RIP Combustion engine? Time to drive old disgracefully…

It’s all over the media this morning – the death of the combustion engine. Everybody’s talking about it, the fact that diesel and petrol cars will be banned in the UK from 2040.

Massive news but we all saw it coming. There were enough warnings but it still sounds rather shocking if you like the sound of a V8. What is a petrolhead to do, I wonder?

It’s odd to think that my friend’s baby daughter will probable never drive a petrol or diesel powered car. Instead, she will be whisked to 60mph in silence – assuming autonomous cars will have already sucked the joy from motoring.

I know we have to change to save the planet but I can’t help feeling pangs of sadness and regret. Today I’ll be thinking about the first time I drove an Aston Martin, roaring through the Alps in a Maserati – and ripping up a racetrack in the Caterham Seven.

We have 23 years left to enjoy mad, ‘bad’ combustion cars and I for one intend to drive old disgracefully…

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The Caterham Seven 620S is just too extreme for British roads

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June 14 I used to have a Caterham savings account when I was younger – that’s how determined I was to own one. Then life got in the way and I bought a BMW estate.

I mention that because I love the little car but I’m not sure the 620S really has any place on British roads now. I drive a lot of high performance vehicles but this particular Caterham is too extreme, too powerful and too unforgiving for our congested highways.

On a track it’s a different story. The Seven brings supercar thrills to the masses at fraction of the cost. There’s nothing else for this sort of money that will excite so much.

But crawling through traffic, trying to keep within speed limits and not piling off through a hedge in the wet are not strong points of the Caterham 620S.

For once, I’d say buy one of the many less powerful models. I guarantee you will have just as much fun and life to drive anther day…

Thursday – 6 Series Motoring Masterclass

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Jeremy After 25 years of driving cars for a living, a milestone has been reached with the BMW 640d. A brief calculation suggests I’ve tested some 1200 new models and owned at least 30 – few of which have lasted longer than six months in the garage (2012 started with a 5 Series Touring, which morphed in to a Boxster, then a new style Beetle and finally became a 630d Coupe).

Apart from a Porsche 993 Targa in 1997 and a Caterham 7 in 2001, only the 630d has come close. So, as CarCouture waits on the seafront at Caen for the ferry home, the new 640d we have on test is going straight to the top of the pile – it’s one machine I don’t want to part with.

Why? Well, I thought my own 630d was one of the most competent, well-built and equipped cars I have ever driven. Sure, a 911 goes faster, a Caterham is more fun and a Ferrari turns heads but as a package, the 6 Series takes some beating.

Compared to the old 630d, the 640d feels very similar. The technology has advanced, with head up display, keyless entry and even more seat adjustment but otherwise, I wouldn’t say there is an awful lot of difference between them. And I loved the 630d – so the 640d is just that little bit better.

It’s a very grown up, sophisticated and stylish convertible that wants for little, apart from easier access to the rear seats and better rear view visibility. I still have the weekend to fall out of love with the BMW but it just isn’t going to happen….