 360? This will not get the car out of the hole faster then a controlled start. With advice like that I can see why they electronically limited this.
      I have a measly ~250RWHP Mustang with a 2.73 differential. Dumping the clutch (or faster then normal release) at anything higher then 2000 rpms on street tires sends the car into almost an immediate sideways condition. At the track its worse, without a concrete launchpad its about 1500 rpm's and asphalt you can not avoid spin at any RPM.
      • by homb ( 82455 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @09:49AM (#4358838)
        Floor it? Is the sole purpose of this to simply do a burnout or possibly a 360? This will not get the car out of the hole faster then a controlled start. With advice like that I can see why they electronically limited this.

        No, the purpose of this is to launch the car with the engine already at an RPM level that is in the max torque range. Basically you trade off wasted rubber and a bad transmission experience for the 10th of a second or so that you would have wasted to bring the engine up to max power.
        Even though the 3.2 liter engine is awesome across the RPM band, it is clearly weaker under 4000 rpm. I know, my wife has one (an SMGII).

        I have a measly ~250RWHP Mustang with a 2.73 differential. Dumping the clutch (or faster then normal release) at anything higher then 2000 rpms on street tires sends the car into almost an immediate sideways condition. At the track its worse, without a concrete launchpad its about 1500 rpm's and asphalt you can not avoid spin at any RPM.

        That's weird. I have a '99 Mustange cobra, ~260RWHP, 2.73 gears. Maybe it's thanks to the independent rear suspension (IRS) that your model may not have, but the perfect launch in my cobra is at 2,400 RPM. There is very little no wheel spin, and the car is almost instantly at the sweet and sick power range starting at 4,000 rpm.

        At the track, if you warm your tires properly, you should be able to go even higher. In any case, with the proper 2,400 rpm launch you can easily smoke Carreras. The M3 though will eat your lunch, considering that it has more power on the low range (
        Which is why I totally disagree with the AU article posted to start this discussion: the guy correctly states that one could potentially shift like the SMG II, but he incorrectly assumes that one will do that not only consistently on the upshift, but will also never blow a heel & toe downshift. That's totally wrong.

        The only little gripe about the SMG II is that sometimes you wish it would start the downshift a little quicker. There is a split-second delay between your request for a downshift and the start of the neutral->throttle blip->downshift sequence.
  • I want one! (Score:5, Informative)

    by aluminumcube ( 542280 ) <greg@@@elysion...com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:08AM (#4357834)

    As a hardcore BMW geek, I am really glad to see the M3 and it's very cool SMGII transmission make it to the front page of Slashdot. For more info, check out:

    BMW's Flash SMGII Transmission Presentation [bmw.com]

    The Unofficial BMW E46 FAQ [roadfly.com]

    I wouldn't call Launch Control an easter egg however. If you explore the BMW Flash presentation, they mention it. While BMW North America said it would be disabled on US cars, as soon as the M3 SMG came over, the first (privilaged lucky bastard) owners tried it out and it worked.

    I have a new 325Ci (5 speed) and a previous genneration M3 race car that I built up from a crashed car and used parts. My only regret is that many people view Bimmers as yuppie mobiles, when in fact, they are amazing to drive, very technically advanced and probably the best overall vehicles on the road. Oh well... that feeling goes away when I am at the track or on an empty road.

    Freude am Fahren
  • I just was just about to go try this out, then I relized this doesn't work on my 15 year old minivan out back. For the price of this car, why don't you just go out and buy a real muscle car, with enough time you could probably write your name in the parking lot. Peeling out is cool, all you have to do is bald your tires!!
  • by occam ( 20826 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:24AM (#4357869)
    That's a real feature of the transmission.

    NB: the transmission in question is not a normal manual (i.e., with a foot clutch and stick). It's a hybrid auto-manual which has an electronically controlled clutch (i.e., there's no foot pedal since the computer controls the clutch entirely). The gearing is controlled by the computer or (as desired) by two paddles (+/-) along the steering wheel for up/down shift. BMW calls its version SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox).

    Ferrari and F1 cars also have this feature (similar technologies).

    The acceleration assist is a genuine feature which basically tells the SMG to accelerate hard from a standstill as a special case (F1 cars also have launch control). It's a genuine feature, not an easter egg.

    Cool car, M3! :-)
  • "Self-Destruct Mechanisms" are not easter eggs.

    Computer: Thank you for pressing the self-destruct button.
    President Scroob: Hey Helmet! Check this out! I found an easter egg in the ship's computer.
    Computer: nine... eight... six...
    Helmet: And a pretty major bug. What happened to seven?
    President Scroob: No, Gates said that was a feature.
    Computer: Just kidding...

  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:38AM (#4357901) Homepage
    So where's the post detailing a hack to reset or eliminate the 30/lifetime and the 1/hour limits? Oh, and don't forget the 155 mph governor.

    -
    • by Anonymous Coward
      those limits aren't in the system, they are written into the warranty as this feature is DOCUMENTED in europe. There is a version on US cars that revs to about 1500rpms and there is no limit on that. As far as the speed goes, you can remove that by getting a chip from many different sources. It will reprogram your ECU giving slight HP gain, remove top speed governor and provide a couple hundred more RPM's of revving room.
      • Like the poster said, these events are logged.

        Be aware that BMW is notorious for invoking its right to void your warranty based on what's recorded in the engine log: over-revs (on E36 M3's, this one was a killer in both the warranty and valvetrain sense), incorrect (overzealous) break-in period, etc.
  • BMW Films (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pjammer ( 90700 )
    Speaking of BMWs, to those of you who are unfamiliar with their short film series this is old news, but to everyone else: BMW paid a bunch of A-list hollywood directors (Wong Kar-Wei, John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro Gonzales-Inarritu) a year ago to create a series of short films featuring BMWs BMW Films [bmwfilms.com]. Watch them jump a BMW M5 several feet in the air ("Star", directed by Guy Ritchie) and other extreme-driving stunts - all told within some highly entertaining stories - starring the charismatic Clive Owen.

    Unfortunately, the best (in my opinion) short film of the lot, "The Follow" (a moody story of betrayal and subterfuge featuring one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I've ever heard) is NOT posted on the BMW Films website right now. The Follow IS on the BMW Films DVD ... story of how I ganked the DVD is posted here on my journal [livejournal.com].
  • Is this really an Easter Egg? It strikes me as more of a cheat code. Easter Eggs seem to be pretty but basically useless feature. They often times display the developer's names or give you some little extra bonus. But cheat codes are designed to unlock hidden potentials in the system, to circumvent rules, or basically... to cheat.
  • by mosschops ( 413617 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @04:57AM (#4357939)
    Don't you all remember the Easter Egg in the De Lorian, triggered by reaching 88mph? I seem to remember that from about 1985.
  • Dyno (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Konster ( 252488 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @05:08AM (#4357965)
    .....it's was originally called the 'kamikazi dyno', where you trick out the software and the only place you can test it is out on the street.....

    You need to hack the control unit in order to get an accurate dyno reading from an M3, since the front tires need to be spinning at the same rate as the rear wheels. If this isn't the case, the spark timing is retarded quite a bit, reducing horsepower (by quite a lot). The hack supplied by BMW also negates this. Remember to do this prior to putting your new M3 on a dyno.

    Also, make sure the dyno shop has a cooling tower. Running a stationary M3 at redline without the proper cooling also invokes the dreaded spark timing retarder. It also might invoke the dreaded Abuse clause in your warranty.
    • Actually i think the spark-retard thing has to do more with air temperature. If you read what Dinan has to say about their tuning on the E39 M5 package, they found that alot of the power loss comes from intake air temperature. The the ECU takes intake air temp as one of its inputs, and it knows that as the temperature of the air rises, it cant be as aggressive with its timing, so it slwos down. The biggest changes dinan made to the E39 M5 were on the intake, to keep the air as cool as possible. This lets the factory programming make the most of things while still staying inside the safety envelope.

      Clearly running a car on the dyno thats _expecting_ 130mph of cool air coming at its radiator and intake is bad, and artificial air is a serious requirement.

      I'm surprised that you say that the ECU retards the timing based on wheel speed. Many BMWs of course have traction control (and even the 80s bmws had 4 channel ABS) and clearly that cares about wheel speed differences. The TCU needs to talk to the ECU to tell it to cut throttle when wheel(s) spin, but it wouldn't do that with spark retard. Do you have any pointers to a discussion of the front-wheels-stationary problem ?

  • RTFM (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JavaPriest ( 467425 )
    So it is a documented feature according to some reactions. Here [wreckedexotics.com] is somebody that didn't read the manual carefully. According to the accompanying text this driver stepped on the gas instead of the brakes, but my guess is she activated the easter egg.
  • Real BMW easter egg (Score:4, Informative)

    by fstrauss ( 78250 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @06:04AM (#4358042) Homepage
    As many people have mentioned, the article here's easter egg is actually a documented feature. A real bmw easter egg however, is in the e36 models, hold 10 and 1000 buttons on the onboard computer in at the same time. You'll then be prompted for a test number. These 'tests' can display things like litres of fuel in your tank, current speed according to computer etc, which are not normally visible.
    check here [unofficialbmw.com] for a list of what all the tests do.
    • There are similar features in all the OBC and OBC II BMW's.. Even my '85 735i has them. They all involve pressing some buttons at the same time and then getting some info of some sort. I use the feature that tells me the actual amount of gas in the tank all the time. It's a lot more useful than the 'range' feature. In the E23 it's not super accurate but the E36 gets it down to 1/10's of a liter.
  • by Martin S. ( 98249 ) <Martin.SpamerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 30, 2002 @06:26AM (#4358069) Homepage Journal
    The talking dash version Austin Montego/Maestro had a 'Marvin Paranoid Android Mode' where it complained about the abuse it was receiving from the driver.
  • OK, so it's not an easter-egg, but it's still cool. Here's a description of the "racing start" and "burn-out" modes:

    http://forums.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/e46m3/forum.p hp?postid=525686&page=1 [roadfly.org]

    I think this is what I like most about BMWs - they take something like a computer-controller clutch, and proceed to build in a bunch of neat features to make use of the new tech. Another example would be opening the windows and sunroof with the remote control. It's definitely a geek-thing. :)

    What I like least about BMWs? The effect that driving a BMW has on a person's road-manners.
  • by jamesjw ( 213986 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @07:47AM (#4358280) Homepage

    I heard somewhere there was an easter egg hidden away in some GMC DeLoreans that enabled time travel, steps go something like:

    1. Ensure Mr. Fusion is fitted, if not source Plutonium (In order to supply 1.21 'Jigga'watts)
    2. When in front of steering wheel, enable time circuits on mid console... Be sure to check your destination date, year is correct on the dash..
    4. Check that Flux capacitor is 'Fluxing'
    5. Start driving, aparently when you hit 88 mph the easter egg will activate (indicated usually by a large flash of light) sending you back (or indeed forward) in time.

    Please note I have never done this, so i cannot verify its success. :-)

    Ok so its a lame post.. oh well..

  • The ``easter egg'' will be on the Bimmer's face when it tries to race against the real boys [fsra.org].
  • These kinds of easter eggs are dangerous. I've inadvertantly triggered easter eggs in software, putting un-expected results in a car, especially this type of feature, is nuts.

  • It's a fairly tame one, but my 1991 Ford F150 with the 6 speaker sound system had a minor easter egg in the radio. There were normally only 6 presets but if you mashed together a pair of presets at once you got access to additional presets. This always seemed to me like it had to be intentional. Whatever radio they built the plastics around had 8 memory locations, but the plastics only had room for 6 buttons. The engineers use combinations of buttons to access the additional presets rather than doing the typical thing which would priority encode them.
  • Not that I could afford to anyway...
  • I don't think this qualifies as an easter egg or a design flaw but old Mopars (mid 60's to late 70's) had leakage through the heater blower motor that allowed you to listen to the radio without the keys.
    If you hit the brakes, turned on the turn signal, and had the heater motor on any position but off, the radio would work. My friends dad worked for a Dodge dealer in the mid 70's and we used to play around in the cars.
  • When I need software to peel out in a BMW. WTF?
  • So what happens if you get the embedded-software equivalent of a BSOD in the transmission controller while trying this stunt?

    Hmmm... simultaneous launch of all four wheels in different directions, perhaps?

    Loud complaints and cuss-words from the onboard speech synthesizer?

    Noises that would make those in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' seem reasonable?

    Oh, the possibilities! ;-)

  • by flikx ( 191915 )

    Why should I pay $150k for a car to get the privilege to burn out??

    I've got two cars for under $5000 that can do the exact same thing any time I want. [Private/personal] cars have really went downhill in the past 30 years.

  • However, the procedure is a little different from the BMW.
    1. Rev engine to at least 4000 RPM
    2. Remove left foot from clutch pedal

    Viola!

    What was that? You only have an automatic transmission? You can't drive stick? Then you're up a creek where you belong. The more you let a machine control your car the less control you have and you deserve to be stuck with having to look for these silly Easter Eggs in order to wrest control from the machine to do what you want the car to do.
  • I used to work at a BMW dealership in the service department. When the first M3 with SMG arrived last winter, there was actually a button just aft of the shifter labelled "LAUNCH." How is this an Easter Egg?
  • I think the award for First Automotive Easter Egg definitely goes to Ford for the Pinto.
  • Hey, any Easter egg where you don't have to use the verbal trigger "Go go Gadget Car!" is an improvement in the technology.
  • Car recommendation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Monday September 30, 2002 @02:10PM (#4361258)
    This is OT but I'll ask it here because you guys seem to know a lot about cars.

    What would be a good car for a /.er who doesn't know much about cars and isn't interested in racing, but likes tech stuff? Something with a lot of cool accessories and automation? Let's say you could spend a lot, $40 or $50K. Thanks!
    • A used Mercedes C class maybe? You can get a 2-3 year old one for about 30-40k, and they're awfully pimp. Mercedes engineers are brilliant, everything is well designed and high tech, and the car itself drives and handles well. And you can get em cheap and in good shape from all the techies who lost their jobs after getting a $600/month car payment and had to sell it.

  • I sold BMWs for a few months back in the early nineties. (One of the coolest experiences of my life even though the dealership was going under and I nearly went bankrupt for the chance to play with such cool toys.) I got to be pretty good friends with the regional technical trainer (or whatever they called them) for our region. (He was a tech/engineering geek and I think he liked me because, unlike most of the salesmen, I wasn't there just to make a buck. I genuinely loved the cars and the technology and engineering that went into them.) With a name like Dietz Froelich, I figured he knew what he was talking about, too. ;-)

    Anyway, there was constant debate amongst the salesmen over whether it was fact or myth that in the 8 series, when you reached 110 mph, the windows and sunroof would close automatically (to prevent the horrendous wind buffeting in the cabin resulting from the small size and aerodynamic shape of the car's interior.) I searched all the tech documentation and found no mention so I asked Dietz to settle it for me. He merely smiled and said, "I wouldn't know. It's not documented and it's illegal to drive that fast in your country. Whenever I've driven an 8 series that fast on the Autobahn I was always smart enough to have the windows and sunroof already closed."

    So... we had an 850 on the lot that was over a year old and still never titled. (As I said, the dealership was going under.) It had to be driven every so often to keep the batteries (it has two) charged so that on the rare occasions someone was genuinely interested in it, it would start. One beautiful summer day I talked the sales manager into letting me take it to lunch. He reminded me that I would be working nearly two years at my current earnings level to pay for it and tossed me the key. (He was a pretty nervous guy by nature. I was shocked he actually let me take it.)

    Of course I immediately opened the windows and sunroof and headed out to a stretch of smooth, open country highway near the dealership.

    He nearly fainted when I came back in, threw the key on his desk and said casually over my shoulder, "The windows and sunroof thing is true."

    Man, those were the days.

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