Hilarious New Car Review

There are honest new car reviews and then there are really honest new car reviews. Leave it to the British to know the difference.

While in an airport lounge recently, desperate for something to read for the two hours between flights, I picked up a copy of the London Sunday Times (December 31st) and found Jeremy Clarkson's review of the new BMW Z4-M. Now here's a guy who knows how to be honest. The article was informative, sure, but he peppered it with pithy one liners that were hilariously frank. Refreshingly so, too. We're not talking Car and Driver here, folks.

Clarkson heaps praise where it's deserved, contrasting California test drives of the BMW with the Viper and Corvette (and other sportscars) with the Beemer succinctly: "Out there in the desert, it was a sniper's rifle in a field of howitzers and mortars." Or when he compares braking, "Lots of cars, for instance, are fitted with antilock brakes, but the system fitted to a BMW is just better."

Clarkson praises BMW brand for the driving machine it is, but then he turns his attention to the 3-series model and he really gets fun with his words. "The last one I drove was more dreary than shopping for bathroom cleaning products."

Styling? " still looks dull. You'd only really want to get inside it if you were being chased by an armed gang..." "And then, when you did get inside, you'd want to get right back out again."

And the interior? "It's as dull and as featurelss as the inside of a Cheeky Girl's head."

But it's not all poking fun at the misnomered 335 model, like when he turns to comment on the engine with "This engine is little short of a masterpiece," followed by a a paragraph of praise for its acceleration abilities. This guy knows what he likes. And what he does not. He makes it clear that as much as he loves the Beemer, "I still wouldn't buy one. You need to think of it as a painting by the world's greatest artist. Yes, the brush strokes are magnificent. Yes, the texture is superb. Yes, the perspective is world class and the detailing is better than you'd get from Leonardo."

Then Clarkson delivers his best line in the entire article. "But what he's actually painted in this case is a big dog turd." Now that's a candid remark the likes of which you won't see in any American new car review anywhere. And it harkens right back to the title of the entire article, which caused me to start reading it: "It's damn clever, for a dog."

One thing is clear from Clarkson's BMW review. He's torn between all the reasons he doesn't like some Beemers and all the reasons he just loves most of them. Still, Clarkson's writing style is sure to keep you interested and entertained. You can read more of his reviews at

Not all of the cars that he writes about are even available in the US, but when you read a Clarkson review, that's not important. I get the feeling that if Clarkson test drove a lemon, he'd call it that no matter who built it and no matter how highly polished it looked. And if you ever got him started on secret car warranties, look out!