To the average Aussie there are two brands. Ford and Holden. And even if you are a solicitor and you drive an Audi, you are instinctively in one of these two groups. I was going to say it’s like the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland, but it isn’t. It’s more ingrained than that.. There’s more. One of the features provided is a list of all the restaurants in the area. It asks what sort of food you want and then takes you to the nearest eatery that is equipped to help. The trouble is that people only ever want Chinese, French, Italian or Indian. But it would be racist to limit the list to just four options. So, to keep everyone happy, it comes up with every single country in the world. If you have a modern Mercedes and you live in the highlands of Scotland, do please enter ‘Balkan’ and let me know what on earth it comes up with.. The BMW is soft. Squidgy. Comfy. The steering wheel is connected to the front wheels with a big soft bag full of melted chocolate, and the noise it makes at speed is the hum of a gardener who’s happy in his work.. So. Yes or no? Well, I much prefer it to the overstyled Mercedes E class, which was designed mostly to take Carol Vorderman to the airport. And I think for a number of reasons it is better than Jag’s XF, but what about the 5-series?. For the past couple of weeks, everyone has been running around, waving their arms in the air and wondering what in God’s name possessed the Indian government to express a preference for a bunch of Frog warplanes rather than the faster, more manoeuvrable and far deadlier Eurofighter Typhoon.. Almost every country has a unique detail that sets it apart from anywhere else. In France, for instance, you can’t walk for more than 100 yards without treading on a dog turd. Australia has too many dangerous animals. Germany has too much armpit hair. India needs a spring clean. And then we get to Sweden, where I spent a recent weekend. The little detail here is odd: there aren’t enough chairs.. Subliminally, other road users know this, too, which is why I spent most of my week in a blizzard of hand gestures and cruelty. I felt like the jack in a game of boules. I felt like Richard Hammond. And the biggest problem with all of this is that the car itself is absolutely fantastic. A genuine gem. A nugget of precious metal in a sea of plastic and Korean facsimiles. I absolutely loved it.. As I write now, there are shivers – and I’m not kidding – running up and down my spine as I recall the way it felt on roads near my home. The lightness. The savagery. The noise. The beauty. The trees rushing by, sheltering me from 93 million miles of sky. Then you have the gearbox that changes down not in a few milliseconds but instantly. Bang. Stand on the brakes – bang again. And again. Turn. And POWEEEERRRR. A modern Ferrari feels like no other car on the road. It feels miles better. And this one? Oh, this is the best of the lot.. Then nothing happened again until 1991, when the younger male residents invented a new sport. They would go into wealthier areas of the region, steal a car and use it to whizz about their own estates, doing skids.. Now. If I were running a car firm, I’d want people back in hot hatchbacks as soon as possible because they are extremely profitable. I’d therefore be doing everything in my power to shake off the yob tag, in the same way that Stella Artois tries to shake off its wife-beater image by banging on about how it uses only hops that canspeak Latin and zesty mountain spring water.. 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.. The new car is good-looking, make no mistake about that. I don’t doubt it will be fast, and will oversteer so controllably that the helmsmen atAutocar magazine will be tempted to rub warm oils into the gentleman bag of its chassis engineer.. Unlike the engine in most modern performance cars, this one is not turbocharged. The upside of that is crispness and lots of hectic goings-on at the top of the rev band. The downside is that a polar bear could get a bit of asthma at some point in the very distant future. This was one of the world’s best engines when it was introduced six years ago. And nothing’s changed.. Does it all work? Yes, it does. And some. Like the Ford Focus ST, it all feels loose and light and, if you reduce the traction-control system, or turn it off altogether, a bit wayward. You have understeer and liftoff oversteer and patches of cling-on-for-dear-life grip, and the upshot is: it’s bloody good fun.. Problems? Well, the seat gave me a bit of backache after an hour. But at my age a Vietnamese massage does that as well, so I can’t grumble too loudly. Worse was the 208 GTi’s tendency to settle to a 110 mph cruise. The Mini does this as well. It must be a characteristic of that engine and its acoustic qualities. But whatever; on a motorway you have to keep a constant watch on the speedo..