Saturday – Sound Pipes

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If you like the sound of silence in your motor, the Vanquish is not for you. And the convertible Volante is even more noisy, despite a hood that is so good it’s hard to tell from the inside that you are actually in a drop top.

It must be a boy thing because the sound of the Aston Martin’s exhaust pipes are sheer music to my ears. I’ve even forsaken Test Match Special on the DAB radio to marvel at every tweak of the accelerator.

On the other hand, Jessica thinks the car is too noisy. I think she’s in love with the white leather interior and uncluttered dashboard though – the centre of which isn’t to my taste and doesn’t look worthy of a car costing £222,000.

Today we drove down to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire. It was pretty empty with most people out Christmas shopping, so all the exhibitions were empty.

First stop? The James Bond exhibition. Lots of Aston Martins on display there, one with a Gatling gun on the boot lid. Could have done with that on the drive home to clear a way through the appalling Christmas traffic…

 

Friday – Edging Towards 60

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Jeremy The one and only time I ever got involved in a car economy drive was with a crazy driving instructor from Gloucester who took it far too seriously. It was 1992 and he insisted we use his new Nissan Micra for a 100-mile journey across Herefordshire.

To make the car lighter, he stripped out as much of the seating as possible, the rear parcel shelf and even the cigarette lighter went. Aerodynamics were a high on his agenda too – so off came a windscreen wiper, the aerial was pushed down and we drove at around 55mph in complete silence.

Last night I drove a winding route across the Cotswolds at around the same speed in our refined and beautifully built Golf TDI – not because I wanted to but because there was a rash of tractors on the road for some reason. VW say the 150bhp diesel can return 68.9mpg – I knew it would never achieve that in everyday driving conditions but I suddenly found myself back on an economy drive!

Calling petrolhead friends for advice and company along the way, I slipped the engine out of ‘sport’ and into ‘eco’ mode. The dashboard display on the TDI serves up economy driving tips – mostly saying change up a gear but the mpg read-out next to it was the real focus of my attention.

I was determined to hit 60mpg but only tickled 58.9 on one flat stretch. When I finally reached my destination, I was back down to 57.1. I don’t think I could have done much better on the roads I used but for a 150bhp engine, it’s still impressive.

I’m not going to bleat on about the consumption too much but this Sunday we are off to the launch of the new Kia Carens in Hampshire. If I don’t hit 60mpg on the way there on faster A-roads I’m going to remove a windscreen wiper and take out the back seat too…