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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:03 pm    Post subject: Jeremy Clarkson test the Porsche Panamera Turbo Reply with quote

As we know, walking is stupid. It is dirty, difficult, tiring and fraught with many dangers. You could have a heart attack, you could be struck by lightning, you could be run over or, and this happens a lot, you could be attacked by a cow.

Look at it this way. No motorist has ever had to be rescued by a helicopter, but from now till the spring we will be bombarded with an endless stream of news stories about walkists who’ve had to be snatched from the jaws of death by the RAF after they fell over or got lost in a cloud.

I understand, of course, that we need the ability to walk, so that we can get to the fridge. But the idea of “going for a walk” seems completely ridiculous. Because one of two things will happen. You will either end up back at home again — and what’s the point of going out in the first place if that’s your goal? — or you will be killed.

Some pooh-pooh this, saying that when you are walking in the British countryside you will see all sorts of animals and plants that you would not see if you simply stayed at home playing Call of Duty 4 on the PlayStation.

Really? The last time I looked, Britain was not even remotely like Botswana. There are no brown hyenas, for instance, in Welwyn Garden City. Nor are there lions in Scotland. As we know from Kate Humble’s charming Autumnwatch series on the BBC, you need to be extremely patient if you want to see anything at all. And even if you are extremely patient, all you’ll ever see is a field mouse. Or maybe a barnacle goose. These are dull. Indeed, the total number of interesting animals in Britain is none.

However, if you are in a car, things are very different. Last weekend, I woke on Sunday morning with a catastrophic hangover, which my wife said would be cured with some fresh air. I tried explaining that the air in the sitting room near the PlayStation machine was just as fresh as the air in the garden but she was having none of it.

So children were roused, horses were tacked and arrangements were made to meet with the friends we’d been drinking with the night before ... for a morning in the countryside.

Some were in the saddle, some were on foot and a girlfriend and I were in a Range Rover, trying not to be sick. “This is walking, isn’t it?” she said, as we bumped over the field and down a precipitous slope into a wood.

She was wrong. It was better than walking. The noise of the diesel V8 was startling all sorts of animals that would have remained hidden and unseen to the tiptoeing rambler. Deer shot out of every bush, badgers scampered out of their holes and, with eyes blinking, rushed off to alert their mates. Hares leapt, rabbits snouted and foxes looked on slyly, wondering if there was perhaps a baby in the back of the car they could eat.

This is the thing about wildlife. As beaters know, a pheasant will simply sit still when a man walks by. But if the man starts making a noise, it will take off. The same goes for everything. Present an animal with a bearded biped in a cagoule and it will remain in situ, holding its breath until the fool has gone away. Present it with a twin-turbocharged Range Rover and it’ll leap out of its burrow, or nest, or set, to reveal itself in what passes in Britain for full glory.

A blast of the horn roused, even managed to scare, a family of barn owls, and normally you’d need a night-vision lens, a night without sleep and several months in hospital recovering from hypothermia to see one of those. I love barn owls, and seeing a whole herd of them, during the day, from the leather-lined, air-conditioned comfort of a Range Rover was sensational.

Later, we met up with the riders, who looked terrified and drained, and the walkers, who were covered in mud. Neither group had seen a single thing of any interest. And, what’s more, their hangovers were still just as bad as ours.

This, then, is my message to the producers of Autumnwatch. Instead of showing us Kate Humble sitting still for two days in the hope we get to see a stoat, and finding geese with satellites and building elaborate traps to catch shrews, simply drive about as fast as possible in a wood and there’ll be such a blizzard of fur and feathers, the viewers will get coochy-coo overload.

This is the joy of the motor car. It has so many uses. A commuter device, a means whereby others can assess your wealth, a crow-scarer, a thrill machine, a beater, a tool, a thing of exquisite beauty, a stereo, an air-conditioned respite from the sun and shelter in the rain. It is something you can love, cherish, abuse, polish and, if you are Stephen Ireland, that Manchester City player with the blinged-up Bentley, ruin.

And this brings me on to the Porsche Panacea, which sits in the mix like an apple core on a birthday cake. It seems to have no purpose at all.

I understand, of course, why Porsche chose to build a four-door saloon. It’s the same reason Lamborghini started work on such a thing, and Aston Martin too. These are small companies and it makes economic sense to squeeze as many models as possible from every component. You have the engine. You have the chassis. And you have a lot of people who won’t buy anything you make because they want four doors.

The trouble is, while Lamborghini and Aston Martin clearly employ talented stylists to ensure an elongated, widened four-seat variation on a two-seater theme does not end up looking like a supermodel who’s gone to fat, Porsche plainly gave the job to a janitor.

I actually wonder sometimes whether Porsche employs a stylist at all. Plainly, it had some bloke back in the Thirties, when Hitler created the ancestor of the 911, and it had someone else in the Seventies and Eighties, when it was making the wondrous 928 (the 944 wasn’t bad either), but today, God knows who’s in charge. Someone who, I suspect, has never been to art school.

The original design for the Boxster was exquisite but then someone obviously said: “Instead of making this, why don’t we make the actual car we sell look like that pushmi-pullyu thing from Doctor Dolittle?”

Then there’s the Gayman, which is simply hideous, and don’t even get me started on the Cayenne. No, do get me started. What were they thinking of? I understand the reasoning behind that 911-style nose, but did no one stop and think: “Hang on. Putting a 911’s face on the front of a truck is the same as putting Keira Knightley’s phizog on the front of Brian Blessed. The end result is going to look absurd”? And it does.

The Cayenne is one of the few cars that look better when a footballer has added 39in wheels, spoilers and wings. Because the bling detracts from the hopeless starting point.

The Panamera, though, is worse. People have tried to be kind, saying that it’s challenging and that it’s unusual. But the simple fact of the matter is this: it’s as ugly as an inside-out monkey. It’s dreadful. Part Austin Maxi, it looks like someone with no talent at all was trying to describe what they wanted to a blind person, over the phone.

I tried one on a recent trip to Romania and I thought it was a very good car. But that’s like saying Ann Widdecombe has a heart of gold. It’s possibly true but it’s completely irrelevant. You still wouldn’t.

Engine 4806cc, V8

Power 500bhp @ 6000rpm

Torque 516 lb ft @ 2250rpm

Transmission Seven-speed auto

Fuel 23.2mpg (combined)

C02 286g/km

Acceleration 0-62mph: 4.2sec

Top speed 188mph

Price £95,298

Clarkson's verdict
"It makes Quasimodo look like George Clooney"


>Competitive Porsche Insurance <


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Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Posts: 3708
Location: North Yorkshire

2006 Porsche 997 Carrera 2S

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried one on a recent trip to Romania and I thought it was a very good car. But that’s like saying Ann Widdecombe has a heart of gold. It’s possibly true but it’s completely irrelevant. You still wouldn’t.

I see dead pixels.
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Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 681

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately for once on a Porsche he is completely spot on. nooo

You only live once....stop dreaming....just do it
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Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Posts: 680
Location: Beds

1996 Porsche 993 Targa

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

964RS wrote:
Unfortunately for once on a Porsche he is completely spot on. nooo

+1 on above!

I looked at one at my local OPC, its not till you see it up close you realise how huge it is, even the man from the parts dept (not sales guy!) agreed when I called it a barge!

Still the word is that VW will kill it off soon!
"They don't tell me nuthin"
Targa gone!!
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