CAR Interactive: letters, tweets and comments, CAR+ November 2015

Published: 22 September 2015

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Heroes or also-rans: which is the true McLaren? - via email

While enjoying Ben Miller’s breakneck 24-hour adventure in a McLaren 650S (CAR, October), I was struck by the relative fortunes of their road cars and race cars. The 650S appears to be sublime and, according to Chris Chilton in the same issue, the 675LT is a third as good again, yet on the F1 circuit the McLarens are a laughing stock, trailing home nearly last, with drivers publicly slating the team and sponsors pulling out in droves. How can one business be so brilliant on one hand and so inept on the other?

Kennedy Mahon

On #dieselgate - via CAR online

The VW cheating scandal fills me with a little sadness, not least due to the apparent lack of integrity by a trusted brand. But I fear the motoring world will be a little duller when the dust has settled. Will a humiliated and chastised VW Board have the appetite for halo, loss-making cars, like Bugattis, that do nothing for their corporate environmental image and their CO2 emission averages?
Cameron Pitchford

On #dieselgate 2 - via CAR online

A VW F1 car should help. Driven by Lance Armstrong, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, fuelled by BP. Perhaps Tony Blair could present the trophies at the Bahrain Grand Prix?

Philip Edwards

On #dieselgate 3 - via email

With regard to the VW crisis, the huge swing towards SUV style vehicles has been enabled as a result of supposed diesel frugality. However, more recently diesel has been increasingly seen as a bad option stuck between a downsized petrol or a hybrid whose only asset is its lower CO2 output. It’s a shame that it takes a scandal to hopefully kick two bad habits (diesel and SUVs), but I hope governments react to the stupidity of promoting this hateful stuff and that industry responds with vehicles that are fit for the purpose of getting small bipeds from A to B.


Auto bad parking - via email

I read with interest the new BMW 7 series option for self parking whilst the driver is outside the car (CAR, October). It looks very interesting but I’m not sure how much this will be taken up by owners – unless it will park in the typical BMW way, ie, straddling the dividing line or at a jaunty angle dictated by the handbrake-turn parking manoeuvre. You also didn’t mention the delete option for removing the indicators – oh I forgot, that’s not a new option.

Stuart Aspin

Parking by phone, is this really going to be used? Paul Bainbridge doesn't think so

Parking by phone - via email

You have to admire the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz for pushing the envelope when it comes to the technology found in their high-end cars but I really do have to question if any of it is really necessary. Self parking? Why? Is an owner seriously going to rely on his smartphone to safely park his car for him? Call me old-fashioned but I’d prefer to park the car 

myself in half the time it takes to ‘auto park’ knowing that some gremlin isn’t going to inadvertently send it careering into a wall or, even worse, kill someone. As if that weren’t a big enough issue, how much are these things going to affect the reliability of cars? We all know that here in the UK a car can fail its MoT if safety systems aren’t working properly. Have I just answered my own query regarding reliability though, as those fortunate enough to own such cars tend not to keep them long enough for them to become unreliable. Technology is sometimes way overrated.

Paul Bainbridge

On Porsche’s Mission E - via CAR online

At last, Porsche returns to air cooling – that should quell the pining purists, no?


Land Rover, the first time - via email

As a 12 year-old in 1956 I nagged my farmer uncle to teach me to drive. One day he drove his well used Series 1 Land Rover to the middle of a large featureless field, stopped and got out. As he walked away he said: ‘If you run into one of my fences I’ll kick your arse’. That was the day I learned to drive. So thanks for your feature on the Series 1 (CAR, September).

Owen Rye

Aston’s muddled design - via email

Aston Martin is probably the coolest brand on the automotive planet. But their styling direction is in shotgun blast mode – all over the shop with the sublime One-77, Vulcan and creative DBX (although surely they will change the roofline, as it appears to be as practical as a shopping bag without a bottom). At Geneva earlier this year there was not one mainstream model on the stand; understandable perhaps with the lack of investment, but looking at the current Vanquish and the bland and understated DB10, I’m having panic attacks worrying about the DB11. According to recent renderings it has an unfortunate resemblance to the DB10, looking more reminiscent of a 1990s Hyundai. Praying for better.

Richard Lacey

Used 911 vs new TTS from our October issue. Or buy the Boxster

The funk soul Boxster - via email

Your feature comparing the new Audi TTS with a five-year-old 911 (CAR, October)was fascinating. Last year I went through a similar exercise, but in my case it was a new TT Roadster and an 18-month-old Boxster. I chose the latter. The TT is very impressive and, in a straight line, could leave my Boxster for dead. It’s an outstanding piece of contemporary industrial design: fast, efficient, effective and in tune with the zeitgeist (although it’s also beginning to look rather expensive, compared to some of its rivals.) What the TT lacks, though – and what swung my decision – is character, soul, and a sense of occasion. The Porsche has that, in spades.

Chris Waite

On the Bentley Bentayga - via CAR online

The pictures suggest that it is a slight improvement on the concept. However, it is still wrong. Bentleys can be bulky but that should be balanced by a certain elegance. Ultimately this is just bulky. Personally I would never buy a car which has a name I have no idea how to pronounce and which has no obvious relationship to either the car or the brand. Not that any of this will put the target buyer off.


Gavin Green on his royal tour of the Bentley Bentayga engine line at Crewe, from our October issue

Our own Prince Philip - via email

Ref the photograph on page 79 (CAR, October) of the bloke doing the Prince Philip impression (that’s our Gavin Green! – ed). Does the paperwork on the engine read ‘CO2 emissions reduced by 10%, honest!’?

Peter Turner

Mini One, or Mini won? via email

The excellent test of the top four small hot hatches (CAR, October) showed just how good the 2006 Cooper S Works GP was. Just 10bhp short of the latest Cooper Works, plenty more than the other three cars, yet a massive 205kg lighter than the winning Mini! I am on my third first-gen GP and it’s a stunning car. 

Ian Neal

When speed is the ticket - via email

Round about now I guess the forces of political correctness will be circling around you guys after you attempted to v-max your long-term Lamborghini Huracan on an unrestricted German autobahn (CAR, October). Generally the outraged majority will be unfazed by the legality of what you did, and will perhaps point to your poignant nod to Bernd Rosemeyer as proof positive that speed-hunting is dangerous. Of course it’s dangerous – humanity feeds on danger. I don’t want to trivialise – obviously every road fatality is a tragedy – but equally I’m glad that CAR has not quite (yet!) fallen into the swamp of blandness that threatens to engulf us all. 

Nat Turnbull

Reprising Russell Bulgin - via twitter

One of the best things about @CARmagazine’s Car+ is the Russell Bulgin back-catalogue. He was an incredible writer.

Peter Anderson

New 911 put through its paces in our October issue. An ‘inevitable loss of character’?

Letter of the Month - 911, Bentayga and the old git question

Your October issue made me feel like a right old git. First you had me lamenting the absolutely inevitable loss of character now undergone by the new 911 (Georg Kacher did his best to big it up, but you could tell it’s not the same), then I found myself banging on about how Bentley has completely sold out by building that wretched Q7 clone (is it just me, or does it look every bit as ugly as the original concept which you so rightly pilloried?). Finally there was your excellent feature about the Eifel Rallye, which sent me into a reverie about the days when rallying was bold and exciting and, yes, dangerous too. The sight of Quattro, Stratos, 911, Sierra Cossie and Impreza leaping again made my heart do the same thing.

Is there no hope then? Well, yes. If McLaren and BMW are getting together again to build a supercar then perhaps, just perhaps, my world will keep on turning.

Marcus Boden

By CAR's road test team

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