Clarkson's Sunday Times Columns

Perc

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Yes, I’m going to watch it for sure.
 

tariqh

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I anyone else really exited for Clarksons farming show thanks to his collums? It sounds like it's gonna be a hoot (and an unmitigated disaster)
The main reason I'm sticking with my Amazon Prime Video membership is Clarkson & co, so yes will definitely watch the farm show. Very few shows deliver laugh out loud moments the way Clarkson's shows do.
 
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Alfa145

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Long time lurker here; agree, thanks @Revelator for what you are doing, we are all appreciating it (altough in silence most of the time).
And I as well am definately keeping my Prime subscription for whatever the three boys are going to release (and also as payback for a long time free top gear that I've watched)
 

Revelator

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[Clarkson has only one column this week, probably because The Grand Tour is filming.]

Eau no, my pipe dream's sprung a leak
Jeremy's latest wheeze: bottling his own spring water. How hard can it be? (Oct. 4)

Here's something juicy to get your head round this morning: 97.2 per cent of the water on Earth is in the oceans, and a little more than 2 per cent is stored as ice in glaciers and at the poles. Whereas just 0.023 per cent is to be found in our lakes, inland seas, rivers, soil and atmosphere.

Happily, about 30 times more than that is stored as ground water beneath our feet. If you go out today and dig a hole in your back garden, you will eventually find it, whether you live in Alice Springs, St Petersburg, Montevideo or Hemel Hempstead.

Even the Sahara desert is floating on a vast underground "lake". A study has suggested it covers a vast area beneath Libya, Chad and Algeria and could be 250ft deep.

So there we are, then. Problem solved. We can bathe and shower until we glisten with a pinky, wholesome goodness. We can water our gardens until our plants are giddy with the refreshing zestiness of it all, and the entire population of the planet can hydrate itself until we all look like some kind of hosepipe-based accident in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

What's more, we have it in our minds that the water deep below the surface of the Earth fell as rain perhaps three million years ago and has spent all that time absorbing enriching minerals from the rocks it has passed through, so that it will make our brains big and our colons clean.

That's certainly what I thought when I sank a borehole on the farm earlier this year. The drill went down 300ft. A pump was inserted. And out came … well, it's tricky to say what exactly.

It looked like water and it smelt like water, which is to say it smelt of nothing at all. But after just two months the irrigation system in the fields jammed up, all the crops were covered in a weird white residue and at home the dishwasher, washing machine and shower all ground to a halt.

Tests revealed that the borehole was delivering a curious and possibly lethal cocktail of manganese, sodium and sulphates. The levels were so far beyond legal limits that if anyone even stepped in a puddle of it, they'd immediately grow two heads.

The problem is that there's only a finite amount of water on Earth. What we have now is what the dinosaurs lived on. It's what the amoebae climbed out of, after they had grown legs. It's what cooled the volcanoes back when everything was hot and messy, and, if you're that way inclined, it's what God used to water the apple tree in the Garden of Eden.

It's said that if you drink tap water in London, it will have passed through at least six other people before it got to you, but that's nonsense. It will have passed through many more than that, and a few dogs, and the odd woolly mammoth, and even a few brontosauruses.

It will also have passed through rock that doesn't necessarily have the rejuvenating properties of French limestone or Alpine granite. Rock such as we have here in the Cotswolds. Dirty rock.

Diseased rock.

To solve the problem I was told to spend several billion pounds on a reverse osmosis system that takes everything out of the water, apart from the hydrogen and the oxygen. This would allow me to put back in what I wanted. A hint of David Ginola with a touch of Timotei waterfall, and perhaps a high note of woodsmoked apple blossom. I didn't fancy that, so instead I turned my attention to the springs that bubble up all over the farm. I have no idea why this spring water might be different from the water I obtained through the borehole, and neither does anyone else. I think it's fair to say we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about what's happening deep beneath our feet.

But for some reason it is different. Some of it is full of E. coli, some of it heavy with nitrates and some of it a blizzard of faecal matter. But the test results from one spring came back with a clean bill of health. It was perfect.

Further investigations revealed that the nearby village used to live on it until one night in 1972 when the water board switched it over to the mains. There was a near riot. Questions were asked in the House. Chris Tarrant came to cover the story for the local news channel. And even though I'm not a man who could tell red wine from Red Bull in a blind tasting, I can see why. It just tastes — what's the word? Better.

As the flow rate suggested about a million litres a day were coming out of the ground, I figured there'd be enough for me, and that I could bottle what was left over and sell it in my farm shop. Yes, I know. Peckham Spring. But, as it turned out, much more complicated.

First, the water had to be captured in a tank before it had had a chance to see the light of day. Then it had to be fed down a new pipe to another tank containing a pump, which would shoot the water up yet another pipe to a plant room, where all sorts of witchcraft would be used to remove all the things that the report said weren't there in the first place.

From here the water would travel along a final pipe to a wipe-down sterile room where it could be bottled. This was two shipping containers I'd welded together and kitted out with stainless steel fixtures and fittings. I ordered the bottles and had labels printed saying "Diddly Squat Water. It's got no shit in it". Because I knew it didn't. And on the hottest day ever recorded in Britain, production began.

Now, unless you arrived here from Somalia via Libya and Sangatte, I'm guessing you've never been in a shipping container on a hot day. Don't try it. It was 52C in there — so hot that I broke open every single bottle that rolled off the conveyor belt and downed the contents immediately.

Which is a bit scary, because before I could put the water on sale, I had to have it tested again, and, somehow, it's failed. I know it's clean at the source and I know all the pipework and filtration system is cleaner than the clean room at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. But a bacterium has managed to get in there, and now I have to flush the whole system out.

This will mean using detergent, which will eventually end up in the stream at the bottom of the garden. It'll then flow into the Evenlode and the Thames and then the sea, from where it will evaporate and be flung high into the sky before falling over Scandinavia as rain.

Which means that in a billion years from now, Lars and Ingrid will drink a bottle of Norwegian mineral water, imagining it to be as pure as can be. But to keep us happy in the here and now, it'll actually be a litre of Fairy Liquid with some dead germs in it.
 

Revelator

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Lights, camera, excessive caution! We're back, but the Covid control freaks are running our show (Oct. 11)

Boris Johnson made a pretty good speech last week at the non-existent Tory party conference. He spoke in a way people could understand, even when he was using words they couldn't. He struck exactly the right tone of exasperation on the virus, and painted a bright and sparkly vision of what Britain would look like when it had gone away.

I liked a lot of what he had to say, but, unfortunately, he's not in charge. He can dream all he likes about wind farms and electric aeroplanes and 14-year-olds buying houses, but the person running your day-to-day life now, and for the foreseeable future, is your company's Covid officer.

In the past, he or she will have been in charge of health and safety, which means they were responsible for erecting signs advising you that the floor was wet. Now, though, they have your actual life in their hands. And what they like to do, when you ask if something is possible, is say, after a lengthy important-sounding pause: "Yes."

If they say no, nothing will happen and they'll be out of a job. But if they give you a tentative yes, they are in complete control. If they tell you to staple your genitals to a piece of cardboard and quack like a duck, you will. Or you'll be out of a job.

The trouble is that in every single company, the health and safety officer is always the stupidest person on the payroll. No boss, when he's told by human resources that he must appoint someone to look after workforce safety, is going to choose the sharpest tool in the box. He's going to select that drongo Terry, from stores.

The first thing Terry does is buy a Roget's Thesaurus to make sure he never uses the word you'd expect. You don't "start" things with Terry, you "initiate" them. And you don't ever chat, you have a "conversation", not about what he's found out but what he's "ascertained".

And what he's ascertained, after reaching out to the weirder end of the internet, is that, yes, you can go ahead, but everything from now on, up to and including the way you wipe your bottom, must be approved — green-lit — by him.

So you've drawn up a business plan. You've taken all the precautions you can think of to make sure everyone is safe. And everything has been approved by the board. And now it's all up to Terry, who isn't going to say yes unless he can come up with some extra precautions you hadn't thought of. And which make absolutely no sense at all. Because Terry is a moron.

In the summer, when it seemed as if the virus were receding, we decided to fire up the Grand Tour machine and head north of the border to spend a week or so watching Richard Hammond crash into things.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that Amazon has a Terry but, my God, the rules of engagement it supplied were dizzying. We were to take our own testing lab on the 1,000-mile journey and the key players were to be tested every day, after filling out an online form that began by asking if we'd been tested before. "Yes. Yesterday."

Everyone on the crew had to maintain a distance of 6ft from one another, which is pretty tricky when you're in a car. And anything anyone touched had to be sterilised before someone could touch it again. This meant removing the locks from our cars and giving everyone their own screwdrivers to break in, because keys were deemed lethal. The cost of meeting all these requirements was enormous. And that's before we get to the fact we had to take over entire hotels, rather than rooms, and fly on our own plane.

I didn't think there was a hope in hell we'd get started, let alone finished. And that's before we get to the problem with Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon seems to be driven solely by a deep-seated hatred of the English, so we were expecting her to close the border at any moment. Which would have meant throwing away all the money that had been spent. There's supposed to be a government insurance scheme for film companies in this position, but it doesn't seem to have a fully functioning website yet. Or a boss. Or staff.

We did make it to the start line, though, and in the Edinburgh hotel we had been forced to commandeer, we all sat and had dinner, on tables for one, facing in the same direction. Then a burly man shoved a swab down our throats until we gagged. And, incredibly, all of us — about 50 people — tested negative. We could begin.

We were not allowed to socialise with or even speak to people from outside our bubble, which wasn't easy, as every other TV show I can think of was in Scotland too, pegged back from their global aspirations by their own Terrys. Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer were there. We passed the producer of A League of Their Own scouting for locations. Then there was I'm a Celebrity. And, finally, when we got to North Uist, we were greeted on the docks by Joanna Lumley. I wasn't allowed to get within 6ft of her. That hurt. Well, it hurt me.

I was allowed to take off my mask while eating, but when I stood up I had to put it back on. Because Covid-19 only exists at altitude and before 10pm, which is when I was forced to go to bed in a room with no wi-fi. My producer texted to say it was OK, though, because Emily Maitlis was hosting Newsnight in knee-high boots.

Astonishingly, thanks in part to the rules but mainly to luck, not one of us tested positive on the whole nine-day shoot. Which meant all the cameras were rolling when Hammond had his customary accident. It was a good one. Probably his best yet, mainly because he didn't actually hurt himself. I guess that's lucky because, strictly speaking, he wouldn't have been allowed by the Covid rules to go in a stranger's air ambulance.

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Much more fun than a car ten times the price
The Clarkson People's Car of the Year: Mini John Cooper Works GP
(Oct. 11)

Three years ago, a possibly over-refreshed chap from BMW announced at a motor show in Germany that soon the company would make a Mini with more than 300 horsepower. Yeah, right, we all thought. And what else will it have? Space lasers? Anti-gravity thrusters? Beryllium posi-drive? Our scepticism, however, was misplaced, because earlier this year it launched the Mini John Cooper Works GP, and under the bonnet is broadly the same turbocharged engine as you find in a BMW M135i. An engine that produces 302 horsepower.

Now, obviously, if you are going to put the blood-red heart of a mutant wolf into the body of a mouse, you're going to have to make all sorts of changes to ensure the whole thing doesn't just explode in a shower of cogs and rubber and headlamps.

Which is exactly what BMW hasn't done with the JCW GP. Glance casually at this ridiculous car and you'll note the huge double-decker wing on the roof, the carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic barge boards along the flanks, the flappy-paddle gears and how the rear seat has been replaced with a beam to make the body stiffer.

But look closely and you'll realise it isn't a strengthening beam. It's just a bar to stop your luggage slamming into the front seats when you brake. You'll also notice that the flappy paddles are connected to an automatic gearbox and that the barge boards don't do anything at all.

Then there's that big wing. After you've spent a while wondering why you'd want to push the back of a front-wheel-drive car into the road, you'll do more examinations and start to wonder if, actually, the downforce comes solely from the weight of the damn thing.

Having raised and lowered your eyebrows a few times at the plainly cosmetic nature of all this flimflam, you'll come to the conclusion that the standard Mini would be capable of handling the 302bhp monster that now lives under its bonnet.

It isn't. Not by a long way. Many years ago some sensible engineers from Saab explained it would not be possible to put more than 200bhp through the front wheels, and then proved themselves to be correct by launching the wayward 220bhp Viggen.

This was the car industry's all-consuming big problem back then. Many companies, Saab included, were making front-wheel-drive cars because they're cheaper to manufacture than those with rear-wheel drive. But you simply cannot expect the front wheels to handle the steering as well as increasingly large amounts of power.

They experimented with all sorts of ideas, but there's no getting round the fact that when you open the taps in a powerful front-wheel-drive car, the front wheels will squirm this way and that, causing what's known as torque steer. Sometimes it's annoying. Sometimes it's alarming. And sometimes you've no idea what it is because you've speared head first into a tree and now you're dead.

BMW got round the problem by sticking with rear-wheel drive in its powerful hatchbacks. Mercedes and Volkswagen resorted to four-wheel drive. But the Engineers at Mini did not. Apparently the four-wheel-drive system used on the Countryman is designed for gymkhana car parks, not the Nürburgring, so they stuck with front-wheel drive — and crossed their fingers.

How best do I describe the results? Hmm. I think "Sweet mother of Jesus" covers it. You pull out to overtake a van, you put your foot down and then something with the power of Thor's hammer takes control of the steering and you're left with two choices: get off the power or have a crash.

Tidal torque steer is not the only issue either. This is a car that doesn't glide down a country road, or squirt. On its lowered suspension, it bounces. Imagine being on Tigger after he's just received news of a big premium bond win and you get the idea. But bear in mind you are also in Eeyore's eddy with no control over your direction of travel.

This is a car that will usually arrive, but not necessarily at a place where you wanted to go.

Around town there are problems too. Things are very jerky in stop-start traffic. And on the motorway, mainly because of the tyres, it is very loud. Plus, you have to pay attention constantly because all Minis have a natural cruising speed measurable with Mach numbers. You have to be especially careful in the JCW GP because it has a top speed of 164mph. That's 164mph. In a Mini.

So. It's far too powerful, far too loud, more blinged up with unnecessary nonsense than Lewis Hamilton's earlobes, annoying in traffic, a crazed dog on the motorway and less fun than a crashing airliner when you accelerate on a road with any sort of camber at all. It is also one of the best cars I've driven all year.

We are currently in what might fairly be termed the car industry's beige period. Cars are made to be ecological and safe and spacious and cheap to repair. They creep onto the market with an apology rather than a fanfare. There's no pizzazz or razzmatazz in almost any of them. And then, just when we thought it was all over, out of nowhere comes this crazy Mini.

It's as if I've been sitting in a dentist's waiting room for ten years and, all of sudden — blam — I'm at the carnival in Rio. There is colour all around me and noise, and instead of thumbing through a two-year-old copy of Country Life to the accompaniment of the tick and the tock of the dentist's old clock, I'm listening to the sounds of the samba on a float as bright as a child's imagination.

I learnt, after a while, to wait for the right bit of tarmac before mashing the throttle into the firewall, and then I'd laugh out loud, in a way I haven't for years, at the noises and the rush that resulted. I then learnt to deal with the low-speed problems by not driving slowly. This is not a serious car. The steering is not particularly crisp, and the gearbox is not that snappy. It's not designed to be a textbook lesson in how to tame physics. It's designed to make your journey a bit happier. It's not a book. It's a comic.

It is fast, though. Really fast. I also liked sitting in it. I love how, in a Mini, the windscreen is so far away and you sit so low down that you're almost peering over the dash and the bonnet. Most of all, though, I liked the certain knowledge that, among all the millions of types of Mini we've seen over the ages, I wasn't going to encounter one faster than mine.

And I've saved the best bit till last. When other firms launch a limited-run car such as this, they tend to go a bit berserk with the price tag. But this Mini is less than £35,500. That is extremely good value, principally because most of the time it's much, much more fun than cars costing 10 times the price.

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And here's the Sun column: "It’s time Nicola Sturgeon forgave the English – I’ve even made up with Piers Morgan"
 

Revelator

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Sir Attenborough and St. Mark's can breathe a sigh: loathsome cruise liners are sinking at last (Oct. 18)

A public information ad that nobody much paid attention to when it first appeared last year started doing the rounds last week. It suggested that girls who can no longer be ballet dancers should think about retraining for a career in cyber-technology. This made a lot of young people very angry, and I'm not sure why.

Covid-19 forced theatres to close. So it's pointless sitting at home, banging your fists on the floor, saying, "I want to be a ballet dancer". It'd be like mewling and puking with rage because you can't be a town crier or a switchboard operator.

Or a cruise ship steward. We were treated last week to the most joyous and uplifting spectacle. An aerial photograph of five gigantic liners being broken up for scrap in a Turkish shipyard. I gazed at it for several minutes, feeling all warm and fuzzy at the thought of how these hideous eyesores would never again ruin anyone's view of St Mark's or the Sydney Opera House or a Norwegian fjord.

With their rear ends removed, you could see into the rabbit warren of their interiors and imagine how much misery had been generated. The loneliness. The diarrhoea.

Let me illustrate my hatred of these gigantic floating vomit buckets with some numbers. In a typical week, a liner with 3,000 people on board will produce more than 200,000 gallons of sewage and a million gallons of grey water, teeming with body fluids, eczema flakes and HRT-flecked sick. Legally, all of this can be pumped into the sea.

Along with the contents of all the bins.

It was reported in the Financial Times last year that the luxury cruise operator Carnival's fleet alone produces more emissions of sulphur oxides than all of Europe's 260 million cars.

Sir Sir Attenborough--a man so respected that they knighted him twice--was banging on in his recent Netflix eco-rant that we must all give up meat, but what's the point of taking that one small and unpleasant step if Wilbur and Myrtle are still allowed to fill the seas with their turds and the sky with enough carbon to make half a dozen Boeing Dreamliners?

What has always fascinated me about these ships, though, is not the damage they do to the sky and the fish: it's the fact that they're full of drunk, weird people and there's no police on board. Between 2011 and 2015, 116 people simply disappeared while on a cruise. That may explain why sea levels are rising: because of all the dead plastic women who've been thrown into it by jealous husbands.

By law, there must be a person on board with some kind of medical certificate. But who's to say the certificate wasn't issued after the person had spent six months in a remote village, administering ground-up bones and potions as a pox doctor's clerk?

And then there's the question of who's cooking the food. If you are a good chef, you will get a job at a top restaurant or hotel in a bright and vibrant city. If you are less good, you will end up in a burger van at the side of the A429 or at café in the provinces. So how bad to do you have to be to wind up making gravy on a cruise liner?

I can't imagine, then, that life on board is much fun, but it's better than what happens when they let you off. The problem is that the brochures talk about all the exotic locations you'll visit, but the truth is you have to dock in a shipyard, and they're not exotic at all.

I once watched a cruise liner disgorging its orange passengers onto Barbados. They'd doubtless read about how they'd meet Simon Cowell at the Cliff restaurant and dip their toes in a turquoise sea. But instead, they got off, climbed onto what looked like a train, but was in fact a converted Ford Transit van pulling some rickety wooden carriages, and were deposited on the other side of the docks, outside some not-at-all convincing chattel houses, where they bought Rasta hats, before it was time to get back on board and head to Trinidad.

Sure, they could tell friends in the Harvester back home that they'd been to Barbados, and they had, in the same way that I could say I've been to Minneapolis because I once changed planes at the airport.

Anyway, the photograph of all those liners being turned into kettles demonstrates that the cruise holiday, mercifully for all concerned, is coming to an end.

Or is it? Because last week we were all treated to the unedifying spectacle of P&O's brand new ship, the Iona, which is bound for its home port of Southampton. Billed, hilariously, as an "excellence-class" liner, it can handle 5,200 passengers and even has its own gin distillery. It is like Prora, the Nazi-built resort, only uglier.

It is said this giant will set off on its maiden voyage early next year, but I wouldn't bet on that. And even if it does lumber off to ruin the peace and tranquillity of a pristine spring morning, I wouldn't count on it being what you'd call "packed".

Which makes me wonder. If it can't operate as a cruise ship and it can't be scrapped because P&O just spent more than £700m building it, what does the future hold for this 19-deck monster?

Well, there was a plan recently to house migrants on ships while their paperwork is sorted out, but for reasons I can't understand, young people were cross about this too. So how's this for an idea. The government takes the Iona off P&O's hands, puts it in the middle of the North Sea, renames it the HMP Alcatraz and fills it with prisoners.

Escape would be impossible. Overcrowding in the current prisons would ease. And all the robbers and rapists would get what the cry-baby lefties have been demanding for years: a choice of restaurants, four swimming pools and a spa.

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If there's a bump in the road, you'll find it
The Clarkson Review: Aston Martin DBX
(Oct. 18)

The Aston Martin DBX is an all-new car that will compete in a sector of the market where the company has never been before. And to make that strategy even riskier, this SUV is being built in a brand new, untested factory and being launched into showrooms that have seen significantly fewer customers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Other small motoring manufacturers around the world--Lamborghini, Bentley, Ferrari and so on--are owned by big car companies, so they have access to all the latest technology and are cushioned to a certain extent from any virus-related problems. Whereas Aston Martin's owners include a man who made his fortune by selling trousers.

He and a consortium of other businessmen have invested £500m in Aston, which sounds a lot, but that's roughly what Renault would spend on a new heater knob. And the money arrived, as did the new boss--poached from Mercedes-AMG--when the DBX was pretty much finished.

It was therefore designed on a shoestring by a company whose share price was wearing margarine trousers on a slide into oblivion. Plans to make the DBX all-electric were shelved early on, and the proposed fitting of a new V6 hybrid postponed, so it has ended up with a 4-litre Mercedes engine and lots of Mercedes kit that was bang up to date--about 10 years ago.

After such a difficult birth, I was not expecting it to be any good, but if I say that here you will be very angry with me, because not liking an Aston Martin in this country is illegal. It's like saying you don't like the Queen. You just do. You were born that way.

So. Here goes. The first thing that surprised me about the DBX is its size. It's like Richard Osman, who you see sitting behind his desk on Pointless in the evening. You assume that because he's a man, he must be man-sized, but he isn't. He's taller than a telegraph pole. I had the DBX for five days, and in all that time I assumed it was the same length as a Porsche Macan. But in reality it's almost 2in longer than a Range Rover.

It's much lower, though, and perhaps that's what makes it so handsome. Well, that and the pillarless doors and the huge 22in wheels. And the optional bonnet blades. And, best of all, the colour. It was very definitely black. But when the sun came out, it was a dark green. It was wonderful.

I was also taken by the seemingly endless ways of tailoring your new DBX. You can choose what colour badge you'd like and what sort of stitching you have on the seats. There's even a Pet Pack, which gives you a rear bumper protector and a partition. And a Snow Pack.

You can also have a safe under the front passenger seat and a gun cabinet in the boot. So one thing is for sure: while the price of the DBX is £158,000, by the time you've spent a week or two on the configurator it's going to be way more than that.

High prices have been a problem for Aston in recent years, because the interiors of its cars never really felt special enough. That certainly isn't the case with this SUV. It's very good, chiefly because the manufacturer has ditched a recent move towards the square steering wheel and reverted to something circular. Some may criticise the ageing Mercedes infotainment system but, actually, it's from a time before all these systems got far too clever for their own good. It works well.

What doesn't work so well is the way you use buttons to select the gears. If my memory serves, we first saw these on a Ford Fiesta concept car back in the early 1990s, and I remember thinking at the time: "Wow. These don't work at all." They still don't--they're too far away.

What also doesn't work very well is the way the leather has been stitched so the seams are visible. As one reviewer said, it looks like botched plastic surgery, and it does, but there's another problem too. One of these seams, on the centre console, digs into your arm as you drive along and is very annoying.

But it's not as annoying as the bumpiness of the ride. When I read that the DBX was fitted with 48-volt active anti-roll bars, I assumed it would glide along like a hovercraft. But it doesn't. Partly because of the big wheels, I suspect, it crashes hard into potholes, which makes it a bloody nightmare in London, and on the motorway it literally wobbles. If you try to sing in this thing to pass the time, you will get a very clear understanding of what's meant by vibrato.

I cannot understand how this has happened. Aston must know that the people who will buy this car are likely to be in their fifties and sixties, and that people in this age group are long past the time when sleeping on the floor is an acceptable end to the evening, no matter how good the party was.

Sure, the DBX is a fast and rewarding car when you are in the upper echelons of the rev range and the differentials are busy whizzing power to whichever wheel is best able to handle it. But nobody who wants an SUV wants to drive like this. They'd gladly put up with a bit more lean and a bit more understeer if it meant they could relax on the way home from work, rather than getting an idea of what it might be like to drive on a road made from corrugated iron.

Off road? I don't know, to be honest, and you never will either, because although it has all the right tech to deal with the rough stuff, it sits on fat, fast, low-profile tyres, so the instant you show it a field of wet grass you'll know you're going home on foot.

This is all very worrying because I'm heading to the point when I have to tell a nation of Aston fans that the new car is not much good.

However, I genuinely have a problem with most of the boutiquey SUVs that have come along in recent years. The Bentley Bentayga is a lot better-looking after its recent facelift, but it's still no beauty. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is wilfully awful to behold. The Lamborghini Urus doesn't quite have the courage of its convictions. The Maserati Levante is pointless. The Jaguar F-Pace is good, but in a different, lower league, and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio serves as a constant reminder you should have bought the Giulia Quadrifoglio instead.

So, when you look at the competition, the DBX starts to make sense. And it continues to make sense right up to the moment you remember the car that started this particular ball rolling 50 years ago: the Range Rover. The first is still by far the best.

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And here's the Sun column: "Without insects we could all be dead in 50 years – we need to save them"
 

Perc

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As a brit, hating on an Aston Martin is probably not an easy thing to do.

But if I had the means I would daily a Range Rover as well. It looks the part, has all the toys and as far as I know it's one of few SUVs you still can get with a diesel V8 so I'd have to get one while you still can.

I don't care that it would break because it would be on a lease or under warranty and with a service agreement.
 

Mr. Nice

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Dec 6, 2007
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Clarkson may have reasons to disagree with Attenborough's urging of people to give up meat, but we in the United States should definitely be considering giving up beef.

 
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