As a UK motoring journalist there are a number of things that make writing about cars in this country unique. The first is the roads, I was driving along last week in a 550 BHP Jag XFS-R and realised I had not actually got my foot to the floor properly. Yes I had pushed the car, I was testing it, I had to, but the country roads just don’t allow you to really open up a car like that. If I lived in some US backwater I am sure I could find a big empty highway to thrash the living daylights out of it, but in Sussex? in the UK? not really. I am lucky enough to live in a rural part of Sussex and as such we have some stunning driving roads, great views, turns and dips, but no BIG straights. Of course, this doesn’t matter, I have said many times, the tougher the road the better the test. If a car still handles, performs and does what it is meant to on challenging roads then it’s a good car. If it only goes well on an airfield then it is a different kind of car, its a track car!
The other thing we have to deal with is speed limits, 70 mph really isn’t very much, stopping distances are based on cars that are 50 years old and so the speed limit it rather redundant too. Don’t get me wrong UK speed limits in towns are perfect, 30 mph is spot on, but some the motorway limits are not. Lets look at Germany…they seem to be going on OK with no limit at all!
What else does the UK offer a motoring journalist? High petrol prices; it’s not really a problem but it does make testing a big V8 over the course of a week rather expensive, and we don’t get paid much!
None of this is really meant as a moan, it is more just a few things I was thinking about while driving around. I am a UK motoring journalist and I am very proud to be so, but it might be fun to be one in the states for a week or two perhaps?
We do however, have such beautiful places to drive, I am not sure I would want to be land locked and never have the pleasure of a coastal road, or be somewhere flat and not enjoy romping a torquey lump up a steep hill. I won’t be moving just yet.