It's over to Top Gear magazine's Editor-in-Chief Charlie Turner for a few words on this month's spectacular new issue - out now!
Stood at the top of an Arabian dune at midday in July, the ambient temperature is nudging the mercury north of 48°C, and I can smell the skin on my feet crisping as my flip-flops sink into molten sand... but I still have a broad smile on my face.
Why? Because hammering down the rod-straight road in front of me is the world’s most exclusive hypercar, the Aston Martin One-77. And Top Gear’s in the driving seat.
As the noise of the 7.3-litre V12 rises to create a wall of piercing sound, the Aston smashes its way past, a tall rooster tail of sand behind it. The dream has very much become a reality, and I’m already beginning to work out how to phrase an uncomfortable call to Aston Martin.
The reasons are many. Since Aston first revealed the One-77 at the Geneva motor show in 2009, it has remained something of an automotive enigma. Exclusivity is a valuable commodity in the upper stratosphere of supercar ownership, and Aston has protected this exclusivity to the extreme. To date, no journalist in the world has managed to get behind the wheel of a One-77, following an edict from Dr Bez that only owners would ever experience the car from the driver’s seat. But, at Top Gear, we struggle with the word ‘no’. Our job is to drive everything so we can deliver the experience to the people that really matter. You.
It’s been... complicated. Despite my best efforts, the BBC wouldn’t sign off the £1,200,000 entry fee to the One-77 club, and so began an 18-month search for a way of getting some quality time with one. After many false starts and dead ends, finally we found a man with both the inclination and ability to deliver on his promises. When the call came through saying that the car was sitting in the showroom and “You really ought to come and drive it... now”, we dropped everything, booked some cut-price tickets and headed to the airport. Sounds crazy, but it worked.
And so, badly burnt and with mild heatstroke, as a super-exclusive white One-77 storms towards me like some sort of supercharged angel, I plant my feet on the central white line, smile and let it char me with the heat of its passing.
Job done, another world-exclusive verdict delivered. Time to call Aston...
And for just a small taste, here's a video of our world exclusive: