I realize, of course, that in theory a high-speed train linking the north and the south of Britain is a fine idea. But since it needs to cross at least five Tory constituencies, it will never happen. And nobody would be able to afford to go on it, even if it did.. You want more evidence that the economy’s recovering and batteries are on the back burner? Well, there’s going to be a convertible version of the epic Mercedes SLS and a long-wheelbase option for the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Then we have the new Porsche 911, which will be exactly the same as every other 911, and a hardcore derivative of the car most Formula One drivers use when their sponsors and engine suppliers aren’t looking – the Nissan GT-R.. How you feel when you arrive somewhere in a car is more important than how you feel on the way. On the way, a car is just a tool, but when you get to your destination, and your hosts are waiting for you, and people you know are looking, that’s when the true value of your wheels shines through.. My only real gripe with this car is that the single-clutch flappy-paddle gearbox is a bit dim-witted. And maybe?152,000 is a bit much when for a little bit more you could have a Ferrari 458. Which is a tiny bit better.8 January 2012. They’ve built a museum to house a ship that sank 380 years ago and were expecting 200,000 visitors a year. In fact they’re getting that many every two months and you sense they are actually quite embarrassed about the success.. We now have hybrids, and I love the way they obey the letter of the law but completely ignore its spirit. Because how can a car with two power plants possibly be good for the planet? It can’t. These cars – they’re tools for fools.. All of which brings me to the Ford Focus. It’s called the EcoBoost and it meets the new green legislation in the cleverest, simplest, bestest way yet. It runs on an engine so small, the cylinder block would sit neatly on a piece of A4 paper. That small.. And before you think that a 999 cc three-cylinder engine could not possibly produce enough power to move a car as large as a Focus, look at the figures. It produces 123 bph – exactly what was delivered by Ford’s old 1.6 Focus. But amazingly you get more torque and, of course, greatly reduced fuel consumption.. Another friend recently bought a Mercedes C 63 AMG Black Series. And within days he was sending me texts saying it was a bit scary on full throttle. Wouldn’t know, mate. I’ve never used full throttle on my Black, the CLK, because there’s a big difference between admiring a slumbering crocodile and running up and poking it with a stick.. It didn’t even suffer unduly when the going became extremely rough. Yes, two of the airbags deployed over one nasty jolt, but unlike the estate cars chosen by my colleagues – a Volvo 850 R and a Subaru Impreza WRX – it arrived at the finish line with all its wheels still attached.. McLaren 12C Spider. Sadly I was not able to run him over because the Mercedes has a system that applies the brakes even if you don’t. The same system allows you to engage the cruise control in stop-start traffic and sit back while the car quite literally drives itself, maintaining a safe distance between itself and the car in front.. The rest is all different and all new and nowhere near as dramatic as I’d been expecting. Yes, it’s lower and wider than the saloon – the rear wheels are about 3 inches further apart – but it lacks visual presence. And on the face of it, that doesn’t sound such a good idea.. Drives on water and raises Lazarus in 4.1 seconds. They’d gone, as pre-school kids often do, for a very garish teal colour, and then for no reason at all had decided to paint the brake callipers yellow. Somehow pleased with the effect, they had decided it should be mirrored on the inside, so, yep, that meant teal seats with yellow flashings and, yes,wow, yellow tips on the paddle-shift levers. I’ve seen less gaudy birds of paradise..