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Brit car bucket list validates our love of Lotus - via email
Your 25 British Cars to Drive Before You Die cover story (CAR, September) was a corker. I was going to suggest a few cars that should have been included, but realised that none of those you did include would deserve to be left out. With six Lotuses (if you include Carlton and Cortina – seven if you include the Caterham) on the list it just goes to show how much of our sports car DNA is owed to that oft maligned Norfolk outfit, and indeed to Colin Chapman. Maybe it should have been 50 British Cars to Drive Before You Die? Or just 25 Lotuses?
The Boxster position - via email
I saw your article on the Porsche 981.2 (CAR, August) and was interested in your comments regarding a possible rebranding and repositioning of the car. In my opinion changing the name to 717 would be a mistake, certainly at this time. With mainstream 911s now adopting turbo power and Porsche keen to stress it will be ‘power upsizing, not downsizing’ then subsequently renaming their junior sportscar would send out an inconsistent message. With both models switching to forced induction within a year of each other the smart move would be to stress that ‘power upsizing’ is the right message for them both. Changing to 717 alongside turbos suggests that newer isn’t necessarily better. Plenty of time to consider rebranding when the next-gen car arrives in a few years’ time.
The same is true for altering the current pricing strategy of charging a premium for Cayman. Keep it in place – along with the 10bhp uplift – until we see new bodies, then decide. If Porsche is keen on flipping
the heirachy between Boxster and Cayman then don’t scrap a two-decade-old nameplate – other manufacturers would kill for a name as widely recognised as Boxster. When the new car arrives (982?) why not adopt the 911 strategy and call both cars Boxster. Boxster coupe (nee Cayman) sitting below Boxster cabrio. This has got to be better than calling the new car after an old Boeing airliner. Although by a strange quirk of fate those planes had their engines at the back, just like a 911!
British compromise - via email
Reading the M3 report and the article on the new XF (CAR, September) I had a thought that maybe it would be interesting to do a new vs old comparison. Also, when the inevitable Giant Test of the new XF and ageing 5-series, E-class and A6 takes place, I implore the testers to fill the Jag to the brim and listen for the erroneously described ‘tank slap’ which featured in the two XFs I had. The last one replaced the
first one and it was still affected. Jaguar issued a technical services bulletin to try to solve the issue. This involved sticking some felt pads between the tank and the rear seats. Very British Leyland. For me, that is the problem with some ‘British’ cars. There is always a problem somewhere that spoils the fun. I wish Jaguar well, but it’s always a compromise buying British.
On the new Ferrari Dino - Via Facebook
Ferrari shouldn’t be re-using the Dino name for a new sports car (CAR, September). It’s done its time and has a pedigree classic background. Please don’t try and rewrite it now, Maranello!
The wrong Quandt? - via email
The reworked GBU makes an interesting read (as does the rest of the magazine). I spotted a mistake though. I refer to your verdict on the Infiniti Q70: ‘worth considering over a 5-series only if Harald Quandt ran off with your wife’. Aside from the fact that Harald died in 1967, which makes it kinda hard to run off with him, his products were industrial robots (later KUKA) and military technology – he wasn’t the Quandt who was into cars. Herbert’s the guy you were thinking of, and since he’s also been dead since 1982 you may think of updating that name to Stefan. He’s (hopefully) got a lot of years left.
Bentley boys: a defence - via email
Nice of Phil Taylor (CAR, September) to defend the Rooneys and Beckhams and their unpublicised charity work (who knew?) but I’m not sure the Bentley Boys would have ‘sneered’ at their hard work. Most served their country with honour in WW1, when none of their inherited wealth would have protected them. And they were an eclectic group, including a jockey, diamond heir, baronet, doctor, aviator, pro driver – dash it, they even welcomed a motoring journalist (Sammy Davis). Yes, they liked to party but to dismiss them as ‘super rich piss-head toffs’ is a long way wide of the mark.
On Jaguar’s F-Pace - Via CAR Online
Will Jaguar ever just launch a car and put it on sale? The F-Pace has been around forever in endless concepts and teasers, yet it still won’t be in the showrooms until 2016, and that probably means September 2016. The XE now looks as though it’s well past its expected facelift date and it only went on sale in May!
This exciting future - via email
As an avid fan of CAR for some 30 years, I would like to offer my optimistic view on the future impact of technology on us as car enthusiasts. The proportion of the world’s population living in cities is increasing, and surely this suits electric vehicles perfectly? Autonomous vehicles will remove the majority of tired and bored drivers (who are primarily commuting or undertaking chores anyway), still leaving roads and circuits available for human drivers to experience the joy of driving for its own sake. 3D printing and nano-technologies will enable new designs and new levels of performance from advanced powertrains and exciting new materials. We should look forward to the first car designed not by a human but by an artificial intelligence. Ultimately virtual reality should mean that we can experience driving in life-like simulations whether on simulated roads or in amazing new environments. In many ways, the next 30 years are going to be very exciting!
Really cross about Aston Martin (Letter of the month)
Really? The choice according to CEO Andy Palmer (CAR, August) is a ‘bankrupt Aston Martin or a crossover’ – is that our only choice? How about a car named after a Star Trek planet that only 24 people can buy and looks like the illegitimate love-child of a BMW i8 and a Dodge Viper, with a kit-car wing? Or a DB10 that looks like a Nissan Z? Or a reprise of the Lagonda from the ’80s that failed huge – because somehow in 2015 that’s going to be a winner? It’s so depressing seeing such a vision-less CEO drive Aston into the ground. Bankruptcy #8 waiting in the wings, while jetting around the planet, living the high life instead of building a world-class sports car brand, a la McLaren. The recipe is simple: retain the current epic body styles (which everyone loves) with minor updates, add the AMG reliability, electronics and powertrains. Aston was a sports car brand that said ‘speed, style and elegance’. Now it says ‘confused, ugly and desperate’, which is just fine for a match.com posting but not for an eminent sports car brand!
What about Bristol? - Via CAR Online
I enjoyed your ‘25 British cars to drive before you die’ feature last month. Hard to see what to take out in its place (though personally I’d be happy to drop any SUV), but a classic V8 Bristol like the 411 would fill a small, but significant, upmarket grand tourer gap in your bucket list for me. Otherwise, it’s the McLaren F1 from your shortlist.
BMW M3: troubled soul - via email
Your long-term report of the current turbocharged M3 made interesting reading, especially as a veiled reference, and comparison, was made to the V8-powered E92 M3. Last month’s edition pitched a used E92 M3 against a new Toyota GT86. But surely the obvious comparison test has been missed? Why not do the obvious and highly relevant comparison between F-series M3/M4 and E92 M3? Are you afraid of upsetting the people who provide you with test cars? However crushingly effective the new car is, with its wall of turbo torque, it has lost the essence of M-cars, the fabulous, sonorous, razor-sharp, high-revving masterpiece of an engine. An engine which does not need synthetic engine noise through its speakers. Increased grip, improved fuel consumption (actually not that much improved) might well be impressive, but these have been achieved at a cost – the loss of the M-car soul.
#BritCarBucketList - Via Facebook
Oh well. Of the 25 cars to drive before I die, I’ve achieved one. I drove a Mini in 1977. Just 24 to go and I guess, at my age, rather unachievable.
Catch Tesla if you can - via email
Loving your great magazine as always and have been a petrolhead the whole of my life until recently. My brother works in California and has recently taken delivery of a Tesla Model S. I must admit that until I had a chance to ride and then drive with my brother I was a little sceptical of all the hype about the vehicle. No more. I feel every car I drive now, including my Porsche Cayman, is a loud-mouthed dinosaur that doesn’t know it’s dead yet. Is this really the future? I find it utterly amazing that a car manufacturer that didn’t even exist a decade ago has produced a car that is game-changing in so many ways, aside from the obvious. Other manufacturers have to play catch up.