It's midday in Dubai. As the sun blazes down, the temperature eases its way north of 40 degrees, and the Jaguar C-X17 sits in the shimmering heat haze. Slightly odd to see a concept car out here in the real world. Most are destined for a brief flirtation with reality on a motorshow stand, designed to nebulously ‘articulate a future design direction’ without much point or purpose. Odder still, and better yet, Top Gear is about to drive it.
It's nice to be back in an Alfa Giulietta again. It's the anti-Golf. There's none of your German reserve and smoothed perfection here. The Alfa looks brilliant. I mean, a Golf looks brilliant too, but it's easy to miss. The Alfa snares your eye.
The Alfa MiTo is one of the most intriguing superminis. It looks interesting. It has a fair bit of flair in its cabin. The petrol engines are really striking, with clever technology imparting tax-beating CO2 and a fair bit of driving fizz
By making arguably the least fashion-oriented car ever, Caterham has managed to ride out every fickle trend and economic speed bump the past four decades has chucked at it. It's ironic, then, that the, erm, ‘new' Seven 160 is a car that chimes perfectly with the times. It's cheap, it's light, and it makes not very much go a ridiculously long way.
In the face of the extraordinary new Mercedes S-Class, Audi's small round of faceliftey updates to the A8 seem like a bit of a feeble effort. The S-Class has just kicked the whole luxury-boat class onwards by an entire generation. The A8 is what it always was, plus a few tiny upgrades.
Am I right in thinking that Subaru BRZ above isn't 100 per cent standard?
I suspect Infiniti has two target groups for the Q50. Either people who want an upmarket saloon but just wouldn't dream of hitching themselves to the BMW bandwagon. Or those who've had five 3-series company cars in a row and just, y'know, fancy a change. After all no manufacturer has much hope of going toe-to-toe with the 3-series because it defines the breed. But a good and diverting alternative stands a chance of gathering a keen minority following.
The BMW i3 isn't built like any other electric car. It's made of different stuff, and its layout is different. Everything about it has been considered and re-thought. Despite the fact it comes from an established car company, its whole approach and execution is amazingly fresh. And so driving it is a mind-cleansing experience too.
The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S, the most aggressive version yet of the junior range. With plenty of other, more softly tuned versions in the line up, AM has gone to town on the V12 S to make it the most rip-snorting, thuggish car they could build. And they haven't done too bad a job.