Then it was into the stunning Z8. My god, I want one of these, but I missed my chance: £80,000 when new, these now command roughly double that. It’s not so much the performance of this car, although a 5.0-litre V8 with 400bhp is never an unwelcome guest, but the design of the Z8, inside and out, is quite something. So many beautiful styling cues from the 507 '50s sports car, mixed with the lines of an elegant roadster, with a long bonnet and boat-lip tail, and compact overhangs.
And inside, the quad metal pipes on the steering wheel, the little metal buttons, deep red leather fascia and ludicrously glossy piano back dashboard which hugs the cabin. It manages both a flamboyant Fifties cruise design and the BMW Teutonic control of detail, in which there’s no extraneous flair. It’s just magic. Built in 1999, it’s just coming up for classic status, and is richly deserved.
Then it was a short hop across the carpark and back a decade, to the 1989 M3 (E30). Four-cylinder, 2,302cc in-line engine, 215bhp, five-speed dog-leg gearbox… There were 12 E30 M3 models built, from the standard 1986 200bhp car to the 1990 230bhp 2.5-litre M3 Evo 3 Sport Evolution. The limited-edition spec car we drove was one of 25 imported into the UK to celebrate BMW’s success in Touring Cars. Pub fact: the E30 M3 race car remains the world's most successful Touring car of all time.
After that, a quick spin in the new M3 GTS came as a jolt to the senses. The ventilated compound brakes on this thing make you somewhat overly confident of your abilities; their stopping power is just astonishing. It was all very impressive, in the way an 18-stone Sixth Former might be impressive in a school-team scrum.
But daylight had faded and I’d had enough: my heart will forever belong to that simply perfect Z8.