I pushed and heaved and got chain oil on my face until eventually I decided I had to set off. That’s when I discovered two very sturdy-looking straps with big military-style clasps on the end. These didn’t seem to be important, though, so I left them dangling.. And this is just the flake on the tip of the iceberg. Because there is also a device that can spot bikes and suchlike in the blind spots, and another that flashes up a warning message on the windscreen via a head-up display if it thinks you are travelling too close to the car in front. Then you have night vision, which puts aBlair Witch Project image of the road ahead on a screen in the dash.. I love the crisp whip crack of a Scandinavian winter morning; no matter how many beers you’ve drunk the night before, even the most savage, lightning-bolt hangover is swatted into history by the dry, needle-cold crispness. I love the endlessness of the sky. I love the jumpers. I love the way everyone is so tall. But most of all I love the way that people up here drive their cars.. Here there were races between a superbike and Michael Schumacher’s Formula One Mercedes, demonstration laps from the Stig in a selection of supercars, full-on inter-nation races and the local hero Jody Scheckter, who never crashed anything even once. Honest.. So why would anyone buy a Golf, or an Audi A3, when they could buy exactly the same car for less? Simple answer: badges make people stupid.. My colleague James May recently bought a really fast car. It’s a Ferrari 458 Italia and with a fair wind it will zoom along at 200 mph. But he will never drive it at anything like that speed. Ever. And even if he did take it to ten-tenths on a track – unlikely, I know – he’d still get overtaken by a GT-R.. Can it go off road? Yes, but not very far. With a part-time four-wheel-drive system, it’ll get your caravan into a field. But it probably won’t get it out again. Which is a good thing for the rest of us.. Under the bonnet of my test car was a diesel engine. Honda was one of the last big car manufacturers to make such a thing, and it is nowhere near as good as the ones made by everyone else. It’s noisy, rough and, compared with, say, BMW’s effort, way down on power.. It didn’t take me long to work out that this car is special and unusual. An M5 with a hint more style. A genuinely nice place to sit. And, all things considered, it’s not a bad price tag. Yes, its value will depreciate like a fat man
falling off a tower block, but ?97,490 in the showroom isn’t bad.Not when you see how much Aston Martin wants for a Rapide.. This cull of monikers doesn’t happen in Iceland, because the government gives new parents a list of names from which to choose. But here the army of opinion-forming orange people have got it into their heads that they can call their poor little tyke pretty much anything that comes into their heads. And, frankly, why go forsomething traditional such as Edith or Gertrude when you can name your little girl after a sweet white wine, or a village where you had particularly enjoyable sex in Crete?. The cars that resulted are stupid. They are too big, too loud, too crazy, too brash, too sideways most of the time and too scary as a result. I like them a lot.. But let us plough on. Let us treat it as a pretty hatchback that comes with a big sunroof. Then what? Well, it will cost you some money but not much. Because whatever price is quoted in the brochure, you can be assured that, being a Citro?n, it will come with 0 per cent finance, ?1,000 cashback, no VAT, an offer of an evening out with the dealer principal’s daughter and ?5,000 to spend on a holiday. You may need an incentive such as this because as a car it’s not very good.. To get the weight this far down, Alfa Romeo has gone the extra mile and then it’s gone round the corner and kept right on going. The wiring, for instance, is made as thin as possible. And the chassis is a carbon-fibre tub that weighs about the same as a loaf of bread. It’s going to be good, this car. I can feel it in my bones.. Using the Romanian pronunciation is silly. It’d be like the Florentine marketing board urging British people to visit Firenze. We wouldn’t know where to go.. In essence, it’s a continuously variable transmission affair, and CVT gearboxes don’t work, even if they are fitted with eight artificial steps. A CVT gearbox detaches you from the sensation of driving, or being in control. Couple this to the electric power steering and a strangely mushy-feeling brake pedal and the sense of isolation is complete. As I discovered, you don’t feel as if you’re driving this car. It’s just somewhere warm to sit as the world drones by..