Which part of that paragraph makes you the most jealous?
For some odd reason, a friend of mine was invited to take part in a Lexus Performance Event. (Lexus uses a lot of capital letters to denote the fact that this is a Big Deal Event.) Apparently owners of eight-year-old Mitsubishi Galants are Lexus' next untapped target market, because somehow he got on the mailing list. He was allowed to bring two friends, and I was one of them.
The deal was this: spend two hours at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, auto crossing some of the sportier Lexus', do a couple of laps on the track following an experienced race car driver, then get one VERY high speed lap around the track as a passenger in a vehicle driven by one of said drivers. That one was in a Lexus IS F, with 416 horsepower on tap and brakes that would stop a train.
(As an aside, there was a chalk talk given by one of the drivers before we drove on the track, which also included the story of how the IS F came to be. The driver asked if any of us knew what the "F" stood for. It turned out that the "F" didn't stand for anything, but after we drove it a friend of mine offered this guess: "Fuck, this thing is fast.")
I'd never driven a Lexus before, or been invited to a Lexus event. (Unlike Mitsubishi Galant owners, Subaru Legacy owners apparently aren't one of Lexus' target markets.) It was class all the way, from the fresh fruit and fresh baked muffins we received upon arrival to the nice tote bag stuffed with a hat and, for some inexplicable reason, a cable to attach an mp3 player to a car stereo, we were given when we departed. And it was all free.
The drivers were all pretty big names in the sports car and drifting circuits, including an Andretti, and they couldn't have been nicer. And we did have theopportunity to wear real racing helmets while driving, which proved to be very handy when the race car driver took me for a hot lap and I repeatedly banged my head against the window during hard cornering.
I've been to other driving events, including GM's Autoshow in Motion (sadly, discontinued) and an event where a Mitsubishi stunt driver whipped a Galant through 180 and 360 degree turns and power slides while he casually chettedabout his career and I not so casually turned green. This was by far the best one ever.
Previously, I would have told you that there were two reasons I'd never consider a Lexus: they were well-built and luxurious, but not fun to drive, and I couldn't afford one.
This event wiped out excuse number one. And excuse number two? Well, I did stop and buy a lottery ticket on the way home.