Before a new model goes on sale it is taken to the N?rburgring, where final tweaks are made to the suspension to make sure that it can get round the 14-mile track as fast as possible. This is fine, of course, if you live in the Eifel mountains and you use the Ring on the way to work. But it’s not fine at all if you live in Esher and your office is in Leatherhead. And it’s also not fine if you ever encounter a pothole or have a bad back.. The front AP Racing brakes have six-pot callipers with ventilated and grooved discs. The tyres are low profile. The dampers are adjustable. And… are you dribbling yet?. Are you a serious car enthusiast? I mean, really serious? Do you drive round every corner as fast as the laws of physics will allow? Do you open the taps whenever you can to revel in the intoxicating, mesmerizing power of internal combustion? Does G-force tickle your G-spot? Do you talk about torque at parties? Are cars, for you, the light and the life and the meaning of everything? Right. Well why don’t you have a Nissan GT-R, then?. And then, when it has worked out where you are on the surface of Earth, it must compare the information with an onboard road map. And it still isn’t finished because you’ve just asked it to get you from where you are now to a postcode just outside Pontefract. This means it must analyse the 246,000 miles of tarmac in Britain and work out the fastest route. And if it takes more than five seconds, it knows you will be sitting there saying, ‘Oh, for God’s sake. Come on. You useless piece of junk.’. There are also two diesel engines on offer – a 1.4 CRDi and a 1.6 CRDi – along with several levels of trim. The layout is good. The radio is not in the roof. The warranty is long. It’s safe, so you’re unlikely to be killed in action. And that’s all we have space for, so let’s roll the credits, and move on.17 June 2012. And this is what makes the ears of the non-winner prick up. A big, well-equipped Mercedes 4×4 for considerably less than a Range Rover. Hmmm…. Because the turbocharged 2-litre engine develops a whopping 276 brake horsepower, making this by some margin the most powerful car in its class, much out-of-sight work has been done to ensure the front wheels don’t just fall off every time you put your foot down.. Chrysler 300C Executive. Then there’s the name: Ypsilon. The company may argue that this is a Greek letter but it sounds like another Greek letter, epsilon, and as anyone who has read Aldous Huxley’sBrave New World will know, an epsilon is synonymous with idiot. It means lavatory attendant. It means loser. The manufacturer may as well have fitted a swastika badge, arguing that it’s an ancient Buddhist symbol. It is, but…. So what’s it like to drive? Well, you can choose from a variety of settings to suit your mood. All of them were good. Speed? That was good too. And so were the handling, the comfort and the quality. It was all good. Everything was good. It even has an optional self-park system. That was good as well.. You think a Volkswagen Golf is reliable and predictable? Well, I laugh in your face. A Golf is an offbeat German art-house film featuring laughing clowns and naked women fighting with deranged crows. Whereas an Auris is a glass of tap water.. I’ve been pondering on this for quite some time and now I think I have the answer. It’s the people who go shopping in London’s gigantic Westfield centre.. Over the millennia, man has been consumed by a need for speed. In the Stone Age the fastest runners would catch the best food, and that made them the kings of the hill. Then came the horse, and it was the same story here. Genghis Khan was successful because his cavalry soldiers wore silk armour, and that made them faster.. But bonkers in a good way. Because it’s not really built to go round a track as fast as the laws of physics will allow. It’s not a Porsche or a Ferrari. Yes, it’s lighter and more powerful than the standard AMG car, but these modifications have only been made to increase my smiles per hour. It’s built to be a laugh.. Once I was back on the road, with some matches in my eyes and a drawing pin on the seat – that works well, by the way – I began to wonder what on earth had brought about this drowsiness. Yes, I have just finished a relentless spell of travelling and, yes, there have been a few late nights. But that’s nothing new. Which led me to the conclusion that I was being sent to sleep by the car I was driving – a Subaru Forester XT..