Sunday – The Square Joystick

cropped-is-300h-f-sport-dyn-15-dpl-2013.jpgRemember when BMW introduced the infamous iDrive system in their cars? Ooh there was a fuss. Hated by both technophobes and those with conventional hands alike, BMW stuck with it. After a period of ‘refinement’ it’s now a relatively straightforward joystick for the navigation, media and telephone functions alike.

Lexus has a similar type of system in the IS but for some reason it has an oblong joystick, rather than round. That’s oblong in the sense that it’s not that easy to hold, or actually operate for that matter. This morning I was clicking through the screen options and found my cursor skipping all over the place.

It makes a sympathetic ‘bing’ when you want to connect, annoying but I’m sure you can switch it off. It’s my least favourite feature – that and the rather cheap looking centre console in the SE. I mean, this is a luxurious business car but it just doesn’t marry with the rest of the interior design, which is a cut above.

Apparently, the cockpit was inspired by the limited edition and very cool Lexus LFA. At least its bigger than previous IS cars, thanks to a wider wheelbase.

Sunday – No Ground Control


The Arnolfini Arts Centre in Bristol is surrounded by would-be space kids today. Nothing to do with the Clooney/Bullock movie Gravity – it’s the latest audition venue for the new Stars Wars films. Hundreds of bright you things, all looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

They could do far worse than start rehearsing for the role in the DS5. Seriously, it’s the most futuristic dashboard I’ve ever seen in a car. Part of the audition should be giving them the manual and seeing how long it takes to turn the head-up display screen off.

The button is hidden away in a centre console in the roof. It’s surrounded by switches for automatic sun blinds on the three sunroofs, plus a couple of drop-down sunglasses holders. How did we ever live without those?

I’d swap all those buttons for a better driver’s seat though. As funky as the leather interior is, the armchair-style driving position is quite awful, not helped by the upright angle of the foot pedals. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.

And this is made even worse by the lifeless power steering, which robs the Citroen of any driver enjoyment or feel. I don’t want to go to the Moon in comfort, just the local Waitrose please…

Tuesday – The Beating Heart


Jeremy One of my favourite touches in the XKR-S is the ‘start’ button on the centre console. It’s surrounded by warm charcoal leather and dark aluminium veneer that rather steals the limelight.

But climb into the Jaguar at dusk and that start button glows in rhythm with a beating heart. It’s just there to tempt you to press the brake pedal, then gently caress the button and bring the Big Cat to life. Subtle or what?

There is actually the minimum of fuss about the main dashboard. Apart from the touchscreen sat nav and music display, there are just controls for ventilation and very little else. It’s a masterclass in unclutteredness, so pay attention Mercedes…

The door trim is more complicated, with no less than nine buttons for seat adjustment, all trimmed in chrome. It’s a little overwhelmed but you get used to it.

Issues? Well, the sat nav is a nightmare to understand, my backside gets sore sometimes because the seats are so firm and don’t close the tailgate without warning tall passengers! Mind you, they will be doing extremely well to squeeze in the rear anyway.