Red telephone boxes were a prime example of this. They were useless and smelt of urine, and you could die of hypothermia before the pips even began. But there was a huge furore when someone – probably a German – suggested they should be updated. Change? Here? In Britain? Are you mad? We are a nation that putsThe Two Ronnies on every Christmas, even though one of them is dead.. So, you get a 3.6-litre V6 that develops 295 horsepower, and that’s enough to make the car move about. You can also have a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox that is just like all the other modern double-clutch boxes – ponderous and dim-witted at low speeds in town. Like the Mercedes SLS, this is not a car that can be used to exploit gaps in traffic.. Aston Martin Virage. From 0 to 40 winks in the blink of an eye. I stayed at a boutique hotel and on the first day met colleagues in the dining room. After a while we were asked to move because the table had been reserved by someone else for dinner. This was fine, except the only other available seating in the whole building was two ornamental sofas on the second-floor landing.. The Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, South Africa, is the most beautiful building in the world. Built to host the 2010 World Cup, it’s beautiful at night and beautiful in the day. It’s beautiful when looked at from far away, or from inside. No other structure I’ve ever seen gets close. It’s a triumph.. But Vauxhall goes even further because the VXR comes with an adaptive ride and‘floating’ front brake discs designed to reduce unsprung weight. Make no mistake: the underside of this car has been created by someone who was concentrating, and funded by a company that plainly wants to lay the ghost of the Vectra to rest and be taken seriously.. On a recent trip to America I maintained my 100 per cent record of never having driven though Nevada without being stopped by the police. Six trips. Six heartfelt roadside apologies to a selection of burly-looking men in beige trousers.. All of which brings me neatly to the door of the swanky Audi A3. It costs more than
a Volkswagen Golf and you are going to say,‘Of course it does – it’s an Audi.’ But, actually, it isn’t. Underneath, it is virtually identical to the Golf. They just have different bodies.. And even if you do, and even if next summer is lovely, your problems are far from over because you can be assured that, moments before you set off, your wife will invite a friend along. So, with a need for three seats, you’ll end up taking the Vauxhall Astra instead.. Which brings me to the new BMW 1-series. The top-of-the-range M135i has been winning rave reviews because, unlike the hot hatches made by every other company, it has rear-wheel drive. This means you can‘hang the tail out in a corner’.. They only make one car. But it’s a nice colour. It also has surprisingly compliant suspension. Yes, it crashes a bit at low speeds on a badly maintained town centre high street. But once you’re above 30, it’s like a limo.. Well, last week I found out exactly what it is like to be passed by faster-moving traffic. I was driving the new Jaguar F-type; the one with the big engine. The V8 S. It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less time than it takes someone with a mild stutter to say‘62 mph’ and it has a top speed of close to 190 mph. It is a very, very, very fast car. But I was in Italy, so absolutely everything else was even faster.. You watch him with his little-wheeled hand luggage and his laptop bag, wandering past all the shops selling perfume, and all the other ones selling Chinese bears in Beefeater suits. He drifts past Smythson like a trout in a slow-moving river and looks neither left nor right as he meanders past the art gallery selling massive horses. He doesn’t even register it – never even stops for a minute to think, How would you get an actual life-sized ceramic horse in the overhead bins?.