Just a quick note to thank you for giving us the 2.0 Selespeed Lusso three-door to test. Last month, as you know, we tested one of the others from the 147 range and it did pretty well against the Peugeot 307 and the SEAT Cupra. This version, with an on-the-road price of $40.990, looks the same on the outside and that's not a bad thing. The 147 has got to be one of the sexiest looking cars around, and that goes for both three-door and five-door versions. But it's really what you've done under the bonnet and inside that makes this one so different.
Whether change is always a good thing I'm not sure, but trying different things on the odd occasion can't be bad. And boy did you do something different with Selespeed. I loved the idea of changing gears using paddles placed on the steering wheel, just like an F1 car. And no clutch to use because the five-speed transmission has robotised gearshifts and clutch.
The paddles took a bit of getting used to. They are easy enough to use but trying to get a smooth gearchange verged on the impossible. It seemed either too revvy or under-powered, which meant gearshifts were rather snatchy. This was most noticeable while driving in heavy traffic. So yes, I did try the 'City' setting, which basically does away with paddle use and turns the car into an auto. Alas, the car still snatched for the gears. Using the paddles when the car is in 'City' setting immediately gives you back the control of gearshifts and helps smooth things out a bit. However, this can result in a lack of attention to fellow road users, traffic lights, signs etc. It's a bit like trying to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time. You can end up working so hard that you wish the car had a normal clutch and gearshift.
While most manufacturers these days put their engines into various sized plastic boxes, you've managed to keep yours looking like an engine, so peering under the bonnet is still a joy and gives the photographer something to shoot. The 16-valve Twin Spark sounds great and you claim it's capable of a max speed of 207km/h; in last month's issue we managed 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds, in the manual transmission version, but apparently there shouldn't be any difference between that and the Selespeed. This, I believe, is because max power is produced at 6,300rpm and max torque 134lb ft is at 3,800rpm. Obviously I don't need to tell you that; in fact, I think it may have been you guys who told me about it, but you've got to admit it's interesting and certainly worth repeating.
I'm sorry to have gone on a bit - this was meant to have been a short note. I think I find the strangest things interesting. You know the sort of thing: power-to-weight ratios, torque, brake horse power, traction, grip... I could go on and on. Anyway, thanks again for everything. Must dash.