Wednesday, 20 June 2012


I dropped in at my local playground earlier this week as I was passing. You may know it as Goodwood circuit.

A Cobra had blasted past me heading in the other direction as I approached, alerting me to the possibility of there being some sort of event going on. McLaren use it to demonstrate their latest MP4-12C software update (I think they're up to V5.19 this week), so there's often something interesting circulating.

Not such luck this time, it was the usual mix of Caterfields, Lotus Elise's and a couple of lost looking Porsche Panameras. As I stood on the deck above the pits, a red hatchback appeared from the chicane, and accelerated past at a highly impressive rate. It was Vauxhall's latest attempt to dethrone VW and Ford, the Astra VXR, and with a claimed 276bhp its got the ammunition, even if it does have to drag 1475kgs around.

What was particularly noticeable (or not) was the engine note. No clear 4 pot wail as it headed towards 7000rpm for this hot hatch; all that was emitted from the designer pipes was a discrete whistling drone, for all the world as if it were powered by Dilithium Crystal.

Have EU drive past regulations and the universal adoption of turbo's consigned a clear crisp exhaust note to history?

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