And although it may be hard to load an elderly dog, those stilts do make you feel imperious as you drive along. There are many‘soft roaders’ on the market these days, but none offers such a commanding view as the Freelander.. Let me give you a word of warning. If you come up behind a car with a box on the roof and some bikes attached to the back, keep your distance. Because they will have been fastened to the vehicle by someone who likes roof boxes and bicycling. Not Isambard Kingdom Brunel.. God made a bit of a mistake when he was designing women. He made the birth canal so narrow that babies have to be born when they are nowhere near ready for life in the outside world.. As I have said on many occasions, the coup? version of this car is one of my all-time favourites. But it does have a drawback: its gull-wing doors. Yes, they look very interesting at a motor show, and yes, they hark back to the original Mercedes 300, but when you are in Wolverhampton, and people are looking, you feel like a complete knob every time you get into and out of your car. The only reason doors like this are fitted is for showing off. And in this country, show-offs are held in dim regard.. When it’s up, the refinement is genuinely astonishing.. I should say at this point that the prices are quite low. The LTZ model is just?18,310, which doesn’t sound too bad. But if you want any colour other than white, you must pay an extra ?410, and if you want satnav, then that’s another ?765. What are they thinking of? Why fit traction control, which is unnecessary, and make us pay extra for a road map, which is?. Better still, though, is the reaction this car prompts from other road users. Normally, when I’m driving something very expensive, people in vans are quick with a belittling observation about price, practicality, insurance or economy. But when they see the DBS, to a man and woman, they all say the same thing, ‘That is gorgeous.’. So I didn’t. I stayed up all night, totally forgetting that at eleven o’clock the next morning I was due at the Emirates stadium in the nuclear-free, vegan outreaches of north London. Happily, I had booked a driver. Unhappily, he turned up in the brand-new, second-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.. Despite an idiotic decision by some halfwit in the television gallery to run credits over the climactic fireworks display, I think most people were fairly impressed
by Gary Barlow’s jubilee concert at the top of the Mall.. Which meant that I had to spend four days listening to him bleating on about how his Beetle is vastly superior to the big Merc. And that’s why I wasn’t as sad as you might imagine when theTop Gear festival ended. We’d had the best time, living like rock stars. But, as with rock stars, the musical differences between Hammond and me had become so enormous, I was beginning to wonder what he’d look like with no skin. I wanted to get home so I didn’t have to listen to him gloating any more.. Naturally, it is also extremely large on the inside, which would make it ideal for anyone with many children. A Catholic, for example. Or with children who are very fat. An American, perhaps.. But, of course, today you can’t go about your daily business with a machinegun slung casually over your left shoulder. Which means that you need a substitute. Some say it’s regular trips to the gym. Others say it’s wit, or money, or a kitchen full of cookbooks. But, actually, it’s a manual gearbox.. And here’s the clincher. When you have finished tearing up the laws of physics and your neck hurts from the cornering G-forces and it’s time to go home, the 12C is as comfortable as a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Even though it will corner at Mach 3, the lack of anti-roll bars means it simply glides and floatsover bumps and potholes. As I said, witchcraft.. Which raises a question. Why did Lexus not do what every other car maker does and fit a diesel? Why go to all the bother of fitting two motors? Why have all that extra weight? Why make it all feel so different? Simple answer, apparently. Lexus doesn’t do diesels. Doesn’t know how.. And it isn’t hard to see why. Mothers Pride is a brand of sliced bread, and if all you want is a base on which you can serve a helping of baked beans, that’s absolutely fine. But what Kia has done with the Pro_Cee’d GT is wrap a slice of what my grandfather used to call ‘wet vest bread’ in a faux crusty exterior with bits of nut sprinkled here and there..