Three men in a…Jaguar
At Geneva last week we had four people presenting, shooting and editing videos; four more trawling the stands talking to industry figures and writing about the new cars; a stills photographer; and two unfortunates entombed in the press room to get it all online.
Like any business, especially in present circumstances, we look to do all this as cost-effectively as possible – not easy when you're talking about Geneva, where a kebab costs £24.
If we're not careful, a considerable portion of our show budgets can be swallowed up just in travel, but what's the best way round this? Low-cost airline? Car?
Finance is not the only consideration. To do what we do, we need to take a lot of stuff: formal clothing for the show and industry dinners, leisure togs to wear during the journey out and back, laptops, cameras, tripods, battery packs…don't think girls are the only ones who take almost everything they own when travelling.
So, our website bigwigs – producer Iain Reid and deputy editor Jim 'Noddy' Holder – and I decided that, all things considered, the most efficient mode of transport would be to share the journey in my Jag.
By the time we'd factored in the cost of fuel to the sort of far-flung airport budget airlines operate from, the parking fees at one end and taxi fares at the other, and the excess baggage charges that inevitably result from trying to fly on the cheap, we could end up better off, we reckoned.
I've said it before but it bears repeating: the XF was made for trips such as this. It's fast, smooth, comfortable, quiet, spacious and luxurious, and you still love driving it even when you're using motorways virtually door to door.
Far better to be enjoying the leather upholstery, climate control and Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi of the XF's sublime cabin than stare at the back of a virulent orange seat in an airborne cattle truck.
The 601-mile journey took exactly 10 hours each way, including down-time through the Channel Tunnel and a single stop on each leg to refuel ourselves and the car. We averaged 78mph and 34.3mpg – brilliant in a fully-laden executive saloon with a V6 diesel engine and an automatic gearbox, I'd say.
By my reckoning, that means that even with French autoroute tolls, the Eurotunnel ticket and the scandalous 40 francs the Swiss charge you for a motorway carnet just so you can enter the country, the three of us got to Geneva and back for around £120 a head.
That'll keep the man that pays the bills happy.
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