Generally, manufacturer vehicle programs are held to show the vehicles and go for a short drive. They usually feed you a boring lunch and then send you on your way, loaded with all kinds of information to sift through and find the real story. Tying into the James Bond theme and Ford's affiliation with the new movie "Casino Royale", Lincoln took us all on a full-day adventure. The "My Dream is to be a Special Agent" program held in Detroit to showcase the new MKZ and MKX models as well as Lincoln's new "Dreams" (www.mydreams.tv) website, which goes live Monday, was anything but boring.
It started as a normal media event, with executives and engineers presenting information about the new products and features and walking us through the new website. From there it got interesting. In an effort to give us the true Bond driving experience, we were then invited to a couple of really cool driving events.
We were handed the reins of a new Mustang GT and invited to try our skills at drifting the Mustangs through a wet autocross course. Are they nuts? Asking journalists to drive like, well, journalists? As if that weren't enough, we were then escorted to the Michigan Stare Police "Alley Test" where we guided a P.I. Crown Vic through a narrow lane of cones first forward, then backward, only stopping briefly to back into a parking spot and accelerate out. Lots of fun, damaged cones, and bruised egos.
After my turn in the MKZ, we stopped at the Firing Line gun range and were allowed to shoot an array of pistols, learn close combat skills, and test our S.W.A.T. abilities on a laser simulator. If you haven't had the chance to fire a .44 Magnum, it's one of those things you should put on your list of stuff to do before you die.
Into the MKX and on to the MGM Grand Casino for a "shaken not stirred" martini class and game of baccarat on the house. Are you starting to see the 007 connection yet?
Last but not least we were shuttled to the Star Theatre to attend a pre-screening of the new James Bond 007 movie "Casino Royale" which featured the most automotive nirvana this side of "Gone in 60 Seconds". Of course, James eventually drives the Aston-Martin DBS, but only after piloting a new Ford Mondeo sedan as well as a '64 Aston-Martin DB7. Other notables included a Bentley Continental GT and GTC as well as a Flying Spur. One scene includes the Bentleys, the DBS, a Maserati Spyder, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Although the movie has tons of cool automotive iron, very little of the movie revolved around the cars. As a matter of fact, the DBS gets driven about 2 minutes before it is...I don't want to ruin it for you!
Between each of the events, we were able to drive an MKX and MKZ. The initial impressions will be posted soon, with full Autoblog Garage evaluations scheduled in the very near future.