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’.