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jkwaggener
28th February 2009, 21:45
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/new_car_reviews/article5817127.ece


From The Sunday Times March 1, 2009
Fiona Bruce

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/jkwaggener/Misc/In_Gear_494274a.jpg

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Some readers may remember an encounter I had with Jeremy Clarkson during an episode of Top Gear. He was in a lift with me at the BBC and was sitting in a very small car. Before we started filming, he said: “All you have to do is stand there and ignore me”, which is quite hard when you’re standing next to a grown man in a tiny car in a lift.

And then he started muttering to himself. “The last time I was in a lift with Fiona Bruce she put chewing gum in my hair,” he said. This is absolutely not true.

After I helped him out in his car, he said: “She does have quite a nice bottom.” Out loud, to the camera. I suppose it’s better than saying it was a horrible one, but it was pretty embarrassing even so.

I got my own back when I appeared on Top Gear as the “star in a reasonably priced car” and mentioned in passing that his bottom could do with a bit of work. I don’t think he really cared but now I think I’ve managed to do something that will really get to him: perch my bottom — nice or otherwise — on his patch.

I know what he would say: “Bruce is currently third from last in the ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ league table, and even then she managed to burn out the clutch halfway around one of the laps and had to walk the rest of the circuit.” So how can I be qualified to test any car, let alone a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, which costs more than many people’s houses, is billed as a race-bred beast best suited for a day at the track and has an engine so loud that when I first switched it on I jumped out of my skin and my children started to cry?

Well, let me put it this way. I have to walk through the Top Gear office at the BBC quite often to get to one of the editing suites. And the atmosphere is pretty laddish, as you might expect, a bit sexist and not entirely grown up. It’s a fair reflection of the show, but is it actually any good if you want to know a bit more about a car? The Scuderia may have Jeremy leaping about shouting “Power!”, but what is it like to live with in the real world?

First an admission: my car is a CitroŽn C4 Picasso. This has seven seats, with DVD screens in the rear seats for the kids, and is incredibly comfortable to drive. I love it. It’s a car you get in and you don’t even have to think. The headlights come on automatically, it has windscreen wipers that sense when it’s raining, and automatic air-conditioning. That’s the sort of car I like and I am deeply attached to it. It is a total living room on wheels.

The Ferrari is not like this. According to my 11-year-old son Sam (who is a Top Gear fan and immediately Googled it), the Scuderia is based on the standard Ferrari F430 — only it is faster.

He told me the 4.3-litre V8 engine produces an “incredible” 510bhp and 347 lb ft of torque, whatever that is; that it features new pistons and hand-polished intake manifolds, plus an exhaust system that “breathes” more freely. It also has Ferrari’s fastest gearbox, which can swap ratios in 60 milliseconds, and it can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.6sec with a top speed of 198mph. It costs £168,9621, or about £148,000 more than my CitroŽn.

When it arrived at my north London home, the first problem was getting it onto my driveway. The front of the car is so low that the slight slope of the drive meant there was no way I could manoeuvre the Ferrari up there without scraping the underside.

The man from Ferrari and I spent half an hour discussing this, and then discovered that if you reversed it up the drive at a specific angle and only a hair’s breadth from the wall you could get it in with only a couple of horrible-sounding scrapes.

Our neighbours watched this manoeuvre with their hands over their faces. Before he left, the Ferrari man eyed me warily and said that although most things were covered by the insurance, if I kerbed the wheels I would have to pay for them.

What’s it like to drive? My daughter Mia, 7, had been particularly well behaved, so as a reward I said I would take her for a first drive and suggested we go for a blast up the M1. She didn’t want to go up the M1. She wanted to go to Sainsbury’s. “No, come on, darling,” I said, “let’s go for a fast drive on the motorway”, and she burst into tears. We went to Sainsbury’s.

So we got to the supermarket and put the chicken and the vegetables and biscuits under the bonnet.

Then I couldn’t get out of the car park because the Ferrari is so low that reaching the ticket machine was all but impossible. A queue of irate drivers formed and it seemed that if you can’t drive in a Ferrari everyone hates you that little bit more than if you were in a normal car.

When we got home — after crawling over hundreds of speed bumps at 1mph — I couldn’t open the bonnet to get the shopping out so had to get my husband to help me. I’m afraid the supercar failed the shopping challenge.

What about the commute? I took it to the location where I was filming last week and thought: “I’m going to work — let’s put the radio on.” It’s a pretty basic radio anyway but you wouldn’t know from listening to it because you can’t hear it above the roar of the engine. In fact everything about the interior is pretty basic.

It has few home comforts. There is no carpet on the floor, so you have to wear driving shoes because high heels scrape the metal. The aluminium is all on show and you can see the joins — they look like the edges of a cornish pasty where the two sides have been squished together.

There’s a heater dial, and that’s about it, apart from a button with LC on it, which I think stands for launch control. I was slightly too frightened to press it in case my underwear burst into flames.

The suspension is rock hard. Even when I pressed the button that made the suspension softer I still felt every bump and groove in the road. And, God, it’s hard to get in and out of. Even if you try to do a Lucy Clayton and swing your legs out, it’s impossible. Open the door and you will virtually fall out of it then try to scrabble upright — not an elegant look.

Even I know this car isn’t meant for commuting or shopping. It is the sort of car you would have if you had other cars and you wanted one to play with or go round a track in. I didn’t take it on a track but I did eventually get it onto the motorway with Sam. And here an interesting thing happened. All of a sudden the car made me a different person.

Driving at speed in this Ferrari makes you feel as though you are driving like a god; as if there is nobody else on the road driving quite as brilliantly and in quite as much control as you. It drives as if it is on rails and you want to go incredibly fast. You are fighting that temptation all the time. It brings out that driver in me that I didn’t know I had. Sam thought it was absolutely brilliant.

People’s reactions change too. They may have been irate in the supermarket car park — thinking, “Who’s that in that flash gas-guzzler, trying to get her ticket in the machine?” — but on the open road they looked like they were admiring an amazing piece of engineering. They let you in because they are so in love with it.

I don’t know whether this is because of the legend of Ferrari — that deep-seated knowledge, even among non-car people, that a Ferrari is a thoroughbred with a history all of its own — or because of the minute attention to detail on every aspect of the car: even the metallic blue paint is an exact replica of an original shade from the 1960s.

It is certainly a man magnet too: men were looking at the car all the time. I think they were eyeing up the car more than me, but they definitely wanted to have a look. It means you need to make sure you have your mascara and lippy on every time you get in it.

Oh, no. I can hear Jeremy now: “Bruce loves the Ferrari Scuderia because it makes her want to wear lipstick.”

Maybe. But a driver is only as fast as the car they are in. And I reckon that behind the wheel of this Ferrari Scuderia I could be a match for him. If he thinks otherwise, he knows where to find me.

The Bruceometer

ENGINE 4308cc, eight cylinders
POWER 510bhp @ 8500rpm
TORQUE 347 lb ft @ 5250rpm
TRANSMISSION Six-speed automatic
FUEL 15.7mpg (combined)
CO2 360g/km
ACCELERATION 0-62mph: 3.6sec
TOP SPEED 198mph
PRICE £168,962
ROAD TAX BAND G (£400 a year)
RELEASE DATE On sale

PEN_F1
1st March 2009, 16:34
now that would be good ,see her and clarckson go head to head , but get the lady from germany to teach her !! the one whom runs the ring all the time ,i forget her name :-D:-D:thumb:thumb:thumb

now i remember her name its Sabine Schmitt (prob spelt wrong )

Aapeli
15th May 2009, 07:53
Kimi with 430 in maranello, english subs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbI93pXXGvk

RED
20th May 2009, 11:36
I was a passenger on a Scuderia on a 2-hour drive the other day. What a car! 8-)