Mercedes-Benz proudly unveiled its new E-class saloon at the Brussels Show last week complete with the slogan Das Auto, das alles kann, was wirkonnen or "The car that contains everything we know". To test this theory, Sniff Petrol had exclusive access to pre-production cars - and we were impressed by the results. To start with, we asked an E270CDI to name the capital of Chile. It took less than five minutes to find a small sticker attached to the off-side rear door jamb bearing the word 'Santiago'. Impressed, we moved on to an E240 with a more tricky line of enquiry: "How can I get the smell of garlic off my hands after preparing a spaghetti bolognese?" Within seconds, the dot matrix display under the speedometer flashed up a solution: "Reiben Sie ihre H�nde entlang der stumpfen Seite eines Messers und laufen Sie hei�es Wasser �ber sie gleichzeitig" (Rub your hands along the blunt side of a knife and run hot water over them at the same time). Finally, we tried to stump an E220CDI fitted with optional COMAND centre console display by asking "What developments can we expect in Coronation Street this year?" Almost immediately the widescreen TV screen in the dashboard came back with an answer: "Cull of unpopular characters to continue. Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) to return". As if this weren't impressive enough, sources say a series of CD-ROMs will be available allowing owners to update their cars as Mercedes 'knows' more stuff. This will enable interested E-class drivers to keep abreast of developments in the war on terrorism, Jeremy Clarkson's "�1m U-turn" (� Mail on Sunday) Top Gear comeback and Merc chassis engineer Peter Heibbel's affair with that girl from DaimlerChrysler Finance.
New E-class (above) knows everything Merc knows. Look (below), it does, it does
CITROEN GOES 'A BIT MAD' AGAIN
It's official: Citroen has gone mad again. Sources within the French company say that, following years of enforced 'normality' under Peugeot management, they are once again allowed to be 'zany' to their heart's content. "Nous sommes mad, we are," spluttered spokesman Jean Pamplemousse, laughing annoyingly through his nose, "Just look at the new C3. Bonkers!" Insiders say the distinctively styled supermini is just the start of a 'wacky' model programme that will attempt to recapture some of the quirky glories of the famous double chevron badge. To further the 'cuckoo' crusade, Citroen's official uniform for showroom staff will be revised to include a Donald Duck tie and socks that depict a foaming tankard of ale and can play Roll Out The Barrel in a series of irritatingly high pitched chimes. Cementing this new found march towards self-styled 'lunacy', Citroen's global marketing slogan will become Vous n'�tes pas f�ch� pour acheter nos voitures... mais il aide! (You don't have to be mad to buy our cars� but it helps!).
SCOOP! A C3 spied on test wearing a pair of deely boppers. Bonkers
MG KEEPS 'EXTREME' THEME
MG-Rover's ongoing attempts to really piss off the ASA will step up a gear with the campaign for the forthcoming MGF re-working, the TF. Sniff Petrol is the first orangey website to publish this radical ad (see right) and it's sure to be controversial. We rang Longbridge public affairs spokesman 'Knuckles' McCabe for further comment but his brother had been having 'a spot of bother' with some 'geezers over in Balsall Heath' and he'd 'gone over to have a word'. However, he very kindly carved the words 'Leave it or else' onto a dead crow and left it on top of
Sniff Petrol's car.
The new MG TF ad (right). No actual kittens were harmed in the making of this advert. But they did kick a couple of badgers to death, for fun
PROMINENT PENCIL PERSON IN GIRLY NAME SHAME
Ford has been lightly dipped in controversy this week following a revelation about one of its top designers. The shame surrounds Ford styling supremo J Mays who, sources say, has a very girly name. Most industry watchers assumed the senior pencil twiddler only used an initial because he was crazy and creative. Indeed, this move was seen as a welcome alternative to the usual self-conscious designer fallbacks of nob-endy glasses, crass facial hair or all black outfits that make them look like effete members of the fucking SAS. In reality it seems Mays is hiding a dark and amusing secret behind that mysterious initial. Insiders say that the lone 'J' does not represent free thinking creativity and casual shoes in the workplace as presumed, but in fact stands for 'Janet'. "It's okay, we can handle this," spoke Ford saidman Red Marlborough, "We weathered the storm when people discovered Henry Ford's middle name was Susan. Heck, we even got away with it when someone spotted the MkIV Escort was a load of rancid monkey toss."
I like hot hatches. I like them almost as much as large roll neck jumpers and long-sleeved T-shirts with big, inexplicable numbers on the front. Good news is, the hot hatch is becoming fashionable again. Not as fashionable as my glasses or the records I listen to, but fashionable nonetheless. So, sit back, relax, put your feet up, and enjoy my guide to five of the most powerful hot hatches aroind noi.
Honda Civic Type-R (197bhp, �15,995): The most powerful of the new generation of hot hatches, and also one of the most controversial. Some say the chassis hasn't got what it takes to handle almost 200bhp, and that the steering lacks feel. But with a six speed 'box and all that power one thing's for sure. You won't be left behind. Left behind. By the people you thought were friends. Stabbed in the back and abandoned by cheating BASTARDS.
Toyota Corolla T-Sport (189bhp, �15,495): Another newcomer and another high revving, powerful engine up front, coupled to a six speed gearbox. Sadly the chassis is too soft to match the manic engine's efforts and, if anything, that motor is too frenetic and peaky. The 'box has incredibly low ratios yet, since the Corolla doesn't really come on song until a dizzying 6000rpm, even on the motorway accessing meaningful acceleration probably means changing out of top gear. Leaving top gear. Just going. Don't mind me. Here on my own. ALONE. Sold a dummy YOU SHITS.
Renault Clio 172 (170bhp, �15,495): Compared to the Civic and Corolla, the Clio feels a bit old, despite a facelift last year. It's down on power and the 'box tops out with fifth gear. Fifth gear. Very nice, I'm sure. Yes, I hope it's a real success. Honestly I do. Why would I want it to fail? Why would I feel BITTER? WHY? WHY? WHY? Just because I was cast ASIDE? CAST ASIDE? YOU WANKERS. Stick me in a garage with some Panicking FUCKING mechanics, that's fine. That's just FINE. Oh yea, move up to fifth gear why don't you AND LEAVE ME.
Citroen Xsara VTS (167bhp, �12,810 [internet offer]): The Citroen is the forgotten car here. Forgotten. Left behind. Left alone, on my own. BY SPLITTERS. Go on then. See if I care, you FUCKERS. Let's see how far you get without fashionable spectacles and an overtly regional accent, SMARTARSES. YOU MAKE ME SICK, YOU SHITWADS. I COULD'VE BEEN A CONTENDER AND YOU STEAL MY PUBLICITY WITH YOUR CRAPPY, FUZZY, CRAPPY, FUZZY, FUZZY CHANNEL FIVE�..SHIT! I HATE YOU ALL. ALL OF YOU.
Mini Cooper S (163bhp, �14,500): EVER FEEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN BETRAYED? HUH? EVER BEEN DOUBLE CROSSED BY THE PEOPLE YOU THOUGHT WERE FRIENDS? LEFT ON YOUR OWN ON THE SINKING SHIP? YEA? YEA? KNOW HOW IT FEELS? WELL I'M WAITING. WAITING TILL THEY COME BACK. THEY'LL BE SORRY, JUST YOU WAIT. OH YES, THEY'LL BE SORRY FOR THIS. SPLITTERS. And very adjustable handling.
It's all true I tells ya
During the design showdown for the new Mini, Rover's Gaydon studio presented two full size models, the cars we now know as the Spiritual concepts. Examining the five door version, BMW management brightly noted that, if the three door was the 'Mini', then this one could be the 'Maxi'. Embarrassed Rover management had to clear their throats and explain, in the nicest possible way, why this was a fucking stupid idea.
CITROEN ACCIDENTALLY CHEATS AGAIN
Fresh from their accidental cheating in the WRC season opener in Monte Carlo, Citroen's in-it-for-the-ride rally team is set to repeat its inadvertent unsporting behaviour. Spies inside the team's French headquarters report that the Xsara WRC will be fitted with helicopter-style rotors for its next outing, enabling it simply to rise off the ground and fly along special stages. "Zut alors! We didn't realise this wasn't in the rules," said a team representative, unconvincingly. "How do things stand on laser cannons?" he added, tinkering with a rocket engine. However, it looks as if the controversial team may get away with their crazily forgetful antics: "We will probably overlook this," mumbled an FIA spokesman, from the governing body's offices in Paris, "I mean, we don't want to get our electricity cut off again, do we?"
Citroen's WRC. Tch! They're so absent minded
A D V E R T I S M E N T
� 2002. Sniff Petrol every fortnight. Next issue 8 February
Jim Wood; The Whittington Hospital, London; and most of all, Poo.