The cattle-grid rattles under the car. Not for the first time it occurs to you that as a way of heralding the arrival of a great experience, there’s none more understated than the humble cattlegrid. But there they are, at the start and finish of many of the country’s greatest roads.
You know this car and you know this road. It’s why you’ve brought it here. You know the drill, too: a kick of the clutch and a blip of the throttle. You’ve already decided how many gears you’re going to drop. Then down goes the foot. Let it build. You feel the engine respond and hear it, too: the induction noise hardening, the exhaust note sharpening. The revs rise, but slowly at first. There’s no external assistance from turbos here, but you’re happy to wait. At 4000rpm it starts to build, at 5000rpm it’s beginning to fly. So you let it go, growling and howling its way past 6000, 7000 and onto 8000rpm before you deftly dip the clutch once more, a mere fraction of a second before the limiter cuts in.
Okay, so the car happens to be a new Porsche Cayman GT4, but in essence, and saving details like where the red line on any given car might be, what I’ve outlined is an experience enjoyed in one form or another by millions of enthusiastic drivers not just for years or even decades, but for more than a century. Good car, good road. Good fun. That really is all there is to it.
Let’s do it all over again, except we’re a few years into the future and the car is not a 414bhp Porsche but an electric hypercar with around 2000bhp. If you think that sounds like science fiction it’s not: there are already at least three that have been shown with outputs of 1900bhp or more and which are now being readied for production. The cattle grid rattles under the car. There’s no clutch to kick nor even a paddle to pull, let alone a stick to shift. There is no decision-making process because there’s nothing to do. Except put your foot down. You can still do that. So the car now tries to transmit 2000bhp plus all that attendant and instant torque to the road.