Tuesday – Man And Machine

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Today I was at Reading University interviewing a cyborg. No, it’s true. Professor David Warwick had implants put in his arm which tapped in to his neurological system and allowed man and machine to work in almost perfect harmony.

I had a similar experience driving there in the Camaro. In so much as I finally started to feel at home is a tail happy, 400bhp rear-wheel drive, left-hand drive car. Believe me, add too much acceleration on a wet roundabout and it becomes interesting.

The Chevrolet ate up the miles on the M4 – as well as the petrol – and was supremely comfortable. It’s rather quirky, in a 1980s sort of way, which makes the whole experience of driving the Camaro quite endearing.

The dashboard is a strange mix of modernity, like the head-up display and large screen infotainment system, and retro ‘almost’ cool. A rash of four dials in front of the auto gearstick reminds me of a sporty Italian car from 40 years ago – totally pointless, unless you really do need to know your oil temperature on a clock-like dial.

Having covered almost 200 miles, it was time to put some fuel in too! Did I mention it was thirsty? 17.8mpg thirsty to be exact. Ouch.

 

Saturday – The BMW Factor

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The Saturday morning run along Wiltshire‘s Great Ridge almost came unstuck today. Not because of the large number of shooters out, or the horse that spooked my dog. No, I just completely forgot that this X1 isn’t four-wheel drive.

So when I parked on the slippery bank, about 100 yards down a farm track, I didn’t take into account the ‘BMW Factor’. As everyone knows, rear-wheel drive Beemers are just rubbish on anything other than tarmac. Really rubbish.

My 6 Series refused to budge on a virtually flat track in the Cotswolds last winter  – an older 3 Series Touring was even worse, unless you chucked a couple of bags of coal in the boot.

My problem with any car that looks like a four-wheel drive is that it SHOULD also behave like a 4×4. What’s the point of paying for all that extra ground clearance if you can’t even pull away smoothly from a grass bank?

So while our xLine X1 is loaded with £5,000 of extras, I’d ditch the lot and go for the four-wheel drive model. Then I could park on grassy banks without any worries.