Simple question really; should we, or should we not send cars into controlled slides to make them look dramatic in our videos and for the still images in the magazine in the year 2012?
Do you like seeing cars being thrown around on or near their limit, in other words, or is the idea just so far removed from the way in which we drive on the public road that you regard the whole thing as being rather tedious, perhaps even a little bit childish?
I only ask because things are very different in the world of cars today compared with how they were even five years ago. I spent the thick end of a week driving the new Vauxhall Ampera recently, and by the end of the test I was reasonably convinced I’d driven the most significant car of this year, and possibly ever.
Yet this had nothing to do with the fact that it could be made to go sideways for several hundred yards (it won’t), or because its handling had been touched by genius (it’s actually a very decent thing to drive, but a Lotus Elise it is not).
The Ampera blew me away because, in my hands, it averaged 109mpg during the week – yet at the same time it can also get from 0-60mph in a more than respectable 8.7sec and has a real world touring range of around 330 miles. And while its steering, ride, handling etc are better than acceptable for a car costing £30k +, it is what it does rather than the way it does it that makes it extraordinary.
And no matter how ambitiously you drive it, the Ampera will NOT go sideways. So we didn’t even bother to try to photograph or film it doing so.
But what about the BMW 1Ms, the Ferrari 458s and the Lamborghini Aventadors of this world? Should we not bother trying to make cars like these look dramatic on film, either, on the grounds that no one in their right mind would drive them like that in the real world?
On the other hand, is part of our job not to merely inform but also to entertain, to allow you to dream the dream, and to experience things about cars that, in that real world, you’d simply never get to experience? In which case, surely the odd bit of controlled thuggery behind the wheel is something to welcome, even if it isn’t something you’d ever see on the A272 (or perhaps BECAUSE it is something you’d see on the A272).
Genuinely, I’m intrigued to know what you good people think. Are we out of kilter doing this sort of thing in 2012, or should we carry on where appropriate, and hope that the tyre budgets of the various car companies involved don’t come shuddering to a halt?