It's one of the most terrifying racing circuits ever constructed by men with speed on their mind. And last weekend, by virtue of it being delectably smashing, it's also one of the most spectacular endurance races on earth. It is, of course, the Nurburgring 24hr race, and we were there.
Fascinating Porsche fact 1: the 917/30 established a closed-circuit speed record at the Talladega oval in Alabama of 220.98mph!
VW is at pains to stress that the new Golf cabrio - four-seat, mid-size convertible that it is - is not in competition with its own Eos, that four-seat, mid-size convertible. The Golf, VW points out, is smaller, cheaper, and sports a fabric roof instead of a folding hard-top.
Strong brand identity, weak model differentiation. That, in a nutshell, is Audi design. But we shouldn't overlook the firm's skill at neatly proportioning their cars.
Sometimes the most practical engine in the line-up – the diesel variant that real people actually buy with their own money – can be one of those cars that serve merely as a base of operations from which manufacturers spout the various sorts of sexy propaganda for the mightier versions. They’re about as exciting as porridge. It might do the job satisfactorily, but it’s rare that anyone sits down to a portion with massive relish.
Wonderful car, the Jaguar XF. So why you don't see more of them? Simple. In Britain, 80 per cent of all BMW 5-Series, Benz E-Class and Audi A6 sales are four-cylinder diesels. And 50 per cent are estates. With only a V6 diesel and a V8 petrol, the XF is aiming at just 20 per cent of the goalmouth. Having only a saloon, it's confined to 50 per cent of that 20 per cent. That's 10 per cent. Yes, Jaguar is turning its back on nine tenths of the market. D'oh!
The supercar that's slower than a hot hatch. Hardly a tagline to brag about, but the inescapable truth is that in 0-62mph-land, the new R8 V8 Spyder is slower than Audi's own RS3 - 4.8secs plays 4.6secs, in case such knowledge tickles your fancy.
The noise comes as a surprise. The standard Jaguar XKR is a smooth character - not hushed, exactly, but always refined. The new XKR-S is a coughing, cackling, fuel-snorting loon, emitting a metal-edged bellow at any opportunity and mooching around with all the subtlety of a trigger-happy chainsaw operator in a public library.
GENTLEMAN READERS OF TOPGEAR, this is a direct appeal to you - don't flick past this all-new Mercedes SLK road test. We know you've not been interested in them in the past (over 60 per cent of buyers have been female, as opposed to 30 per cent of BMW Z4 buyers), but this one is different. Trust us.