Which is good news for a three-year TT owner changing his car, too, because dealers will view his swapper as prime stock. Interesting how directly this info translates to our Autocar experience. On our fleet is a TT 2.0 TFSI quattro S line ‘owned’ by Mr Chief Photographer Papior. It’s hardly ever in the car park because someone has always bagged it. Drive the car and you instantly know why.
TUESDAY - Can’t believe the behaviour of the Volkswagen Group’s top men, who have allowed an internecine battle between Ferdinand Piech, head of the founding family, and Martin Winterkorn, ‘group car guy in chief’, to go public.
Germany’s big bosses normally like things at the very top to be opaque, so arguments never come to light, let alone run on and on like this one. It’s a bit like the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury taking swings at one another
on a street corner.
Latest seems to be that 78-year-old Piech has lost the battle with soon-to-be-68-year-old Winterkorn, but since Piech appears still to control his family’s 51% stake in the group, I’ll bet this isn’t the end of the story. Strikes me that given their combined age of 146, it’s probably time for this pair to make way for a couple of the well-qualified 50-something group striplings waiting in the wings.
WEDNESDAY - To Hethel for a meeting with CEO Jean-Marc Gales to flesh out the fascinating story of Lotus’s new Chinese joint venture. Just the notion of a new Lotus SUV is enough to stop the traffic.
The fact that the car will sell in serious volume from a new factory in the world’s biggest market, opening the strong likelihood that it’ll feed complex and pricey under-skin components (wiring looms, infotainment, heating and ventilation bits) back to next-generation sports cars is downright fascinating.
In case you didn’t know, this is exactly how Porsche did it; the company launched the big-volume Cayenne in 2002 and then used the economies of scale to feed better-hidden bits to its fast cars. Seems to have worked quite well.
FRIDAY - Chauffeur-driven from the office in the morning to one of those nice event hotels in Surrey, first to hobnob with Seat’s UK bosses (bidding for their eighth successive sales record) and then to drive away in a Leon ST Cupra 280, a high-performance estate that strikes me as a wonderful option for the dog-loving family owner addicted to performance.
We’ve already clocked the five-door version at 5.9sec from 0-60mph, which used to be Porsche territory, and when the Cupra’s potent engine is mated to VW’s six-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox (now superbly developed for near-instant changes and crisp kickdown) you get one of the easiest cars to drive on the road. Hard to resist.
And another thing...
Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales is fast becoming one of my all-time heroes for the way he mixes logic and solid achievement with huge aspiration. At last, Hethel’s best stories are not all in the past.
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