Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ford Grand C-Max

Sometimes I wonder if there's any point in having children. I don't have any, and don't plan on it either. Children ruin everything. You suddenly lose your carefree existence and have to start planning not based on what you want to do, or what the child wants to do, but what is practical to do wth a child. So you start chosing restaurants where they market themselves as child friendly. By child-friendly, they mean screaming and running is acceptable, somewhere that if you didn't have a child you would run a mile from.

Some parents have remarkably good discipline and can take their children to a restaurant and they will eat like a normal human being. But for some parents, their children are just too unruly and they have no choice but to live a life dictated not by what they want to do but by what is an acceptable compromise.

And that makes sense. If the parents did what they really wanted to do, the kids would be off to grandma's and the parents would be out for dinner to a proper restaurant, where placemats don't come with crayons. And if children were to choose, it would be going to Ben & Jerry's for three courses of Cookie Dough ice cream.

So compromises are a good thing if you have children. And Ford have realised this.

Not content with bringing the most stylish large MPV there is, the Galaxy, and the best mid-sized MPV you can find, the S-max, Ford also have a decent small MPV, for, er, parodoxically the person who is buying an MPV but doesn't need or want any additional space over a hatchback.

So you have the Galaxy for large families with many children, you have the S-Max for large families with some children, and the C-max for small families with a couple of children. However, what do you do if you have many small children?

Well, now you have a slightly larger, small MPV to chose from with 7 seats for storing up to 6 screaming little brats. Except you wouldn't put YOUR children in the back row, maybe someone elses. Because their heads are dangerously close to the rear windscreen and risk serious injury in the event of a rear end shunt. If I did have children, I wouldn't be happy to even let them in the rear even for a few hundred metres.

The car itself lacks the imagination of Ford's other MPVs, instead being a little plain. It certainly does seem to have borrowed a bit of the appearance from the rather lovely Kuga, but not enough to make this one nice looking. Ford should have risked a bit more and developed an imaginative MPV like the Galaxy or S-Max.

But one thing is for certain - the dash layout is definitely aimed at children. They can go and tell their friends that their mum drives a spaceship, and their friends would believe them if they saw the dash.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ferrari SA Aperta

I've been trying to stay away from Ferrari and the ilk, in the hope that I wouldn't spend too long perusing cars that I would never be able to allowed within 100 metre of, let alone have sitting in the driveway. Unfortunately, sometimes such marques produce cars that one can't just ignore, but have to pass judgement over.

Not only that, but to make the car even more elusive for mere mortals such as myself, they have limited the production run to 80. Eighty. That's it. Only eighty lucky multi-millionaires will be able to buy one, and they're all gone. So I'm afraid that I stand no chance of owning one.

It is possibly the most beautiful car I have ever seen. Fortunately for the rest of us, Ferraris of today seem to have a tremendous capacity to catch fire or break down, in fact not more than a week ago I passed a broken down, brand new Ferrari California broken down, being overtaken by an open top bus full of tourists who were more interested in the minor celebrity stuck in the rain with the roof down than what the tour guide was telling them.

So while we may not be able to see this car on the road, those of us who enjoy a nice little bit of Schadenfreude every now and then can rest assured that if we do ever see one of these cars, however beautiful it may be, there is a reasonable chance that we will also get to see what an angry, super-rich celebrity lloks like when his damn expensive car catches fire.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bentley Azure, Arnage, Brooklands

Now, I don't normally provide comments on mechanical aspects of cars. I'm not an engineer, I'm not a professional driver, I'm purely here to discuss appearances. I'm a pretty superficial kind of guy.

So when I woke this morning to hear on the news that Bentley has problems with it's Flying B, I was shocked that such a prestigious company a) gives a damn about pedestrian safety and b) couldn't come up with a better system.

Now I'm not saying that Bentley are irresponsible towards pedestrians - in fact, they have considered the problem very carefully and ensured that the Flying B retracts in case of an accident in order to improve a pedestrians chances against a couple of tonnes of metal. So it's a little bit of a disappointment that such a problem has occurred.

When there's a little bit of rust on the Flying B, the mechanism stops working, and the Flying B doesn't retract if the careless owner of the Bentley drives into someone, meaning that Johnny Pedestrian can become impaled on a Flying B, which would possibly be the most Rock n Roll death certificate in existance.

However, there has not been any single reported cases of this happening, so the recall is precautionary, which is most definitely good. So we know that the owners of Bentleys costing more than £200,000 drive very carefully.

We also know that this affects models from 2007-2009. Seriously, you spend that much money on a car and it's rusty in 3 years? What the hell are you doing? Sprinkling it with salt every night? Why is there a problem with rust?

My car is 5 years old. It didn't cost as much as a Bentley. It doesn't have a spot of rust, and it is protected against it by a process called GALVANISATION. Yes, VW, That's GALVANISATION. You might want to Google it at some point.

So here are a few suggestions for VW to improve the safety of Bentleys.

1. Don't make your car out of 2 1/2 tonnes of steel. Seriously, if you want to improve pedestrian safety, stop lumping a whopping great engine under steel and make your car lighter. It will improve handling, speed, braking, everything. Don't want to give up your prestige? Fine, I've got another 4 suggestions coming your way.

2. Make the Flying B mechanism out of something that doesn't rust. That's right, your customers are paying, so you can use something a little bit more expensive. Such as stainless steel. Or as I mentioned before, galvanise your parts. Even if one part gets a bit exposed, the zinc will give sacrificial protection.

3. Don't have the Flying B up when the car is moving. Yep, retract it as soon as the car starts moving. That way, when the car is stationary, pedestrians are free to impale themselves on it at will, but as soon as the tyres start moving, it pops down and you don't have a problem. Wedding drivers would have to use something else to secure the ribbon.

4. Instruct your drivers not to crash. Seems to be a good strategy, working so far since this hasn't caused any problems whatsoever. Make your car expensive, and not only will your drivers not crash, other drivers won't crash into it either as they are scared of the insurance bill.

5. Make the Flying B out of rubber. If you're that concerned about pedestrian safety, make it out of coated rubber. Problem solved. Kind of. Then consider reducing your prices to 10% of what they were previously.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

5 Best looking everyman's cars available in the UK today

I'm not talking Ferraris here, I'm talking about the 5 best looking cars for under £30,000 available today.

5. The BMW Z4.


Sporty, aggressive looks, classic sportscar proportions, no space for any uncool kids. Nice. Misses out on being better placed on account of it's price - you'll only get the base model for under £30k.

4. The Alfa Romeo Mito


Again, Alfa's designers know how to produce a stylish car. Very nice, quite stylish, and definitely the best of the lot of the superminis.

3. Alfa Romeo Giulietta


Another Alfa. Quite possibly the most stylish of the cars in their class, proving once again that Alfa have a winning formula for car design. Hopefully their engineering department will catch up soon.

2. VW Passat CC

A good design, a good price. Whack a Merc badge on the front and you would think it was a new model of the CLS. Fantastic design let down by the badge.

1. Audi TT

Fantastic styling, smooth, quality build. The second incarnation of the TT can't be beaten on looks alone for a car under £30,000.

Range Rover Evoque

When I was about 13, I was tasked with chosing my subjects to study at school. To help us, our teachers at the time produced a report, and at the bottom of this was a little check box, a tick if you were recommended to study this subject, empty if you weren't recommended but could if you really wanted to or a cross if you were persona-non-grata.

As something of a geek, I got my report and every single report had a nice little tick. Except one. Art.

You see, the problem is, no mattter how hard I try, there is a total disconnect between what my brain thinks I'm drawing and what I actually produce. It's two entirely different things. So I'm absolutely abysmal at drawing, and I can't do a damn thing about it. Fortunately for me, there are people who ARE good at drawing, because life would be very boring indeed if everything was square and boxy, like Soviet cars.

And it's nice to see the progression of cars as they are designed. A concept sketch is normally first, with many different variations, each slightly different, to see what does and what doesn't work. Then, it gets more and more refined until eventually you get left with the final car which has some passing resemblance to the concept sketch, but that's about it. The reason is simple: only a total moron would drive a car that looks like the concept sketch.

Except, Land Rover seem to have done away with the refining steps and just used the concept sketch to produce the final Range Rover Evoque. And Range Rover drivers normally have deep pockets and a lack of humility. So if any car maker can get away with going straight from concept to car, it's Range Rover.

So this is a small SUV. A niche market that has recently appeared, but I have to say, it seems to be selling reasonably well. There are quite a few BMW X1s around where I live, even though there is no conceivable need for them.

The Evoque isn't exactly ugly, but it just looks a little brash and showy. But that's the direction Land Rover seem to be taking with Range Rover. Vulgar, for those who have money and want you to know. Except this isn't 2007, it's 2010. Nice car, timing's a little bit off though. But this will sell well to all those whose property portfolios lost value, so they can still maintain that they drive a Range Rover even though they don't. Expect to see a fair few on the road. 



Saturday, 18 September 2010

Aston Martin Rapide

Throughout history, Britain and America have had a mixed relationship, with America starting as kind of a junior offshoot of the UK, but soon blossoming into a much bigger player than the UK could ever manage.

Then America decided that they'd had enough of the interfering of the UK and declared independence, and Britain didn't take it too well. In truth, it probably started with a sarcastic comment made by a British politician which went straight over the head of an American, who, being of mainly German descent, only understood things at face value.

Then things were a bit icy for a few hundred years, kind of coexisting but not really engaging, like a divorcing couple before the husband has found a squalid two bedroom flat to rent.

Then, unwillingly, America were dragged into a couple of skirmishes that they didn't really want to be involved in, and relations were forced to improve between the two countries.

But because of this icy relationship for a couple of hundred years, two separate cultures developed, with the UK being a bit more European than American, and America being, well, different. If the two nations had been best of friends, it would probably not have developed, instead sharing much more culture between the two.

So we ended up, forced together, with two different cultures, two different attitudes towards cars. America was built on business, Britain on tradition. And this is reflected in the cars. 

American cars were built to minimise costs and maximise sales. And British cars were built to provide a bit of pomp to the aristocracy. The two don't mix.

But then in 1994, Ford purchased Aston Martin, and a brilliant symbiotic relationship was born. The British provided the style and luxury, and the Americans provided the business.

A failing, unprofitable British car maker became cool. And you started to see Aston Martins appearing on the roads, looking absolutely beautiful. And the range has grown to accomodate any overpaid executive's wallet.

The most recent addition is the Rapide (ignoring the stupid little Toyota iQ thingy). And it is, again, like any Aston Martin, absolutely beautiful. This is a four door car, to compete with, erm, the Porsche Panamera or the Maserati Quattoporte. And this is better looking than either, but to me, it looks like the designers have been trying a little bit too hard to make it look like an Aston.

And if you want a sensible four door saloon that looks like an Aston Martin, there is the Jaguar XF, which seems to have been designed around the premise of making a car as close to an Aston as possible without infringing copyright.

But this is a very nice car for those who very occasionally need the rear seats, but would like an Aston - otherwise there's no option in the range.

So it's an Aston, slightly more practical than a Vantage or a DB9, but aimed at the person who sometimes gives a lift to their midget friend, but if you have children and need something stylish to drop them at the school gates in, then the Quattroporte is a far more sensible option.


Friday, 17 September 2010

Audi A7

Some years ago, Audi was renowned as a sportscar manufacturer, with the Quattro doing extremely well in rallying throughout the 80s. Before that, it was a bit of a mish-mash of history, first as a general car maker based in what would become East Germany, then as a new company based in Ingolstadt before being bought by VW in 1964.


Until the 80s Audi was viewed as a conservative car, kind of like a woolly jumper, or a pair of carpet slippers. Something for your granddad. 


Then the 80s happened, and the Quattro started hammering the competition at rallying, thanks to Audi's fast implementation of their four wheel drive system in rallying. It was more a bit of luck than anything else - a smart Audi engineer had the thought of developing a high performance four wheel drive car after seeing how fast the VW Iltis was on snow. 


Fortunately for Audi, this coincided with new rules for rallying which allowed four wheel drive, and Audi's reputation as a serious sports car maker started to flourish.


But then VW lost it a bit in the 90s and went back to the warm, comfortable safety of being a large, overpriced pair of carpet slippers. Audis became progressively more and more conservative, and the A6 became the choice of accountants everywhere, who wanted a nice car, but it had to be dull. The kind of accountants that you know will do an honest job, but won't help you with any "tax minimisation" - they all drive Porsches. Sales lagged while arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes grew and grew.


Then something happened in the new millenium. It's like the engineers suddenly woke after a 10 year slumber, most likely after Audi bought Lamborghini. 


The initial reaction was to fit big, powerful engines to the already available chassis. And it worked. The RS4 became the car of choice for every boy racer, overtaking the M3, but it took a little bit of time. Then came the vulgar LED day-time running lights, which are extremely tacky bits plastered on to the front of an otherwise conservative car. Kind of like turning up to work in a three piece suit with the buttocks cut out.


But modern Audis are brilliant. I love the R8. I love the Q5. I love the TT. But sometimes they go over the top, and you get cars like the Q7, which are a little too brash. But the rest hark back to their conservative roots in the 90s.


So what does this have to do with the A7? Well,the A7 looks like a cross between an A6 and a BMW 5 GT. Or an A6 and a Porsche Panamera. But it's clear that it's been copied a little bit.


I think the problem is that Audi are struggling abit to accomodate the new sporty image and the old conservative image. And that is why the A7 sportsback exists. Nice conservative car, with a little bit of sports at the back.


Wait, I've heard that before.


Business at the front, party at the back? This car is a mullet. 


Expect it to sell well in Germany and America.


Nice car though.





Thursday, 16 September 2010

Nissan Micra

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes a car last for a long time?

I mean, you have classic designs, like the Lamborghini Countach, which was in production for 26 years. It was a stroke of genius from the small Italian manufacturer that propelled them into the big league. In truth, it wasn't superceded until 1990 because it didn't need to be.

In fact, the design was still as contemporary in 1990 as it was in the 1970s. Can you imagine someone producing a design for a car that would look as modern and as sexy in 2036? Nor can I. But that's what Mercello Gandini did. You can see it's influence in pretty much all the Italian supercars right the way through to when the Countach was retired, and Lamborghini, athough now owned by Audi, still have some influence from it.

So what does this have to do with the Nissan Micra?

Well, it may surprise you to learn that the first Micra was produced in 1982. 28 years ago. OK, the design changed radically in 1992, but since then, things have pretty much been the same. The 1992 model still bears a hell of a resemblance to the 2010 model. OK, between 2003 and 2007 it went a bit off track, but the Micra is now back to what it was.

And it's cheap. 

Seriously, how many cars can you buy ust now for under £9,000? Particularly the last few years have seen car inflation go through the roof, so now it's nigh on impossible to buy a car for under £10,000.

The longevity of the Micra is testament to it's design. It has lasted this long because it is a nice, straightforward design. Nothing fancy, nothing garish, nothing showy. Just clean, sendible and above all else, easy on the wallet. 

Because, although you only spent £9,000 on your car, which is peanuts by today's standards for new cars, sometimes it's nice not to let the world know how much of a bargain you got.

Classic design. Horrendously underrated car.



Seat Alhambra

Somewhere in my youth, in middle-class suburbia, there was a time when people carriers were status symbols. As hard as it seems to believe, nobody with any kind of money would be without a family "bus". So my parents bought a VW Sharan at the earliest possible opportunity - actually, they took delivery on the day of the UK release after being given a press demonstrator for a day.

They had it for five years. And it was extremely comfortable. The seats were all individual and could be taken in and out depending on how many sprogs you needed to transport that day. My parents had three, so there was rarely any use for the third row, so that was removed to make way for the dog.

So in effect it became an oversized estate car. An oversized, nausea-inducing estate car. You see, the problem with people carriers is the high centre of gravity. Functionally, they don't really solve the problem of space as the extra capacity is actually height, and they problem with stacking anything high in a car is that it tends to fall over when you go round a corner.

For those of you who remember the original Sharan/Alhambra/Galaxy, it was reasonably modern at the time. Many years passed without an update. Ford seem to have abandoned the tie-in and done their own thing with the Galaxy, which is now much better.

But VW and Seat persisted for another few years, hoping that the trend would come back. In the intervening years we saw the rise and rise of the SUV, which addressed the space problem in an altogether more stylish manner.

And VW and Seat seem keen to kill off the platform. They've taken everything that was good about the Sharan/Alhambra and thrown it in the bin. The rear doors no longer open like car doors, instead they slide, in case you ever thought for a second that you weren't driving what is essentially a taxi for your children. Perhaps they could also install some glass behind the driver with a little hatch for your kids to speak through?

That's probably unfair. The car is not terrible for what it is. It is reasonably well designed, and IF YOU MUST BUY AN MPV, it's not a bad choice.

But times have moved on since the mid 90s. The MPV doesn't really fulfil what it was supposed to do any more, and rightly deserves to die. VW are doing their best to make sure that happens.

Mini Countryman

When the new Mini One first came out, all those years ago, I doubt whether BMW knew how successful it would become. All the ingredients were there. You had an iconic car, a sharp chassis, and striking styling. It was something special, and you could see that if BL had bothered to redesign the Mini to keep up with trends, they would have ended up with something similar to what BMW produced.

VW had the same with the Beetle.

But BMW had something smart up their sleeve that VW missed out on.

Estate agents.

You see, estate agents like to have a desirable car to plonk in front of the house they are selling, in case the present owner drives a Nissan Sunny. So they bought Minis. Thousands of them. And suddenly the streets were plastered with Minis, making it an established brand retty much from the outset, whereas the Beetle struggled to get past the few aging hippies who hadn't spent all of their money on hemp bags and other hemp-related products.

And the Mini One is a very nice car. It does exactly what BMW needed - maintain the style of the Mini on an updated and more modern platform, while keeping the BMW badge away from the "small car" market. The interior is a bit plasticky but manages to maintain some 60s styling, which is a nice reminder that the car is essentially a retro toy.

But the main point was to keep BMW out of competing with already-established brands in the small car market, because, let's face it, if someone has the money, BMW would rather you bought a 1 series with the BMW badge than the Mini, because they make more money. And if BMW started selling the Mini as a BMW, then they would probably lose a large proportion of the sales that depend on the badge. It's a sensible move, and one that Mercedes should have noticed when releasing the SLK into the market that already had the ridiculously expensive SL.

The Mini has been going for 9 years with barely anything done, so it must be nearly at the end of production? It certainly doesn't appear to be, with a recent expansion of the range to include the bizarre Clubman, and now the Countryman.

So is the Countryman any good? Well, it's like a small Mini, but big. That's it.

And it's the size that made the original Mini what it is, the small stature endeared it to the hearts of thousands. But making it bigger just makes it look ridiculous.

And now the range is expanding, will it compete against the BMW X1? Possibly. This is exactly what killed British Leyland, and BMW are making the same mistake. I just can't figure out who this is aimed at, and I can only assume it is the people who might otherwise buy a BMW X1 or possibly... No, that's it. There isn't really another car in the "Small, premium SUV" category. Unless I've missed something... No.

This is an interesting experiment, but I'm afraid it just doesn't work for me. Sorry guys.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

I don't know if you've ever seen Italian TV, but a large number of programs involve women in bikinis, jiggling. To see what I mean, you can always search on Youtube for Hole in the Wall. In the UK, we got silver men in silver jumpsuits. In Italy, they get scantily clad women.

The Italisn men we see in the media in the UK are generally older, fatter and greyer than British men. It's probably not fair to base a national steretype on two men named Flavio and Silvio, but that's who this car is designed for. 

You see, both of them are known for having a taste for young, pretty women. In bikinis. They like smooth sleek curves. They look like men who would drive Ferraris. And when they break down, as they invariably will, it's fine, because their helicopters will arrive shortly to pick them up.

But the problem is, with so many young, beautiful women on the go, it would be bankrupting to buiy each and every one of them a Ferrari. So Ferrari's parent company have developed a solution. The Alfa Giulietta.

This car is extremely nice. It is an Alfa, and you can see much of the Alfa design philosophy at the front. It is clearly aimed at women, hence the name - there is no man on earth who could pull off driving a car called a Giulietta.

But women generally won't buy this car. Any women I know who are into cars would spend the money on getting a more powerful car, or a convertible, because a hatchback is just a bit naff. It's expensive, at £19,000 for a car slightly bigger than a Golf. Women generally buy cars using their head, not their heart, but with men it's the other way round. 

So mature, sensible women probably aren't going to buy this. What about young, reckless women? No, probably not. The difference in cost could quite easily be spent on, say, Buckfast, or thousands of bikinis from Primark. 

And parents buying for their children? No way. It is simply too big a price difference to make it feasible as a car to buy for a daughter. Or a son. Unless you hate him.

So it won't appeal to men, older women, younger women or parents. But there is one market that this could be sold to.

And that brings me to my earlier point. If you weren't paying for it, and you were a young and attractive woman who needed to attend champagne and canape receptions in style to be seen with your aging sugar daddy, this is perfect. The Giulietta is a diamond pendant, an adornment that an older woman would find tacky but a younger woman would be quite happy to receive as a gift, but out of the price range of someone in their own age range. This is a car for wealthy men to buy for their younger, more attractive women who won't be there in 6 months time. This is a car for Silvio.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Infiniti FX

Now this is a car I like. It's aggressive, it's macho. The styling is quirky and it's unique.

My wife DOESN'T like it. Because it's too aggressive, too macho, too quirky. And I see her point. The slanted headlights, the big, giant gaping mouth. Sometimes it's better to be gentle. And when you're buying a car that is clearly intended for those with large pockets, you don't want to get into vulgarity. Otherwise you'll be known as "the twat with the flashy car."

And this is the problem with the FX. It's got so much potential. The interior is absolutely brilliant. But the designers at Nissan were trying too hard to get noticed. They went over the top with the masculinity and as a result have produced a car that looks like you're trying too hard to be a man.

Which is fine. If you're talking about a 2 seat saloon. You're not. You're talking about an SUV. And overt masculinity does not fit with SUVs. Sure, you've got a decent engine in it, but take a leaf from BMW's book. If you want the people with money, you should focus on being conservative with little bits of glitz.

Sorry Nissan, you've got a product that I absolutely love, but I could never own. Next time, a little less flashy, and a bit duller, please?

Volvo V60

As long as I can remember, there's been a certain group of people who buy Volvo estates. I couldn't figure it out until recently.

The problem is, Volvo estates are, like many Swedish cars, an odd choice. Expensive for what you get, beaten by German equivalents and difficult to justify.

But then, last week I was driving, and it hit me why someone would chose a Volvo estate. 

It is a statement. It is, how should I put it, an acceptable car. But that's not why you chose a Volvo estate. The statement you make when you buy a Volvo estate is:

"I have children, and that is why I bought this car."

That's right. You buy it not because you have children, but because you want to make it obvious that you have children. You want the world to know that you have children, so you buy a Volvo estate. 

The problem is, with people like that, the world already knows that they have children. Think about it, has a person who drives a Volvo estate ever been late and not used some child-related excuse? Thought not.

This all comes from Volvo's reputation for safety, which frankly is something that is in the past. So your decision to buy a Volvo estate is irrelevant.

As for the V60, it's not terrible looking, it's above average inside. It's a Volvo. It will be good, but not quite as good as a German car. Second best in all categories, but master of none.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Saab 9-5

You know that feeling you get when someone you know disappears for a long time, and then you hear that they're coming back?

That's Saab. I am a Saab fan, I will declare that outright.

I like Saabs. I like the fact that they are quirky yet still oddly sensible. Very much like the inhabitants of the nation from which Saab arose. Kind of like Germans but with more personality, but not odd, like the Norwegians or Finns. Quirky but sensible.

So when I heard about all the upheaval at Saab last year, I was glad that Spyker could step in to save the day and continue the production of Saab, knowing that a new 9-5 was just round the corner.

The old 9-5 was just that, old. It had been on the go for damn near 13 years. Prices were excessive particularly compared to equivalent models of competitors and how much their newer models cost. Why would you pay for a 13 year old model when you could get an extra decade of development for the same money? Times are moving VERY quickly just now, and technology filters into cars rapidly.

So how does the new 9-5 look? Well, it's a Saab. And it's not. You can see elements of Saab here, but overall the design has moved on a bit. It's still a Saab inside, but it appears to be Saab facade plastered over a different car - more specifically, an Opel/Vauxhall Insignia.

Looking at the cockpit, it is still Saab. The grille is Saab. The rear is Saab. But that's it.

So the question now is: would you pay £26,000 for a car that is essentially the same as the Insignia? Why not just spec up the Insignia, you'll get equal luxury for your money, it looks better (dare I say it) and you'll be safe in the knowledge that the manufacturer will still be there in 5 years time (hopefully).

As for the Saab, would you risk the extra money for a few bits of Saab shaped chrome in the hope that Spyker is still there in 5 years time? I wouldn't.