Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scene Report: Great Britain

It's always interesting as a carspotter getting out of one's native market and seeing the hardware on display in different parts of the world. Some observations based on a couple weeks traveling around the United Kingdom, accompanied by wholly unrelated and random Instagram snaps from the same period:

Last time over here, about nine months ago, I saw my first nuova Cinquecento. One of them. Now they are everywhere. Whatever its fate in the U.S., Fiat has a massive hit on their hands.

The idea of resurrecting the DS nameplate for anything less than a completely revolutionary design strikes me as slightly lame, but regardless, I gotta say the new Citroen DS3 looks pretty great on the road. What comes across as slightly gimmicky in photos actually reads playfully distinctive and contemporary IRL. Big ups for the lovely nonmetallic sky blue paint option, too. Color!

Less original perhaps, the Peugeot RCZ might not be much more than a Vichy TT design-wise, but it turns out that's no bad thing either. Another Frenchie head-turner.

Likewise, while the new Renault Meganes strike me as less interesting than the funky previous generation, they're still reasonably graceful and attractive, and refreshingly free from Angry Car Syndrome.

Speaking of which, those new Sciroccos? Picture a chopped Golf, or a truncated CC, and you've pretty much got the picture. Meh.

Finally, while undeniably (if blandly) handsome, the current crop of indistinguishable Aston Martins are about as rare over here as Camaros stateside, and elicit, in me anyway, about as much excitement. However. Twice this trip the Sprinter in which I was a passenger was overtaken on the motorway by a Rapide, aka the new four-door Aston. Twice I saw its long and lean and low and muscular flanks slink past with the beautiful and lethal authority of a great white shark, and twice I felt my eyes widen and my lower lip tighten under my front teeth to register an involuntary fuuuuuuuck! I didn't see it from any angle other than a slightly elevated rear three-quarter, and like I say, I kinda don't give a shit about Aston Martins otherwise, but god damn if that thing didn't look utterly fantastic and provide me with the biggest automotive charge of my trip.

At least until I saw a woman step out of this Bentley and into a kebab shop, evidently on her way home from a wedding procession during which her quarter-million-dollar ride developed a flat. Is that even possible?


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