Monday October 21
Early start to the week in the form of a morning flight to Düsseldorf with Audi to drive the updated A8 and S8 models. It's funny how although we tend to refer to these updates as 'facelift' models, the manufacturers always have their own little names for them - in Audi's case it's PI, Product Improvement. The changes to the car have been subtle, but it's a good opportunity to stretch the car's legs on German autobahns - couldn't get the S8 past 267km/h, but it is higher than the claimed 250km/h limiter.
Tuesday October 22
Thankfully today didn't involve such an early start. I opt to drive myself along with fellow journalist Ian Beatty and Audi product expert Mark McGrath back to the airport in the 3.0-litre A8 TDI - arguably the best car in the lineup. A swift flight home sees me picking up the keys to the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo that I'll be testing this week. Following some work at home I pop along to 'Volksfest', the first of a series of events run throughout Volkswagen dealers.
Wednesday October 23
Spending much of today writing up some stories from my Audi trip earlier this week as well as attempting to battle an on-coming cold. Decide to get out in the BMW 3 Series GT later on to see just how practical it really is. A few errands around town before heading back to the airport have me starting to like this car quite a bit. Early evening flight into London for an overnight stay before flying out to Milan in the morning to drive the updated Alfa Romeo range.
Thursday October 24
Another very early start this morning from Heathrow ahead of a busy day in Milan. Driving the new(er) MiTo today which is a car that has really struggled to gain fans here in Ireland. The car's newer front-end thankfully has a less confused look than it used to. It's not a bad car to drive, but can't help but feel that Alfa decided to try to update it without checking out the competition first.
Friday October 25
Proof that not all press trips are glamorous, I set off for today's drive in the Giulietta is heavy fog and drizzle which is actually probably ideal testing conditions for the irish market. After a promising start through some twisty Italian hills, our test route soon turns into a boring motorway drive back to the main hotel. Several hours to kill before the flight home gives me the opportunity to get writing up my thoughts on the cars (which you can now read in our Test Drives section) in what must be the most stunning office space I've worked in for some time.
Sunday Oct 13
Once again my working week begins on a Sunday as I make my way to Mondello Park for the end of season 'Fun Races'. As non-championship rounds at the end of a long season these events can usually throw up a few surprises, both in the results and the entry list. Ever see a Toyota Corolla from the mid-nineties race against a Honda-powered Lotus Elise?
As the schedule is not as packed as a normal race weekend my Autosport reports are finished at a remarkably reasonable…
Monday Oct 14
Despite it being the sort of car that shouldn't even be on my radar, I was a little bit sad to be handing back the Citroen C4 Picasso that I'd spent the previous seven days with. I was massively impressed with the car's interior design, which is something that I think many other manufacturers should go and take a look at to see how cool can be done. On the upside, I'm collecting a Volvo V40 T4 Polestar, which has potential to be rather interesting.
At the recent BMW i3 launch in Amsterdam I had dinner with a number of BMW executives and foreign journalists, all of whom spoke in German, but would occasionally pop up with a question in English to get me someway involved. One of those questions was what I thought of the i3 - having driven it all day?
In between mouthfuls of sea salad (fancy sea weed really) I responded that it did not feel special. Save for the noise of cutlery dropping the room went very silent, but there was a reason I had chosen that response.