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Top Gear Magazine in 2009
Clarkson in 2009: “Making a hybrid to stave off disaster is like replacing a broken windowpane with a sheet of polythene. Yes, it makes the room feel all snug and warm again, but you’re still going to get burgled.”
TopGear Car of The Year: Ferrari 458
“The 458 Italia isn’t our Car of the Year simply because it’s a Ferrari: it’s our winner because the scope of its abilities is absolutely breathtaking. Its 4.5-litre engine is a masterpiece, more powerful, more flexible, and more efficient, even as it howls its way to 9000rpm. Its chassis electronics are so clever they’re almost supernatural. It has amazing active aerodynamics. And while it’s probably the best-handling Ferrari road car ever, it’s also the smoothest riding and most refined. The 458 Italia isn’t just a worthy winner; it’s off the scale.” JB
Three cars from 2009
Ford Focus RS
“The Focus RS costs £24,995, and at that sort of price, this sort of speed and this sort of engineering is unheard of. Especially as it comes with seating for five, a big boot, fold-down rear seats and lots of buttons. As a result, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment. I’d have a slower but more discreet Golf GTi. But that’s because I’ve moved on. My house is yellow and my wellies are French. But if you haven’t moved on. If your hat is still on back to front. If you still think the Boss is God and your collar is still blue, then trust me: life has never been better. The RS glory days, after a momentary blip, are back.” March 2009
Audi R8 V10
“Given that I so love the intimacy of the R8 V8, I start to drive the V10 fretting that its bigger tyres, extra grip and harder suspension are going to take away the blissful sense of connection and balance that is really the R8’s shining achievement. Needn’t have worried. It’s as good as ever. Arriving at a slow bend, the throttle is the key. Things incline to mild oversteer if you give it the beans half-way round, but the steering is so helpful you’re nudged into a simple correction. It’s a magical feeling.”
“There are weirdly unresolved things about the Evora. And that is the crux of the problem. While people will spend £25k on an Elise as a heavily compromised second or third car, will enough people be prepared to double that outlay on what might be their only car? Is the Evora the best car on the market for £50k? Better than an M3? Or a two-seat Porsche Cayman S? (Clue: No).
The best-selling car of 2009: Ford Focus
The best-selling song of 2009: Poker Face - Lady GaGa
And elsewhere in the world in 2009: Michael Jackson dies of a cardiac arrest at his LA home; the Telegraph newspaper publishes details of MPs expenses claims, leading to widespread condemnation, resignations and a reformation of the expenses system; and Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is released from prison on compassionate grounds.