Other features? Well, Saab says,‘A wide range of functions can be pre-set according to personal preference.’ Sounds good. But one of the things listed is the clock. Yes. You can set it to whatever time you like! And another is the air-conditioning system. Wow! So it has a heater that can deliver a range of temperatures.. It gets worse. After my snorkelling expedition, I tried to rent a jet ski. But a state law meant that I had to sit down, in the blazing sunshine, and take a written exam. What’s to learn? There’s a throttle and that’s it. My daughter was riding a jet ski at the age of five. An idiot could do it. I pointed all this out to the blond surfer dude who was running the course, but it was as if he’d been programmed: safety is everything.. Ever fitted one of those? Of course not. Because lifting them into position will break your back, and dropping it, which you will, will remove all the paint from your car. Better, and cheaper, to buy whatever it is you were thinking of putting in your roof box when you get to wherever it is you’re going.. The new BMW range of luxury carpet:‘Made from Lego bricks and upturned plugs.’ And the new Maserati bath: ‘Instead of water, or ass’s milk, we allow our customers to soak away the strains of the day, up to their necks in sulphuric acid.’. It’s amazing. I remember driving a G-wagen in the early Eighties and I thought back then that it was extremely refined and that it rode very well. By today’s standards, though, it is absolutely woeful.. It’s actually quite easy to sum this car up, though. In the olden days the Volkswagen Golf was a fun, lively little thing, and the original cabrio was an extension of that. Today the Golf is a byword for common sense and dour practicality. And the new soft-top is a reflection of that.. That’s why Miami always comes as a pleasant surprise. It is different. The strip of land known as Miami Beach is home to hundreds of art-deco hotels and apartment blocks, which you will find nowhere else, and if you squint – which you will because it’s impossibly sunny – you can imagine that at any minute you will see Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard prowling past in their Corvettes.. There is a button that allows you to firm everything up, and even a sub-menu in the computer that lets you choose which bits of the package you want to be sporty and which you do not. And I recommend that on
day one, you glue the switch in Comfort mode and leave it there. The Sport setting just makes you uncomfortable for no real gain in terms of handling.. But a man called Swampy had taken up residence in a tunnel just outside Newbury in Berkshire and started talking about something called‘the environment’. Now there had been lots of anti-state, anti-system Swampies in the past, shouting about workers’ rights and peace and communism, but none had gained any traction with the middle classes. So they had remained a noisy but minority interest, like bell-ringing.. Quickly Mercedes decided to buck its ideas up, and fairly soon the ML was a lot better. The AMG-powered ML 63 was an absolute gem, in fact. But the car you see here is the new model. And the version I tested was not a tyre-shredding V8 but a 3-litre diesel.. I suppose I could raise a safety question. Because, while its antics are a massive giggle on a track, I do wonder what will happen when it’s raining and your head is full of other things and you try to go round a roundabout at 25 mph. There’s a time and a place for oversteer and I’m not sure 5.30 p.m. in suburbia is it. Best in these circumstances, then, to turn the traction control on.. Chrysler 300C Executive. Where the hell did they hide the‘keeping up with Italians’ button?. There are rules on how much noise a car can make, but because they are rules they can be broken. Many supercar makers have worked out how. They have noted that the EU noise inspectors, who test a car before it is allowed to go on sale, take their reading when the engine is turning at 3000 rpm. So the manufacturer fits a valve in the exhaust system that opens at 3001 rpm. This means all is lovely and quiet for the men with clipboards. But then, just after they’ve smiled and put ticks in the right boxes, all hell breaks loose.. Of course it was inevitable that one day the alphabet would run out of new letters for car registration plates, and so someone came up with the system we have today. You can still tell a car’s age from its registration plate, but only if you have a calculator and the brain of an elephant..