’Fraid not. Jaguar decided that anything Aston could do, it could do better. So the current XK rides around on suspension seemingly made from a blend of granite and chest freezers. Run over a pothole in that car and you shatter.. Also, it could not find the Devils Dyke pub on Devils Dyke Road, just north of Brighton. And it will not let you enter a seven-character postcode. It ended up making me very angry. The command-and-control system in my old Mercedes is very good. This new one? It’s so clever, it’s actually a drooling vegetable.. So, in short, I spend half my life driving around in a?15,000 car that’s been hand-built at a cost of ?250,000 and has been supplied with eighty quid’s worth of free fuel, free insurance, free tax and a range of optional extras that are worth twice what most people would pay for the entire car.. A human baby, though, is not capable of anything. For week after interminable week, it can’t sit up, crawl, speak or operate even rudimentary electronic equipment, and sees absolutely nothing wrong with sitting in a puddle of its own excrement. Babies are useless. Stupid, mewling, puking noise trumpets that ruin life for anyone within half a mile.. It’s a problem with all these gearboxes. They’re good when you are travelling fast, but in town they jerk. You don’t get the creep of a normal automatic or the slip from a clutch pedal in a normal manual. I realize, of course, that flappy paddles mean better emissions, which is good news for polar bears, but for smooth driving, they’re pretty hopeless.. What we have here, then, is a proper Range Rover that is also an Audi TT, a hot hatch, an off-roader and a branch of Dixons all rolled into one tiny, easy-to-park package. If I had a job selling BMW X3s or Ford Kugas or any other high-riding semi-off-road car, I’d be on the lavatory, whimpering. Because anyone who wants such a car and doesn’t choose the Evoque is so mad, they will have had their driving licence taken away.. A heart transplant sexes up Wayne’s pet moose. The car makers would probably argue that there’s no point making a crash-’em-and-bash-’em hot hatch these days because people are more interested in space and style and they all want a Range Rover Evoque. But the only reason we all want an Evoque is that you aren’t making a thrill-a-minute, bung-it-into-a-parking-space and put-the-dog-in-the-back hot hatches any more.. Then again, a Land Rover Defender is pretty hopeless
on the road as well. But that doesn’t pretend to be a luxury tool, whereas the Wrangler I tested does. It has roof panels that lift out – if you have a PhD in engineering – and cruise control and lots of gizmos. It’s like a diamant? wellington. A gold-plated cowpat. A village idiot at the Savoy.. 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.. The McLaren, however, is different. Because the spine of the original was so rigid, no strengthening beams have been added at all. That means no extra weight – apart from the electric roof mechanism – and no compromises. As a result, this car feels exactly the same as the hard-top. Which is to say, it feels magical. As if it’s being propelled by witchcraft.. The only thing that annoyed me was the double-clutch flappy-paddle gearbox. It was impossible to set off from the lights smoothly, and by the fourth day I was being driven mad. By the seventh I was so angry my nose was beginning to itch. And then I discovered the‘auto hold’ button.. I have enjoyed my time with the dinosaurs. I shall look back at the Mercedes SLS AMG and the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Aston Martin Vanquish with a teary eye. And I shall always keep a picture of the wondrous Lexus LFA in my wallet. But that chapter is closing now. We’re about to start a new one, and from the snippets I’ve seen so far, it looks rather good.20 October 2013. Unusual rear-suspension design on rear-engined cars meant that if you tried to take any corner at any speed, the rear wheel would fold up, the car would spin and you’d hit a tree and die screaming in a terrifying fireball. And at your funeral they’d say how sad it was because you’d just bought a new car.. I used to like the rugged, no-nonsense, rural nature of Subarus. But this one? I dunno. It feels as if Barbour has tried to make a dinner jacket. And failed.15 December 2013.