Satellite navigation is a prime example of this. In the early days it was hopeless and would try to send you through Leicester Square, which was pedestrianized by William Pitt. The system in my last car refused to acknowledge there was such a thing as the M40. And we were constantly reading stories about people who’d obeyed the electronic voice of reason and ended up in a river, with a crab in their nose. But that was probably their fault for being idiotic.. Work harder, boy, or it will be you in here. So, big on the outside, small on the inside, badly made, ill-conceived, woefully slow, hard to drive and I wish that were an end to it. But no. It’s also uncomfortable.. To try to get the emissions down, Jaguar has very obviously fitted a map that demands the absolute barest minimum of fuel to keep the engine alive. As a result, around town it feels constantly on the verge of stalling. You can get round the problem by switching the eight-speed gearbox (why?) to‘sport’ mode, but that rather negates the reason you bought a diesel in the first place.. There is one stupid thing. The radio tells you what song you are listening to at any given moment, which is a nice touch, but it relays the message by scrolling huge flashing letters across the screen. It’s as if you’re sitting in Times Square.. An Aussie friend of mine – a barrister – tried to argue recently that this was a working-class issue, but within moments he was busy proving himself wrong. ‘I mean, I drive an Audi, so I couldn’t care less about the Ford and Holden war,’ he said, before going on: ‘I mean, deep down, I’m a Ford man, like myfather before me. I’m from a Ford family and, given the choice, would have a Falcon. I actually hate Holdens. Hate them, d’you hear?’. Just go and check all those old copies ofHello! that you keep by the lavatory. Notice how the car from which a knees-together star with a Daz-white smile is climbing is always an Audi. Zammett did that.. Mind you, for cluelessness, the gearbox is worse. In Sport mode it wouldn’t change gear at all, and in Normal mode did nothing else but. Every few seconds. For no discernible reason.. You know where this is going and, of course, you’re right. Cars are all the same too. They’re all Volkswagen Golfs. There are
fast Golfs and big Golfs and cheap Golfs. There are Japanese Golfs and V12 Golfs and American Golfs. But they’re all Golfs.. This makes sense because most people don’t realize how modern engines work. They think that if they put their foot on the clutch and freewheel when, say, going downhill, it saves fuel. Not so. An engine not in gear quickly slows to idle and needs fuel to keep it ticking over. But if you slow down without disengaging the clutch, the engine uses absolutely no fuel at all.. Yippee! It’s OK to be a Bentley boy again. Top Gear is often criticized – by people with terrible shoes, usually – for concentrating too vigorously on expensive cars that no one can afford. This, of course, is rubbish. Elton John could easily afford anything and everything we feature. It’s also not true. We put far more effort, money and time into featuring old crocks.. There will be a convertible version of the Racing in the months to come, but the car I tested was simply a chopped-down version of the standard model. And that’s fine by me, because who needs speed when the sun’s out and there are wildflowers to look at?. This, of course, is the trouble with safety. You don’t want it in your life right up to the moment when you do. And, anyway, the Volvo doesn’t just look after other people. It’s claimed that it does a pretty good job of looking after you and your no-claims bonus as well. For example, when you are reversing out of a side turning into a main road, you are warned if the car detects oncoming traffic. Again, this was something I couldn’t easily test.. But the Aston has exactly the opposite effect. It makes everyone happy. One distinguished-looking man walked up to me in a traffic jam, clutched my forearm and said,‘That really does make the most glorious noise, old chap.’ Later I came out of a shop in Notting Hill to find a young man staring at it. ‘That’s just…’ – he paused for a long time, searching for the right word – ‘beautiful.’.