Mr. Clarkson pondering BMW ergonomics with pipe
By Gunnar Heinrich
THERE is something acutely strange that happens when you first try to reverse in a right-hand drive car in a country whose traffic flows from the left – you turn right to look back and instead of having that clear view through the windscreen, you jam your hand and shoulder against the door and find a close up view of the seat belt mounted to the car’s b-pillar.
It’s disorienting and you’re left feeling really, really foolish.
Anyway, this happened to me, discouragingly, in the middle of a test drive at a Land Rover dealer in Scotland. It wasn’t my first time driving on the left, but it was my first time behind the wheel of a car in at least three weeks (not a healthy way to live). So, it took adjusting.
It might be hard for the majority of the world to consider, but those who do drive on the left are forced to be ambidextrous. Most of the car’s functions are featured on the dashboard which is inevitably placed left of the driver’s left knee.
Fortunately, the pedals are in the same left to right order as nature intended. But in the case of BMW’s all encompassing iDrive, it isn’t.
Jeremy Clarkson pointed this out in his Sunday Times column this week.
“As any normal person who’s tried to operate a computer mouse with their left hand knows, it’s nigh-on impossible. In short, then, the right-hand-drive 7-series works only for left-hand-drive people.”
For Bimmer drivers in the 75 countries that drive on the left side of the road, including but not limited to the UK, Japan, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, and Guyana, they must be left feeling really, really foolish.
[Linked: Sunday Times]
By Gunnar Heinrich with Photos By Kevin Kusina
DRIVING off the lot from Herb Chambers in the new Turbo X with ADL shooter Kevin riding shotgun and Saab media rep. extraordinaire Jan-Willem Vester giving directions from the back seat, we embarked upon a preordained route that wound us northward to North Andover where in a more secure, open setting we would be able to beat the Turbo X like the redheaded stepchild it isn’t.
The trouble was getting there.
Not a problem you’d think, Jan-Willem had the directions. The route was charted. Tuesday morning traffic was light. We’d be as right as Swedish pork-filled potato dumplings with cabbage rolls.
Boston, bless it’s eighteenth century heart, had other ideas.