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Motoring Editor
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Joined: 08 Feb 2008
Posts: 6917



PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:17 pm    Post subject: Jeremy Clarkson tests the new Porsche 911 Turbo Cab Reply with quote

Quote:
I can scarcely believe it but, as I write, it’s snowing again. This is the third big dump in a week and means, of course, all those poor sods who work for the BBC’s news programmes will be putting on their horrible anoraks and making their way to various gritting depots to provide live coverage of how Britain is locked in what the Daily Mail calls “ice chaos”.

This means that tonight, yet again, I shall be watching Robert Hall, in his 1980s skiing clobber, standing up to his testes in a drift, telling me not to go out unless it’s a matter of life and death and that if it is a matter of life and death I should take a shovel, some soup, a blanket and, for reasons that are not clear, a high-visibility jacket.

He will then lavish praise on the snowplough drivers for their round-the-clock public-spiritedness and, in turn, round on their bosses for not seeing the big freeze coming. I will then throw something at the television.

When it snowed in the olden days, everyone had snowball fights and a sense of delicious anarchy descended on the land. Not any more. Now, someone is to blame.

This, of course, is a problem for the BBC’s news programmes because normally when something goes wrong they point the finger at global warming. But for obvious reasons that won’t wash this time around so they’ve decided it’s all the fault of the council gritting departments.

If you think about it, that doesn’t wash either because we keep being told by the government and the BBC that thanks to climate change there will be no more snowy winters. So why bother stocking up with salt and grit for something that won’t happen again?

In fact, the real reason the country grinds to a halt whenever there’s a nip in the air is that everyone has lost the ability to drive a motor vehicle. You must have noticed. In dodgy conditions you are the only person who drives at the correct speed. Everyone else goes either far too slow or far too fast.

Last week I was driving home from Oxford — in a T-shirt to annoy Robert Hall — and I simply couldn’t believe it. I realise that in these parts the council grits only the bus and cycle lanes but the A44 wasn’t too bad. And yet everyone was doing 10mph. I’m not exaggerating for effect. They were doing 10. I could have gone faster on my hands and knees.

The fact is this. A car, left to its own devices, will travel in the direction you’ve pointed it. It will not suddenly veer into a ditch unless you do something sudden with the steering or the brakes.

If you are gentle; if you plan ahead — and this is possible because your car has windows and headlamps — you will see a corner coming and ease off the throttle to slow down a bit. All will be well.

Unless, of course, you are travelling on black ice, in which case you are at the mercy of gravity and witchcraft. But on the A44 that night there was no ice of any kind. I knew this because I have ears on the side of my head, through which I could hear water sploshing off the tyres. I could hear it even above the sound of Sally Traffic telling me to stay at home unless my head had actually fallen off.

And then I was overtaken by a smug-looking businessman in a BMW X5. Because he had bought a large 4x4, he imagined that somehow he was immune to the laws of physics and that the tyres fitted to his car were made from some kind of snow-resistant Velcro. Imagine, then, my sense of joy when I rounded the corner outside Enstone to find him in a hedge.

A similar misfortune befell a friend of mine who had got it into his head that somehow a Volvo XC90 is not subject to vagaries in the road surface and drove down a road covered in sheet ice, into a tree. As I arrived on the scene, it was very hard to arrange my face into something that showed concern, not helpless mirth.

A four-wheel-drive car, provided it is fitted with off-road tyres, will get you out of a snowy driveway and, slowly, up a snowy hill. But momentum is more than a match for a centre differential. So at all other times it is just as likely to crash as your grandad’s Peugeot.

That said, because I live 850ft above sea level in a county whose officials believe grit and pebbles are what poor people put on their houses, I have driven my Range Rover for the past two weeks. This is because it’s the only car capable of getting out of my drive and into town.

Mind you, it’s not capable of getting much farther because some Midlands numpty put the windscreen-washer bottle right at the front of the car in the air flow. So, about a mile after you set off, it becomes an ice cube and my windscreen becomes as see-through as cardboard.

I have, though, enjoyed stopping and offering lifts to the sorts of local people who normally loathe 4x4s. And been very amused by one pinch-faced old rambler who declined. “No, thanks. I’m enjoying the exercise,” she said, as she fell flat on her face.

The snow here is really deep. Peak District deep. Aviemore deep. I’ve just measured it with a tape measure and outside my office door there’s a drift that is 61cm from crust to gravel. That’s Canada deep. I’m thinking of ringing Robert Hall to see if he wants to deliver his next breaking news report while standing in it.

In places, there are little snowy hillocks that appear to be even deeper, but underneath each is a press demonstrator car that was delivered before Christmas and is still here, entombed in its own moulded igloo. There’s a Renault out there somewhere, and a Golf and a Mercedes E-class estate, and then there’s the subject of this morning’s missive — a Porsche 911 Turbo.

You need to be paying constant attention to stay abreast of the 911 range, which, in essence, is one car offered in countless subtly different ways. Do you know the difference between a 997 and a 996? Or a Carrera and a Carrera S? Or a GT2 and a GT3? I do but I can’t be bothered to explain everything here.

And anyway there’s no need because the Turbo buried in my drive is a convertible, and that, like all drop-top Porsche 911s, is unwise.

I can explain this. Each 911 is slightly different. Each is tailored to suit a slightly different driving style and locale. But fundamentally each is designed to be better to drive than anything else for the money.

Now. If you take the roof off a car designed to be a coupé, some of the structural rigidity will be lost. To compensate, extra strengthening is required, which makes the whole car heavier. This affects how the car feels, and since the whole point of a 911 is the “feel”, the point is lost. This is a fact.

A fact that isn’t true any more. A Ferrari F430 Spider is just as fast and feelsome round a track as the berlinetta. And so it goes with the 911. Supercar engineers can now make a heavier, less rigid convertible just as much fun to drive as its coupé sister.

But no one knows this. So if you drive a 911 Turbo convertible, everyone will laugh at you and say that you are a poseur and that you are having a midlife crisis. The time will therefore come when you pray for snowfalls to bury the embarrassment that you have brought upon yourself.

Weeks ago, when the Turbo arrived, I began to enjoy it. I thought it might be the first arse-engined Hitler-mobile that I might consider buying. But then, after a mile, the snow came, and despite the four-wheel-drive system, that was that.

I suspect there’s a very good car out there. But the reason it’s a very good car is, I’m afraid, buried under a ton of prejudice and three feet of snow.

Clarkson's verdict

Porsche 911 Turbo cabriolet



Engine: 3800cc, six cylinders

Power: 493bhp @ 6000rpm

Torque: 479 lb ft @ 1950rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Acceleration: 0-62mph: 3.7sec

Top speed: 193mph

Fuel/co2: 24.1mpg / 275g/km

Price: £113,467

Road tax band: M (405 for a year)

On sale: Now

http://www.timesonline.co.uk

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Zeb
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Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 557
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yawn Rolling Eyes

I could have written that..the guys starting to bore me these days
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pintomig
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this guy is an idiot! and his mates are no better, the short one should stick to doing Total Wipeout, and the other one better suited for antiques roadshow. Bring back the posh bird who likes to drive fast!!!
 
  
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spyderman
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Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 1094
Location: near Milton Keynes


PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Less than a third of the article is about the car - and then you could hardly call it a review. What a c*ck (his word). And yes, please bring back VBH!
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Zeb
Montreal


Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 557
Location: Lancashire (on loan from Yorkshire)


PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spyderman wrote:
Less than a third of the article is about the car - and then you could hardly call it a review. What a c*ck (his word). And yes, please bring back VBH!


you know sunday gone I put the telly on and made myself a coffee, songs of praise aint my bag so looked through sky and found an old episode of fifth gear. Vicki Butler Henderson, Tiff Needell and Jason plato...it was a far far better programme then the current clarkson dvd selling vehicle we get on TG now

Get those guys back on with quentin wilson for a market outlook too and we may have a decent motoring programme again
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XIIVVX
Monza


Joined: 08 Oct 2009
Posts: 219



PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How refreshing.

I spend some time over on a private flying forum that still has guys who think that Top Gear is entertaining and Clarkson is all-knowing when it comes to cars.

He isn't, he is a near-total knobhead.

Watch the late-lamented Fifth Gear team drive a car, and then anybody from TG apart from whatever is the current manifestation of the Stig in the same car. There is simply no comparison.

Plato / Needell / VB-H are DRIVERS who can present a bit. Clarkson, Gerbil and James May are journos / presenters who think they can drive a bit.

Oh for a decent motoring show again.
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betternotbigger
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Joined: 21 Sep 2009
Posts: 58



PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that TG is an entertainment rather than a car programme, it is not JC, RH and JM whom you should blame for the choice of programming available. It is, I believe, the BBCs single biggest moneyspinner worldwide and to expect them to change it (and make it less popular) is to dream of flying pigs.

Put any anti-TG prejudice aside and read the article carefully. All of JC's reviews only mention the car in the last couple of paragraphs (he is first and foremost an entertainer) and this article is no different. However, in this case the grudging nature of his praise for the car underlines how a man, known for his hatred of Porsches, was/is hugely impressed with it. He even acknowledges that he has considered parting with over £100k for one.

As a Porschephile I prefer to read grudging praise from a P-hater than eulogies from an avowed fan.
 
  
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XIIVVX
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

betternotbigger wrote:
It is, I believe, the BBCs single biggest moneyspinner worldwide and to expect them to change it (and make it less popular) is to dream of flying pigs.


As the UK audience is locked into a continuing decline series on series, even the producer now acknowledges that something needs to be done about it.
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Wattie
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pintomig wrote:
this guy is an idiot! and his mates are no better, the short one should stick to doing Total Wipeout, and the other one better suited for antiques roadshow. Bring back the posh bird who likes to drive fast!!!


Not so sure that she would be willing to work with JC again...

Oops, did I say that out-loud? Hand

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