We may pore over the options list of whatever model we’ve chosen, kidding ourselves that we really need parking sensors. But it’s all haphazard. We don’t buy with our heads or our hearts. It’s just gut instinct. That looks nice. I can afford it, just. So I’ll have it.. Beer is good, too. The Ford Escort of beverages. On a really hot day, when you’ve been busy outside, you don’t think, Oooh. What I really need now to quench my thirst is a banana daiquiri. You always want a beer: not the sort James May likes, with twigs in it, but a Peroni, in a glass with condensation dripping down the outside.. It may well be, of course, that there’s a button for turning this feature off, but finding that would mean reading the instruction manual. And that’s not going to happen. I’m a man.. The only problem with this scheme is that today it’s virtually impossible to make super-speedy progress on the motorway because the outside lane is a permanent home for the sanctimonious, the belligerent and the stupid.. Have you actually stopped for a moment and looked – really looked – at the new BMW 5-series estate? All things considered, I would say that this is one of the most handsome cars ever made. It has all the BMW hallmarks: the body seems to have been stretched to the limits simply to cover the wheels, and there’s the traditional Hofmeister lean-forward kink in the rear pillar. It’s a tiny design detail that makes the car look as though it’s going a thousand miles an hour even when it’s in a golf club car park.. The Chinese love a bargain. But what they love even more than that is a brand name. I was in Beijing last month and was told, time and time again, that local produce had no appeal at all to the country’s new rich. They want Tommy Hilfiger and Prada and Ray-Ban. And if they can get these badges at the lowest possible prices – well, that’s got to be worth the cost of a return ticket to Heathrow.. Well, they’ve had a wake-up call now and what they’ve done is panic. Instead of sitting down and thinking, Right, we must protect the brand with a range of fun, fast, quintessentially American cars that we must sell in places such as Englandland and the People’s Republic of Japanland, they’ve run around like headless chickens, being chased from pillar to post by clueless government wallahs who want a return on the bailout cash now. ‘Now!!! D’you hear?’. And the sheer frivolity of a machine that has no practical purpose. Mid-engined cars make us priapic. Which is a good thing because they also tell the world that we haven’t had kids yet.. Which brings me back to the Swift Sport. The twin-cam 1.6-litre engine is a little gem. It has a variable intake system and variable valve timing, so although it’s small, it’s nicely techie. Starting it – with a button these days rather than a key – is like poking a small dog with a stick. Immediately, it’s keen to be off, jumping up and down and making excited whimpering noises.. Very often people write to me saying we should revert to the days when we reviewed the sorts of car that people actually buy, but, armed with the power of hindsight, I can now see exactly why this doesn’t work.. Well, it’d never happen. First of all, there were no sunny Sundays, either this year or last. Which means your little TR6 would now be sitting in the garage with four flat tyres and an equally flat battery. You’re going to get round to fixing it as soon as you have a spare moment. But you won’t.. You may imagine I’m going to say things got better. But they didn’t. So violent was the bumping and so alarming was the steering that I stuck to 55 mph on the M1. Listening to Radio 3. I’d wanted Radio 2 but my finger had cannoned off the roof, the wiper switch and various other bits and bobs before alightingin completely the wrong place.. So, in the early days of the motorcar anything designed to carry stuff in the back was called a shooting brake, and when these became common on various estates around the country, the generic name changed to‘estate car’. Think about that the next time you fire up the five-door Ford Escort.. It even does well on more testing roads. You always felt in old AMG cars that you were having to manhandle them through the bends. That’s something I like. But I also like the way the Shooting Brake seems to be dancing. It feels agile and light, which it emphatically is not.. And this was a problem for all the other car makers, because those four brands had all the important bases covered. I remember an adman at Audi sitting with his head in his hands, explaining that there were no other reasons for choosing one car over another..