Oh yes, take me now, Lady Marmalade. I don’t fancy Helga von Gargoyle… Can’t think why. The GT-R is designed to examine carefully the scientific laws that govern movement and then systematically to break them. It is designed to go faster than you ever thought possible, possess more grip than is physically allowed, change gear more quickly than you can blink, and stop with such ferocity that you can actually feel your face coming off. No style. Just engineering.. A man died recently. He was called Lieutenant-Commander Peter Twiss and he began his career, quietly, as a tea taster for Brooke Bond. Then, in 1939, he joined the Fleet Air Arm where, as a carrier pilot, he had much success in the Mediterranean, earning a Distinguished Service Cross and bar.. I may have to invent a new star rating for that. Because this morning’s plain Jane diesel – despite the wonky dip switch – is an easy five-star car. It may even be more than that. It may be the new forty-two.30 October 2011. Of course, there are many levers and switches that mean it still works off road, but I’m afraid that on the road it’s not good at all. The 2.8-litre diesel engine feels as though it was designed by people who had no real concept of how such a thing might work. We have a name for these people: Americans.. Naturally, cars are now very complicated as well. It’s almost certainly true to say that the ignition key for your modern car is more complex than the whole of an Austin A35. Which means, of course, it rarely works. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been in a car that keeps flashing up a message saying, ‘No key detected,’ when I’m sitting there waving the damn thing in front of its dash, whimpering slightly and wondering out loud what was wrong with the old system.. Apparently VW didn’t feel the need to fit its inherently unbalanced three-cylinder engine with balancer shafts because, it said, it was so small it wasn’t really necessary. And I’m glad because the end result is just so characterful. It put me in mind of the old three-cylinder Daihatsu Charade GTti, the first production car to offer 100 bhp per litre.. Then there’s the Efficiency mode facility that disengages the clutch every time you lift off the throttle. In theory, this fuel-saving measure sounds like a good idea. In practice, it means you simply cannot maintain smooth progress on the motorway.. And so it was that in the very first feature on the very first show on what would be calledTop Gear, I drove a Citro?n van under leaden skies through Kent. I was very pleased with the results, and so were the commissioning editors of the BBC, because figures showed that more than 3 million people had tuned in.. Now. If we apply the modern-dayTop Gear rules to this road test, I’m afraid this van-ness is going to be a problem. Because the Berlingo understeers as though it has no steering wheel at all, and there is a great deal of driveline shunt.. I still don’t get it, though. Buying a car because it suits your requirements for two weeks in the summer surely is like wearing ski boots all year round because you go to Verbier every February.. The McLaren is like a three-star restaurant. The food is immaculate, the service impeccable, the loos impressive and the temperature just so. Every detail is spot-on, and to give the place a bit of character, there’s now a ma?tre d’ who has a twinkle in his eye.. For a country where motoring is a demonstration of nonchalance and cheapness is king, it seems odd that they never combined the two things. And it’s doubly odd when you look at their love of motor sport. Their engines dominate Formula One. A Peugeot has just smashed the record up Pikey’s Peak in Colorado. They rule the roost in international rallying. And yet, despite all this, they have never made a sports car. And on the evidence this far, the DS3 convertible doesn’t exactly change things.. Because I spend pretty much all of my life at airports, I’ve learnt a great deal about the human spirit. And what I’ve learnt most of all is that a man is genetically programmed to go into a branch of Dixons..