Cruising northbound on the PCH though Sunset Beach, I watched with mild incredulity as two guys, one youngish, one oldish, traveling southbound in a spanking new Mercedes SL600 Roadster both turned their heads and stared - and I mean stared hard - as long as they could at my sparking new VW Eos convertible before physics and physical restraints prevented them from doing so any more.
Here, deep in Orange County, where money has long replaced the oranges growing on trees and men are known for their macho reserve, these two guys in their $135,000 future classic couldn't keep their eyes off my lovable, snub-nosed little VW. Honestly, I could not believe it.
Nor could I believe the stares this gorgeous drop-top gleaned all through a winter week where temperatures soared into the high 80s and the only thing brighter than the skies above was the smile permanently pasted across my sun-kissed face.
I lost count of the number of onlookers who enthusiastically chatted to me as I parked it (and therefore was pretty relieved when the time came to push that button and watch the five-piece retractable hard-top spring from the trunk and attach itself to the front windshield in, oh, about 25 seconds or so).
Maybe these two guys had a thang for German engineering, or maybe it was the fact I didn't see another Eos on the road in all my time in it. So was it the novelty value they were staring at, its fine lines, or could they hear the gorgeous rumble of that highly-tuned V6 under the hood that made VW's name across in Europe all those years ago?
Then again, who really cares. The real importance was that I loved driving this car, every minute of it. Joyously I ran errands to the grocery store. With much anticipation I would set out for the dog park, my pup in the back with ears and tongue flapping in the wind. I reckon I could have driven it to a wake and still had a smile on my face (I jest).
Here is a not-often-delivered combination of style, marque and all-out motoring fun that few companies can really put together, and even fewer get absolutely right.
Start with the 3.2-liter dual-overhead cam V6 that pushes out an impressive 250hp and 235lbs-foot of torque at 2500rpm that jolts into life when you press the power pedal and continues that acceleration all the way to the high revs when needed. Then connect that with the finest in German precision engineering to the smoothest of smooth 6-speed automatic box with overdrive and tiptronic shifting and you're getting somewhere close to a rather magical experience. Finally add the sports package with all that leather and luxury inside - and climate control that regulates cabin temps with the roof up or down - and the 17-inch rims and sport trim that lines the whole VW range alongside the famous VW badge outside and you're just about there.
It'll take you 0-60mph in about 6.9 seconds, more than quick enough, and it'll give you all the oomph you need to accelerate your way out of trouble on freeways where you'll be in the shade of much bigger, bulkier cars. I took the parentals, who were in town, and the wife up to a Clippers-Suns game at the Forum and never once wished I was in the older-sister VW Touareg SUV we'll review in the next couple of weeks.
Safety in convertibles is obviously of prime importance and it's always been one of VW's strongest points. Though NHTSA ratings are not yet available, the Eos boasts all the front, side and head bags to keep you snug alongside side-guard door beams, safety roll beams and a trunk anti-trap device.
Space-wise the trunk can, remarkably, swallow two sets of golf clubs with the hard-top up, and I managed to fit in both parents, four pieces of luggage from their South American cruise, and the wife in the front seat, at LAX. I wouldn't, however, recommend the experience to anyone.
Other add-ons which you will and won't pay for - though I recommend the sports package which takes the on-the-road price to just north of $40,000 - include cornering headlights, sat-nav, 600-watt stereo, climate control, power front seats, satellite radio and all the other dibbings.
Jealous? There's no need to be: just go out and buy one, preferably before everyone else does.