As you can see from the cover of this issue, we had good fun putting it together. And, yes, some tyres were tortured in the making of this magazine!
I must admit that I wasn’t always a GT-R fan. Double-clutch gearboxes, four-wheel drive and twin-turbos are all well and good, but I’ve always thought that a manual gearbox, naturally aspirated motor and rear-wheel drive is the holy trinity when it comes to achieving a pure driving experience. But two of the three – the non-turbo engine and manual gear lever – seem to be going the way of the Dodos.
So I’m very happy to report that a car like the GT-R – which is laden with as much tech as the Starship Enterprise – feels as pure and enjoyable as they come. All that technology works with the driver to achieve the end-goal of being as fast around a racetrack as possible – a rewarding pursuit if ever there was one.
And while we’re on the subject of driving experiences, at the other end of the spectrum is the autonomous car. On the very last page of this issue, we’ve highlighted Audi’s latest program – in association with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering – to better understand the kind of environment to create for the occupants of an autonomous car.
Automakers are having to go beyond their own domain and turn to start-ups & research institutes in order to better understand this new reality that they find themselves hurtling towards. Since the advent of the internal combustion engine, there hasn’t been anywhere near this level of disruption in the industry. And so the consensus seems to be that the automaker which responds with the greatest turn of speed and flexibility is the one that’ll be left standing when the dust clears.
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, but the one thing that’s clear from our perspective is that there aren’t going to be any autonomous cars running around in this neck of the woods for a long time to come. After all, it would take the computing power of the International Space Station just to get an autonomous vehicle to clear a four-way junction in India.
So, just when we drop our socialist shackles, and leave the Ambys and Padminis in the rear-view mirror, as we speed off into the distance in the latest and greatest from the global automotive industry, are we on the verge of getting left behind once again – because the chasm between the streets of the developing world and the roads of the West will get wider than ever? Well, we will just have to wait for the dust to settle to see where it leaves us.
Of course, we could start by fixing our roads and traffic discipline – but that would make too much sense I suppose...