A late evening encounter with a synthesized Audi crossover got our Sheffield operative thinking about additives.
Mono Sodium Glutamate, or MSG was invented back in 1908 by a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda who was searching for a food additive he named umami which is given as “neither sweet, nor salty, bitter or sour” and was marketed by the fledgling Suzuki company, though under the brand name Aji-no-moto, itself a part of Suzuki pharmaceuticals. Its European name is E-621. Do Suzuki make a car with that code name in Japan?
In the halcyon pre-Covid past, a night out at a local Latin American restaurant, where the tapas was tasty, the cigars and rum both plentiful and expensive (neither sampled) and the beats both seductive and loud, led to a rather unexpected (and frustrating) conversation regarding car design with my better half. Well kind of. The rum and ‘gars must await another time.
My wife has never particularly liked our Octavia. She considers it too large, too ugly and too difficult to drive and park. As we left the restaurant and approached our waiting Skoda, she looked over at the adjacent vehicle and exclaimed, “Oh, that’s a nice looking car, is it four wheel drive?” The car in question being a grey Audi Q2. I certainly do not expect my other half to be close to one tenth as interested in the car as we are here in DTW-Land, so I winced, but held my peace.
Driving home, the conversation gravitated to that Audi and those cars of a slightly lofty stance. Despite my obvious (and reasoned) arguments against her choice, her stance was a dogged, “well I like it.” Suddenly, recalling an element of the Q2 that must have inspired her, she added, “That silver bit at the back, that looked good,” referring to the chunky, sculptured polystyrene effect at the C pillar that the Q2 offers as style.
Just then a Jeep Renegade drew alongside us. “Is that one any better,” I inquired? She paused a moment. “I like the rear lights.” My response took the form of an imperceptible roll of the eyes. It was after all, neither the time nor place for a style argument.
On returning home, with but a modicum of curiosity, the Q2 was researched for all of fifteen minutes. It proved poor reading and almost spoilt my cuppa. My first port of call being the Autotrader website where in a ten mile radius of home, twenty versions were available in a surprisingly large amount of colours, tiny mileages and one would guess, just exiting PCP World. From just shy of £18,000 upwards to higher spec models approaching thirty large. Another snort of derision.
The Audi website came next which led me to believe that these days anything can be made believable by hype. “The Audi Q2 takes the stage – an urban type with corners and edges. Whether for adventures off the beaten track or everyday life in the big city – the Audi Q2 is an all-rounder. Its progressive design and modern connectivity features make it ready for a new kind of mobility. The interior offers expressive colours for seat covers and decorative trims, leaving plenty of room for individual design.”
There are six engines available, three petrol, three using Satan’s fuel but only four variants have four wheel drive. Thus, should you see a Q2 attempting a gravel driveway or other such terrifying surfaces, odds on that its front wheels are providing the traction.
Wishing to dig no deeper, for this car does nothing for me whatsoever, my thoughts turned to Audi’s description, above. Smacking of the saccharine, the chassis I’m guessing being some form of MQB leads to a car that has added additives – it’s an A3 with mono sodium glutamate by the kilo. And like most artificial flavour-enhancers, it’s not necessary.
Whilst arguments continue over MSG’s properties and potential risks to health, the car manufacturers really do not need to pump out any more umami’s. The industry already contains far too many synthetics for us to stew upon, bake unevenly and chew over again and again – before spitting out, complaining of the odd aftertaste. A dash of rum, anyone? Or a Churchill cigar, then? Only £36.50 each…