It’s only natural for automakers to seek the most, and best, media coverage for their products. When it comes to certain models that are, shall we say, special, the latest trend is to offer a ride from the passenger’s seat before the official press event.
One that comes to mind is Porsche with the 918 Spyder. A more recent example is Jaguar and its long-awaited F-Type. Driving it won’t be possible until April but riding with Jag’s people at the helm is.
Do you turn down the offer? Don’t be silly, dear: you just take it and do your best to convey to your reader/viewer as much as you can about Britain's answer to the Porsche 911. Whether it is possible to make a correct assessment from the passenger’s seat is debatable at best and the info offered, predictably, come with the disclaimer that a full verdict will be possible when you drive the car.
Is it just humor, though, or the truth illustrated in a hilarious way?
Once upon a time, in a publication based far away from here, I read a road test of the, then brand-new, Jaguar X-Type. The story was full of praise for the British “3-Series fighter”. God Save the Queen, Rule Britannia et al…
Later, I had the chance to site behind the wheel of the X-Type, and the road test seemed to have captured almost just about everything the wrong way around. If that was a 3-Series fighter, then I was Daniel Craig (to say the least). Faith shaken, not stirred, but lesson learned: always take verdicts of journalists testing their nation’s cars with a grain (or a truckload) of salt.
Funny thing is I thought impartiality is supposed to be one of motoring hacks’ key values. Flying the flag is better left to James Bond – or not, as even 007 happily ditched his Aston Martin for a BMW Z3 (of all things…) for the right amount of cash.
It’s the same across the pond. Cadillac’s latest attempt at a 3-Series rival, the ATS, came very close or even beat the class leader when tested in the U.S. Maybe it can, maybe it cannot, but I can’t help but wonder what non-American journalists’ verdicts will be…
By Andrew Tsaousis