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Brak­ing news

Fur­ther to Gra­ham Samways’ let­ter about rust­ing brakes on elec­tric and hybrid ve­hi­cles (Your Views, 9 Au­gust), I agree it can be a con­cern. I have com­pleted al­most 120,000 miles in a Toy­ota Prius and more than 50,000 (and count­ing) in an Vaux­hall Am­pera, and I have never yet changed a set of front brake pads, but the rear discs on the Prius were changed at 110,000 miles be­cause they had cor­roded so badly. I get ad­vi­sory notes about cor­ro­sion on the rear discs on my Am­pera at ev­ery ser­vice and the last two MOTS.

Back to drums for rear brakes? Andy Latham Via email

50 years on

An­drew Frankel’s quest to find the ideal, sen­si­ble driver’s car (‘How to cre­ate the ideal driver’s car’, 16 Au­gust) re­sulted in the al­most in­evitable Porsche Cay­man, even though it did not fill his full cri­te­ria.

Ask any keen mo­tor­cy­cle rider and they will tell you that the best thing about rid­ing is the way you can just think a bike around a cor­ner rather than steer around as in a car.

Over the years I have had a few cars noted for their fine han­dling, in­clud­ing a Toy­ota Corolla GT and an Alfa Romeo SZ, but none come close to the 1967 Lo­tus Elan S3 S/E coupé I had all those years ago.

It was the near­est thing to the mo­tor­cy­cle ex­pe­ri­ence. The Elan was only half the weight of a Cay­man, held more lug­gage, did 40mpg, hit an in­di­cated 132mph and was nar­row enough to fit be­tween the hedges of the lanes of Som­er­set and even a Tesco park­ing bay.

Be­ing a Lo­tus, it was frag­ile and trou­ble­some while the Porsche is solid and re­li­able, but, that aside, is it re­ally progress? Stu­art Un­der­wood We­ston su­per Mare, Som­er­set

Qu­att’s the story?

As a pre­vi­ous owner of a cel­e­brated Audi ur-qu­at­tro, I was ap­palled by Alex Rob­bins’ lib­eral use of an up­per-

case ‘Q’ (Past Mas­ter, 16 Au­gust). He notes the clues all around him when dis­cussing the in­te­rior yet fails to pick up the rel­e­vance, or per­haps even to ques­tion the re­li­gious ap­pli­ca­tion, of the gram­mat­i­cal case.

To many en­thu­si­asts, that was – and is still – the only au­then­tic qu­at­tro Audi has pro­duced, and there­fore I would kindly re­quest you rep­ri­mand the afore­said jour­nal­ist and con­sign him back to re­views on cars he can spell. David Grindey Via email The chal­lenge comes when we’re writ­ing more lengthy ar­ti­cles that re­fer to both qu­at­tro (the car) and qu­at­tro (the four-wheel drive sys­tem). Hence our de­ci­sion to ap­ply a cap­i­tal Q to the model name for the sake of clar­ity for the less de­vout – MB

Fo­cus lost

In your ar­ti­cle seek­ing the best driver’s car (‘Bri­tain’s Best Af­ford­able Driver’s Car’, 23 Au­gust), I have to ap­plaud your se­lec­tion of the Civic Type R – and many con­grat­u­la­tions to Honda. How­ever, in the qual­i­fy­ing rounds you printed two pages lay­ing out how the Fo­cus RS was so much more ap­peal­ing as a driver’s car than the Golf R, but con­cluded that the Golf was bet­ter. The only area where this seemed to be true was in cabin plush­ness. I am still be­wil­dered. Nick Ti­ley Cam­bridge Our con­clu­sion ex­plained all: if the test was solely one of track prow­ess, the Fo­cus RS might have emerged as a win­ner. But it wasn’t, so it didn’t, be­cause the Golf R is a more ac­com­plished all-rounder – MB

May­oral trans­port

I read with in­ter­est Matt Prior’s col­umn re­gard­ing suit­able cars for gang­sters and what the Mayor of Dover would pre­fer in lieu of a Toy­ota Prius (Tester’s Notes, 23 Au­gust).

We have to be more cost-con­scious and in­ven­tive here in the Cotswolds. The de­sire for a white Rolls-royce for may­oral use has been met by a town coun­cil­lor mak­ing and at­tach­ing an R-R grille to her white Re­liant Robin and the Fly­ing Lady has been re­placed with a Fly­ing Robin. Ben Ed­dolls Mayor, Stow Town Coun­cil

Oldie but goodie

Darn it! My 12-year-old BMW Z4 has just passed its MOT for an­other year. It’s a baby com­pared with some of the high-mileage oldies that James Rup­pert found (Used Cars, 26 July) but, at 88,000 miles, its three-litre six-cylin­der en­gine is still strong and creamy, its gear­box pre­cise and its clutch smooth.

It is also nar­row enough to en­joy on most Bri­tish sec­on­daries. I’ll be keep­ing it for now, so once again, I won’t be spend­ing up­wards of £50k on a mod­ern two-seater, with fewer cylin­ders, more weight, in­hibit­ing width, un­wanted in­tru­sive tech and

mind-bog­gling de­pre­ci­a­tion. Oh well, maybe next year… Nick Daw­son Mar­low, Buck­ing­hamshire

Ford still kicks RS

As a Ford man, I wasn’t sur­prised by the re­sult of your Bri­tain’s Best’ Af­ford­able Driver’s Car test (Au­to­car, 23 Au­gust). The Fo­cus RS’S street roots never ap­peal to you lot for long, but if I had the money it would be the Ford ev­ery time for me.

I’m glad to see you in­cluded the Peu­geot 308 GTI, though, be­cause I think it’s a good looker.

Out on my lo­cal streets, the Volk­swa­gen Golf R, Audi RS3 and Mercedes-amg A45 are far more com­mon than the fab­u­lous Fo­cus RS, but most of them seem to be driven by com­plete id­iots. The dual-clutch gear­boxes make them sound far bet­ter driv­ers than they ac­tu­ally are. Ben Mar­shall Li­versedge, West York­shire

Tour of beauty

I have just done back-to-back tours of the Pa­gani and As­ton Martin fac­to­ries. They could not have been more dif­fer­ent.

No wel­com­ing smiles at Pa­gani, no cof­fee – not even wa­ter! – and only three seats in re­cep­tion. All 20 peo­ple on the tour were English­s­peak­ing, but our guide only spoke fal­ter­ing English and had no grasp of tech­ni­cal terms. They had no pas­sion and no knowl­edge of the cars (there aren’t that many to know about). Why bother with the pub­lic when the very few cars they make are sold three years in ad­vance?

At Gay­don, how­ever, the 18 on the tour were greeted with open arms, plenty of re­fresh­ments and seat­ing be­fore the tour be­gan. When it did, we were we were split into two groups of nine so ev­ery­one could both hear the fas­ci­nat­ing things be­ing ex­plained and also eas­ily ask as many ques­tions as they wished. The knowl­edge of the guides was ex­cep­tional, the pas­sion palpable. Ab­so­lutely bril­liant! Nigel Ed­wards Shal­don, Devon

Fo­cus RS beat the Golf R on track but not on the road

Would Frankel pre­fer a Lo­tus Elan?

Stow’s Mayor (l) with Re­liant and owner

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