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

Published: 30 October 2015

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Sorry, the Ferrari’s all we’ve got left: via email

I know we’re in rarefied atmosphere with this year’s Sports Car Giant Test (CAR, November), but part of the fun of reading these tests is the prospect, vague or real, of being able to buy the best rated cars. It’s therefore a shame that four out of your top five are, to all intents and purposes, sold out. I’m a multiple 911 buyer and I didn’t stand even the remotest chance of getting an RS or GT4, which to be honest does test one’s brand loyalty. Maybe the Ferrari 488 deserves extra points – and a victory under the laws of poetic justice – by virtue of the fact you can actually walk into a showroom and buy one. How quaint! Great feature all the same, though.

Steve Newell

Miracle Alfa: via email

Your article on the design of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia (CAR, November) stated that a team of ten people, starting with a blank piece of paper, created a completed production-ready car in two and half years. This beggars belief. My own car is a Mercedes E-class, model W211. This was a substantial redefinition of an older model, yet it reportedly cost €2bn and took four years to develop.

Kenneth Jones

Alfa vs the Germans: via email

Great to see that you are as excited as I am by the prospect of the new Giulia Quadrifoglio, but based on your slating of the current Giulietta in the same issue, I expect the usual pattern of press coverage for any Alfa. First, there’s the excitement (herald Alfa’s saviour etc), then the first drives and euphoric ‘Alfa beats its rivals’ headlines. Then, a couple of years down the line, car mags revert to the standard German bias. It happened with the 164, 156, the Giulietta, the 4C and probably more. Thing is, my Giulietta Multiair 170 (my second, and my seventh Alfa) has character, style and is fun to drive. None of these attributes is possessed by a Golf (my wife has one) or an A3. It is most definitely not a Fiat (Audis, Porsches and Bentleys are rarely accused on being related to VW Caddy vans in the way you link Alfas to Doblos) but until you accept that the dull German way is not the only way then these Teutonic turds will continue to dominate. Shame!

Peter Vaughan

On Toyota’s Mirai: via car online

Is it the hydrogen that makes it so ugly?

Nick

Toyota’s hydrogen fuel-cell  Mirai – like all pioneers it has quite a few detractors

via car online

Can’t help but feel Toyota’s invested in the wrong tech. It’s extremely unclear whether hydrogen has a future in cars – currently, the technology is prohibitively expensive at multiple points of the process, and not even particularly green as so much energy is wasted by processing hydrogen. Meanwhile, Toyota’s lost its lead in electric power at a time when EVs are becoming practical choices for large numbers of people.

Vertigo

Call time on 0-62mph: via email

Another month, another car dipping below the 3.0sec 0-62 mph barrier. Should I believe that a stock GT-R or a 650S would be a match for a P1 based on their similar 0-62 times? With launch-control software, four-wheel-drive systems and trick tall gearing (step up new Audi TT, which 

reaches 62mph in second gear), even blown four-cylinder executive saloons reach 62mph in less than 6.5 seconds. Which begs the question: is 0-62 data a thing of the past? Shouldn’t we bury 0-62 just like 0-30mph of old? A value of 0-100mph or more would be much more indicative of the true performance potential of a car. And that new value should require somehow that all cars measured be in at least fourth gear. I believe CAR should be the frontier of ditching old data and set yet another new benchmark!

Kaiser Victoras

VW: we did well!: via email

Nice job on summing up the VW Dieselgate gate scandal (CAR, November). So many (largely ill-informed) column inches were devoted to this story and I look to CAR to give me an intelligent, distilled digest without labouring the point or shrouding my monthly diet of great cars in a fug of dieselly political smoke. Well judged.

Tim Greer

VW: no we didn’t!: via email

I was expecting more from November’s edition. I had read, seen and heard so much on the VW emissions scandal but I knew I’d get the real story from CAR. I wanted Kacher, Green, Oliver, McNamara, Walton, Pollard and the other CAR journalistic giants to reveal how it happened, whether mpg is also being cheated, whether other manufacturers are involved, what the deep structural consequences are going to be for the whole industry. I wanted you to spill all the beans and pull no punches. I wanted your editorial meeting to have ripped up the proposed edition and scrambled together a special report on a gigantic scandal. But in the end we got two pages. I hope there’s more to come!

Nat Low

On Formula E: via facebook

I think that the best way to improve the spectacle (because it is deadly dull) is to relax the formula and encourage ‘out of the box’ thinking. So, unlimited budgets, the car has to fit within a box of fixed dimensions and carbon fuels are not permitted. That’s it, that’s the formula. The benefits to road car technology would be immeasurable.

Graham Lewis

Lay off the MG, Gavin: via email

I expected better from Gavin Green in his column on the demise of the British built roadster (CAR, November) – it was full of inaccurate, generalised clichés that have been wheeled out many times before. Poor quality leaking roofs and leaking sumps from MG, Triumph and Lotus sold in their thousands. Unquestionably the MX-5 in its original form is a masterpiece of automotive design, but please don’t dismiss the MGF – it was the UK’s best-selling convertible for most of its life. Over complicated? No! Ingenious? Yes! Who would have thought two Metro subframes could be used for a mid-engined roadster. It was developed and brought to market for a fraction of the cost of the MX-5, and the handling and ride were a match for the Mazda on a twisty B-road. So please don’t revert to the lazy old MG/Rover/BL-bashing – Mr Green should know better.

Charlie Deards

Honda’s new NSX faces one or two challenges. Turn to p76 to find out what it’s like to drive

On the Honda NSX: via car online

How heavy? That’s a game killer. The McLaren 570S is markedly lighter, as is the Porsche 911 Turbo (no, the REAL turbo). In terms of looks, it’s a little dated already – like one of the Lotus designs penned by Donato Coco, especially the front. That said, it’s not unattractive and would, I am sure, look more striking in a deeper metallic hue. I like the interior – identifiably Honda, and done well. It needs some colour though – this is a supercar, for heaven’s sake!

Ray A

via car online

Despite the enthusiasm of the motoring press and technical excellence I don’t recall the old NSX selling that well. I have always assumed that this was due to performance which on paper was not particularly outstanding and its slightly restrained looks – a common Honda problem. I hope that this version does not similarly miss the mark. A pity, like the old one it probably deserves to succeed but unfortunately in this market rational purchasing decisions don’t necessarily rule.

JLConsult

Brera’s lovely tail lamps: via the post!

In his Top 10 (CAR, November) Chris Chilton may have forgotten the Alfa Romeo Brera in his list of coolest tail lamps. Fine Giugiaro styling!

Humphrey Britton-Johnson

The ugly truth: via email

Whatever happened to car design? I looked at the five classic Alfas which inspired the design of the Giulia (CAR, November) and saw they were all curvy and beautiful. The Giulia is neither. And Toyota/Lexus seems to have abandoned curves and beauty in their entirety, in favour of wilful ugliness (stand up RX450h, come on down Mirai). What’s to blame – modern art or modern safety regs?

Geoff Barding

Why electric cars are bad for the planet  About 15 years ago CAR ran a piece on Mercedes’ & BMW’s reluctance to make hybrid cars. They weren’t convinced by the green credentials and extra cost. Now hybrids and EVs are everywhere. But how green are they? The lithium-ion batteries in a Tesla aren’t considered green by Panasonic, who supply the components. They’ve stated that Elon Musk’s claims are hyperbole. A car that contains the equivalent of 1000 laptop batteries can’t be green – the energy that powers them mostly comes from coal-fired power stations. A Tesla S has to be much worse for the environment in manufacture than conventional cars. Calls are being made to help drivers abandon diesel and switch to EVs. I’m no diesel fan – our obsession with reducing Co2 led us away from the fact that diesel particulates were known carcinogens. But the fact is, until batteries can be produced cleanly and power stations are fuelled differently, electric cars are bad for the environment. Charlie Blackler

Why electric cars are bad for the planet (Letter of the month)

About 15 years ago CAR ran a piece on Mercedes’ & BMW’s reluctance to make hybrid cars. They weren’t convinced by the green credentials and extra cost. Now hybrids and EVs are everywhere. But how green are they? The lithium-ion batteries in a Tesla aren’t considered green by Panasonic, who supply the components. They’ve stated that Elon Musk’s claims are hyperbole. A car that contains the equivalent of 1000 laptop batteries can’t be green – the energy that powers them mostly comes from coal-fired power stations. A Tesla S has to be much worse for the environment in manufacture than conventional cars. Calls are being made to help drivers abandon diesel and switch to EVs. I’m no diesel fan – our obsession with reducing Co2 led us away from the fact that diesel particulates were known carcinogens. But the fact is, until batteries can be produced cleanly and power stations are fuelled differently, electric cars are bad for the environment.

Charlie Blackler


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