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Clarkson in Times on Line

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  • Clarkson in Times on Line

    Eigenlijk best wel een eigen draadje waard:
    Clarkie's columns over vierwielers
    Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km

  • #2
    Other things? Well, although back seats are fitted, God has not yet made a creature that would fit in them, and with the roof stowed, the boot is useful only if you are a naturist

    Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


    • #3

      Porsche 911 Carrera GT2

      If in doubt, flat out.


      • #4
        ďI know Iím not James Bond. Iím not having a midlife crisis. I just wanted a good-looking two-seater and I bought this one because itís the best.Ē
        Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


        • #5
          this time:
          "Itís oxtail soup in a Tetrapak carton
          Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


          • #6
            lol, mooi verhaal over dat kamperen man! :-)

            Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
            Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
            Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
            BMW 320Ci (van GF)


            • #7

              Aston Martin Vantage

              Man wat schrijft hij leuk

              Over the years, weíve been told by solemn-faced experts that life as we know it is about to end. Strange to report, then, that weíve managed to survive communism, particle accelerators, fascism, asteroids, Cuba, bird flu, global warming, terrorism, nuclear war, various tsunamis and Aids, and now we are going to be finished off by Fannie Mae.

              I donít even know what Fannie Mae is. Apparently, itís not a bank and itís not a building society, but it seems to have been buying mortgages and debts from various institutions. And then, one day, it appears to have woken up and thought: ďOops.Ē Quite how it was allowed to get in this mess, Iím not sure. Did nobody think it odd that a mysterious organisation was stomping around the world buying debt? Did nobody stop for a moment and wonder if perhaps Fannie Mae was a home for mentals? I mean, weíre talking here about an operation named after the human bottom. How did it sign its deals? With crayons?

              Seriously, if I set up a business called Arse and went around buying outstanding loans on the nationís never-never-land three-piece suites, I wouldnít get very far before someone with a soothing voice and a corduroy jacket put me in a padded room for the rest of time.

              Whatever. We have now arrived at a point where the world is going bankrupt. Politicians keep explaining that Britain is well placed to face the future, but weíre not. Not when the food in our fridge is worth more than the contents of our jewellery box and weíre scared witless that the Bradford & Bingley is about to go belly-up with all our life savings.

              The net result is that half the country canít afford to buy anything and the other half darenít. This means companies canít sell anything, which means they canít employ anyone, which means everyone will fail to pay their mortgages, which will increase the likelihood of Bradford & Bingley going bust, which will accelerate the downward spiral to such an extent that it will be spinning faster than the atom-basher in Geneva. In short, we are all on the Titanic. It is holed. It is a mathematical certainty that it will sink. And all Gordon Brown can do is offer the shipís most elderly passengers a few extra winter logs as they drown in a sea of disease, debt and destitution.

              Needless to say, cars are an early casualty of the meltdown. Having seen orders plummet by 44% in July, Aston Martin sold just 19 cars in the whole of August, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, down from 58 in the same period last year. Porsche sales, meanwhile, were down by 58%, Land Rover also by 58% and Jaguar by 41%. Potential customers, then, are split into two groups: those who can buy but wonít, and those who want to buy but canít. Because no loans are available.

              Itís all such a shame. Not just for the 800,000 people who earn their living from cars in this country, but because for two hundred thousand years, human beings ó with the notable exception of eco-activists who want to go backwards ó have strived to improve the quality of their lives: to travel more quickly, to enjoy better health, to live longer and to be more comfortable. The labour-saving, fast-acting television remote control is a classic case in point. It is just so human: no dolphin would even begin to see the point.

              And itís the same story with cars. Just last night I left the Top Gear test track in the new Aston Martin Vantage, and, using just a couple of cubic feet of petrol, it brought me right to my door, 90 miles away, in just 95 minutes. That in itself is an achievement that any migrating wildebeest would kill for. And yet this snarling, sculptured machine is so much more than an auxiliary transport module. Itís also a feast for your eyes, an electrode for your heart and a song for your soul. And now, thanks to Fannie Mae, we may be about to kiss it goodbye. Pity, because for the first time since it came out three years ago, the Vantage can be classed as a genuine player, and not just a pretty-boy 911-substitute for cocks with a James Bond fantasy.

              Oh, some of the old niggles remain. The dash, for instance, looks lovely, but like so many things that look lovely ó loon pants, for example ó it doesnít work very well. Because thereís no central command unit, such as you find in a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz these days, the buttons are all over the place, and because there are thousands of them, they have to be small. Hitting the right one while on the move is like trying to stab mercury with a cocktail stick while standing on a power plate.

              Then there are the seats, which are far too hard, and the manual gearbox, which is fine . . . except that to engage second and fourth you need to dislocate your elbow. And the iPod connection, which has never heard of an iPod. And the Volvo sat nav system, which, no matter what you tell it, simply picks a destination youíve been to recently and sends you there instead. The other day I tried to go to a Top Gear shoot and ended up at my motherís house, having phoned someone I hate on the way.

              It sounds like I am not enamoured of Astonís Vantage, but the simple fact of the matter is this. All of these problems existed in the old car, and that was hugely popular before Fannie Mae did a Bear Stearns and Northern Rocked its Freddie Mac.

              Truth be told, I donít really care about little faults like this. What I did care about on the old car was that its mouth kept writing cheques its engine couldnít cash. You put your foot down and there was a huge bellow, but not much extra speed.

              The problem was that Aston Martin and Jaguar were both playing for the blue oval. And politics meant the Aston couldnít be as fast as Jaguarís XKR. Now, though, Jaguar belongs to Mr Patel, and Aston is in the hands of some Kuwaitis, so the politics have gone. In their place stands a 4.7 litre version of Jagís V8. The result is 420bhp instead of 380, and some proper get-up-and-go. Accelerate hard and the driver of a Porsche 911 Carrera S ó it was R Hammond last night ó is not going to see where you went. And not only because he canít see over the steering wheel.

              The amount of carbon dioxide produced by the new engine is less than before. Not that itíll make any difference to your tax bill. Or the weather. More importantly, the suspension has been tweaked such that itís still firm on a motorway but much softer at low speed. And while the body remains the same, the wheels are wider, so the car looks even better.

              But the best thing about this car is that because itís so brilliant at some things and so awkward at others, it has a human quality. Some cars you can like. Some you can use. And some you can respect. This one, though, you can love. I do. And thatís why Iíd be so sad if Aston were to wither and die in the current economic climate.

              However, while I am pessimistic, I suppose we should look more carefully at the perils weíve faced these past 50 years. War. Asteroids. Jonathon Porritt. Russia. The IRA. And so on.

              Theyíve come. Theyíve frightened us. And then, contrary to the teachings of the scaremongers, theyíve all just sort of fizzled out and gone away.
              If in doubt, flat out.


              • #8
                Hopelijk werkt deze: Clarkson Island :):):)
                Mini Cooper Clubman
                "I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - William Melvin Hicks
                "Jasper val dood." - RH


                • #9
                  Leuke analyze van de kredietcrisis.
                  Iedereen heeft recht op mijn mening!


                  • #10
                    Ja mooi weer!

                    Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                    Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                    Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                    BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                    • #11
                      Volkswagen Scirocco

                      September 21, 2008

                      In its latest glossy press information pack, Volkswagen says the original Scirocco Storm was sold with a 1.8 litre engine. This is a mistake. It is referring to the 1781cc unit that was, in fact, not introduced until October 1982, by which time it was making the Mk 2 Scirocco. The Storm, like all fuel-injected Mk 1s, was sold with a 1588cc engine. Iím surprised the people at VW didnít know this.

                      I, on the other hand, know everything about those early cars. I even know what sort of fuel injection system they used and how big the tyres were. Bosch K-Jetronic and 175/70/13s, in case youíre interested. Furthermore, I know the leather-lined Storm was available in only noisette brown or silver green.

                      The Scirocco, for me, is very important. I was interested in cars long before VW thought about making a coupť version of the Golf. But it was the result of its efforts that caused me to want to write about them.

                      Hereís why. Back in 1980, I lived up north, in the flatlands around Doncaster, and most of my friends were in the Young Farmers, which was not so much a club as a way of wife. You had dirty fingernails, stout shoes, a dislike of the south in general and London in particular and either a Ford Escort RS2000 or a Dolly Sprint. One chap had a TR7 and we all thought he might be a mental.

                      I didnít really fit either, because while they all understood the art of ploughing and drilling, I thought fields were something for crashing into. And I wanted a Golf GTI. ďItís what theyíre all driving in London these days,Ē I said one night in the Carpenters Arms. This was a mistake. A deathly hush fell over the bar. Heads turned. A dart slammed into a wall. Admitting that I might in some way be interested in the buying habits of people in Fulham was the same as admitting that I was interested in the sexual orientation of Larry Grayson.

                      The silence was broken after several agonising moments by one chap who was wearing especially stout shoes. ďAre you a poof?Ē he said menacingly. Which is the catch-all northern prelude to someone having their head kicked off.

                      The lure of the GTI, however, was strong. So I agonised over what colour Iíd like and precisely what sort of modifications I could afford if I took it to the GTI tuning centre at Silverstone. And then my eye was caught by the Scirocco. Underneath, it was the same as the Golf, but it had just the most agonisingly pretty body. So should I have this instead?

                      Unable to talk to anyone about this, in case they thought I was a southerner, I turned to the various motoring magazines, all of which were completely useless. They told me how big the boot was and the benefits of fuel injection and the precise dimensions of the rear seat, but I didnít care about any of this. All I wanted to know is whether, if I bought a Scirocco, itíd cause me to have more sex than if I bought a Golf.

                      I decided pretty much there and then that, one day, Iíd write about cars in a whole new way . . . but in the meantime I moved to London and bought the Scirocco ó a GLI with a tan interior ó and in a year I clocked up 54,000 miles in that car. I loved it. I can even remember the numberplate ó PUA 516W ó and I can definitely remember how heavy the steering became when I fitted 205/60 tyres.

                      Eventually I replaced my beloved Mk 1 with Mk 2. This was a terrible car, partly because I fitted a white steering wheel to match the white paintwork, and partly because the damn thing was a fully paid-up member of Exit. Over a period of six painstaking months, it used its own clutch cable to saw itself very nearly in half.

                      However, in the same way that we cannot remember rainy days from our childhood, or pain meted out by dentists, I tend to forget the dismal Mk 2 when I think of the Scirocco and remember with a dreamy fondness all the good times I had with (and in) that wonderful Mk 1.

                      And thatís why, as much as anyone else alive, I was so pleased to hear that VW was going to revive the name and bring the old girl back.

                      To drive, the new model feels pretty close to the Golf GTI, on which itís based. Which means it feels pretty close to perfect. The only weirdness is that it takes 7.2sec to get from 0 to 60, which is just half a second less than my old Mk 1 took 28 years ago.

                      More important than the speed, though, is the way it looks, and Iím not sure. The original Scirocco was designed by Giugiaro, who is a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci. This new one was done in house, and from some angles itís what Michael Winner would call historic. But from others itís a bit wet. And you should definitely be aware that in white it looks like a Stormtrooperís helmet.

                      In the past, this would have been a big problem because the only reason for buying a Scirocco, rather than a much cheaper Golf, was the extra style. Now, though, things are a bit different because, incredibly, the coupť is only £90 more than the hatch.

                      And youíll soon offset that because even though the two cars have a 2 litre direct-injection turbocharged engine, the Scirocco produces less carbon dioxide than the Golf. And is therefore in a lower tax band.

                      For even bigger savings, you could wait until VW introduces new versions of the car. One will have a 1.4 litre unit, which comes with a supercharger and a turbo, and the other ó God help us ó will be a diesel. Frankly, though, these cheapo models will be a bit like the fake Prada handbag my daughter bought on a recent day trip to Thailand. It looks like the real thing, but because it isnít, itís actually a bit crap.

                      Eventually, I am sure, thereíll be a 3.2 litre, four-wheel-drive version ó they could call it the Storm ó but for now, the TSI is the model to go for, and you should spend an extra £1,300 on the DSG system. Itís the only flappy-paddle gearbox that actually works in the real world.

                      Frankly, there arenít that many other boxes to tick. You get, as standard, multi-adjustable suspension that allows you to make the ride uncomfortable, you get climate control, you get a million bouncy castles that boing out of the dash if you hit a tree and you get a brilliant central command system that can be hooked up to your iPod. The only option Iíd bother with is the smoker package. Itís only £15, and choosing it would irritate the sanctimonious bastard who decided not to fit ashtrays as standard. If they offered a chlamydia pack, they couldnít sound more holier-than-thou.

                      Drawbacks? Well, the Scirocco is 97mm lower than the Golf, a point that becomes blindingly obvious every time you try to get inside. You really do have to pull your head into your ribcage if you donít want to bang it on the roof. To get in the back, itís best to cut yourself in half.

                      And thatís it, really. I suppose I could mention the boot sill, which is a bit high, but then Iíd sound like those old motoring hacks who drove me into this business all those years ago.

                      To make me sound nothing like those guys: the new car is like an old girlfriend you meet after hooking up on Friends Reunited. To everyone else sheís just an ordinary middle-aged woman, but to you sheís a bit more than that . . .

                      Thatís the new Scirocco. To most people itís just another car. But for those of us who had the old one, it arrives on the scene, after a 15-year period of nothing but grey skies and drizzle, like the warm, fast wind from which it takes its name.
                      If in doubt, flat out.


                      • #12
                        "And I wanted a Golf GTI. ďItís what theyíre all driving in London these days,Ē I said one night in the Carpenters Arms. This was a mistake. A deathly hush fell over the bar. Heads turned. A dart slammed into a wall. Admitting that I might in some way be interested in the buying habits of people in Fulham was the same as admitting that I was interested in the sexual orientation of Larry Grayson."

                        *grinnikt zich suf*

                        Skitterende review, weer. Heeft er trouwens nog iemand naar Clarkson Island gekeken?? Zie mijn vorige post. :)
                        Mini Cooper Clubman
                        "I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - William Melvin Hicks
                        "Jasper val dood." - RH


                        • #13
                          This is

                          Clarkson Island.....

                          Het is verontrustend dat de enige zekerheid in ons leven (dat we doodgaan) nog steeds niet empirisch is bewezen voor iedereen.
                          Het licht aan het einde van de tunnel is een aanstormende trein


                          • #14
                            Clarkson Island is erg lachuh trouwens ja !

                            Dat haar ook.... lol
                            If in doubt, flat out.


                            • #15
                              Alsjeblieft jongens, weer een leuk stukje.


                              Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

                              A one-armed man with a twitch can go fast in a Gallardo.

                              Brutally brilliant

                              In the current economic conditions, the number of people who might want to buy the car you see photographed this morning Ė a new, even more powerful Lamborghini Gallardo Ė is about six. In fact, I donít know why Iím bothering to fill the rest of the page. Itíd be easier and cheaper to send them a letter.

                              Then we could ignore the snarling, fuel-sucking, speed-busting supercar and look instead at how the streets of Britain might be when everything has gone bust, no one has a job and the government has decided to build a huge dam in the Cheddar Gorge just to keep everyone busy.

                              I do not believe there will be significantly more buses. The fact is that once you have been exposed to the freedom of personal transportation, it is impossible to retreat to the misery of veal-style collectivism. Buses are a safety net, a device civilisation uses to move around the poor and the weak. Nothing more.

                              Nor do I believe there will be that many electric cars. They enjoyed their rise in popularity when times were good and we could all afford to have guilt about ecoism. But when you are forced to eat your dog to stay alive, it is very difficult to spare a thought for the polar bears and the cedar trees of Lebanon. And anyway, they donít work.

                              For guidance on the future, itís tempting to look at France. Many years ago, when my head was full of hair and sixth-form politics, I argued that, in Paris, a car is not used to show off the wealth of its driver, only his level of interest in all things motoring. It is quite normal, I said, for a rich man who has no interest in cars to drive a beaten-up Clio, while his secretary, who loves to drive fast, has a big BMW.

                              It was a lovely theory but it was wrong. Because, if we exclude the CŰte díAzur, which is now Moscow-on-Sea, we find that in fact no one in France has a nice car, no matter how interested they may be in motoring. This is because France is essentially communist and anyone who displays outward signs of wealth is fearful that soon a mob will come and his head will be in a basket.

                              Here, there has never been a successful revolution. Oh weíve cut a kingís bonce off but it only lasted a couple of days before the Paddy Basher was gone and Mr Kingís offspring was sitting in the hot seat. Today, the country is full of people who dislike the rich but they stick to vandalising Range Rovers rather than beheading the Queen. And anyway, itís equally full of Essex and Cheshire; places where people will sleep on bare floorboards before they stop driving into town in the Bentley.

                              Britain is fundamentally middle-class. There are no walnut-faced sons of the soil with hate in their hearts. Basically, we all want a plasma television. Weíre all show-offs. We strive to be tall poppies. And, as a result of this, the car, whatever form it may take in the future, will always be mired here in mammonish k rather than cornering g.

                              So, in order to decide what sort of car Britain will be using in the near future, we must examine exactly what we require it to do. It must be considerably cheaper and less expensive to run than the cars we have now. Power will not matter due to the governmentís latest moronic wheeze to put average-speed cameras on all motorways. It must be available in a range of versions so that Chelmsford can continue to demonstrate its superiority over Wakefield. And with half of Africa and eastern Europe living here, it needs to be small to deal with the congestion.

                              Japan is already there. Yes, there are big Lexuses and yakuza Mercs prowling the streets, but most people drive what they call kei cars: extremely small, extremely light, extremely fuel-efficient personal modules. Some have Rolls-Royce radiator grilles. Some have ladders on the roof. Anyone who sets up a business importing these cars to Britain right now will do very well. Frankly, Iím amazed Honda, Toyota and Subaru havenít cottoned on already.

                              Perhaps they know what I know: that actually Japan is ahead of us but still some way behind Vietnam, where everyone has a small motor-bike. They are used as family saloons, lorries, pose-mobiles and taxis. And the system works, even when it rains, which it does, hard, and often for nine months of the year. I really can see a day when London looks much the same as Hanoi does today.

                              Funny, isnít it. Vietnam never quite caught up to the West but now itís accidentally overtaken us. Even as we speak, I have a small Vespa in my garage. Soon, I may be forced to go out there and see how the damn things works.

                              In the meantime, letís get back to the Lamborghini Gallardo that may be bought by only half a dozen people in the next century. Look at it this way: very few people will ever take a holiday on the international space station. But that wouldnít stop me reading about what itís like up there . . .

                              Thereís a very good reason why the baby Lambo is always seen as a poor relation to Ferrariís F430. Itís because the Ferrari is a better car. Drive them back-to-back around a racetrack and the difference is immediately obvious. The red car feels tight, sharp, pointy and modern. The orange car with the lime green seats, feels, in comparison, like a canal boat. It rolls more in the corners, pitches more under braking, is less immediate in the way it accelerates and less responsive through the steering.

                              However, hereís why I love the Lambo. To get the best out of a 430, you need to have testes like globes. Whereas a one-armed man with a twitch can go just as fast in a Gallardo while eating a sandwich and having a spasm attack.

                              And now he can go faster still because Lamborghini has upped the size of the V10 from 5 to 5.2 litres. That means you now get 552bhp, and that, coupled with a weight saving of 44lb, means you arrive everywhere in a cacophony of barking, wailing exhaust noises slightly before you set off. It is ridiculously quick. Mad quick. Eyes-on-stalks bonkers. Way, way faster than a standard Ferrari 430, massively louder, too, and because of the squidge-matic suspension and four-wheel-drive system, just as easy to drive as its predecessor.

                              Some have said in the past that the Gallardoís sister car, the cheaper Audi R8, was very similar. Not any more it isnít. It is David Miliband in the face of Russian aggression.

                              Thereís more. The Gallardo has always been a lovely-looking car, much more striking and desirable than the Ferrari. And the new model, with its new Reventůn-style nose, is even better. The fact is that curves on a car never look as good as straight lines. The old Ford Scorpio proved that and the sharp, super-creased Lambo hammers the point home. We see the same thing with women. A fat girlís curvy round face does not have the same appeal as the straight lines found on Keira Knightley or Kristin Scott Thomas.

                              Pointlessly, I shall now run you through the costs. They are very high. But at least the fuel consumption has been improved by 18%. Oh and donít bother with the manual version. If you want a Gallardo, get the one with the flappy paddles.

                              If, then, you like to dream as you commute to the dole office on your Yamaha FS1E, dream about the Lambo. Lamborghinis have always been the heart and soul of the supercar scene and this is the most Lamborghinish model that has ever been made.
                              If in doubt, flat out.


                              • #16
                                Haar bedoelt 'ie ;-)

                                If in doubt, flat out.


                                • #17
                                  Thanks m@rc! (2 keer ;-)
                                  Cool verhaal weer.
                                  De nw Gallardo ziet er super uit en 552pk lijkt me ook net genoeg.

                                  Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                                  Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                                  Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                                  BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                                  • #18
                                    Clarkie is weer in vorm
                                    Close your eyes, hum and, hopefully, we can make it go away.
                                    De rest kan je hier

                                    Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


                                    • #19
                                      Cadillac CTS-V

                                      The Stigís car has blown up. Itís not surprising really, given the way he drives, but whatever, he now needs a new one. His requirements are very simple: it must have a ďloose back endĒ, several hundred horsepower, almost no suspension, extraordinary acceleration, a vivid top speed and a traction control system that can be turned off, completely and for ever.

                                      Lewis Hamiltonís tail-happy McLaren would be ideal except for one minor, but important, detail.

                                      The Stig also insists that his new car must be capable of at least 35 miles to the gallon.

                                      Yes, even Top Gearís peculiar racing driver, a man who eats raw mince and fills his spare time by chasing sheep, has noticed that the economy has gone wrong and that he must have an everyday car that is economical.

                                      You may think he has a point. Buying fuel is surely the most painful experience known to man, partly because petrol pumps deliver it so unbearably slowly, and garages are such unpleasant places, with their horrible pies and silly country and western CDs on special offer, and partly because the cost is just so enormous.

                                      It costs nearly £100 to fill my car, and 210 miles later I have to spend another £100 to fill it up again. And for why? Itís not like spending £100 on a delicious supper, which would be memorable and pleasant. We only use fuel to get us to work, which is boring, or to the shops at weekends, which is hateful.

                                      Fuel is like washing-up liquid: something you must have in your daily life but that is extremely boring. And thatís why all of us want to go as far as possible between fill-ups. And thatís why most people think it makes sense to make fuel economy a central pillar of their new car-buying decision.

                                      Donít be so sure. The figures put out by governments and car manufacturers are theoretical, which is a Greek way of saying ďwrongĒ.

                                      You are therefore basing your buying decision on nothing but hot air and probabilities. And this can lead to much disappointment.

                                      Making the situation worse are the bores you bump into occasionally at the local Harvester. They always tell you that they manage to get 80mpg from their old Vectra. This is not true. They are making it up in a desperate bid to appear clever ó which they arenít, or they wouldnít have a Vectra.

                                      Whenever someone, and they always have a branded bomber jacket, says they achieve more than 70mpg from a family saloon, stick your fingers in your ears and hum. Because all they are doing is trying to make themselves feel better about the awful hand God has dealt them.

                                      Sadly, however, people believe preposterous mpg figures like this are possible. And that the official government figures are accurate too. Only the other day, I received a letter from a Mr Disgruntled of Kent, who had bought a Mercedes Smart car, expecting to drive for several years between trips to the pumps. And then found to his horror that it was doing only twentysomething miles to the gallon.

                                      He has taken his car back to the garage, which says there is nothing wrong with it. But the garage is wrong too. There is, Iím afraid. Itís called ďthe person behind the wheelĒ.

                                      Unlike Bomber Jacket Manís Vectra, a Smart car is capable of 70mpg but only if you drive it with extreme care. And plainly, Mr Disgruntled, you are not doing this.

                                      Itís not easy, and itís not pleasant, indulging in what the Americans call ďhypermilingĒ, but the effect on your wallet can be profound. If, for instance, you have a BMW 5-series and you get 25 to the gallon, I reckon you could pretty much double that. Without your journeys becoming appreciably longer.

                                      Itís all to do with how you brake and how you accelerate. Itís about finesse, reading the road ahead, anticipating, treating the pedals and the steering wheel as though they are made from stained glass. Itís about the shoes you wear, and turning the air-conditioning off.

                                      Maybe it would be a good idea to make all this a part of the driving test. At present you are told how to stop and how to reverse round a corner, but at no point will an instructor tell you to accelerate briskly, and to build up speed when going down a hill so you can ease off the throttle when going up the next one.

                                      You may be tempted by all of this, but Iíll warn you. It is extremely boring and unbelievably tiring. Popping into town for a pint of milk can become more exhausting than trying to hop there on one leg. And for what? So that you achieve 50mpg, which is still 20 less than Bomber Jacket Man claims to get from his old Vectra without really trying.

                                      Itís probably better then, if you want to save money ó and we do ó to choose a car, and then see if another manufacturer can sell you something similar for much less.

                                      And that brings me, briefly, to the BMW M5. Itís a little bit complicated perhaps, with all its various settings, but provided you have the time to set it up properly, it goes, stops and steers with a panache and a zest thatís extremely rare among four-door saloons. Lovely, except it costs £65,890, and these days you could buy an island for less.

                                      So now we arrive at the Cadillac CTS-V, which you can buy, in the UK, for about £47,000. Thatís a saving of roughly £19,000. And that equates to approximately 3,800 gallons of fuel. You could drive an M5 as though it were made from bits of your children from now to the end of time and youíd never make up the difference.

                                      So what, then, are the drawbacks to the Cadillac? Well, first of all, itís a Cadillac, so everyone will think you are a Wilmslow pimp. And second, this hot version will be available with only left-hand drive.

                                      Depreciation? Yes, a Cadillac will plummet as though itís being fuelled by melted-down Bradford & Bingley executives. But the M5 is not exactly a 10-year government bond, is it?

                                      So make no mistake: financially, the Cadillac smashes the M5, completely and utterly. And hereís the next part. Round the NŁrburgring, it smashes it again. With an ordinary part-time racing driver at the wheel, an automatic version of the hottest ever Caddy went round in 7min 59sec ó a record for any four-door saloon.

                                      Part of the reason is its 6.2 litre supercharged V8, which develops a dizzying 556bhp. Thatís 49 more than you get from an M5. The Cadillac is mind-bogglingly fast. The manual version I drove will hit 191mph. And it accelerates with a verve that truly leaves you breathless. It also makes an utterly irresistible growl. Like an AMG Mercedes but more refined. More muted.

                                      And now you are expecting the ďbutĒ. But there isnít one. Maybe the steering is a bit too light, but other than this it handles beautifully when you have the Ferrari-style magnetic dampers in ďsportĒ, and rides soothingly when you switch the knob to ďcomfortĒ. This is unusual for an American car, which usually can do neither thing properly.

                                      Even more surprising is the interior. Trimmed by the people who do the Bugatti Veyron, it is ó and you wonít believe this ó a nice place to be. The seats are by Recaro, the leather is hand-stitched and the graphics donít appear to have come from Amstrad circa 1984. You would swear you were sitting in something European.

                                      Of course, youíd expect the illusion to be gone when you look at the exterior. It isnít. There are no badges written in the typeface used on northern wedding invitations. Thereís no onyx. Maybe the chicken-wire radiator grille is a bit sudden, but then again, have you seen the front of a Bentley recently? No. Iím sorry but itís a good-looking car, this.

                                      As you may have gathered, then, I like it. I believe that ultimately an M5 would be more satisfying, a touch more crisp. But if you had an M5 youíd have to drive it carefully, to save fuel. With the Cadillac, you can blast through the recession at 191mph, knowing you made the savings when you bought it.

                                      The Clarksometer
                                      You'd be mad to buy anything else
                                      If in doubt, flat out.


                                      • #20
                                        Klinkt serieus goed die Caddy!! Het is natuurlijk geen M5, maar hij is wel veel goedkoper EN sneller!

                                        Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                                        Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                                        Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                                        BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                                        • #21
                                          Oh man, lachuh dit weer.

                                          Vespa GTV Navy 125

                                          Recently, various newspapers ran a photograph of me on a small motorcycle. They all pointed out that I hate motorbikes and that by riding one I had exposed myself as a hypocrite who should commit suicide immediately.

                                          Hmmm. Had I been photographed riding the local postmistress, then, yes, Iíd have been shamed into making some kind of apology. But it was a motorcycle. And I donít think it even remotely peculiar that a motoring journalist should ride such a thing. Not when there is a problem with the economy and many people are wondering if they should make a switch from four wheels to two.

                                          Unfortunately, you cannot make this switch on a whim, because this is Britain and there are rules. Which means that before climbing on board you must go to a car park, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Dave ó all motorcycle instructors are called Dave ó explains which lever does what.

                                          Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again.

                                          This is called compulsory basic training and it allows you to ride any bike up to 125cc. If you want to ride something bigger, you must take a proper test. But, of course, being human, you will not want a bigger bike, because then you will be killed immediately while wearing clothing from the Ann Summers ďDungeonĒ range.

                                          Right, first things first. The motorbike is not like a car. It will not stand up when left to its own devices. So, when you are not riding it, it must be leant against a wall or a fence. Iím told some bikes come with footstools which can be lowered to keep them upright. But then you have to lift the bike onto this footstool, and thatís like trying to lift up an American.

                                          Next: the controls. Unlike with a car, there seems to be no standardisation in the world of motorcycling. Some have gearlevers on the steering wheel. Some have them on the floor, which means you have to shift with your feet ó how stupid is that? ó and some are automatic.

                                          Then we get to the brakes. Because bikes are designed by bikers ó and bikers, as we all know, are extremely dim ó they havenít worked out how the front and back brake can be applied at the same time. So, to stop the front wheel, you pull a lever on the steering wheel, and to stop the one at the back, you press on a lever with one of your feet.

                                          A word of warning, though. If you use only the front brake, you will fly over the steering wheel and be killed. If you try to use the back one, you will use the wrong foot and change into third gear instead of stopping. So youíll hit the obstacle you were trying to avoid, and youíll be killed.

                                          Then there is the steering. The steering wheel comes in the shape of what can only be described as handlebars, but if you turn them ó even slightly ó while riding along, you will fall off and be killed. What you have to do is lean into the corner, fix your gaze on the course you wish to follow, and then you will fall off and be killed.

                                          As far as the minor controls are concerned, well . . . you get a horn and lights and indicators, all of which are operated by various switches and buttons on the steering wheel, but if you look down to see which one does what, a truck will hit you and you will be killed. Oh, and for some extraordinary reason, the indicators do not self-cancel, which means you will drive with one of them on permanently, which will lead following traffic to think you are turning right. It will then undertake just as you turn left, and you will be killed.

                                          What Iím trying to say here is that, yes, bikes and cars are both forms of transport, but they have nothing in common. Imagining that you can ride a bike because you can drive a car is like imagining you can swallow-dive off a 90ft cliff because you can play table tennis.

                                          However, many people are making the switch because they imagine that having a small motorcycle will be cheap. It isnít. Sure, the 125cc Vespa I tried can be bought for £3,499, but then you will need a helmet (£300), a jacket (£500), some Freddie Mercury trousers (£100), shoes (£130), a pair of Kevlar gloves (£90), a coffin (£1,000), a headstone (£750), a cremation (£380) and flowers in the church (£200).

                                          In other words, your small 125cc motorcycle, which has no boot, no electric windows, no stereo and no bloody heater even, will end up costing more than a Volkswagen Golf. That said, a bike is much cheaper to run than a car. In fact, it takes only half a litre of fuel to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident. Which means that the lifetime cost of running your new bike is just 50p.

                                          So, once you have decided that you would like a bike, the next problem is choosing which one. And the simple answer is that, whatever you select, you will be a laughing stock. Motorbiking has always been a hobby rather than an alternative to proper transport, and as with all hobbies, the people who partake are extremely knowledgeable. It often amazes me that in their short lives bikers manage to learn as much about biking as people who angle, or those who watch trains pull into railway stations.

                                          Whatever. Because they are so knowledgeable, they will know precisely why the bike you select is rubbish and why theirs is superb. Mostly, this has something to do with ďgetting your knee downĒ, which is a practice undertaken by bikers moments before the crash that ends their life.

                                          You, of course, being normal, will not be interested in getting your knee down; only in getting to work and most of the way home again before you die. Thatís why I chose to test the Vespa, which is much loathed by trainspotting bikers because they say it is a scooter. This is racism. Picking on a machine because it has no crossbar is like picking on a person because he has slitty eyes or brown skin. Frankly, I liked the idea of a bike that has no crossbar, because you can simply walk up to the seat and sit down. Useful if you are Scottish and go about your daily business in a skirt.

                                          I also liked the idea of a Vespa because most bikes are Japanese. This means they are extremely reliable so you cannot avoid a fatal crash by simply breaking down. This is entirely possible on a Vespa because it is made in Italy.

                                          Mind you, there are some drawbacks you might like to consider. The Vespa is not driven by a chain. Instead, the engine is mounted to the side of the rear wheel for reasons that are lost in the mists of time and unimportant anyway. However, it means the bike is wider and fitted with bodywork like a car, to shroud the moving hot bits. That makes it extremely heavy. Trying to pick it up after youíve fallen off it is impossible.

                                          Whatís more, because the heavy engine is on the right, the bike likes turning right much more than it likes turning left. This means that in all left-handed bends, you will be killed.

                                          Unless youíve been blown off by the sheer speed of the thing. At one point I hit 40mph and it was as though my chest was being battered by a freezing-cold hurricane. It was all I could do to keep a grip on the steering wheel with my frostbitten fingers.

                                          I therefore hated my experience of motorcycling and would not recommend it to anyone.
                                          If in doubt, flat out.


                                          • #22
                                            ROFL! Fantastisch verhaal weer!!

                                            Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                                            Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                                            Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                                            BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                                            • #23
                                              *klimt weer terug op de stoel *
                                              Het is verontrustend dat de enige zekerheid in ons leven (dat we doodgaan) nog steeds niet empirisch is bewezen voor iedereen.
                                              Het licht aan het einde van de tunnel is een aanstormende trein


                                              • #24

                                                de nieuwe DVD van Jeremy
                                                Veritatis simplex oratio est


                                                • #25
                                                  Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133

                                                  Not that long ago, so many people had Ford Sierras that they formed an army large enough to shape the outcome of general elections. And now? Theyíre gone. All of them. Youíre more likely to see a Model T.

                                                  It is the same with all cars. They come. They provide a frisson of excitement for the new owner, they get sold to a minicab driver and when they are so full of hen-night sick that their wheels stop going round properly, they are dismantled and turned into toasters.

                                                  The speed at which this process happens is astonishing. In fact, Iíve just worked out that it takes longer to design and engineer a new car than it does for that car to go from being someoneís pride and joy to being the handle on a Morphy Richards kettle.

                                                  Just last week I sold my Volvo XC90 because it was getting a bit tired. There was a sense that soon it would start to cost money and that weíd be better off handing that problem onto a minicab driver and getting a shiny new one instead. It was sad to see the old girl go, but hey, within a couple of years, Iíll be drinking some fizzy pop from its rear wing and keeping my vegetables crisp and fresh in what used to be its bonnet.

                                                  I think, however, that soon this is going to have to stop. In the good times, itís all very well replacing your car because itís got a bit of asthma but when a burly man from Northern Rock is outside with a removals lorry and an eviction notice, people are going to keep their cars for years after the ďbest beforeĒ date has expired.

                                                  The question is: how long can you reasonably keep a car before it oxidises, explodes, disintegrates or kills you and everyone within a 30-mile radius? And the answer is: pretty much for ever.

                                                  When the trade embargo slammed shut on Cuba in 1962, it became impossible to get spare parts. So if the windscreen wiper motor packed up on your Buick, you couldnít go to a dealer and get a new one. Nor could you replace the car. You had to fix it as best you could.

                                                  They even worked out that when brake fluid became manky and useless, it could be replaced with a concoction made from shampoo, sugar and alcohol. And to invigorate a dead battery, they simply shinned up a telegraph pole and attached it to the overhead power lines. Only some people were killed doing this.

                                                  I saw similar feats in Vietnam back in the early 1990s. One chap had cleverly replaced the suspension on his ancient Chevrolet with scaffolding poles. It wasnít a desperately elegant, or comfortable, solution but it did mean he had a car. Which, as we discovered last week, is infinitely better than the alternative. A stupid motorcycle.

                                                  Poverty is the mother of ingenuity . . . unless you were born like me with fists of ham, fingers of butter and a complete inability to fathom how anything that is broken can be repaired. If Iíd been living in Cuba in 1962 and my washing machine had broken down, Iíd still be wearing the same underpants today.

                                                  And if the suspension had collapsed on my 1971 Chevrolet, I would have sat down at the side of the road and wept solidly until communism went away. So I fear the hard times that lie ahead because when my new Volvo starts to make a knocking noise I will have absolutely no clue what is causing it and no chance of making it go away.

                                                  The underside of a car to me is a strange and frightening place full of limitless possibilities for ending up with a dire need for a blood transfusion. None of the bolts can be worked loose and even if you do have the muscles of Samson, there is still an overwhelming fear that what you are about to undo will cause the entire car to collapse in such a way that no man will ever be able to put it back together again.

                                                  Once I did take the engine in my old Ford Cortina to pieces in a bold but ultimately unrewarding attempt to see how it worked. And I was never able to enjoy the car again because I knew that Iíd rebuilt its beating heart and that there had been one important-looking nut and bolt left over when Iíd finished.

                                                  I dare say many of you are in the same boat. Which means that you will not be able to mend your car in the hard times. So you will have to replace it. And because money is tight, and youíve already eaten all the family pets, your new car is going to have to be much smaller and much more economical than anything youíve driven since you were a student.

                                                  There are many small cars from which you could choose but most have got ďcheapskateĒ written all over them. No. Youíll be wanting something with a bit of style, a bit of pizzazz. And that will lead you inexorably to the door of the Fiat 500 Abarth, a turbocharged shoe of a thing that looks good, goes extremely quickly and has just as many seats as a Range Rover Vogue.

                                                  In many ways, it reminds me of the original Golf GTI. A car you would buy even if you could afford a Maserati Quattroporte. It really is extremely appealing with just the right blend of cuddly cutesiness and naked growling aggression. A sabre-toothed labradoodle, if you will.

                                                  It is excellent. But before you sign on the dotted line, I thought it might be a good idea to check out the Fiatís only real competitor: Renaultís equally tiny Twingo Renaultsport 133.

                                                  At first glance, it looks like a normal run-of-the-mill micro-hatchback. The sort of thing your geography teacher might drive. Thatís bad. But look again. Note the big wheels, the wider track, the get-out-my-way frontal styling: hints that if it were to get into a fight with Alien and Predator it might just emerge victorious. And you can buy it with the cross of St George painted on the wings, which is eye-catching, if not very French.

                                                  Under the bonnet, thereís a 1.6 litre engine that delivers 133bhp to the sole of your right foot. That sounds rather mouth-watering in a car that weighs about the same as a Lotus Elise. And it is. Itíll do 0-60mph in 8.5sec and hit 125mph, and thatís lovely. But the Fiat is considerably faster, and more economical and it produces less carbon dioxide, which the government thinks is relevant in some way to the amount of tax you pay.

                                                  That said, with the Fiat expected to cost £13,500 when it goes on sale, the Renault is cheaper to buy. In theory. The list price is £11,550 but if you want any luxuries at all Ė and you will if you are downsizing from a Range Rover Ė youíd better break out the Treasury bonds because just about everything is an optional extra. You even have to pay extra if you want it to drive well.

                                                  The standard car comes with a relatively soft chassis, which is fine if you want a shopping trolley. But if thatís what you want, why bother with the Twingosport? Why not just go down to Asda one night with some bolt-cutters?

                                                  To make the car really fly, you need the £650 Cup chassis, which is lower and firmer. With this, the little Renault is tremendous. Better, in fact, than the Fiat. But the price you pay, apart from the £650, is a ride that would drive you absolutely mad.

                                                  Itís hard, then, to recommend the Renault. Itís got clever rear seats that move about and the dashboard is deliciously mad. But then the Fiat is a joyous place to sit as well. And you can buy it with an SS pack that takes it up to 160bhp.

                                                  Itís a bit of a one-horse race, if Iím honest. The Renault might be in tune with the times. But the Fiat sings the same song more loudly and better. And, of course, being Italian itíll have become a household appliance by the time the economy is back to normal. So you can get back to your Range Rover.

                                                  THE CLARKSOMETER

                                                  Clarksonís Verdict: Iíd rather have a Fiat 500
                                                  If in doubt, flat out.


                                                  • #26
                                                    This car, then, is a bit like having a very beautiful but bonkers girlfriend. Youíll know exactly why you got involved, but equally youíll know that the relationship can never last.
                                                    Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


                                                    • #27
                                                      ...base the speed weíre allowed to drive on our IQ
                                                      Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


                                                      • #28
                                                        It makes no sense . . . unless you are a small man, with no antlers and a tiny willy.
                                                        welke vierwielers neemt Clarkie hiermee op de korrel?
                                                        Hyundai Kauai EV 64 kWh - my 20 - 34K + 14K km


                                                        • #29
                                                          Zo, de RS6 krijgt maar 3 v/d 5 sterren? Mooi zo.
                                                          Doe mij maar een auto die 1000kg weegt en 300pk heeft ipv eentje van 2000kg en 600pk.

                                                          Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                                                          Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                                                          Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                                                          BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                                                          • #30
                                                            Oorspronkelijk geplaatst door Harry Bekijk bericht
                                                            Zo, de RS6 krijgt maar 3 v/d 5 sterren? Mooi zo.
                                                            Doe mij maar een auto die 1000kg weegt en 300pk heeft ipv eentje van 2000kg en 600pk.
                                                            Die jij bedoelt zijn out of the box eigenlijk onvindbaar. Een Artega misschien.

                                                            1000kg en 300pk.....mag 1250kg en 510pk ook?Dan ben ik klaar met zoeken, jij ook denk ik.

                                                            Verder lult Clarkson as ever, geinig en beetje hypocriet..in 1 ding heeft ie wel gelijk:De pk wedloop. Dat ie dan een Veyron op 'n bult gooit met andere sportwagens(want platter en 2 deuren denk ik) en een supersaloon het leven niet gunt(terwijl ie zelf toch een SL65 AMG reed of niet?)..tja.

                                                            Met pk's smijten kķn je doen...met rondetijden smijten vind ik leuker:)
                                                            "Aerodynamics are for people who cannot build engines"-Enzo Ferrari
                                                            MattheŁs 7:3-5
                                                            "I believe most things can be said in a few lines."-Enzo Ferrari
                                                            "One must keep working continuously; otherwise, one thinks of death."-Enzo Ferrari
                                                            "The mark of a great car is one whose overall competence exceeds what you should expect from its individual components and the 1M does just that"-Chris Harris


                                                            • #31
                                                              Ik zat gisteren toevallig even wheels on 7 te kijken end at ging o.a. over die Ascari KZ1. Die Klaas Zwart heeft een duidelijke mening over sportwagens. Die moeten gewoon het hardst over een circuit gaan, de rest is onbelangrijk.
                                                              Lijkt me echt een gaaf ding zo'n Ascari en dat circuit ook! Maar hij is wel bijna 2 keer zo duur als een F430.

                                                              Ferrari 308 GTB QV (1983)
                                                              Alfa Giulia 1300 (1966)
                                                              Mazda Miata (1990 Daily driver)
                                                              BMW 320Ci (van GF)


                                                              • #32
                                                                Ik vind dat JC (nee, niet die uit Nazareth) wel een punt heeft. Kijk, als je met zo'n ding het circuit opgaat dan heb ik niks gezegd, maar het meeste van die dingen tuft vrijwel stationair rondjes PC Hooft. Volgens mij lukt dat met 200 PK ook wel. :)
                                                                Mini Cooper Clubman
                                                                "I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - William Melvin Hicks
                                                                "Jasper val dood." - RH