Last week just might have been a small landmark in Autocar’s 114-year history.

Steve Sutcliffe, a driver whose abilities are held in high esteem by more than one supercar manufacturer, had to admit that electronic chassis ‘aids’ have reached a new level of competence.

“Yes, the electronics in this car are specifically intended as performance parts, not safety features. Switch them off and you will not be able to lap a circuit as fast as you can with them on, not even if your name is Fernando Alonso. You might just be able to match the system for a couple of corners if you fluke the perfect sequence of brake, turn-in, balance power, apply throttle at the exit.”

Read Steve Sutcliffe's Ferrari 599XX drive

In a more down to earth way, I experienced something similar on the launch of the new Audi A8. That car will come with ‘Drive Select’ as standard, which allows you to choose from ‘comfort’, ‘auto’ and ‘dynamic’.

This switchable chassis tuning really does make a difference, especially if you specify the optional sports differential on Quattro versions, which can split the engine’s torque between the rear wheels.