The GV60 pleasantly surprised Cropley
Goodwood’s annual media day was a great opportunity to get to grips with some new metal
This week, Cropley has been getting to grips with some new metal in West Sussex, and has a positive dealership experience to share.
Years ago, after the late Earl’s Court and Birmingham NEC car exhibitions had passed into history, Autocar made a point of recognising Goodwood’s rising role as a car-show substitute, and the Duke of Richmond has continued the tradition ever since.
This year’s fixture was the Goodwood Media Day: hacks were offered drives on both the circuit (a bit too smooth to tell you much about road cars) and on a beautiful and varied road route through the estate.
I arrived early to be confronted by a wide variety of choices (Bentley even brought heritage cars) but decided to concentrate on those I hadn’t driven much‚ prominent among them the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo, Genesis GV60 and a few others.
I loved both of the pokey, quick-steering Alfa Romeos, which happily match their brand values once again. The Genesis was refined, responsive and much less like a big Hyundai than I had expected. The svelte Porsche estate simply became my favourite EV, replacing a lesser Taycan saloon in my hierarchy. It’s amazing how well Porsche has imbued this very different, very big car with the character of its petrol sports cars.
Thoroughly uplifting experience at my local Mini dealer. We had a niggle with one of our Mini Cooper S’s rear tyres and specialists nearer home had proved ineffective, so I accepted an offer from Cotswold BMW service boss Jody Boyle to sort it for good.
I always enjoy the place (I’ve done bike business there too), and when I arrived, I was stunned to discover that my loaner for the day was to be an BMW M550i, one of the finest, most civilised V8- powered BMWs ever built. It was wonderful, for all its old-school 22mpg fuel consumption. The Mini problem was effortlessly solved and, as I’m a loyal customer, they did me a handsome deal – all of which reinforces my abiding feeling that great customer service deserves great customer loyalty.
Private delight at supplying key evidence (from a drive on roads I know well) for pushing the new Range Rover into the rarefied atmosphere of our five-star category. Very few cars make it that far. It’s the first time in recent years that I’ve played such a key role: better-qualified colleagues like Matt Prior and Matt Saunders are usually the arbiters (and I confess I did seek their opinion).
I ran into some social-media flak for choosing such a big, heavy and diesel-powered machine for a place at our top table, but I believe that in the case of five-star decisions, we’re talking excellence of the execution rather than politics. In any case, this car’s efficiency (at times it delivered 40mpg on test) also deserves almost as much recognition as its all-round refinement.
Mercedes-Benz’s recent announcement that it will no longer compete with mainstream car makers, embracing “modern luxury” instead, strikes me as a very welcome development. Not only does it promise a return to the unique brand values of the three-pointed star (remember “Engineered Like No Other Car”?), but it could also allow the Renaults and Fords of this world to embrace a new kind of design simplicity, rather than battling to build faux Benzes and BMWs.
So sorry to hear of the sudden and shocking death of Paul Wood, co-founder (with his twin brother Andy) of the unique P&A Wood luxury-car business. Many will view this as terrible for the Rolls-Royce and Bentley heritage communities, and it is. But I will always remember Paul as a clever, generous and modest man, dedicated as much to maintaining high standards in life as in business. I would say his passing is an even bigger loss to the wider human community.
And another thing
Details, details: not only is my local BMW dealer extremely handy with its workshop practice, but it also has sensibly sized spaces for your car when it’s left on the premises. It makes your arrival more pleasant and must save on inadvertent nicks.