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Sass Jordan and her 2009 BMW 528i xdrive sedan.

JENNIFER ROBERTS

She's an international rock star - a Juno award-winning singer-songwriter who has sold more than one million CDs globally and has graced the stage with legendary musicians such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Cheap Trick and Joe Cocker.

Nowadays, Sass Jordan is still going strong. Her schedule is jam-packed with concerts including one June 11 at Luminato First Night in downtown Toronto. To get to that gig and many others, she relies on her own wheels - a 2009 BMW 528i xDrive sedan.

"It was really a Bimmer or bust. I love the way it drives," says Jordan. "It feels like a solid machine. It doesn't feel like if you hit something it will crumple instantly into an accordion. It doesn't have that here-today-and-gone-in-three-years type of feeling that I find more in American-made cars."

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Inside, however, it could use a few improvements.

"I don't feel there's enough room to put things in the cabin," Jordan says. "There's no space. It's remarkably cramped relative to the size of the vehicle.

"My other car is a Honda CR-V; it has way more space in general, but the seats aren't as fancy pansy. There's an economy of scale and being North American I like to slob out, you know what I mean? I like to be a man in my car. I'm just teasing," laughs the charismatic musician who was born in Birmingham, England, grew up in Montreal and now lives in Ontario with husband Derek Sharp, the current lead singer of The Guess Who.

For a rock star, her cars are low key. "I think the Bimmer is terribly conservative, old-guard understated, don't-notice-me type of car. It's a common and well-known type of car. It doesn't stick out.

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"It's tried and true and has a reputation for being reliable, but they can be very temperamental. If a Bimmer goes down, it goes down hard. There's not much you can do about it, but get its fancy ass towed back to the dealership where they'll fix it up.

"As long as you keep it in good shape it's unlikely to go down without any prior warning, but hey. that happens with any car, anything mechanical. It happens with humans," she jokes. "How bloody unreliable are we?

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"I like cars. They represent freedom to a large degree, but at the same time they're like a stone around your neck. You really have to take care of it, like anything else."

When it came to her 5-Series, Jordan didn't shop the competition.

"My choice had to do with people I knew and personal connections. I trusted the people I was buying from," she says. "It's interesting being a 'celebrity.' It'll go either way. Either they'll try to take you for everything they possibly can because they figure you're really wealthy or they're like, what can you do for us? How can we trade?

"You never know what you're going to get. I've seen so many instances in my life where the price had suddenly skyrocketed as soon as they found out what I did.

"I feel uncomfortable being treated special because you've heard of me, which is stupid because other people get tons of mileage out of my name and not me," she laughs. "I'm uncomfortable about it. I prefer them to give me exactly what they gave someone else."

Jordan's first car was a 1984 Toyota Celica hatchback. "I bought it in 1990 when I moved to L.A. It was my first car. It represented my freedom. It got me around Los Angeles. It wasn't too fancy so nobody was interested in removing it from me."

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After that, she got hooked on Honda and BMW. "I've had several Honda CR-Vs and a couple of Bimmers. That's what I would call an extremely unadventurous car consumer.

"It's more about what I'm used to. It's pathetic. I'm a creature of habit," says Jordan, who has also dabbled as an actress. She starred as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical, Love Janis. She also appeared in NBC's Sisters and was a judge on Canadian Idol.

Not surprisingly when driving, she listens to music, but it's not her most recent CD, from Dusk 'til Dawn. "I usually have one CD that'll play endlessly over and over and over again. Right now, I'm in the middle of a kick - it's a friend, Richie Kotzen's CD. The record is called Go Faster ironically enough. The CD is quite apt, isn't it?"

There's one thing she won't do when driving. "I don't sing at the wheel. ... Singing takes an enormous amount of focus for me. If I'm really singing, it's pretty loud. I don't want to blast my own ears out!"

Jordan has no plans to dump her 528i xDrive anytime soon.

"I like to have my cars until they're done. I'm planning on keeping this one for many years," she says.

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Her dream car, however, is not a BMW.

"I like the Prius," says Jordan. "The fact that it switches from the electric to the fuel, I love that. But it feels incredibly flimsy. It feels like a tin car. It doesn't have enough power, enough oomph.

"I'd like something futuristic and wild, only with a little bit of power."

pgentile@globeandmail.com

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