Saturday and Sunday

I’ve just spent a first uncomplicated weekend behind the wheel of my new long-termer, a Land Rover Discovery D300, whose arrival I had been looking forward to for many weeks. Major news about this machine will in future appear in another part of the magazine, but I just have to tell you that now, as a result of these two days of driving, I’m already fretting about the closeness of its departure date in September.

Lots of nonsense is talked about the latest Discovery, mainly because the ultra-versatile, ultra-cool and remarkably refined new Defender has come along and eaten its lunch. And there’s no doubt that Land Rover will have to position the next-generation model more carefully if it’s to thrive. JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré confirmed as much in a recent chat at Goodwood. But if you meet a Discovery 5 without prejudice and are the sort of person who naturally enjoys what big, quiet, comfortable, soft-riding SUVs have to offer, a few hundred miles in a D300 will add up to a fine treat. Especially since in normal driving, it returns 40mpg.


Depressing interlude in central London. Creeping along on my usually unstoppable BMW electric scooter, I encountered a proper old-school snarlup: traffic channelled into a single file so that an enormous crowd of yellow-clad police officers could identify and pinch untaxed vehicles. Fair enough, thought I: people should obey the law.

The bad bit, in the same week the Metropolitan Police was put into “special measures”, was the weird belligerence of the officers, who bellowed and strutted about in a thoroughly threatening way. It was as if the transgressors (around 10% of us, not including me) had delivered each of them a personal affront.

Does it not occur to these people that they’re empowered by a society of fundamentally mild-mannered and law-abiding people who wouldn’t want to be represented in this way?


03 Volkswagen phaeton front quarter