CAR Interactive: letters, tweets and comments, CAR+ May 2016

Published: 01 April 2016

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All this, and an alligator’s bottom > via email

Got to hand it to you guys, you’re on fire at the moment. The April issue was a belter. So many of your patented ‘£4.60 moments’ I lost count, but special mention for the alligator’s sphincter in the ‘Inside Rolls-Royce’ feature! Great pictures too – the DB11 and Nico Rosberg shots particularly – but the Chiron takes the prize. Beat all your so-called rivals with exclusive access and the first story published. Bravo!

Gianni Robrado

Autonomy vs the country > via email

Your pages report what seems like monthly leaps of progress in the development of the autonomous car, which has caused me to wonder how the poor thing would cope outside its urban comfort zone – on rural roads. How would it manage with no central white line and no kerbstones to mark the road edges? Would it recognise that a puddle that was an innocent half-inch deep yesterday is today a flood? How will it react to sudden changes in road surface caused by a liberal layering of cow dung? Approaching the rear of a bunch of cyclists asserting the dominant position on the road, does it use its horn as recommended by the Highway Code as ‘a clear audible warning of your presence’, or does it demure, recognising the abusive response this may possibly elicit? Arriving at the postcode of your choice, does it stop at the first address with that postcode and refuse to go any further, notwithstanding that your actual destination, with the same postcode, is still some distance away? Your actual destination is a farm, located some distance down an unmade track – will the car give it a go or decide this is not a public highway? Arriving finally in the farm yard, the car is now a gibbering wreck of fused nerves and, unable to find a clearly marked parking bay with an adjacent charging point, it collapses in terminal exhaustion.

Paddy Jackson


The case for petrol > via email

Your article on financing options (CAR, March) was timely. I went to purchase a Mercedes C-class estate six months ago and the dealer could give me a better deal on a PCP than for cash, because the manufacturer wants to tempt me to roll over into the same make again. You said it was mad to go for a petrol with this car, but lots of short trips were giving DPF issues in my previous diesel. My big-mileage trips three or four times a year are up to 500 miles a day for several days, usually across Europe. My average to date is 37.6mpg, but my best was 47mpg across a very wet France in November with a motorway max of 110kph. Your review back in the day that it’s a brilliant car to waft in was spot-on.

Reg Holmes

Celebrity pedantry! > via email

A pedantic email to point out a small error. In your current The Good, the Bad and the Ugly section of the magazine, you describe the Rolls-Royce Phantom as having a ‘…turbo V12 pulling you along’; when in truth, in contrast to the turbocharged Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, the Phantom’s V12 is normally aspirated.

Rowan Atkinson

Kia’s pig in lipstick > via email

What’s going on, Kia? Who in the styling department came up with the visionary idea of taking the Sportage from ‘best-looking SUV’ (Mk3) to a ‘pig in lipstick’ (Mk4) in just one evolutionary step? I am struggling to think of a less successful styling transition. Austin 1100 to Allegro? Twingo Mk1 to Mk2 perhaps? Sort it out, Peter Schreyer. Awful. 

Mike Walters


On the new Impreza > via Facebook

Anyone else hope to live long enough to see Subaru design a car that’s pleasing on the eye?

Andrew McCafferty

Caterham’s indicators > via email

You question why Caterham hasn’t yet given the Seven self-cancelling indicators (CAR, April). Surely it is obvious? Caterham is the last bastion against driver aids, and said indicators were possibly the first, yet, perhaps, worst implementation of a driver aid. Is there a car that actually cancels indication at the desired moment? How many thousands of people have been killed because of self-cancelling indicators? It’s been a long slippery slope to a Google SUV driving itself into the side of a bus!

Mark Porthouse

From Ben Miller’s mum? > via email

Ben Miller’s article on the Singer Porsche (CAR, March) was sublime. By the end of the piece I not only wanted to own the car I also wanted to build a factory and do the same thing here in UK, such was the emotion and pull that sprang from his words. I have always enjoyed CAR but it has been a long time since I became so completely absorbed in an article – I put it down to an age thing; however, Ben’s writing took me back to the days of LJK Setright and Russell Bulgin when work was shelved to immerse myself in their world through the power of their words. To re-read an article because it is interesting is one thing, to re-read it because it is so beautifully written has taken me by surprise. Thank you Ben and thank you CAR.

Nick Henderson

Ben Miller at Singer,  making beautifully written notes

Plug in? How? > via email

Have you noticed that most hybrid/electric vehicles seem to have their charging access situated on the near side (in the UK at least), the BMW 330e and BMW 225xe Active Tourer being examples. In their headlong rush to flood the market with hybrid/electric vehicles I wonder if the manufacturers have considered the following? I live in a typical urban semi-detached house with a garage attached to the side. The garage and door are inches wider than standard but I still have to park close to the left-hand wall in order to leave sufficient room to exit the car reasonably comfortably. My electrical services/meter etc. are situated on the right-hand wall. How am I supposed to attach the charging cable? I’m sure I’m not the only citizen facing this problem. It’s a deal-breaker as far as I’m concerned.

John Patterson

On the Bugatti Chiron > via twitter

A tour de force in engineering but still ultimately a 1500bhp Louis Vuitton bag on wheels.

Alistair Spence

On the car’s future > via twitter

Reading CAR’s tech section never fails to depress me. Are my kids going to even have to learn how to drive? 

Jake Belder

Laughing at Kim Jong-Il > via email

Have been rendered helpless by tears of laughter reading the February issue. I would pay good money to see Kim Jong-Il being inserted horizontally into a Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Especially as my display of Western Capitalist profligacy would enrage him even more than the presumably involuntary horizontal insertion. A mental image to rival the best of your excellent photography. As ever, I love CAR!

Russell Bennett

That’s the Pullman door wide enough to allow Kim Jong-Il to be inserted horizontally

Anthony’s missus > via email

Who is reviewing the C4 Cactus? Anthony ffrench-Constant or the missus? Not realising that she is even driving because her car is so unremarkable may be how she defines automotive nirvana, but is that how your average reader thinks? I love Anthony’s writing but I think he should buy the other half a rail season ticket or maybe even a Google box and concentrate on giving us his opinion of the car.

Rob Munn-Bookless

On the MX-5 RF > via car online

Mazda is attempting to combine Porsche 911 Targa functionality into a modern, compact Miata package. The result? It looks quirky cute, and weirdly I like it. 

DdWorks

**Baffling statistics > via email

Some of the sales stats in your March issue jumped out of the page at me, begging for further investigation. Volvo sold 500,000 vehicles last year, with one up-to-date model? How has that happened? Compare that with JLR who sold the same number of vehicles but with a slew of new models. Then, surely Hyundai-Kia is the success story of the last decade. I know it’s been covered in previous issues, but surely it’s worth an in-depth analysis of how they’ve managed to grow to seven million in recent years, and may become bigger than GM next year. Finally, who buys 2.5 million Suzukis and Hondas? Great magazine – been reading since the ’70s and subscribing for many years.

Richard Crone

Seat Ateca dispenses with frippery to deliver a striking pose. Best of the VW Group SUVs?

On the Seat Ateca > via car online

I am loving the styling. No silliness, no hidden door handles, no gratuitous black paint or chrome, no excessive butchness. This is all good progress on the SUV front! I reckon Seat has the best of the VW Group styling throughout its range. 

Pete Suffolk

MG is the answer! Letter of the month

One of the most exciting concepts at the recent Geneva show was the Opel GT coupe concept, complete with three-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive. Clearly it won’t be easy for a maker of front-wheel-drive family cars to bring something like this to market but, against a backdrop of SUVs, we really need something like this in Opel/Vauxhall dealerships. Making the business case for a bespoke sports car is never easy, but the smart modern way to do it is to get together with a partner and deliver two or more offshoots from a single platform. Mazda and FCA do it with the MX-5 and Fiat 124, and, according to CAR, so will BMW and Toyota before long. So, all that Opel has to do is call up GM’s close allies in Shanghai, the folk who own MG – indisputably once the world’s greatest small sports car marque – and make an agreement to co-develop an MG off the same platform. This seems so blindingly obvious that surely only crass stupidity would see the opportunity pass.

John Miles

Read more from the May 2016 issue of CAR magazine

Vauxhall/Opel GT concept: only MG can make it a reality

By CAR's road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

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