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THE THRILL OF DRIVING

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WO R L D E XC L U S IV E

STREET RACER McLAREN P1 GTR

INSIDE DRIVEN MERCEDES-AMG C63 CABRIO & FERRARI GT4C LUSSO ICON BMW M3 CSL MEETS NEW 331kW COMPETITION PACK


BMW M3 ‘30 Years M3’ Special Edition

AFTER 30 YEARS, GREATNESS COMES NATURALLY. THE BMW M3 ‘30 YEARS M3’ SPECIAL EDITION. /NĂžAĂžSWEEPINGĂž)TALIANĂžRACETRACKĂžINĂžTHEĂžSPRINGĂžOFĂž ĂžMOTORINGĂžJOURNALISTSĂžFROMĂžAROUNDĂžTHEĂžWORLDĂžMETĂžTHEĂžĂœRSTĂž ever BMW M3 and fell in love. Over the next 30 years the BMW M3 would go on to be the most successful touring car in motorsport history. Today, the Special Edition BMW 30 Years M3 celebrates the spirit of that VERYĂžĂœRSTĂžEDITIONĂž,IMITEDĂžTOÞÞCARSĂžWORLDWIDEĂžANDĂžADORNEDĂžINĂžICONICĂž-ACAOĂž"LUEĂžITĂžISĂžPOWEREDĂžBYĂžAĂžTHUMPINGĂž 331 kW engine. The Special Edition BMW 30 Years M3 rockets to 100 km/h in just 4 seconds, while Adaptive M suspension and Active M differential keep the 20-inch star spoke wheels perfectly planted. Guided by the same philosophy of every BMW M3 before it, the anniversary edition is a thoroughbred high-performance sports car suited to both road and track. It is a car engineered for the driver, and designed to win hearts.


Unleash the Audi RS 3 Sportback With the award-winning 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder turbocharged engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback sprints from 0-100km/h in just 4.3 seconds. Unleash performance. Request a test drive at audi.com.au today. *Overseas model shown with optional equipment.


It’s our race car. Off-duty. The Volvo S60 Polestar. With a 257kW, 3.0-litre turbocharged engine, 500+Nm of torque, Öhlins suspension, AWD and launch control. MAKE YOUR VOLVO DEBUT VOLVOCARS.COM.AU


NISSAN 370Z. FEEL THE DRIVE.


CONTENTS ISSUE 038 AUGUST 2016

ON THE COV ER 074

McL A R EN P1 G T R The road car that was never meant to be. evo drives the P1 GTR on the road

084

A S T ON M A R T IN-R ED BUL L 001 A 730kW+ hypercar designed by the genius of Adrian Newey and built by Aston Martin

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TITANIUM CASE DIAMETER 42 MM WATERPROOF TO 500M M (11640 FT) HELIUM ESCAPE VALVE E IN-HOUSE MOVEMENTT

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CONTENTS Continued

FE AT UR ES 92

BM W M3 C OMP PACK & E 4 6 C S L BMW's powered-up 331kW Competition Package meets the legendary E46 CSL

100

IMP R E Z A ON T HE IOM T T Mark Higgins has smashed the Isle of Man four-wheel lap record, this is how he did it

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DATA T E S T: GI A N T K IL L ER S Jaguar F-type v 911 Turbo S, Ford Focus RS v Nissan GT-R, GT86 v Mustang GT and more…

124

MINI CH A L L ENGE With a little help from evo, o Mini is preparing a hard-core, track-focused Cooper S Challenge

REGULARS 022

NE W S Renaultsport is set to build a harder Clio. Porsche explains its future plans

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L E T T ER S Why does Toyota go racing? And, surprisingly, the Elise isn’t all that practical

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C OL UMNS Richard Meaden, Richard Porter and Dario Franchitti

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L ONG -T ER M T E S T S An epic holiday for the 996 GT2 and a podium finish for our Caterham racer

138

K NOW L EDGE Need a fast and practical four-door? How about a Maserati Quattroporte?

146

A R T OF S P EED It’s the most simple of components and so many get it so wrong, but Honda didn’t with the NSX

DRIVEN 054

F ER R A R I G T C 4 L U S S O 059

AUDI R S 6 P ER F OR M A NCE 060

McL A R EN 5 7 0 G T

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V W GOL F G T I CL UB SP OR T S 066

MERCEDE S -A MG C6 3 C A B 070

P OR S CHE 718 C AY M A N S


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Ed Speak Speed thrills or the Thrill of Driving? Are they the same thing or are they becoming increasingly mutually exclusive?

ISSUE 038 AUGUST 2016

Subscriptions Telephone 136 116 Email magshop@magshop.com.au Website www.magshop.com.au/evo

Australia Editorial Email contact@evomag.com.au Website www.evomag.com.au PO Box 1110 Darlinghurst 1300 NSW, Australia Editor Jesse Taylor Art director Chris Andrew It wouldn’t have been possible without Christina Brauer, Anthony Harris, Patricia O’Malley

UK Editorial I T’S NOT YOU, I T’S M E . L A ST MON T H I W ROT E about non-enthusiasts and their concept of speed, but it has since occurred to me that, maybe, I’m the one with the warped perception of pace. During a brief wide-open-throttle squeeze in a Volkswagen Golf R, I turned to my passenger and remarked, ‘‘It’s not that quick, is it?’’ As soon as the words escaped my mouth and floated across the Golf’s cabin, I wanted to reach out and snatch them back. Who thinks that a 206kW hot hatch, with a five-flat 0-100km/h boast, isn’t fast? In very real terms, the Golf R possesses all the real-world speed (both straight line and cross-country pace) that you’ll ever need. But for a brain and backside warped by supercars, hypercars and racecars, the hit from a hot hatch no longer satisfies the cravings. That realisation makes me sad. Later the same week of the Golf R incident, I found myself nodding in agreement when I read Richard Meaden’s column this month (page 46) and his ‘Campaign for Slower Cars’. Though we live in opposite hemispheres, Richard and I have been around this industry for the same period of time and we’ve been fortunate enough to have had similar experiences and access to amazing cars and drives. For a long time 224kW (or 300 good old-fashioned horsepower), was my jumping off point to genuinely fast cars. By 300kW (400 horse), things were getting very serious indeed, while anything above 350kW was ludicrously quick. Last year, however, I averaged one 350kW-plus car per week, with 37 or them boasting north of 400kW. I’ve not gone through this year’s diary but it’d at least be keeping pace. Maybe I need a speed and power detox so that I’m properly in awe the next time I open the taps on a 600hp supercar (or super wagon like the Audi RS6 Performance Richard mentions in his column). I wonder if there’s a power junkies anonymous?

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Editor Managing editor Art director Features editor Website editor Road test editor Production editor Film-maker Designer Staff photographer Staff writer Staff writer Subeditor Contributing editor Contributing editor Contributing editor Contributing photographer Technical correspondent Columnist Columnist

Nick Trott Stuart Gallagher Rob Gould Henry Catchpole Hunter Skipworth Dan Prosser Ian Eveleigh Sam Riley Will Beaumont Aston Parrott Sam Sheehan Antony Ingram Richard Lane Jethro Bovingdon Richard Meaden David Vivian Dean Smith Michael Whiteley Richard Porter Dario Franchitti

Contributors (words) Simon de Burton, Simon George, Matthew Hayward, Contributors (pictures) Drew Gibson, Pete Gibson, Gus Gregory, Matt Howell, Olgun Kordal, Andy Morgan, Chris Rutter, Amy Shore It wouldn’t have been possible without Bedford Autodrome, Brynteg Holiday Park, James Cameron, Brett Fraser, Adam Gould, Hamish McAllister, Adam Shorrock, Tyres Northampton, Andy Wallace, Richard Usher and Blyton Park

Advertising & Marketing Lisa McGrath Phone: 0422 928 579 Email: lisa@mycoverstory.com.au

Motor Media Network Pty Ltd Director Matthew O’Malley Phone: 0419 901 863 Email: omalley@evomag.com.au www.mmnetwork.com.au

Jesse Taylor Editor

evo Worldwide EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Argentina Pablo Perez Companc Bulgaria Georgi Ivanov Croatia Branimir Tomurad Czech Republic Petr Ehrlich Egypt Omar Khalifa England Nick Trott France Stéphane Schlesinger Italy Maurizio Mozzali Malaysia Chris Wee Middle East Bassam Kronfli Singapore Sheldon Trollope Slovenia Matjaž Korošak Thailand Chettha Songthaveepol Turkey Burak Ertam Ukraine Igor Kravtsov

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evo Australia is published by Motor Media Network under license from and with the permission of Dennis Publishing. All rights in the material and the title and trademark of this magazine belong to Motor Media Network Pty Ltd and Dennis Publishing Limited absolutely and may not be reproduced, whether in whole or in part, without their prior written consent. Except as expressly and otherwise indicated in any specific material or editorial content, this magazine is published under license from Dennis Publishing Limited. All rights in the material, title and trademark of this magazine belong to Dennis Publishing Limited absolutely and may not be reproduced, whether in whole or in part, without its prior written consent. Motor Media Network Pty Ltd. ABN: 75 161 489 872. Distributed by Gordon & Gotch Pty Ltd. Subscriptions fulfilment by Network Services. Opinions expressed in evo Australia are not necessarily those of the publisher. The claims made by its advertisers do not imply that the services or products are endorsed by Motor Media Network Pty Ltd. While the publisher makes every effort to ensure that the magazine’s contents are correct, it is not responsible for any errors or omissions.


NEWS

TECHNOLOGY

WATCHES

3

1

2

IN-DEPTH Clio gets Mégane Trophy-R powertrain to create hottest Renault Sport model ever HE CLIO RS16 celebrates 40 years of Renault’s performance and motorsport division, Renault Sport, as well as marking the company’s return to Formula 1 as a constructor. By shoehorning a 202kW engine into the Clio bodyshell, Renault Sport has produced its fastest road car to date. Better still, it’s considering putting the RS16 into production. Renault Sport managing director Patrice Ratti is very keen for the Clio RS16 to make production. In fact, you get the impression he’d be gutted if it didn’t progress beyond the concept car stage. ‘‘From a technical point of view it is possible,’’ he says, speaking at Renault Sport’s headquarters near Paris, ‘‘but I don’t know yet whether the economics will allow it.’’ The RS16 concept has been developed with a view to a production version since day one, however, and no other manufacturer

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has such a rich history of putting its concept cars into production – the two generations of Clio V6 and the 1996 Spider attest to that. ‘‘We wanted to do another crazy car to celebrate 40 years of Renault Sport,’’ adds Ratti, ‘‘but we wanted to do something even faster and better than the Clio V6. ‘‘We arrived at the idea of taking a Clio RS and putting the Mégane RS drivetrain in it. We toyed with the idea of putting the engine in the rear, like the Clio V6, but it would be very heavy. We’re better at front-engined, front-wheel-drive cars at Renault Sport anyway.’’ Those initial discussions about what to build were held late last year, which means the entire project – from the very first brainstorming session to the unveiling at the Monaco Grand Prix in May – was completed in a matter of months. ‘‘We started thinking about the car

in October and in November we did a packaging study,’’ confirms Ratti. ‘‘We saw it was possible to put the big engine from the Mégane into the Clio and at the end of November we got the go-ahead from Renault. January and February was the development window and in March we built the test mule and the show car.’’ Ratti pulled together a small commando team – ‘‘the only way to do this kind of project,’’ he says – made up of engineers from Renault Sport Cars and Renault Sport Racing, plus a designer. ‘‘It seems easy to take the engine from one car and put it in another,’’ says motorsport engineer Christophe Chapelain, ‘‘but the [dimensions] of the Mégane’s engine and gearbox are very different to the Clio’s. To adapt that we needed some interface pieces and because the engine has more torque we needed brackets on the top and the bottom, too.

1

BRAKES

As well as its drivetrain, the Clio RS16 borrows the 275 Trophy-R’s optional Brembo brakes, with 350mm discs and lightweight aluminium bells on the front axle. 2

WHEELS & TYRES

The 19-inch wheels are Speedline Turini items, while the tyres are track-focused Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, both lifted from the 275 Trophy-R. 3

BODYWORK

To accommodate the bigger wheels, the arches have been trimmed and composite extensions fitted. The rear wing is from the Clio Cup racing car. S P E C I F I C AT I O N Engine

In-line 4-cyl, 1998cc, turbo

Power

202kW @ 5500rp m

Torque

360Nm @ 3000rp m

0 -100km / h

5.7sec (e s timated)

Top sp eed

260k m / h (e s timated)

Weight

c1230k g

Power-to -weig ht

164kW/ton ne

B a sic price

c $49,000


FIRST LOOK by DAN PROSSER

200-300 If approved for production the RS16 will be built in limited numbers

15 164 kg

kW/tonne

Weight saved by fitting a lithium-ion battery

The highest powerto-weight ratio of any Renault Sport road car

CHASSIS Naturally, the Clio RS 16’s cha s sis ha s been heavily uprated. Fitted at the front are ‘Per foHub’ doublekingpin struts – taken from the much -loved Clio III RS – so the c ar c an handle the Mégane engine’s 360Nm. The lower suspension arms are also lif ted from the previous Clio. A be spoke par t ha s been cons truc ted to marr y the s truts to the Mégane 275 Trophy- R’s hubs, which enable s that c ar’s big ger brake s to be f itted.

The rear beam a xle is the heavily reinforced item from the Clio R3T rally c ar, which meets the lateral and c amber s tif fne s s requirements. Front and rear track widths are increa sed by 60mm and the one-way adjus table dampers are the Öhlins items from the 275 Trophy- R. Being both smaller and lighter than the Trophy- R, Renault Spor t expec ts the RS 16 to be fa s ter and more a gile than the trackfocused Mégane.

c$49,000 Estimated price

POWERTRAIN

RIVAL MINI JCW CHALLENGE

B -segment hot hatche s at this (proposed) price point are few and far bet ween, but the RS 16 doe s have much in common with the new Mini John Cooper Works Challenge. Both will only be built in ver y limited numbers, both have adjustable suspension and both run on Michelin Pilot Spor t Cup 2 rubber. With its transplanted engine and that motorspor t- derived

rear suspension, p , the RS 16 is an allencompa s sing reengineering projec t, wherea s the Challenge is an uprated version of an exis ting model. The Renault also out guns the Mini by 32kW, but both drive their front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip dif ferential. See pa ge 124 for more on the Mini John Cooper Works Challenge.

The 2.0 -litre turbo unit, which displace s 1998cc, powers the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip dif ferential. The exhaus t s ys tem, meanwhile, is supplied

by Akrapovic. Although the big ger engine is heavier than the standard RS Clio’s 1.6 -litre unit, this is of f set by the manual gearbox being lighter than the Clio’s usual t w in - clutch ’box.

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FIRST LOOK by DAN PROSSER

The RS16 has been developed with a view to a production version from day one We designed a new part on the top and for the bottom we adapted the subframe from the Renault Kangoo. On the racing side this is easy to do, but when you start working with the road car guys – when you need to make it fit on the production line – it gets complicated.’’ Once it had been established that the drivetrain would actually fit, the second major problem was the chassis, specifically the far-reaching modifications that would have to be made to cope with the power output. The engineers borrowed components from existing Renault Sport cars as well as out-of-production models, made bespoke items and even lifted

components from competition cars. The third major challenge and the biggest job of the entire project, reckons Ratti, was persuading the Mégane’s drivetrain electronics to communicate with the Clio’s chassis electronics, such as the ABS and ESC systems. The solution was to incorporate software from the Dacia Sandero into the engine ECU, which interfaces with the Clio’s software. To date the team has built two RS16s, the Liquid Yellow machine being the show car and a Deep Black example being the test and development mule (see right). The Clio RS16 made its UK debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June. As it considers a small-scale production run, Renault Sport will be monitoring the public response very closely indeed.

Above: RS16 gets a bunch of extra attitude thanks to its wider tracks, wheelarch extensions and that big rear wing.

PASSENGER LAP

INTERIOR The 275 Trophy-R’s bucket seats and six-point harne s se s have been f itted, and although the show c ar doe s without a rear bench seat, Ratti sug ge s ts it’ll be an option should the c ar reach produc tion. A roll- c a ge won’t be of fered, however, bec ause of the weight penalt y, which also explains the deletion of the air- conditioning s ys tem.

COMMENT It’s fair to s ay Renault Spor t ha s been a lit tle los t with the current generation of Clio. Then a gain, following the run of succe s s it enjoyed with the previous generations, the odds of one mis sing the mark were get ting slimmer by the day. With Renault Spor t looking at w hat ha s made its Mégane s the hot hatche s to beat, and borrowing greatly f rom their philosophy a s well a s the par ts bin, I’m f illed with hope that this Clio will be another hit. It could be the per fec t c ar in w hich to wre s tle the f ront-w heel- drive Nürburgring lap record back from Volkswa gen, too. Stuar t Galla gher

Watching the RS 16 development mule hammer around Renault’s te s t track doe sn’t f ill me with much hope. It look s like it’s riding higher than a bog s tandard Clio, and the rear end seems ver y sof tly sprung , squat ting dow n a s the c ar accelerate s. Then the RS 16 pulls into the pits and my concerns fade. It doe sn’t ride too high, nor is it too sof t at the back . It’s jus t that the mule lack s the show c ar’s w heelarch ex tensions, so the cut-away arche s and the abnormal gaps below are lef t exposed. O ut on track with David Pra schl, the RS 16’s development driver, the c ar feels ver y quick . De spite not having the s ame single- exit exhaus t a s the Trophy- R, the RS 16 make s the s ame jet engine-like whoosh at f ull throt tle. The brake s (s till with the DCT Clio’s wide brake pedal here, although this would be replaced for produc tion) help the RS 16 adopt jus t the right amount of at titude into a corner, and a mid - corner lif t induce s some wild overs teer. Ty pic al Renaultspor t behaviour. Will Beaumont


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NEWS ROUND-UP edited by STUA RT GA LL AGHER

970kW

BIG NUMBERS

INTERVIEW

Porsche’s dual future think it will be very important to have the real sports cars where you can feel driving. On the other hand we will have the new technology, and to combine it, that will be Porsche.’’ We already know that the technology side of Porsche’s twopronged future will be headlined by a production version of the Mission E concept (pictured). This is due at the end of the decade. Blume says

it will sit ‘‘a bit below a Panamera’’ and stresses that when Porsche does launch an electric car ‘‘it must be the highest performance car in the market’’. The Tesla P90D is referenced. Blume also says that a range of 500km is crucial, as is the ability to recharge 80 per cent of the battery in 15 minutes. This will require charging stations capable of delivering over 150kW (compared with Tesla’s 120kW Supercharger stations) and Porsche – or rather the VW Group – is working on a charging network with electric companies in various countries. But, says Blume, the electric car ‘‘will be a real Porsche and you can drive it with the performance like a 918 or a 911’’. So, Porsche’s future sounds like the best of both worlds. Incredibly fast, digitally connected electric cars but also slightly old-school Porsches that retain and even emphasise everything we love about the thrill of driving. In these uncertain times, this all sounds rather comforting. Henry Catchpole

30 625kW 597kW 99

Number of new electric VW models in the next 10 years

026

Power output of Brabus’s take on the S63 AMG C abriolet, the 850 6.0 Biturbo C abrio

www.evomag.com.au

Power output of the Henne s sey HPE800 Ford Mus tang GT

Number of A s ton Vanta ge Za gato coupe s to be built

O utput of the Litchf ield LM1 RS Nis s an GT- R

$19.7bn

Settlement figure V W ha s reached with US c ar ow ners af fec ted by die selgate sc andal. In the meantime, the US s tate s of New York , Mar yland and Ma s s achuset ts have f iled law suits a gains t V W, Audi and Porsche.

$140,000

‘O

n the one hand,’’ says Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche (right), ‘‘in the future you will have electric cars with a lot of digitalisation and connectivity, but on the other hand you will have the need – especially for Porsche – to launch puristic race cars like the 911. We will go to both strategies – the new one and the old one. ‘‘Maybe it’s a mad example,’’ he continues, ‘‘but talking about sport shoes, today you can buy sport shoes of the ’70s or the ’80s and people love it. I’m convinced that in 10 or 15 years we will also have fans that would like to drive a real sports car where they can feel that it’s a real car. That’s our strategy in the future for Porsche.’’ Blume was talking at the launch of the new Panamera in Berlin and this strategy certainly sounds very good indeed from an evo perspective. We asked him whether this means that Porsche will keep naturally aspirated engines and manual gearboxes. ‘‘Yes, for us it is important,’’ he replies. ‘‘With our new strategy I

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T E C H N I C A L LY S P E A K I N G by WILL BEAUMONT

FOCUS

GAME-CHANGER AIR BRAKE

FLAT SHIFTING

First application: Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR When: 1955

Mercede s f irs t used an air brake in 1955 on its 300 SLR race c ar (pic tured). The entire deck behind the driver raised under braking to signif ic antly reduce the c ar’s aerod y namic ef f icienc y and help it s top. Alf red Neubauer, who wa s direc tor of motorspor ts for Mercede sBenz, c ame up with this solution so the drum brake equipped SLR would remain competitive a gains t Ja guar’s c ars f itted with

I

F YOU ’ V E E V E R HIR E D a car you’ll probably be familiar with flat shifting – where you keep the throttle pinned as you jab the clutch pedal and simultaneously move the gearlever as quickly as possible into the next gear. It isn’t elegant but it makes for some pleasingly rapid gearchanges. You’d never want to do it in your own car, though. Unless, that is, you have an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S fitted with the new seven-speed manual gearbox with AMSHIFT – a system that Aston has developed to allow quick and safe upshifts while keeping the throttle wide open. Flat shifting technology has been available on motorbikes for some time. Their low-inertia engines allow for gears to be engaged without declutching at all, so their f lat-shift systems simply cut the ignition momentarily. However, to allow a 5.9-litre V12 to perform a flat shift quickly and effectively, while using the clutch, the system needs to be more sophisticated than just interrupting the ignition. Alex Wood, powertrain calibration engineer at Aston

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It’s more sophisticated than just interrupting the ignition Martin, explains what is going on when you change gear using AMSHIFT: ‘‘The key components needed are being able to initially detect when you’ve lost grip at the clutch, to be able to cut the engine’s torque fast enough so you don’t get a flare of revs when you press the clutch, and then, when you lift back off the clutch, detecting the kiss point – the point at which the clutch plates all kiss each other and start transmitting torque again – so you can ramp the torque back in. ‘‘There are two sensors that are really important; they are the ones monitoring the clutch position and the clutch speed.

The clutch speed sensor knows when your engine speed and your clutch speed begin to move away from each other. That’s the point at which torque will no longer be transmitted from the engine to the wheels. ‘‘At that point there’s obviously a big unloading on the engine, where you’d usually expect to just hit the rev limiter if you pressed the clutch. So what we have to do then is carefully manage the torque that the engine is producing so that the engine stays at exactly the right revs for the gear you’re currently in. ‘‘How the engine manages that torque, while you’ve got your foot on the clutch, is by retarding the ignition and cutting fuel to a specific number of cylinders. These are the fastest methods to cut torque. As soon as you lift back off the clutch you basically wind the spark back in, turn the fuel back on and you get an instant torque transition back into smooth driving.’’ The AMSHIFT system not only works during full-throttle upshifts, but you can also change gear while keeping the accelerator pedal at any position.

superior disc brake s. It wa sn’t until 2003 that an air brake appeared on a road c ar, and it wa s another SLR. The McL aren - Mercede s SLR’s rear spoiler tilted upwards to create dra g and help slow it dow n. Mos t McL aren road c ars since have spor ted an air brake. So too ha s the Bugat ti Vey ron and the L aFerrari, but none are a s dramatic a s the original SLR’s.

You can even miss a gear or make an embarrassingly slow change, but when you lift back off the clutch, the engine will be at exactly the right revs. AMSHIFT isn’t as simple as it might at first seem, then. It’s not just a quick cut of the ignition: numerous aspects of the drivetrain are being monitored and the engine responds differently depending on how the driver executes the shift. It’s a fascinating feature for the driver of a manual V12 Vantage S to experience. Let’s just hope they don’t forget they still need to lift off the throttle pedal when changing gear in other cars. L


BMW

HISTORY

THE M SUFFI X H AS BEEN applied to BMW road cars of all shapes and sizes for nearly 40 years. Literally everything from sedans, wagon and SUVs to coupes, convertibles and roadsters have all worn the M badge with pride. This month we explore the story behind the M division’s most iconic coupe – the pioneering, mid-engined M1. What’s your favourite BMW M car? Simply answer this question for your chance to win the Ultimate BMW M Driving Experience. Turn to page 33 for full details.

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B M W M H I STO RY

M1 1978-80 KNOW YOUR E34 FROM YOUR E36? Can you pick the difference between an E21 and an E30 from 100 metres? Okay then, what’s the model code for the very first BMW M car? Give up? The legendary M1 used the internal code name of E26, placing it equidistant between the E24 M635 CSi and the E28 M5. If you really know your BMW M history, you’ll already be aware that these three models shared the same 3.5-litre naturally aspirated in-line six-cylinder engine (the M88). But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. BMW’s M division was founded in 1972 to formalise the brand’s motorsport operation, much of which was built around various touring car championships, primarily in Germany and broader Europe. The mainstays of the M division’s early efforts were the 3.0 CSL (known as the Batmobile thanks to its outrageous aerodynamic addenda) and the 2002 Turbo. By the mid-1970s, the M division was looking farther afield both in terms of its racing and business opportunities.

Above: The black slats hid the 204kW 3.5-litre atmo in-line six. In race trim it made 350kW and revved to 9000rpm.

There’s still some speculation as to whether the original intention for the M1 was as a pure race car, and the road car sprung from the need to homologate the model for the Group 4 category (400 road-going examples were required to be built), or whether the racing was merely a way to promote the car and M brand. By most accounts, the former

appears to be the most accurate scenario. The design of the M1 is credited to Giorgio Giugiaro, but there were obviously influences from the 1972 BMW Turbo concept car that was penned by Paul Bracq. With no experience in developing or building mid-engined cars, BMW’s fledgling M division contracted Lamborghini (itself barely a dozen years old at the time) to engineer, prototype and produce the M1. Unfortunately, Lamborghini was lurching from one financial crisis to another (a recurring theme over the Italian company’s first 40 years until Audi brought stability) and just seven M1 prototypes were completed before BMW got cold feet and took control of the project on April 20, 1978 – the M1 had been due in production during the second half of 1977. The plan to salvage the M1 project was complex and involved the chassis being built by Marchese and the fibreglass body panels moulded by TIR. A small group of former Lamborghini employees set up Ital Engineering to continue the chassis www.evomag.com.au

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Below let: Ater production of the M1 wrapped in late 1980, its 3.5-litre straight six eventually made its way to the M635 CSi. Bottom: Three-time F1 champion, Niki Lauda, won the irst M1 Procar series.

development and eventual mating of the finished chassis and bodies. From Italy, the incomplete M1s were trucked to Stuttgart for Baur to install much of the BMW hardware and interior. Finally, the M1s were sent to Munich where BMW Motorsports finished the build and affixed their own build plate. This convoluted production process yielded just 453 M1s, built from late-1978 until December 1980. Of the total, up to 40 were built as race cars. Despite the protracted development and production phase, the M1 road car was a masterpiece. Standing just 1138mm high, the M1 is 35mm lower than a Ferrari 488 GTB and just 68mm taller than a contemporary Lamborghini Countach. Under the rear decklid, the longitudinally mounted 3.5-litre M88/1 straight six featured dry-sump lubrication and Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection with individual throttle bodies. A similar fuel-injection set-up was used by the 3.0 CSL race cars and the Fiat 131 Abarth Group 4 World Rally cars of Walter Röhrl and Markku Alen. Today, the M1’s maximum outputs of 204kW at 6500rpm and 330Nm at 5000rpm mightn’t raise the heart rate, but in 1978 the M1 was one of the world’s fastest cars. Today’s twin-turbocharged BMW M5, however, produces more than twice the power and torque of the M1’s naturally aspirated in-line six. But a kerb weight of just 1300kg helped the M1 achieve some startling acceleration figures – 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds and the standing kilometre in 25.4 seconds. Top speed was 262km/h. Unfortunately, the M1’s motorsport career was curtailed by the model’s difficult gestation and the Group 4 project never really got off the ground – there were some unsuccessful attempts at Watkins Glen in the United States and at Le Mans in France.

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Austrian Niki Lauda won the 1979 BMW M1 Procar Championship Instead, the then head of BMW Motorsports, Jochen Neerpasch sold the idea of a Procar series to the Formula One Constructors Association. On paper, it was a brilliant idea in which the top five qualifiers from each Grand Prix would compete against 15 privateer entries in BMW-prepped M1 race cars.

Behind closed doors, however, cracks were beginning to form within BMW’s resolve. Given the already protracted development and associated overspend, it was a nervous BMW management that signed off on the Procar project, that included a $2.5 million redevelopment of the Preussenstrasse facility, including dyno rooms and a staff of 160. Ultimately, the M1 project would cause Jochen Neerpasch to leave BMW. BMW Motorsports ripped around 250kg out of the road-going M1’s 1300kg kerb weight and tuned the 3.5-litre engine to produce over 350kW (still naturally aspirated) at a screaming 9000rpm. Later turbocharged Group 4 variants reportedly made north of 630kW in qualifying trim, but 400-450kW was considered more reliable. The Procar racing, in front of huge Formula One crowds on the greatest circuits in the world, was often spectacular, especially when Formula One-sized egos realised there was a championship and prize money on the line – each race lasted just 30 minutes and first place took $5000. The championship prize was an M1 road car. Austrian Niki Lauda won the 1979 championship, competing against the likes of Alan Jones, Teo Fabi, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Didier Pironi, James Hunt and Clay Regazzoni. Brazilian Nelson Piquet won the 1980 championship from Australia Alan Jones, despite the fact Jones never won a single race. The Procar championship wrapped up at the end of the 1980 season as did production of the road car. The M1 may not have lived up to the expectation of BMW’s bean counters at the time, but today it’s recognised as the icon that it always was. It was BMW’s first midengined car – a configuration BMW stayed away from until the 2014 i8 – and launched the M brand onto the roads of the world.


A U S T R A L I A

Presents

BRING YOUR

GAME

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A hot lap of the circuit with one of our BMW instructors Paced circuit laps in the BMW M range Expert tuition from BMW accredited Driving Instructors Slalom exercises

Entries close August 15, 2016. Winners announced August 22, 2016.

ENTER NOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN: WWW.EVOMAG.COM.AU Terms and conditions: Entry is open only to residents of Australia aged 22 years and over, who hold a full and valid driver’s licence in an Australian State or Territory, that is not cancelled or suspended. The promotion commences 6 June, 2016 at 06:00am AEST and the promotion closes 23:50pm AEST 15 August, 2016. For full terms and conditions, go to evomag.com.au


FASTER AND MORE AFFORDABLE Caterhams are the lightest cars you can buy in Australia and the lightest of them all is the Seven 275. Less weight means more performance, better efficiency and most importantly, an agility in corners that heavier cars simply cannot match. This unique driving experience is now also more affordable than before. For more information, please visit our website and also see details of the more powerful Seven CSR and Seven 485 models.

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WAT CHE S by SIMON DE BURTON

WATCH TECH Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon

It’s remarkable how watchmakers manage to invent new ways of displaying the time, and one of the most imaginative interpretations to emerge of late is from Ulysse Nardin, which has called upon its maritime heritage as a long-standing maker of ship’s chronometers to create the gimmicky – but somehow likeable – Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon. Partly inspired by the firm’s backing of the Swedish-based Artemis Racing America’s Cup team, the watch features a dial designed to look like the decking of a sailing boat, while the hand for the ‘fly-back’ minute display has the appearance of a boom. This boom is pulled from one minute to the next (and event back to zero) by etw of tiny ‘nano res’ and revolving cap that mimic a t shi rigging. The lin are made from the s type of polyethyl used on racing yac and, although thinn than a human hair, c carry a strain of more than 1.3kg without stretching. The watch will be made in 18-carat white gold examples and 18-carat red gold, each costing c$500,000.

THIS MONTH Bell & Ross RV126 Chronograph nograph VINTAGE AERONAVALE

TAG Heuer Formula 1 James Hunt Chronograph

Edo Edox Grand Ocean Extreme Sailing Series Limited Edition

Price: $6500

Price TBC

Price: $4000

From: Lion Brands (03) 9572 9820

From: 1800 809 915

From: Lion Brands (03) 9572 9820

Bell & Ross has always been passionate about the history and values of the military and they have made military aeronautical instrumentation one of their primary sources of inspiration. As such Bell & Ross’ watches meet the requirements of pilots and all users of professional ho logical instruments. As a fu nt the military theme, vale features the ntage Aer detail of a French our codes and r naval officer’s unifo .

This year marks the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s F1 title win, prompting TAG Heuer to enlist the help of his sons Freddie (currently racing in the European NASCAR series) and Tom to design this commemorative watch. Just 1000 examples of the quartz-powered piece will be made, each decorated with the red, blue and yellow of Hunt’s racing colours, adopted from the uniform of his old school, Wellington College.

Used by the greatest sailors around the globe, the Edox Grand Ocean Extreme Sailing Series is an ultraaccurate Automatic Chronograph that is designed to withstand the rigours of the elements. Created on a steel case with a ceramic bezel with DVD coating and the ultra reliable ETA Valjoux 7750 mechanical movement, the watch’s sub-counter enables racers to count down to the exact second for the crucial four minutes before race start.

ROLEX OYSTER DATEJUST As worn by Adrian Hamilton, chairman of prestige car dealer Duncan Hamilton ‘‘I alternate between a 1977 Rolex Datejust and an Omega Speedmaster. I have owned the latter for more than 20 years and I usually wear it for driving events, but a Rolex was probably the first good watch I ever owned. I took one in part payment against

a Chevron B16 race car, but, sadly, it was nicked from a hotel room. ‘‘There’s an obvious synergy between the worlds of interesting cars and interesting watches, and it’s something we see here on a regular basis – perhaps the

best example being a client who asked us to negotiate the purchase of one of the actual Heuer Monacos worn by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans. We managed to get it, complete with a letter of authenticity – but it cost around $100,000.’’

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S p o tl i g h t o n

BREITLING

Dark Arts Black is the new black at Breitling a s we explore the stunning B l a c k s te e l a n d M i d n i g h t Carbon editions

W

e start our look at Breitling’s dark matter with the Avenger II Seawolf Blacksteel, a 1000-piece limited edition featuring a black 45mm case and striking yellow dial. While most Breitling watches are born to fly, the Avenger II Seawolf Blacksteel is waterresistant to an incredible 3000 metres. From the depth of the oceans to the open road with the Bentley B05 Unitime Midnight Carbon, a 500-piece limited edition. Previously offered with a steel or startling red gold case, the most cosmopolitan model in the Breitling for Bentley collection is now available with a black satinbrushed steel case. Another Breitling for Bentley masterpiece is the Bentley B06 Midnight Carbon, also a 500-piece limited edition. The B06 features its exclusive 30-second chronograph system that was inspired by a 1926 Breitling patent, and is distinguished by its central hand performing a full sweep of the dial in half a minute – thus ensuring extremely accurate 1/8th of a second time readings. The military-inspired Colt Chronograph Automatic goes stealth with this Blacksteel edition. The 44mm satinbrushed steel case is finished in a high-resistance carbon coating and matched to a Volcano Black dial. The sapphire crystal is glareproofed on both sides and is protected by the uni-directional rotating bezel. The 25-jewel Breitling Caliber 13 movement beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and is certified by the COSC. The legendary Navitimer has been a mainstay of the Breitling collection since 1952, but the Navitimer 46 Blacksteel edition gifts the legend a new look distinguished by its all-black exterior and the new strap featuring the tyre-tread of an aircraft. As the name implies, the Navitimer 46 Blacksteel features a 46mm case within which beats the 47-jewel Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 movement. Like the Navitimer, the Breitling Superocean has a long and proud history, in this case dating back to 1957. The new Superocean 44 Special features a brand-new rotating bezel in shiny black ceramic and this sits atop a satin-brushed 44mm black steel case. The case houses the firm’s 25-jewel Breitling Caliber 17 movement.

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Bentley B06 Midnight Carbon Price: $17,290 From: (02) 9221 7177

Colt Chronograph Automatic Blacksteel Price: $6980 From: (02) 9221 7177


WAT CHE S EDITED BY WILLIAM CAHILL

Bentley B05 Unitime Midnight Carbon

Avenger II Seawolf Blacksteel

Price: $20,110

Price: $7240

From: (02) 9221 7177

From: (02) 9221 7177

Navitimer 46 Blacksteel

Superocean 44 Special

Price: $12,730

Price: $6870

From: (02) 9221 7177

From: (02) 9221 7177

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WAT CHE S

Above let: (L-to-R) Graeme Goldman, founder of Lion Brands; Jean-Christophe Chevrier, Bell & Ross Area Sales manager. Below: Michael Pickering, editor Men’s Style Australia; Peter Holder, managing director Daily Mail Australia; Matthew O’Malley, director evo Australia.

E ve n t

Bell & Ross T h e Fr e n c h b r a n d b r i n g s i t s 2016 B a s e l w o r l d C o l l e c t i o n to A u s t r a l i a vo Australia recently attended an exclusive evening with Bell & Ross to view the French company’s 2016 Baselworld Collection. Hosted by Jean-Christophe Chevrier, from Bell & Ross’ Paris HQ, and Graeme Goldman, founder of Lion Brands, the dinner took place at O Bar & Dining Room on the 47th floor of Sydney’s, Australia Square.

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While the views across the harbour and city were stunning, the Bell & Ross watches on display also commanded attention. The 2016 Baselworld Collection includes the Aero GT, celestial-inspired Diamond Eagle and the stunning Vintage Aeronavale. We’re particularly taken by the latter and you can read more about it on page 35. For more information call (03) 9572 9820.


LIVE YOUR

Handcrafted in-house movement. Manufacture Collection: in-house developed, in-house produced and in-house assembled movements.

PASSION

More information on www.frederique-constant.com T: (02) 9363-1088 info@frederique-constant.com.au

MANUFACTURE WORLDTIMER


A U S T R A L I A

Performance

Profile Series

#2


N I S SA N P E R F O R M A N C E S E R I ES

N I S SA N GT- R R 3 2 If you’re a car enthusiast of a certain age, the mention of ‘GT-R’ conjures just one car. The original Godzilla P H O T O G R A P H Y by T H O M A S W I E L E C K I

MUCH HAS BEEN MADE OF the rivalry between Nissan and Porsche, but did you know that the two companies had been shadowing each other for nearly 20 years prior to the arrival of the R35 GT-R and its succession of stunning Nürburgring lap times? In 1983, Porsche showed a technological tour de force known as the Gruppe B Concept – intended, as the name suggested, to compete in the newly announced Group B rally and sportscar racing categories. By 1985, the Gruppe B had morphed, largely unchanged from its concept status, into the Porsche 959. With all-wheel drive, active torque split and vectoring capabilities, along with technology such as tyre-pressure monitoring, the 959 was the most-advanced car in the world. In fact, Porsche admitted that it didn’t build a more advanced 911 variant until the launch of the second-gen 997 911 Turbo in 2006, 21 years after the launch of the 959. Only a handful of years later, in 1989, Nissan dusted off the GT-R badge that had been in hibernation since 1973, and applied it to a model that would change the

M

performance-car landscape for good. Like the 959, the R32 arrived with a list of specifications that bewildered even those with a working mechanical knowledge. E-TS (Electronic Torque Split), ATTESA (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain) and Super HICAS (High Capacity Actively Controlled Steering) left many scratching their heads. While the Skyline GT-R’s complex all-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steering systems might have required some explaining, the soon-to-be-legendary RB26DETT straight six spoke in plain English. The twinturbocharged 2568cc in-line six-cylinder engine made a claimed 206kW at 6800rpm and 353Nm at 4400rpm. Most who drove the R32 at the time felt that the true power figure was closer to 240kW. Aftermarket tuners quickly established that the RB26DETT would handle multiples of that standard figure. Nissan also claimed a 0-100km/h sprint of 5.6 seconds but most contemporary road tests recorded 5.2-5.4-second times, with the occasional sub-five outlier. However, much like the 959 before it and the R35 GT-R after it, the performance car establishment

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The performance of the R32 must have seemed completely alien back in 1989 042

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N I S SA N P E R F O R M A N C E S E R I ES

dismissed the R32’s technology as unnecessary overkill. Then the world drove it. Not only did the Nissan offer a level of performance that had never before been seen, but the performance was accessible and useable in all conditions and by all drivers. In fact, the R32’s limiting factor was often a driver who had never before experienced such total performance and whose brain was, therefore, too timid to command hands and feet to take full advantage of Godzilla’s friendly fury. (As an aside, it was Australia’s Wheels magazine – on its July 1989 cover – that bestowed the Godzilla tag upon the beastly Nissan.) Even today, a standard R32 Skyline GT-R is a formidable performance car. evo Australia editor, Jesse Taylor, recently reacquainted himself with an R32 GT-R: I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY to get quality time with an R32 Skyline – a car I’ve not driven for 15 years. Every R32 GT-R I’ve ever driven has been modified, so today’s my first chance to sample a stock example. Like many older cars, the R32’s cabin feels airy and open, and I’m sure the slim A-pillars add to the sense of speed. The simple, airbag-free steering wheel looks a size too big but it falls perfectly to hand, as does the shift-knob for the five-speed H-pattern manual. The legendary RB26DETT straight six fires with a potent bark that hints at its latent potential. There’s a hard mechanical edge to the sound that reminds me of

an E46 M3 engine, but the turbocharging takes the note down a few octaves. This R32 might be 25 years old, but it still offers a serious turn of speed. Granted, any dual-clutch-equipped hot hatch will out sprint the old stager, but there’s impressive strength to the RB26’s power delivery. With just forward five ratios, the gearing is quite tall and the shift action isn’t Porsche-like, but by the time the engine is boosting in third gear, the GT-R is streaking down the road. Even in standard trim, the engine relishes the task of getting on top of the gearing and I can’t help but run deep into fourth gear. The performance, and its accessibility, must have seemed completely alien back in 1989 when the R32 Skyline first arrived. Though the odometer is closing in on 200,000km, the body feels tight and the GT-R munches corners as efficiently as it did a quarter of a century ago. In most circumstances, the R32 is rear-drive, with the clever allwheel-drive system only engaging the front diff when the rear tyres are bleeding traction. For most of the time, then, the steering isn’t corrupted by front tyres dealing with drive and directional inputs. Even when you’re leaning on the car through corners, knowing that the front diff is apportioning torque, the hydraulic steering delivers gritty feedback that car companies have spent enormous resources engineering out. Shame. As darkness crowds in, the feeble headlights barely pierce the gloom. It’s the only genuine reminder of the R32’s advanced years. It remains a legend. L

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I N BOX

contact@evomag.com.au

f @evoaustralia

think it’s too expensive for what it is and that it sounds horrible, and I understand that. I get that you might not like it at all. However, I find it unfair that even after you have realised what you don’t like about the Alfa, you face it against a much more accomplished car – one you’ve driven many times before and loved every time. The Porsche outranks the Alfa Romeo by 99kW and 70Nm. You’ve also already awarded the 4C threeand-a-half stars, so why put it up against a five-star car? From the beginning, I knew the Boxster Spyder would win easily. Maybe next time could it be a 718 Boxster or Boxster S against the 4C. I would think they would make better rivals. At least the 718 has the same number of cylinders. Daniel Cullen

LET TER OF THE MONTH

Reality check THANK YOU, HENRY CATCHPOLE, FOR YOUR excellent review of the latest Lotus Elise (the Cup 250, evo Australia 037). But as an Elise owner I feel you neglected some ‘real-life’ characteristics of the current model, which some readers might want to know about. For example, there is a notice stuck on the inside of the convertible roof. It basically states that in bad weather I am going to get wet. I wonder if by adding this notice it somehow transforms a less than perfect design element into a car characteristic. And then there’s the boot. Yes, it has one. In the same way tight, skinny jeans have pockets. And anything you do squeeze inside it will get rather warm; the nearby engine seems to heat the boot to gas mark four!

The trouble with F1 I read Richard Meaden’s piece defending F1 (Outside Line, evo Australia 36) with interest as this is the first season since the late ’80s where I won’t have watched every race, and the first since some time in the late ’70s when I won’t have watched any. I applaud Meaden’s refusal to be daunted, but there are several issues. Harking back to a roll call of past ‘character witnesses’ in the form of the list of former champions, no matter how inspiring it is, doesn’t help the sport’s case as it stands now. Secondly, I think F1 has abandoned its

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I remember as a child my mother warning me not to eat that third chocolate brownie. And I remember what happened 10 minutes after ignoring her advice. I’m choosing to make a similar mistake with my Elise. I’m going to ignore its ‘characteristics’ because for a big child like me who never learns – and who loves chocolate brownies – there really is very little else that satisfies driving hunger like an Elise! Martin Banfield

The Letter of the Month wins a leather cleaning kit from Mothers

fans and not vice versa. The debacle over free-to-air coverage is not entirely F1’s fault, but how it was dealt with is typical of the sport’s attitude and governance. As is the emotional and auditory loss of going for modern and relevant (but desperately dull) hybrids. There is a third point, again not anyone’s fault per se, but the degree of predictability is what’s gradually killed it for me. Barring Alonso’s two nearmisses while at Ferrari, it’s been the best part of two decades now where a driver has had to be in the best car in order to win, and seldom is there a genuine in-team battle.

Alas, harking back to the glories of Senna/Prost, Senna/Mansell and Häkkinen/Schumacher just throws what we’ve lost into depressingly sharp relief. Simon Bartlett

Unfair competition Flicking through issue 37, the ‘Spider Decider’ twin-test caught my eye. It was fun to read and the photography was great as always, but I found it inevitable that the 4C Spider would lose so easily to the Boxster Spyder. First of all, you’ve already given the 4C poor reviews. You seem to always

This was the first opportunity we had to put the 4C Spider into a test with a rival car, and while the outcome was perhaps easy to predict, we wanted to put the Alfa into context – and where the 4C falls short. A comparison with a 718 Boxster would certainly bring a closer result. And speaking of the 718 Boxster…

Boxster battered I read your 718 Boxster first drive (evo Australia 36) and I get that manufacturers need to move with the times, but chopping capacity and cylinders and whacking on a turbo seems to be the easy fix. I’d be more impressed if Porsche came up with some new tech to keep the howling six-cylinder motors instead of robbing a great car of its character. For us mere mortals with modest bank accounts, a car like the Boxster is an achievable reality hinting at supercar sounds and thrills, but with a four-cylinder it might as well be a (very) expensive MX-5. James Thomas

Toy-no-ta Worrying about the occasional engine light on my Cayman pales into insignificance when compared with the dumbstruck faces in the Le Mans Toyota pit… I mean, why do they bother? Do they really think it’s going to convince me to buy a Prius over a Porsche? I ask you! Derrick Green Okay, then.


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Morgan Cars Australia, Level 1, ZAGAME building, 362 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 2'EJTKU"OQTICPECTUEQOCW 2NGCUGXKUKVQWTYGDUKVGHQTOQTGKPHQTOCVKQPYYYOQTICPECTUEQOCW


Column

Outside Line RICHARD MEADEN

The so-called ‘power wars’ that manufacturers have engaged in are no longer relevant, amusing, or helpful, says Meaden WE’VE BANGED THE MANUAL GEARBOX drum for years now. Often to a chorus of criticism from those who think we’re being Luddites just for the sake of it. That’s never been the case. We’ve merely been fighting our corner in the hope that people of influence hear us and do what they can to ensure those of us that care can remain connected to the process of driving. It seems we’ve been vindicated, as our cries haven’t fallen on deaf ears. At least not at Aston Martin, Porsche and Jaguar, all of whom have shown admirable commitment to the cause by offering cars with manual transmissions, even though they know the vast majority of customers will stick with the two-pedal option. Of course, it’s not all down to evo’s incessant whinging, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t please me to see such cars being offered, not least because it proves people like us still have a voice. So, seeing as we’re on something of a roll, I’m saddling up the next hobby horse – to challenge the industry and showroom assertion that more is more and faster is better. Have I lost my mind? Quite possibly, but having recently spent a few days in a new Audi RS6 Performance, I’m at a loss to understand where things can go from here. Yes, I know I sound like some creaky old coffin dodger, but that rampant RS6 crystallised what I and a few people whose opinions I trust have been muttering about between ourselves for some time: we simply don’t need to go any faster. Now I’m not going to deny the RS6 Performance is a mighty and magnificent machine – five very comfortable seats and a huge luggage compartment propelled by a gnat’s wotnot under 450kW, harnessed by all-wheel drive and controlled via a silky, sharp-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. It can go absurdly, shockingly fast, on pretty much any kind of road in pretty much any weather conditions short of pea-soup fog or sheet ice. All you have to do, metaphorically speaking, is cock it and pull the trigger. I’m not singling Audi out for criticism, just using the concept of a 450kW wagon as an example of the age in which we live – one characterised by the paradox of blistering performance being so readily accessible, yet society’s attitude towards speed, and

the fleeting opportunities to flout the law and use it, rendering such capabilities increasingly redundant. I’m not naive enough to suggest we all trundle along at the posted (non-urban) speed limits. But when the majority of the cars tested in this magazine can hit 160km/h from rest in less than 10 seconds, and therefore punch from, say, 80km/h to unprintable velocities in but a few blinks of the eye, anything more than a few furtive forays to the redline will see you travelling at speeds that would have Daily Mail headline writers in raptures. It wouldn’t be so bad if the same cars gave you anything back at lower speeds, but the truth is that in all but a few cases, the pleasure you get from driving them is inversely proportional to the value you attach to your driving licence. At the height of the Cold War, when stockpiles of nuclear weapons had reached such absurd levels, East and West could annihilate each other umpteen times over in a situation known as MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. I feel like we’ve reached the same point with fast cars, be they hot hatches or hypercars. Where’s the sense in making it easier and easier to go faster and faster, when the point at which any of these cars could be exploited on the public road was passed decades ago? Okay, a car like the Bugatti Chiron is an engineering Everest. That ‘because it’s there’ mentality would be fine if it just fuelled the ever-escalating game of Top Trumps played by the wealthiest – and possibly least imaginative – car collectors. Trouble is we’re all swept along on the same merry-goround. The desire to beat benchmarks is a basic human impulse, so it’s understandable that engineers want to push the limits, just as it’s forgivable that we’re complicit in the whole tawdry affair. It’s just a shame our relationship with the industry has become that of junkies and pushers. It’ll take a brave manufacturer to launch a high-performance model that’s slower than its predecessor, just as it would take an enlightened customer to buy it. But are we really so dumb as to think satisfaction can only come from going faster? Feel and fun should be the goals. The Campaign for Slower Cars starts here. L

Richard is a contributing editor to evo and one of the magazine’s founding team

t @DickieMeaden

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It’s a shame that our relationship with the performance car industry has become that of junkies and pushers

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Column

Petrolhead RICHARD PORTER

Unlike you Australians, we Brits don’t tend to get behind our sportspeople, reckons Porter FOR REASONS TOO COMPLICATED TO EXPLAIN, I spent the Monaco Grand Prix in actual Monaco, watching the race from a yacht in the harbour with about 50 Australians. I know, I know, I’m showing off. About the yacht bit, obviously. Not the bit about being surrounded by 50 Australians. I doubt that’s an especially impressive boast, especially if you live in Australia. Nonetheless, 50 Australians turns out to be a brilliant thing to have around you when poncing about on a big boat at the Monaco Grand Prix. Can you imagine the potential horrors of being surrounded by 50 well-to-do supercar enthusiasts from the UK? There’s an odds-on risk that at least some of them would have that self-made, Mansellian sense of entitlement that would lead to all manner of moaning about things that were too hot or too cold or too unlike the way they do it in Sutton Coldfield. Australians, I soon discovered, are not like this. Australians fetch up to a boat in Monaco and think to themselves: this is BRILLIANT. They were right. And not once during the weekend did that easy-going, happy-to-be-here attitude wane or wear thin. On Saturday it was very sunny and hot, which made the Aussies very happy because it brought conditions up to their natural operating temperature and also the bar was open. The next day, sadly, it rained. But the Aussies didn’t mind because, hey, they were still in Monte Carlo. And also because the bar was still open. I really liked the cheery attitude of my Australian yacht mates. And I really liked their passion for their man out on the track, Daniel Ricciardo. Except they didn’t call him Daniel Ricciardo. Without exception, all the Aussies referred to him throughout the weekend as Dan. Mistakenly, I thought Australian law required you to take someone’s name and add an ‘o’ to the end of it. Hence, Shane-o, Rob-o, Her Majesty Queen Liz-o, and so on. Not so here. Maybe it’s because his surname already ends in an ‘o’ and they didn’t want to over-egg things. So ‘Dan’ it is. ‘‘Dan looks good for qualifying’’, ‘‘I hope Dan can find some pace here’’, ‘‘Dan’s going out for another run’’. Every Australian spoke with warmth and affection for ‘Dan’, but also like they knew him. Maybe it’s because there aren’t that many people in Australia, especially once you

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take out all the ones who’ve moved to London. Perhaps that makes everyone feel more like a part of a small community. I don’t know. Maybe it’s Australia’s natural matey informality combined with the country’s inherent and extremely deep love of sport. My brother lived there for a bit and he swore that the evening news started with 30 seconds of disinterested mumbling in which the presenter rushed through headlines about huge natural disasters, assassination attempts on the prime minister and news of an alien invasion in Japan, followed by a palpable change in tone and enthusiasm as they said, ‘‘And now… sport!’’ the details of which would take care of the other 29 minutes of air time. So sports people are real heroes in Australia, but also your mates. Hence ‘Dan’. I’m only guessing all of this stuff. What really struck me was the melding of mateyness and reverence all bundled up in genuine and unswerving support for someone bravely representing their nation on the world stage. And then I started to think, why can’t we do that in Britain? We’ve got Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Jolyon Palmer out there flying the Union flag and yet can we, as a nation, find it in our hearts to lend the sort of unswerving support that comes so naturally to a bunch of Aussies? It doesn’t feel like it. We get behind our sports people and then fall out of love with them for some perceived failing, like being too hot or too cold or too unlike the way things are done in Sutton Coldfield. Or, more usually, for the crime of being too successful. Well, I mean, winning is so un-British isn’t it? We moan and snipe where Australians just get behind someone for representing them. Of course, in the case of Daniel Ricciardo, it must help that he’s not only a very good driver but also a very good bloke. Even so, I thought we could learn from the sun ‘n’ shrimp good vibes that seem to come as standard from Oz. I was so wrapped up in this cheery optimism that for the time I was on the yacht, a part of me was rooting for ‘Dan’ over Hamilton. That’s how delightful and infectious Aussie enthusiasm can be. I think I actually wanted to be Australian. And not just because we were in Monte Carlo and the bar was open. L

Can you imagine the horror of being surrounded by 50 well-todo supercar enthusiasts from the UK?

Richard is evo’s longest-serving columnist and the keyboard behind sniffpetrol.com

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t @sniffpetrol


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Column

Champ DARIO FRANCHITTI

We’ve all pictured ourselves splicing perfectly through the world’s most famous corners. Time to make it a reality, says Dario WITH ROAD AMERICA COMING BACK ON THE IndyCar schedule for the first time since 2007, everyone has been waxing lyrical about what an amazing track it is. And it really is a stupendously good combination of straights, high-speed and slow corners and elevation changes set out over 6.4km. In fact it’s got me buzzing, and thinking about what makes a truly brilliant track. And, naturally, where we can go to find such tracks. So, the circuit itself. Fast corners are what you really want. Of course they are. They’re not great for overtaking – even if it’s Eau Rouge and your name’s Webber – but that feeling they give you as a driver is almost unparalleled. Whether you’re in some prototype enduro weapon or your MX-5 at a local trackday, the sensation of turning in, of committing, the car loading up… And the speed. It’s exhilarating, especially if there’s a series of such bends where you can build a sort of centrifugal momentum through each successive direction change – think Maggots-Becketts-Chapel at Silverstone, or sector one at Suzuka. Elevation change is another thing that seems to really add to circuits. When Silverstone modified its GP track in the ’90s, one of the challenges was to get some undulation into the lap, which had always been as level as an ironing board, much like the rest of the Northants landscape. One of the consequences of this was Bridge – a daunting, downhill right-hander between Abbey and Brooklands that was approached absolutely flat-out. When the circuit was modified again in 2010, we sadly lost Bridge, but I always thought it was an epic corner no matter whether the car I was negotiating through it was my Formula Vauxhall Lotus, the Mercedes C-Class DTM car or even the troublesome Jag F1 car I once tested. Every time you went in it was a case of, ‘Here we go…’ and then that cool sensation of the car squatting down through the compression, and with the addition of lateral G. Of course, if you’re going uphill, you’ll eventually crest, which is equally challenging. As the track drops away, even in a car with more than two tons of downforce you’ll lose grip, and it’s about how you pre-empt that. Obviously the last thing you want to do is add a load of lock, because you’ll end up with huge oversteer as the car

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compresses on the other side and the rubber digs its claws back into the track surface. The bottom of The Boot at Watkins Glen – essentially a wide hairpin with a massive compression in the middle – spits you out at the top and is a good example of this sort of effect, so too Turns 3 and 3a at Sonoma. You need finesse, and to be patient, and to be brave. Less glamorous, but just as important, are the slow corners that expose poor technique but reward those who drive smart. Think La Source at Spa or the first hairpin at Mugello, where the car is reined in from big speeds. Grab a few tenths on the brakes without sacrificing mid-corner speed and you’re going to make ground. Prost and Häkkinen were the best I ever saw at this. I witnessed it during DTM tests with Alain in 1996 and with Mika in 2005. I even kept Alain’s data trace, had him sign it and framed it. Well, you would, wouldn’t you! But here’s the thing. Eau Rouge, 130R, Porsche Curves and the like – they’re all more accessible than you think, and you don’t need a racing car to get a big thrill. Druids at Brands Hatch is like some sort of fusion of Monza’s wickedly arcing final corner, Parabolica, and an inverted version of the hairpin at The Boot. And I can guarantee you’ll derive as much pleasure from balancing a 200,000km E36 328i through its radius on a trackday as you would a GT3 (well, almost). It’s a similar story with the downhill Craner Curves at Donington Park, where F1 cars were predicted to hit almost 290km/h before the circuit lost its Grand Prix contract to Silverstone. They’re not as pronounced as the Porsche Curves at Le Mans, but from a dynamic perspective they’ll have a similar effect on your car. As for slower, more technical complexes that demand precision and a neatness, how about Oulton Park, or Cadwell Park, in a Clio 172? It’s almost as if the pair of them pay homage to the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and a car like the Renault is really all you need to get to the nub of what driving them is about. We’re lucky to have some astonishing tracks right here in the UK (as you are in Australia), but with F1, WEC and IndyCar – the series that enjoy the lion’s share of global air time – predominately staged in other countries, it can be easy to forget that. L

You’ll derive as much pleasure from balancing a 200,000km 328i through Druids’ radius as you would a Porsche GT3

Dario is a three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champ

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t @dariofranchitti


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Ferrari GTC4 Lusso The all-wheel-drive FF gets a new name, more power, rear-wheel steering and revised looks. But is it a sports car or a grand tourer? THE INITIAL IMPRESSION is that the GTC4 Lusso is a mild facelit of the FF, but the more you walk around the car, the more you see the changes. The back in particular is much fussier and wider-looking with the extra tail lights. I do like the big gills on the lanks behind the front wheels, though, and the overall shooting

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brake/breadvan design remains very appealing, I think. Under the skin, the all-wheeldrive system retains the clever arrangement whereby it draws power directly from the front of the engine. This was the central part of the FF’s 4RM system (that’s ‘quattro ruote motrici’ or ‘four-wheel drive’), which also incorporated

the E-Dif, F1-Trac, ESC and SCM (magnetorheological damping). In the GTC4 Lusso, 4RM has been updated to EVO status with the inclusion of fourth-generation Side Slip Control (SSC4) and, more importantly, rear-wheel steering (4RM-S). Unlike in the F12tdf, where it was used to improve stability, here the 4RM-S is designed to increase


The team This month, we asked our road testers to name their favourite car launch location…

NICK TROTT UK editor The MK1 Clio V6 on some hairy, barrierless mountain roads in the south of France…

JETHRO BOVINGDON Contributing editor Ford GT launch, California. An early morning blast along Highway 1. Perfection.

JESSE TAYLOR Australia editor Mount Panorama, Nürburgring, Portimáo, Paul Ricard, Laguna Seca, Phillip Island. I’m not fussy.

RICHARD MEADEN Contributing editor Clio Williams on the stages of the Tour de Corse rally. Amazing experience.

HENRY CATCHPOLE Features editor The R35 GT-R on the Sendai Hi-Land Raceway in Japan was wonderful. Sadly closed now.

DAN PROSSER Road test editor A gravel rally stage in the middle of Wales. Bravo, Land Rover.

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agility on the way into corners. Open the big door, drop into the driver’s seat and you ind yourself in an interior that is an interesting blend of technology and luxury. It’s a bit like seeing a Casio G-Shock watch on a leather strap. There is a new steering wheel, which is a little neater and has a few welcome ergonomic changes: the indicators can now be activated from the back of the spokes as well as the front, the windscreen wiper settings are chosen with a more intuitive little roller wheel, and the headlights can be activated with your ingers on the back of the wheel rather than you having to double joint your thumb. There is also the usual manettino and there are buttons on the back of

the spokes that control infotainment volume and the small screen to the right of the rev counter (the screen to the let has its own set of controls situated just under the nearby air vent). It’s probably not quite up to the button count on Vettel’s steering wheel, but it can’t be far of. A big improvement is the main screen on the centre console. At 10.25 inches is extremely large, which makes using it as a touchscreen nice and easy (the supreme ride also helps), although you can also use a set of buttons and knobs if you prefer. The menus and maps are well displayed and easily fathomed too, and it feels like a match for the best systems out there. However, it does slightly call into question any need

for the optional passenger display. The graphics are very smart and the 8.8-inch screen has been updated to allow the passenger to switch media and iddle with destinations, but the main screen is just as easy to reach and more easily navigated. Unless the passenger is desperate to have their eyes conirm what their ears can hear in terms of how many revs the driver is using, I wouldn’t say it adds much. However, if Ferrari ever migrates to something like Audi’s virtual cockpit, which does away with the central screen and rather cold-shoulders the passenger, then it would be very useful indeed. The optional glass roof would seem like a very good option to specify, though. They might not

always have the beautiful pale peaks of the Dolomites to gaze up at, but passengers in the rear of the car are given a much airier sensation of headroom to go with the Lusso’s little extra legroom. The glass also incorporates a technology that relects solar rays away from the car when temperatures outside are high, but then directs heat inwards when the temperatures outside are lower. We head south from Brunico to Badia and then on to the wonderful Sella Ronda circuit of passes. The mountains are as spectacular as ever, but the hairpins are also stufed with cars, coaches, motorcycles and bicycles. (We stop and have a chat to Italian national champion Vincenzo Nibali at one point. He owns a C4S


Ferrari GTC4 Lusso

You can feel the front wheels stabilise a slide quickly and the angle never gets especially big

but wants an F12tdf.) The GTC4 feels surprisingly nimble around the hairpins, and despite being a big car with a long bonnet, there is no real need to move your hands away from the quarter-to-three position. Ambling along at a reasonable pace the steering is light and there is a sense of agility thanks to the quick rack. The rear-wheel steering may be adding to the agility too, but it’s not a distinct feeling if it is, which is nice. The only negative is that the nose feels rather remote and it’s quite tricky to get a sense of how hard the front tyres are working. The ride is exceptionally good. With the mountain road ruckled like an untidy hearth rug I initially worry that there will be all sorts of scrapes

and thumps as we hit patches of subsidence at speed, but the Ferrari simply irons it all out. Even without the dampers in their ‘bumpy road’ setting the GTC4 remains unruled, the wheels working hard in the arches but the body remaining calm. It should be expected given the brilliance of the MagneRide dampers on a 488, but somehow the composure over such turbulent tarmac seems even more impressive in a car of this size and weight. What’s slightly less impressive is the speed of the GTC4. It’s certainly quick, just not quite as quick as I was expecting with 507kW (up 22 over the FF) and 697Nm. The 0-100km/h time is a claimed 3.4sec and 0-200km/h is said to take

10.5sec, both of which are more than quick enough for a four-seater, but what it doesn’t have is that feeling of efortless surge when you go for an opportune overtake. There is deinitely the requirement to lip the let-hand paddle several times before the V12 feels like it’s got the potency you expect. Initially I didn’t think the mighty 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 sounded that fantastic either. With the windows up, the soundtrack is akin to hearing a Ferrari exhaust note playing through speakers in a nextdoor room. It seems distant and slightly muted. The upside to this is that if the sound deadening can subdue the howl of a V12 it is capable of keeping out lots of other, more

Far let: optional glass roof helps the cabin feel more airy, especially for rearseat passengers. Below: oversteer is possible, but the all-wheel drive will prevent the angle getting too big.

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undesirable noises too, making the cabin a very serene place to spend time. Very Lusso. Of course, if you don’t want your V12 muled then all you have to do is pop the windows down and ind a tunnel, of which the Dolomites have plenty. In an enclosed space the V12 shows why it is still the automotive acoustic choice for many, with a sound that is beautifully angry. Higher pitched than you might expect given the swept volume, it is a breath of screaming octanefuelled air that rips the atmosphere apart in a way that a turbocharged engine simply can’t compete with. With the Sella, Gardena and Pordoi passes too busy, we head for the Passo Valparola. Thankfully it’s quieter and its wider lanes allow the GTC4 Lusso more elbowroom. In the dry, there is quite staggering grip to lean on. Out of anything other than a really tight corner you can get on the power incredibly aggressively and still feel the car hook up with total traction. Lean on it through a hairpin

It’s a very good car, but I’m just not quite sure it knows what it wants to be

Specification Engine

Power

Torque

6262cc V12, dohc, 48v

507kW @ 8000rpm

697Nm @ 5750rpm

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with the ESC of and you will get the rear to move in a pleasing slide, but you can feel the front wheels stabilise it quickly and the angle never gets especially big. You can certainly cover ground extremely rapidly in the GTC4 Lusso. It feels agile, but the lack of feel from the front end, combined with understandably more pitch and roll than you’d get in an F12 or 488, does leave you feeling a bit removed from the road and tempers your enthusiasm as a result. While we’re on the Valparola it begins to rain, and in the Dolomites that makes the roads akin to a soapy shower tray. I try the wet mode on the manettino, but although it makes things feel more secure, understeer becomes the default when grip is breached, which feels more alarming than oversteer to me. In Sport or with ESC of the balance is much more fun, but you certainly have to be on guard because, while sometimes the all-wheel drive will hold you in

+ Rear-wheel steering increases agility - Not as engaging as other Ferraris Weight Consumption 0-100km/h 1920kg (264kW/tonne)

15.3L/100km

3.4sec (claimed)

a glorious stable slide, other times it doesn’t jump in quite quickly enough and you can end up with a big car very sideways! Overall the GTC4 Lusso is a slightly confusing car to review. It is made by a sports car/supercar manufacturer and it has elements of a sport scar/supercar about the way it looks and the way it drives – more so than the FF. Yet it also feels like it’s trying hard not to be too sporty. Similarly the driving experience is reined, but also seems to encourage you to push on, yet when you do it then doesn’t quite deliver the fun it perhaps promised. I still really like it and it’s a very good car, but I’m just not quite sure it knows what it wants to be. Perhaps launching it on such relentlessly twisty roads drew too much attention to just one side of its character. Or perhaps that all-inone name sums up the car more aptly than I irst thought. L Henry Catchpole (@HenryCatchpole)

evo rating ;;;;4 Top speed

Basic price

335km/h (claimed)

$578,888


Audi RS6 Avant Performance Benchmark super-wagon gets even more desirable with upgrade to 445kW THERE ARE BIG, FAST wagons and there’s the RS6 Avant ‘Performance’. Boosted from the standard RS6’s already ample 412kW to 445kW, the new ultimate wagon will hit 100km/h in 3.7sec (down from 3.9) and – if specced with carbon-ceramic brakes – headbutt into an electronic speed limiter raised to 305km/h (from 250). $245,000 is a lot to drop on a wagon, to which you can add $25,840 for the Dynamic Pack Plus that includes the carbon brakes, raised speed limiter, RS sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control and Dynamic Steering. Yet such is its presence and quality you don’t question the price tag. Looks-wise there’s no other wagon to touch its muscled physique. The hardware is just as impressive. Audi’s 4.0-litre biturbo V8 is mated to an eight-speed torque-converter auto, while the RS Sport suspension (available for $4900 as part of the Dynamic Pack that also includes Dynamic Steering and a 280km/h

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Specification

limiter) is designed to counteract roll and pitch by linking diagonally opposed dampers hydraulically. A central valve varies the dampers’ characteristics according to steering inputs and lateral and longitudinal loads, and like the standard air suspension this setup retains Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual modes. At a smidge under 5.0 metres long, the 2025kg RS6 is a big lad, but it hides its size and mass well thanks to a spot-on driving position and det control weights. There’s not a huge amount of feel from the steering, but it’s not completely numb. There’s certainly enough to know how much remains in reserve, though of course the simple answer to that is always ‘lots’, both in terms of grip and acceleration. In normal and even reasonably committed use the RS6 barely breaks a sweat. It feels lat and unfazed by long, fast corners or rapid direction changes, but we’d need to back-to-back it with the standard car to give a detailed comparison.

Uncensored full-throttle romps are short but very sweet in any 445kW car. That said, the RS6 isn’t an explosive, hang on to your gizzards kind of car. Rather it squeezes you with increasing insistence, compressing you into the seat with the overwhelming combination of 750Nm (when on overboost between 2500 and 5500rpm) and Audi’s unshakeable quattro all-wheel drive. Even when fully lit it imparts a sense of authority and control. The balance is resolutely neutral, fading to mild understeer if your turn-in speed is overly optimistic or you’re greedy with the throttle before the apex. You can turn of the ESC and lob it at a corner if you want to, but that’s to miss the point completely. At less than warp speeds it’s reined and mild-mannered, with a rich soundtrack from the V8 and, in Comfort mode at least, damping that’s just about supple enough to smother the worst lumps and bumps. The fat Pirellis do generate some road noise, though, which is

+ Beefy looks, towering performance, brilliantly practical - Firm ride, stern test of self-control Torque Weight Consumption 0-100km/h

Engine

Power

3993cc V8, dohc, 32v twin-turbo

445kW @ 6100-6800rpm

750Nm @ 2500-5500rpm

2025kg (220kW/tonne)

9.7L/100km

3.7sec (claimed)

ampliied a little by the load space. Dynamic mode puts a tangible tension through the car, as if in some adrenalin-fuelled ight-orlight behaviour. The gearbox snaps into the most responsive ratio, the suspension stifens and the steering gains weight and sharpness. It’s impressive in small doses, but too contrived for me. Better to explore Individual mode and settle on the combination that best suits your own idea of what Sport should feel like. The RS6 Avant Performance is one of those cars that’s impossible to justify, yet impossible to resist. It’s hardly discreet, but it is a stealthier and less inlammatory choice than something like a Cayenne Turbo or Range Rover Sport SVR. More practical too, thanks to its vast load area. Most importantly it’s a better machine to drive, with absurdly accessible performance. As an all-weather, all roads, all day and everyday supercar, it exists in a class of one. L Richard Meaden

evo rating ;;;;4

Top speed

Basic price

250km/h (limited)

$245,000

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McLAREN IS HAVING A laugh. That’s your irst impression as you steer the new 570GT through a series of fast sweepers. You’ve read the press pack, stroked the new leather trim and stufed a bag and a few jackets into the trick side-opening rear hatch. Everything you’ve been told (and touched) leads you to believe that this is a GT car, that it will wat you serenely to your Princess 60 moored in Cannes.

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But this series of fast sweepers is telling you something else. That this is still a McLaren. A sports car. A performance car. And a damn fast (and ine) one at that. But let’s rewind. The 570GT is the newest ‘Sports Series’ McLaren. It sits below the Super Series cars (650S etc) and joins the more focused 570S and the cheaper 540C in the range. As yet, there is no convertible Sports Series model – expect that next year.

McLaren 570GT It’s the sports car that’s a supercar that’s a grand tourer. Confused? So are we, but it doesn’t matter, because the 570S’s more relaxed relation is mind-blowingly good

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The 570GT is ‘‘practical enough for everyday use’’ says McLaren, with a ‘‘day-to-day usability and long-distance comfort’’ and ‘‘increased levels of practicality’’. The grand-piano-style glass rear hatch is the most talked about design modiication (the 540 and 570S have buttresses), but perhaps the most dramatic – on our test car, at least – are the body-coloured panels inside the ‘loating tendon’ side air channels. They’re black on

the other Sports Series cars, but here they take some fussiness out of the overall design, revealing a shape that’s closer to the F1 than any other new-era McLaren. To my eyes, the 570GT is stunning – juxtaposing contemporary with classic and technical with reinement. Technical changes from the 570S include suspension and steering tuning, bespoke ‘noise-cancelling’ Pirelli P Zero tyres and an extended, ixed rear spoiler. Inside there’s a


McLaren 570GT

glass panoramic roof, eight-way adjustable leather seats and a 220-litre stowage space known as the ‘Touring Deck’. There’s another 150 litres under the bonnet. The price? $406,800 before options, which makes it $27,800 more than the 570S and $81,800 more than the entry-level 540C. For comparison, a Ferrari California T is $409,888, an Audi R8 V10 Plus $389,900 and a 911 Turbo S $456,500.

You’re let in no doubt from the moment you climb in that McLaren has inally delivered an interior to match the quality and style of any rival. The only letdown is the infotainment system, which remains recalcitrant, unintuitive and has clunky graphics. And while we’re on the negatives, some customers may want their GT with radar cruise control and cooling seats, neither of which are options. The panoramic roof is a treat – it

is just the right opacity and gives the cabin an extremely airy feel. It’s the same glass used on the P1, which means it incorporates a ilm that absorbs solar and sound waves. Overall, the cabin is excellent – you even have an armrest and bottleholders hidden inside the doors. Superb visibility and strong clutch actuation make low-speed driving easy, but it’s when you’re on the highway that you initially notice the GT’s talent. It irst reveals itself via

The shape is closer to the F1 than any other new-era McLaren

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the steering – the electro-hydraulic rack is no less feelsome than that of the 570S, but a slightly reduced ratio means fewer delections when cruising. You start to wonder how this will afect the driving experience when you hit the switchbacks, but we’ll return to this later… The ride is very good, although the early 12C rode better (if without the 570’s body control). The Sports Series cars do not use the hydraulic suspension of the 12C and 650S Super Series cars, instead employing coil springs and adaptive dampers. McLaren has reduced the stifness of the GT’s springs by 15 per cent at the front and ten at the rear compared with the 570S, and the damper rates have also been tweaked. You can adjust the chassis and powertrain settings through Normal, Sport and Track modes via an Active Dynamics panel on the centre console. The biggest improvement in ride quality is in Normal, which is where McLaren has dialled-in the biggest change in damping calibration. Damping in Sport and Track modes are closer to the more focused 570S, albeit not identical, due to the GT’s greater weight. In short, the GT has long-distance cruising licked. The tyres, cabin and overall reinement are excellent. And the Bowers & Wilkins audio is superb. The thing is, you’re never fully isolated from the road – and that’s a good thing. The sense of connection between skin and road,

McLaren’s V8 has never been the most stirring of motors, but boy is it effective

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Above: theatrical yet practical; the GT gets a side-hinged rear window for easy loading. Let: glass roof is taken from the P1 and gives the cabin a superb ambience.


McLaren 570GT

while reduced, always tingles, so you look at every motorway exit and wonder if there’s another, twistier route. Select Sport for both powertrain and chassis and the mild porpoising sensation you can feel in Normal mode lattens without any real efect on ride comfort, and the GT feels more urgent and poised. Taking bigger and wider throttle openings, you notice some turbo lag before a surge of power as the rev counter passes 8000rpm. McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 has never been the most musical or stirring of motors, but boy is it efective. It may have GT sensibilities, but this 570 can still outsprint 95 per cent of road

cars thanks to 419kW, 600Nm and a fast-shiting twin-clutch gearbox. The shit speed doesn’t feel quite as telepathically quick as a 488’s, or as smooth as a Porsche 918 Spyder’s, but it is still more than a match for the demands of the engine. And how fast is the 570GT? Very: 0-200km/h takes 9.8sec; 0-100 just 3.4sec. The 570S is two tenths quicker to 100km/h, not that you’d feel it. Indeed, just 55kg separates the heavier 570GT from the S. The brakes – cast-iron discs – more than cope with fast road driving, and the irm pedal gives true reassurance. On the release phase, they need a delicate touch; the GT can feel like a submarine suddenly

surfacing unless you learn to inesse the brake pedal. Keyed into the braking and acceleration, you start to lean on the handling. The chassis doesn’t suddenly contract as you wind up through Normal, Sport and then into Track. Instead, each phase is measured and consistent. Has the reduced steering ratio afected the 570GT’s cornering abilities? Not a jot. You’re conscious that you’re applying more lock, and you may confuse this for understeer, but in reality the GT bites strongly into corners. With this in mind, you tend to drive it on its nose – committing very hard to a corner on the brakes, then turn, www.evomag.com.au

063


power – and go. Rear stability is impeccable. In fact it’s almost too good (sometimes you’d like the rear to dance a little), but that sense of indomitability that all GTs should have – when cruising or sprinting – is present and correct. It’s hard to be deinitive on a launch event, but we sense the 570S is a little more expressive and feelsome – and certainly grippier – than its GT brother. We put that down to the tyres, as the S wears more focused Pirelli P Zero Corsas. As you start to breach the limits, the GT remains consistent and talkative. ESC Dynamic mode gives you more to play with, and unless you select this mode, the stability and traction systems can feel a little nannying. As with all McLarens, the 570GT uses an electronic limitedslip dif rather than a mechanical one, but you wouldn’t notice. When you break traction at the rear, the

Specification

feeling across the back axle is always consistent, and nicely synchronised with the level of lock required to correct the slide. Fun, direct, honest and vice-free, then. If you haven’t guessed it already, McLaren has nailed the 570GT, which is the most complete car it has ever built and mixes reinement and speed with no noticeable compromises. The build quality is a match for rivals’, and from a design perspective the Sports Series range has carved out a unique identity that separates it from the competition. I can think of only one reason why you wouldn’t pick this car over its rivals, and that’s the number of seats. If you absolutely have to have rear passengers, squeeze them into a Porsche 911 Turbo S or a Bentley Continental GT V8 S instead. In fact, perhaps the 570GT’s biggest problem is its sibling, the 570S. Not one person I’ve spoken

+ Blurs the line between grand tourers and supercars to astonishing effect - No rear seats; 570S more involving Torque Weight (dry) Consumption 0-100km/h

Engine

Power

3799cc V8, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo

419kW @ 7500rpm

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That sense of indomitability that all GTs should have is present and correct

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600Nm @ 5000-6500rpm

1495kg (280kW/tonne)

10.7L/100km

3.4sec (claimed)

to who has seen the GT and the S in the lesh (or pictures) prefers the looks of the S, but of those who have driven both, it’s the S – for its sharper dynamics – they would pick. I agree, but there’s another option. McLaren doesn’t ofer a GT with an ‘S’ pack, but you could, thanks to the McLaren Special Operations division, have a GT-bodied 570S – at a price. And it’s here that I realise that the beguiling 570GT has got me hook, line and sinker, because I’ve already started to daydream-spec my perfect 570GT, which, if you’re asking, looks like this: Pearl White 570GT body with white and black leather for the dash and seats, the B&W stereo, Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, a sports bucket seat for the driver (and the normal electric adjustable seat for the passenger), a sports exhaust and the faster rack from the S. Now, where did I leave my bank manager’s phone number? L Nick Trott (@evoNickTrott)

evo rating ;;;;4

Top speed

Basic price

328km/h (claimed)

$406,800


VW Golf GTI Clubsport S Fastest Golf ever has 228kW, no back seats and a Ring lap record to its name

THE HIGH-PERFORMANCE VW Golf line-up is starting to get complicated. At the bottom of the ladder is the standard GTI, all 162kW and $40,990 of it. Next comes the GTI Performance Pack, which adds 7kW, a dualclutch gearbox, a limited-slip dif and $5500. Then there’s the GTI Clubsport Edition 40 (known as 40 Years Edition in Australia), which has more power still – up to 213kW on overboost – and a more focused chassis setup with the option of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. The 40 Years Edition launches in Australia this month and it costs from $46,990 for the six-speed manual. Now Volkswagen has taken things a step further with the Clubsport S, which has more power still, less weight, Cup 2 tyres as standard and an even more focused chassis. Just 400 will be built, fewer than half of which will be right-hand drive and there’s no conirmed allocation for Australia, though we suspect a very limited number will be available very late this year. The Clubsport S was built for one sole purpose: to capture the Nürburgring front-wheel-drive

T

Specification Engine

Power

production car lap record. In April this year, it did just that, clocking a remarkable 7min 49.21sec. The hot-Golf range doesn’t stop there, though, because buyers can also choose the 206kW, all-wheeldrive R, which is a irm evo favourite. The Clubsport S becomes the fastest and most powerful factory Golf of all time, though, which is as strong an indication as any that it could be the pick of the current Golf family. It uses the familiar EA888 turbocharged four-cylinder engine, tweaked here to deliver 228kW, with 380Nm between 1850 and 5700rpm. The only transmission option is a sixspeed manual – the DSG ’box would add 20 unwanted kilograms – and drive is sent to the front wheels via an electronically controlled LSD. The Clubsport S records a 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds, trimming a full half second of the Clubsport’s time, and the top speed is 265km/h. It carries over the Clubsport’s aerodynamic revisions and more neutral chassis setup, adding bespoke damping rates, new front knuckles, more camber and a lightweight front aluminium

subframe. Weight is down by 15kg, helped by the ditching of the rear seats and some sound-deadening material. The aim of all this is to make the car more stable at speed and faster through corners. Fittingly, VW’s launch venue for the Clubsport S is the Nordschleife, and given the car’s very speciic remit, it should come as no surprise that it feels very good to drive here. The engine immediately feels stronger than the Clubsport’s, with sharp throttle response, a muscular midrange and a vibrant top end. The manual shit is tight and direct and the car gets its power down to the road remarkably cleanly. Traction is huge and the chassis never tugs across ruts or cambers in the way that other high-powered frontwheel-drive cars can.

The steering, meanwhile, is direct with a reasonable amount of feel, but what’s really impressive is the front-end grip. The Cup 2s bite hard and the neutral chassis balance means there’s virtually no understeer to contend with in medium- and high-speed corners. It means you can really chase the Clubsport S as hard as you dare, rather than just having to manage understeer. There is some body roll and the chassis doesn’t feel massively stif – over the big kerbs it’s wonderfully pliant, in fact – but body control is good and the car isn’t unsettled by bumps. It’s well damped in compressions, too, which bodes well for the public road. Impressively, the Clubsport S never feels like a raw or particularly uncompromising machine. Some will say a two-seat hatchback shouldn’t make a priority of everyday usability, but it’s difficult to take issue with the car’s breadth of ability. The Clubsport S is a very impressive machine, then, but until we’ve driven it on the road, we can’t award it the full ive stars. L Dan Prosser (@TheDanProsser)

+ Blend of vast performance and relative usability - Should a two-seat hot hatch feel more special? evo rating Torque Weight Consumption 0-100km/h Top speed

1984cc in-line 4-cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 228kW @ 5800-6500rpm

380Nm @ 1850-5700rpm

1285kg (177kW/tonne)

7.4L/100km

5.8sec (claimed)

;;;;4

265km/h (claimed)

Basic price

c$55,000 (est.)

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Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet Sedan, wagon and Coupe are joined by a Cabriolet. Is AMG’s C63 line-up finally complete? SO, I’LL GET RIGHT TO THE point. The Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet is everything that the C63 Coupe experience is… with the ability to drop the roof and the added greatness of hearing that engine in front and the exhaust behind. The Cabrio weighs around 125kg more than the Coupe, with most of that weight being higher strength steel low in the body for added rigidity. But with clever use of aluminium in other areas (bonnet, boot and the roof folding mechanism) you would be seriously ine tuned to notice it in day-to-day driving. In fact, in some conditions I felt that the added weight made the Cabrio more sure footed, especially so in the wet. The coastal launch town of Trieste

S

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in the north east of Italy should have been the perfect location for an open top, part-time boulevard cruiser like the C63 Cabriolet. Ofering amazing coastline mixed with great driving roads in the hills above, the location seemed perfect. And the new AMG Cabrio certainly appears at home, looking classy without yelling about it – making it my type of car. In some ways it makes me think of it as a junior S-Class Cabriolet, and the interior only adds to that impression. But Trieste is wet (the photos are from a previous day). So, the pouring rain keeps the roof up, but that’s not a bad introduction to the C63 Cabrio, as it gives us the perfect opportunity to see if the extra weight takes away from the experience of the regular Coupe.

Sticking to a fabric roof is not the norm these days but the C-Class Cabriolet, in all of its variants, looks the better for it. In Australia, we will be treated, as standard, to the otherwise optional acoustic sot top that is constructed of noise insulating and damping materials that are designed to minimise exterior noises invading the cabin. With the roof up, you would be hard pressed to know you were not in a hardtop. The C63’s cabin is a high-class afair, and, along with the continuing brilliance of Audi, Mercedes interiors are setting the benchmark for the industry. Nothing inside feels cheap and once again I ind myself thinking S-Class qualities. But because it’s more snug than an S-Class, I feel closer to the action.


Once the roads start to get seriously twisty, the AMG Cabriolet comes into its own. I love all C63 variants – let’s face it, we all do. Despite the very modern and sophisticated performance on ofer, they have this strange ability to make you feel like you are in a bit of a hotrod and I’m not ashamed to say that they bring out my inner hoon. You ind yourself taking corners a little of line just to enjoy the corrections available both via the steering and the twin-turbocharged V8’s vast torque (700Nm available from 1750rpm). Following two other C63s into the hills above Trieste and into Slovenia, I notice I’m not the only one having a laugh. Even when you’re enjoying yourself like this, the AMG’s ride does not give away its open-top structure and the steering feels exactly the same as in the ixed-roof models. Do I feel any lex or hear a noise or two that would not be there if I was in the Coupe? Maybe once or twice, but only when hitting serious bumps. Do I care? Like the guys in front of me, not at all.

Specification

Like most cars at this level, the C63 Cabriolet is illed with all of the driver aids you could ever need. But the guys at Afalterbach have cracked the code by allowing you to feel that if you push the C63 Cab you will be bitten, a sensation that so many cars are now missing until it is too late. In the AMG, however, and even in serious downpours, you would have to be trying very hard to throw yourself of a road… but in a strange way it’s nice to know it has the ability to do just that. You know this car’s limits to 90 per cent and if you stay within them you will be just ine. Beyond that, and I seriously commend Mercedes for giving us that remaining 10 per cent, you are in a world of exploration. This might be the sotest variant, but you respect all C63s. The above sensations are brought to life even more in the rare moments we experienced with the roof down – up to 55km/h the roof can be retracted. I still ind that amazing, that’s a lot of air pressure pushing into what is essentially a sail and shows the strength of the roof

+ Roof-down access to that soundtrack, impressive rigidity - It won’t be the choice of the purists Torque Weight Consumption 0-100km/h

Engine

Power

3982cc V8, dohc, 32v twin-turbo

375kW @ 5500-6250rpm

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Moving fast over wet roads with a rooster tail in the mirror, I feel like I’m in a powerboat

700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm

1850kg (203kW/tonne)

8.9L/100km

4.1sec (claimed)

and operating mechanisms. Once the roof is down and the AIRCAP is raised above the windscreen, you’re cossetted from the outside world with only a few zephyrs inding their way in. What you are inviting in more than anything, even more than the sunshine, is that noise. Like the other S variants of the second-gen C63, the Cabrio’s twinturbo 4.0-litre V8 produces a very vocal 375kW from 5500-6250rpm. Moving fast over wet roads with that noise looding into the cabin and with a rooster tail in the rear view mirror, I feel like I’m in an ofshore powerboat but with proper dynamics. I’m sure there are purists out there still thinking ‘but it’s a convertible, it’s lost some strength’. If that’s you, let me paint you a picture: it’s late Friday aternoon and you have just inished work. You have a several-hour drive ahead of you for a weekend away. Do you want the holiday to start the moment you leave the city or when you get to your destination? L Matthew O’Malley

evo rating ;;;;4 Top speed

Basic price

250km/h (limited)

c$185,000


Audi S5 Audi’s sleek S5 coupe has failed to excite like it should. Can this latest, newly turbocharged version fix that?

NEITHER A RUMBLING V8 nor a revvy supercharged V6 could make the irstgeneration Audi S5 feel like a proper drivers’ car. The chassis was too wooden, the steering too lifeless and the balance far too uninteresting for it to ever engage and reward in the way a sports coupe should. With less weight and a turbocharged engine, though, Audi hopes the all-new S5 will put that right. Launched concurrently with the S4, the second-generation S5 is lighter than the previous model – by some 60kg, Audi claims – and careful management of the airlow has kept the drag coefficient down to 0.25, a best in class igure. The big news, though, is the new turbocharged V6 that it shares with the S4. Displacing 2995cc, the engine is related to the brilliant twin-turbo V8 that powers the RS6. It uses direct injection, then, but rather than two turbochargers it features just one, a twin-scroll turbo, mounted within the vee of the engine to reduce response times. Audi says a single turbo is lighter and simpler than two, and its engineers were

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able to meet their power and torque output targets quite comfortably with a single turbocharger. The engine develops an identical 260kW from 5400 to 6400rpm as in the S4, with the same 500Nm peak too, albeit across a slightly narrower – but still vast – rev band of 1370 to 4500rpm. It’s enough to power the S5 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited 250km/h. A titanic torque igure is all well and good, but as in the S4 it means Audi has had to shelve its twin-clutch gearbox – as itted to the earlier S5 – and instead use a ZF-sourced eightspeed automatic, but Audi insists the ZF unit is plenty responsive enough. Power is sent to all corners by a quattro all-wheel-drive system. It features a locking centre diferential, with a nominal torque split of 40:60 front to rear. As in the S4, the system can divert up to 70 per cent of drive forwards or 85 per cent rearwards, and buyers can specify a Sport diferential to further manage torque between the rear wheels. The S5’s cabin is undoubtedly one of its strengths, for the layout and design are sharp and contemporary

Specification

and the quality is very good. Audi’s optional ‘virtual cockpit’, which replaces the conventional instrument binnacle with a 12.3-inch digital display, lends the car a touch of space-age appeal. This new S5 rides with real luidity, suppresses road and wind noise efectively, and has an easy, efortless muscularity to its straight-line performance. All those attributes make it a ine everyday car and a cossetting long-distance tool, but what we really want from the S5 is a more engaging driving experience. The irst sign of improvement over the old model is a sharper, more responsive front end. It inds strong turn-in bite, rather than ploughing on in a mess of understeer, and at the apex point the chassis feels keenly balanced. From there you can feel the

outside rear corner driving the car forward, thanks to the optional Sport dif on our test car. There’s never any real playfulness or adjustability in this chassis, but there is at least enough neutrality that you can enjoy threading it along a winding road. With optional adaptive dampers there’s taut body control and decent pliancy over bumps, while the Dynamic Steering system – also optional – is direct and free of slack, but never remotely feelsome. Responsive and strong though the new engine is, there’s just never any reward for stretching it to the red line, nor any drama or excitement in its delivery. The ZF gearbox, meanwhile, actually feels quite sluggish in its manual mode, particularly on downshits, which completes the picture of a languid and unhurried drivetrain. This new S5 does ind useful improvements over the previous model, most notably in the chassis’ more agile balance, but this is still a coupe that majors on day-to-day and long-distance usability rather than on-the-limit thrills. L Dan Prosser (@TheDanProsser)

+ Refinement and luxury; sweeter chassis - Still not engaging enough Consumption Weight 0-100km/h

Engine

Power

Torque

2995cc V6, dohc, 24v, turbo

260kW @ 5400-6400rpm

500Nm @ 1370-4500rpm

1615kg (161kW/tonne)

7.3L/100km

4.7sec (claimed)

evo rating ;;;;2 Top speed

Basic price

250km/h (limited)

c$135,000

www.evomag.com.au

069


Porsche 718 Cayman S It’s long been the sweet-spot in Porsche’s model line-up, but has turbocharging affected the Cayman’s appeal?

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THE BANGING SOUND you can hear is one more nail being hammered into the coffin of natural aspiration. In line with most of the rest of the automotive industry, Porsche is downsizing and turbocharging its engines, and hot on the heels of the 911 and Boxster, the Cayman is the latest model in Porsche’s line-up to junk an atmospheric motor for a blown one. The 718 Cayman S uses the same four-cylinder, singleturbo unit that powers the recent 718 Boxster S (see evo Australia 35), replacing the free-revving lat-six that to our simple and regressive minds just didn’t need replacing. The new engine certainly hasn’t ruined the Boxster S, but when we sampled it we reckoned enough had been lost from the driving experience that it should be downgraded from a ive-star car to a four-and-a-half-star one. We’ve been worried about the new Cayman ever since.

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The 2.5-litre lat-four develops 257kW and 420Nm, which means the latest Cayman S is faster than ever. Equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox it’ll reach 100km/h from a standstill in 4.6 seconds (4.2 seconds using a PDK ’box and Launch Control) and top out at 285km/h, which is a useful tick in the ‘pros’ column for the turbo engine. The clattery idle? That’s a tick in the ‘cons’ column. Not even the optional sports exhaust can ind any music in this engine at a standstill. Instead it emits a rough, industrial note that seems so unnatural coming from the back end of a Porsche. Throughout its rev range the engine is rather tuneless, just as it is in the Boxster, but the Cayman’s solid roof seems to isolate the cabin from the din more efectively. Soundtrack is a more important factor in a drop-top than in a coupe, too, which means the new engine is actually slightly more agreeable in the ixed-roof model.

It isn’t just a matter of soundtrack, though, and there are still good reasons to miss the lat-six. Whereas the old engine was razor-sharp in its response and dramatic in its delivery, this new unit is a good deal less exciting. Modern four-cylinder turbo engines are increasingly alike in their character and delivery, but this one does at least feel quite distinctive. It needs 2800rpm before it does anything at all – most get going around the 2000rpm mark – but what it loses in low-down response it wins back in the upper reaches. At 6000rpm it starts to pull ever harder and it only begins to fade beyond 7000rpm, which gives this engine a relatively vibrant top end. Porsche has made a priority of energy at high engine speeds over low-down response – the two are more or less mutually exclusive unless you have a pair of turbochargers – and for a car like this one that seems like the correct decision.


Porsche 718 Cayman S With so much power and torque, the 718 Cayman S is genuinely rapid, kicking so much harder through the mid-range than any other Cayman to date (GT4 aside). There’s also a tractability that means you no longer chase the lowest gear and the highest engine speeds, which was really the only way to make properly quick progress in the previous Cayman. The gear ratios are still long – second will pull nearly 130km/h – but, again, that great swell of torque means the gearing just isn’t anything like as frustrating as before. The manual gearshit is a delight and, of course, the chassis is still utterly sublime. The car feels perfectly balanced with just a smidge of understeer at the limit that lets you know exactly how hard it’s working, and the quality of the damping is superb. The revised steering system is a useful improvement over the old car’s hardware, though, the faster ratio and more direct response making the car feel so much more positive and alert during the corner-entry phase. The steering isn’t the most communicative, but you’re never let wanting for feedback because the whole car is so faithful and readable.

Above: manual ’box gets the best out of the lat-four turbo engine. Below: rear end remains impressively stable, despite extra torque.

The rear axle, meanwhile, has no trouble dealing with the additional torque (the old Cayman S peaked at 370Nm, but not until 4500rpm) and it’s actually easier to play with the car’s balance on the throttle now. This – combined with a new intermediary stability control setting – makes the new Cayman a touch more playful. Our test car is itted with all manner of performance-related options, including Porsche Carbon Composite Brakes ($17,990), sports suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management ($3030), the Porsche Torque Vectoring diferential ($3190) and Sport Chrono ($3990 – required for that new stability mode and also including the 918 Spyder-style steering-wheelmounted mode switch). The uprated brakes are overkill unless you intend to drive on circuit, but the rest of the upgrades do add to the experience. But despite the dynamic improvements, the new engine really is enough to cost the Cayman S its ive-star rating. It remains a superb sports coupe, however, one that is still as much about sensations, excitement and interaction as outright performance. L Dan Prosser

Porsche has made a priority of energy at high engine speeds over low-down response

Specification

+ Faster and better to drive than ever - Turbo engine robs it of some of its charm Weight Consumption 0-100km/h

Engine

Power

Torque

2497cc lat-four, dohc, 16v, turbo

257kW @ 6500rpm

420Nm @ 1900-4500rpm

1355kg (190kW/tonne)

7.3L/100km

4.6sec (claimed)

evo rating ;;;;4

Top speed

Basic price

285km/h (claimed)

$140,600

www.evomag.com.au

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M c L A R E N P 1 GT R

Even more extreme than the mighty P1 road car, McLaren’s P1 GTR was only ever intended to be driven on track. But now some owners are converting them for road use. We try one

Wild thing by J E T H RO B OV I N G D O N P H O T O G R A P H Y by G U S G R E G O RY

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M c L A R E N P 1 GT R

T Right: GTR’s exhaust is made from Inconel and titanium; bigger rear wing sits more than 400mm above the bodywork, but retains a DRS function.

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HERE’S A LITTLE GAP IN THE TRAFFIC. Enough to pin the accelerator and hold it there all the way to the limiter in third. We’re heading home, day nearly done. Photographer Gus Gregory is checking the interior driving shots he’s just finished on the back of his Canon, but he hasn’t yet experienced the P1 GTR. No lag, the power comes in hard and without hesitation. I’ve caught Gus’s attention. At about 4500rpm the rear tyres light up for maybe a second before the traction control tempers the delivery just enough to restore traction. Then the fury ramps up again. Gus – a veteran of Veyrons and the like – is grabbing at fresh air, trying to restore his own grip on reality. ‘‘Oh my god… Oh my GOD… JETHRO!’’ Then the familiar cackling as I flick into fourth and hit the brakes. ‘‘I’ve never felt anything like that,’’ he says. ‘‘It shouldn’t be on the road. It just shouldn’t.’’ He’s right, of course. Well, half right. The P1 GTR was never intended to be a road car. Designed for track use only, the P1 GTR cost c$4million – more than twice the price of a ‘regular’ P1 – has even more extreme aero (660kg at 240km/h) and more power. The 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 produces 588kW and the electric motor contributes a further 147kW for a total of 735kW (or 1000 PS), as compared with the P1’s 673kW. The GTR is wider, lower, 50kg lighter and more extreme in every way. McLaren Special Operations created just 45 P1 GTRs and, perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the owners liked the idea of popping to the shops in their new baby. Step forward Lanzante, a company with a

rich history with McLaren that includes winning Le Mans with an F1 GTR in 1995. Clearly not a company to shy away from a challenge, Lanzante is now flat-out converting GTRs to road spec. This car belongs to Andy Bruce, a man with impeccable taste in cars and a collection to make you jump for joy and then weep when you realise that you’ll never match it. Chassis 044 and road conversion 014, his GTR wears a distinctive Team Lark livery, which is a tribute to the Team Lark McLaren F1 GTR that contested the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship in 1996. Why? Well Andy owns that, too. Of course he does. And it is also road-registered. Of course it is. When Gus and I arrive at Andy’s, the F1 GTR, tucked up beside the P1 GTR, could render pretty much any other car I can think of suddenly invisible. But not this one. It is outrageous in every detail. Walk around it (in a daze) and wherever you stop, the P1 GTR looks wildly exaggerated and sinister. It might wear a number plate, but the P1 GTR isn’t fooling anyone. Pull the driver’s door up and forward and the interior seems to float in a massive arc of polished carbon weave. The dash is simple, the elegant shapes formed from a cool satin-finish carbonfibre and sparingly trimmed in Alcantara. It’s not raw and ugly like, say, an F40, but there’s an economy about the architecture and it looks like a place of business. And then there’s the steering wheel. Modelled on the 2008 championship-winning MP4-23 F1 car’s, the chunky rectangular carbonfibre controller is a thing of real beauty and an extraordinary centrepiece to the driving environment. It’s actually tacky to the touch, almost like it’s coated in Blu-Tack. Driving gloves are never cool but this material is clearly designed for use with racing gloves, its gloopy texture feeling odd against bare skin. Fortunately, the width of the handles and the apertures that you wrap your fingers into feel utterly natural despite the alien shape. There are 11 buttons and two three-position toggle switches to play with, but for now I just need the starter button. Push it twice to awaken the electrics, then press the brake pedal and stab the button one final time… The engine fires instantly, the electric motor taking the place of a conventional starter and creating a switch-like reaction. While you’re denied the time-honoured supercar drama of a high-pitched whizz followed by an evocative pause and then a big, tumbling explosion of cylinders, the P1 GTR makes up for it with a deep, booming idle that pours through the carbonfibre MonoCage. Yes, I could just go into E-mode, but time is short and there are 735 reasons that lead me to ignore that option. Next I press the Active button to bring the toggle switches to life. They’re familiar from 12C,


It feels absurd, wonderful, illicit and terrifying to bounce through West Sussex in this thing


M c L A R E N P 1 GT R

Suddenly the way the steering wheel has melted onto my palms seems rather reassuring

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650S, 675LT and P1, but rather than tuning the handling and powertrain respectively, here the left-hand switch simply controls the ESC settings and the right-hand one the Race Active Chassis Control setup. For today the suspension will stay in its least aggressive setting (the ride height, by the way, is fixed, unlike the road P1’s) and I’ll use the ESC’s base mode, with an exploratory few minutes in the more lenient one. ESC Off? Think that can wait for another day and a racetrack, don’t you? The small but thick paddles are mounted on a central rocker just like in McLaren’s road cars. The paddle travel is perhaps longer than you’d expect but feels wonderfully mechanical in operation. There’s not much steering lock to play with but I manage to manoeuvre the GTR cleanly out onto a mini roundabout, thankful for the front lifting system that helps negotiate

a steep angle of attack. It feels instantly and fabulously illegal. The noise is quite extraordinary, an everchanging series of chuffs, wheezes, sneezes and bone-jangling baritone roars. On a steady throttle the air pressure builds and builds with an intense hissing sound that grows ever more furious. It’s not tuneful, it’s not beautiful, but it is everywhere. Andy’s riding with me for these early miles and he shouts something with a smile. ‘‘What?’’ I reply. Shouting louder he repeats: ‘‘It’s not too loud. In the F1 GTR you need to use cans and an intercom.’’ I agree (with a nod, it’s easier) and chuckle that his frame of reference for what’s ‘loud’ is a car that competed at Le Mans. The ride is harsh at low speeds and on some of the lanes near the Goodwood estate the GTR judders and jumps around. It tramlines too and suddenly the way the steering wheel has melted

Restraint is a very big part of driving the P1 GTR on the road


onto my palms seems rather reassuring. There’s no question a normal P1 – god that sounds ridiculous – would be more comfortable here and faster, too. Having said that, I’m wearing a grin as wide as the GTR’s rear wing. It feels absurd, wonderful, illicit and terrifying to bounce through West Sussex in this thing. We find some slightly smoother tarmac and the GTR starts to flow. It’s still a hard-riding car, but the new 19-inch front and 20-inch rear centre-lock wheels stay in touch with the road, and the way it changes direction is startling. It feels a foot wider than the regular P1 (the front track is actually 80mm wider) and the rear melds instantaneous response with absolute stability, creating a sensation of the nose of the car being laser-guided by this hyper-alert rear axle. If you’ve ever driven a car with a dualclutch ’box you’ll know the geeky delight of a

rev counter needle that digitally snaps rather than sweeps between ratio changes. The GTR corners with the same precision and startling speed. You don’t feel the forces building, the tyres giving slightly and then biting. It just turns. Snap left, snap right, input and reaction locked together with titanium strength. I’ve not driven a road car with this level of agility. Ever. The immediacy is amplified by the drivetrain. The 147kW electric motor of the GTR might only be 15kW stronger than the standard P1’s but it seems much better equipped to perform the torque-fill function. Be it in third gear at 4500rpm or sixth gear at 1500rpm, the GTR delivers instant acceleration and then just keeps on pushing you into the seat-back. It’s surreal, feeling the shot of electrical assistance helping even at low engine speeds in a higher

gear. And if you downshift a couple of times and open the throttle the reaction is almost painfully brutal. The swirling noise, the fluid blur of digits on the display, the rapidly ascending shift lights and the feeling of your leg being lifted away from the accelerator is genuinely shocking. Now add in the fact that even with the ESC fully engaged the rear tyres momentarily flare when the turbos hit full boost and you end up with a frenzied, panic-inducing free-falling quality to the performance. You do come to terms with the sheer scale of the relentless acceleration, but I’m not sure you’d ever fully get used to it. It makes the standard P1 feel almost tame. So what happens when you try to combine the unearthly performance with the chassis’ intense agility? So much. A raging storm of www.evomag.com.au

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The conversion

Let: dive planes up front contribute to increased downforce. Right: mirrors were moved from the doors to the A-pillars for the GTR to help aero. Far right: this P1 GTR shares its livery and a garage with a race-winning F1 GTR.

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Lanzante’s road conversion for the P1 GTR is highly detailed, meticulously developed and ininitely adaptable to the owner’s taste. Many of the changes are dictated by simple legislation: catalytic converters for the exhausts, a handbrake, changes to the headlights, road-legal wheels and tyres. Others are for practical purposes, for example the increase in ride height and the retuned suspension rates. However, Lanzante goes beyond the minimum requirements and work on the minutiae, too. Andy Bruce’s car went back to the tub for the transformation and a huge amount of time was spent reining the interior trim. Andy wanted to keep the racecar feel but add sections of Alcantara and replace functional but slightly unreined edges and seams with perfectly executed inishes. The result feels as beautifully lawless as you’d expect given the price of the GTR and the conversion. Speaking of which, Lanzante won’t be drawn on the cost to convert a GTR, as each case is very diferent depending on where the car will be registered and the customer’s vision. Andy’s car is the 14th GTR converted for road use and there have been a couple more completed since.


M C L A R E N P 1 GT R

turbo thunder and lightning (I can hear if not see the flames blasting from the tailpipes), your body on high alert as the drivetrain delivers all it can over and over, and the supreme Akebono brakes wiping away speed with bruising efficiency. The noise and sensations are something akin to being trampled in a riot, but what’s really amazing is that beneath all the volcanic fury, the GTR responds with such clarity and clinical precision. Sometimes you might have to fight off the effects of the wide tyres and stiff suspension as the car hunts left and right on the brakes, and you always need to think carefully about unleashing the drivetrain on the exit of bumpy corners, but for the most part you find yourself just picking braking spots, turning in calmly and shaking your head in disbelief as the GTR responds without a millisecond of processing time. It simply does what you want at the instant you want it. Action and response as one. You don’t so much become immersed in what it’s doing as feel you’re picking the road apart all by yourself. Your forearms, hands and feet are integrated into the machine and the P1 GTR enacts every thought the moment it pops into your brain. The problem with having this great power at your disposal is that roads are designed for the puny. They have speed limits and traffic lights. They have corners that require the weak to brake.

McLaren P1 GTR Engine 3799cc V8, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo, plus 147kW electric motor Power 735kW (combined) @ n/a rpm Torque 900Nm (combined) @ n/a rpm Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rear-wheel drive, Brake Steer Front suspension Hydro-pneumatic proactive suspension, adaptive roll control Rear suspension Hydro-pneumatic proactive suspension, adaptive roll control Brakes Carbon-ceramic discs front and rear Wheels 19in front, 20in rear Tyres 245/35 ZR19 front, 305/30 ZR20 rear Weight 1440kg Power-to-weight 510kW/tonne 0-100km/h sub-2.8sec (est) Top speed 350km/h (limited) Price when new c$4million (excluding road conversion)

evo rating: ;;;;;

And there’s nothing more annoying than hitting the DRS button, watching the rear wing flick flat in the side mirror and then another of these normal cars pulling out in front of you before you feel the benefit of the P1 GTR in low-drag configuration. ‘‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’’ you scream, internally at least. Then you remember that you are on the public road and, although you might temporarily have superpowers, you’ll be a mere mortal again when the key turns in a heavy cell door behind you. Restraint is a very big part of driving the P1 GTR on the road. In fact, you might wonder what the point is of having a P1 GTR converted to road spec at all. It is patently too fast, too stiff, too loud and too low. I get that. I don’t dispute any of it for a second. But for these few sweet hours I couldn’t care less. Why? Because whether you’re doing 10km/h, 100km/h or no doubt 300km/h, the P1 GTR is absolutely enthralling. It requires commitment, leaves your brain with no spare capacity. Your mind can’t wander back to the mundane. Did you lock the door behind you or send that crucial email? All that stuff evaporates. You’re just driving. For all of its complexity and vast potential, the P1 GTR offers a driving experience of absolute purity. It’s a drug and I’m an addict. Escapism comes no more immersive or spectacular than a P1 GTR with number plates. L


Aston by J E T H RO B OV I N G D O N P H O T O G R A P H Y by D E A N S M I T H

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AM-RB 001

Marvel The most gifted Formula 1 designer in decades and a firm famed for the beauty of its cars are working together to build a machine of game-changing qualities not seen since the McLaren F1. This is the Aston Martin-Red Bull 001, and this is the story so far

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T’S NOT WHAT YOU expected, right? This is the AM-RB 001. A collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies involving lots of very talented people. However, it will forever be known as ‘Adrian Newey’s road car’. That’s no slight on anyone else involved, more a mark of the significance of the most successful F1 designer of all time finally diverting his vast brain power to a car that people – very rich people, admittedly – can actually buy. I imagined it’d be covered in those intricate aero tricks, flips and slits that give you a migraine if you stare at them for long enough on an F1 or LMP1 car. But no. The AM-RB 001 looks so pure and simple. It’s beautiful. We’ll come to the design itself in a moment, and how the whole Newey/Aston Martin relationship works. For now, let’s concentrate on the outline details we have about the AM-RB 001. It’s a twoseater supercar but the occupants will sit with their feet above their hip-point – just like in an F1 or LMP car. However, it won’t be tiny and uncomfortable, and it’s built for fully formed adults, unlike most of Newey’s F1 cars! That said, it’s still compact for a car of its kind, being around 1900mm wide (a LaFerrari is 1992mm, a 918 Spyder 1940mm), just 4000mm or thereabouts long (a LaFerrari is 4702mm, a McLaren F1 4288mm and a 718 Cayman 4379mm) and less than 1016mm high (so lower even than an original Ford GT40). It’s made from carbonfibre, the composition and thickness of which (it varies depending on strength requirements) is defined by Newey and Red Bull Advanced Technologies. The AM-RB 001 will have one horsepower for each kilogram of weight and we expect it to come in at around 1000kg. The huge power output will come largely from a high-revving, normally aspirated V12 that’s completely bespoke and shares nothing with the current Aston Martin V12 we know from the likes of the Vanquish. Neither is it related to the One-77 or Vulcan engines. The capacity is a mystery for now but considering it needs to output around 670kW, we’d suggest it’ll be over 7.0 litres. The remaining 70kW or so will come from a Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The details of this are still under wraps for now, but the electrical energy will also be used to allow the car to reverse – there will be no reverse gear in the main gearbox, to save weight and keep it very compact. Suspension is inboard, pushrod operated and said to be incredibly sophisticated. It will

feature variable ride height and work to make the most of the car’s aerodynamic performance within various speed ranges. Imagine the spring rate required to deal with the downforce levels this kind of car could generate and how that would work on the road. Quite simply, it couldn’t with a conventional arrangement. So expect an active suspension system, although again Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Aston Martin remain very tight-lipped about the exact make-up of the system. We had expected active aero but the only active device will be a small rear wing that will trim the balance at high speeds. Even so, this car is truly an aero monster. Freed from the constraints of racing regulations, Newey has devised a car that looks set to instantly make cars such as the LaFerrari, P1 and 918 Spyder seem archaic, heavy and, unbelievably, rather slow. It has downforce levels similar to an LMP1 car, will achieve 4.5G of lateral force (on slicks, we presume) and Aston Martin claims that in track-only guise (there will be 99 road cars and a further 24 track-only variants) it will lap a circuit faster than an LMP1 car. Let’s put that into context. Koenigsegg recently

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set an unofficial road-car lap-time record at Spa-Francorchamps with its 1000kW One:1. It recorded a 2:32.14. That’s fast. This year’s pole time at the Spa 6 Hours race was set by a Porsche 919 Hybrid at 1:55.79 – some 36 seconds faster than the One:1. And the track version of the AM-RB 001 could be just as quick. Get your head around that. The price of owning a Newey masterpiece? Somewhere between $4million and $6million, with deliveries starting in 2018. So far there are 375 people desperate to own one. Now the world has actually seen the 001, that number is sure to grow. Listen to Aston’s chief creative officer Marek Reichman and Adrian Newey talk about this project, as we have, and you start to believe we’re witnessing a landmark supercar. Does the world need a road car that’s as fast as an LMP1 car? No. Would we sell family members to be the first to drive it? Hmm, I wonder if eBay has rules about that sort of stuff…

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Adrian Newey on the AM-RB 001 ‘‘I suppose to some extent it [the philosophy behind the road-car project] harks back to childhood experiences. My father had a series of Mini Cooper S models and then a Lotus Elan. And the Elan was the family car. I used to sit in the middle on the transmission tunnel with my mother in the passenger seat and my dad in the driver’s seat. So I guess he proved that you could take a car like a Lotus Elan and use it as an everyday workhorse. He was a veterinary surgeon and used it on all his farm visits. Then, when I married, he gave it to me as a wedding gift. Between us I think we did 275,000km in that car, which is probably a record for an Elan. ‘‘To some extent I would like this car to be something similar: capable of extreme performance, but if you simply want to use it to go to the shops then it’ll be a comfortable place to be. That means it really has to be a car of two characters. That’s the secret that we’re really trying to put into it, the technology that

allows it to be docile and comfortable, but if you want to take it on track or drive it very fast, it clearly has the performance to do that as well. In that sense, if it feels like an LMP car on the road then as far as I’m concerned we’ll have failed. ‘‘It is absolutely a fresh challenge, although in many ways it does embody my day job in motor racing: to package it very tightly, to get all the occupants and major mechanical parts into what is quite a small package and ensure that the cabin is still a comfortable place to be. That also goes into the drivetrain; how we do the drivetrain, how we consider the suspension. Unsurprisingly it has a reasonable amount of downforce – then you’ve got to have a suspension system that goes with that. The honest truth is that we’re still heavily in the research stage. The exact specification of the car is still fluid and in many ways I like to try to keep that as fluid as possible for as long as possible, so that when we do go into the design


AM-RB 001

and manufacturer of the hardware, we’re hopefully right first time. ‘‘I wanted to create a package that was small, light, aerodynamically efficient. A good place for the driver to be, where he feels part of the machine – sounds corny I know – so you feel a sense of speed, a sense of occasion when you drive the car. So it’s trying to embody all those ideas into a single concept that does what we’re trying to achieve. In its trackonly guise that will be a car that offers LMP1 levels of performance, but in a relatively mildly changed variant of that track car is a comfortable road car. ‘‘One of the biggest challenges has been the packaging of the powertrain with its associated cooling into quite a small back end that has a large diffuser on it. It’s taken a few iterations to get there. I label the big concepts Mk1, Mk2, etc, so this car as it stands is Mk6. That’s how many times I’ve redrawn it to get the packaging and the overall concept right.

And then we obviously work with Marek’s guys to take that functional form and put the aesthetic there. That’s been a really enjoyable relationship. My first versions probably looked a little bit Group C-ish. Just putting some really quite minor alterations into the lines has altered the sense of the car without changing the form. ‘‘It is a bespoke V12, a start-from-scratch engine. It’ll be high-revving with a very high specific output per litre. The transmission that we then mate it to is one of the key areas of research. I look at the current trend for doubleclutch gearboxes and they’re just monsters. You’re talking about a gearbox that weighs 150kg plus. It’s tremendously bulky, and that is not something that sits with the concept of the car. So we’re busily researching how we do the transmission as we speak. ‘‘In some ways the aero concept slightly evolved out of the PlayStation [Gran Turismo 6] X1 car. That was an enclosed cockpit, enclosed

Let: AM-RB 001 sits lower than an original GT40 and the pedal box is above the driver’s hip-point, just like in an LMP1 car. Newey is still convinced he can make it useable on a daily basis.

wheels, and the principles are an evolution of that. The target was to produce a car that in a track-only guise could be of around LMP1 levels of performance. So that meant it had to be capable of generating lots of downforce, and in its road guise there would be less downforce than that, but also a lot less drag – so maintaining aerodynamic efficiency. In terms of the two versions, a lot of the main structures will be the same. All the primary parts will be the same, but the appendages, the bodywork to accommodate bigger tyres, the front and rear wing and diffuser will be different as you’re tuning it to a different target. It will be very much a recognisable sibling.’’

Marek Reichman on the AM-RB 001 ‘‘Before we started to talk to Red Bull Advanced Technologies, we’d developed DP100 [an extreme mid-engined concept that featured in Gran Turismo 6]. We made a physical model of DP100 and it went to Pebble

THE TR ACK VERSION COULD LAP A CIRCUIT AS QUICK LY AS AN LMP1 CAR. GET YOUR HEAD AROUND THAT

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Beach and Goodwood and the reaction was unbelievable. Even Gordon Murray – who happened to be the speaker one evening alongside me [and is famously unimpressed by most modern supercars] – said, ‘You guys should make this.’ We had customers phoning up for the car, to the point we actually sold the model to a customer who just had to have it. ‘‘From that reaction, we knew that somewhere in our second-century world we should have a mid-engined car. And what should that look like if it’s not DP100? At the same time, Adrian was developing his own road-car vision. Andy [Palmer, Aston Martin CEO] came along and kind of aligned the stars. We wanted to use F1 as a platform but we didn’t just want to go into F1 without any reason. That’s not who we are. Christian [Horner, Red Bull team principal], Mateschitz [Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of the Red Bull energy drink company], they wanted to make it happen and to develop a car together, which is 001.

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So when we first met, Adrian had some ideas. It wasn’t complete but he had ideas. We had some ideas… ‘‘The first drawings were tiny bubbles that described the cabin. I was thinking about aerodynamics, airflow and teardrops. If I draw an elongated teardrop and then put a line through it, then that’s a side strake, isn’t it? Because that’s cutting through that form. So what you end up with is a big side strake and the form has just developed. And as soon as we met with Adrian, his desire was to force and push the air to the underside and our desire was to have the air generate beautiful forms, so there was a connection. ‘‘Simplifying reduces weight. A simpler surface enables Adrian to generate and direct the air where he wants it. If we came up with an incredibly elaborate piece of design it would potentially disrupt his aerodynamic vision. So it really is a desire to be as pure and simple and as close to nature as possible. And that’s his thinking, too. He

talks about nature when he talks about the engineering, about aerodynamics in terms of the golden section and proportion. Those principles mean we’re not like anyone else. We didn’t look at anything else. We came at it from the science of performance and the beauty of Aston Martin. The first images didn’t have a big wing, and Adrian liked that. It’s about the negative space as much as anything. ‘‘All of the bits in dark grey, Adrian has priority; for the Sterling Green areas, we have priority. So the bit that’s forcing the air is him; the upper side, which is about beauty and legal implication, is ours. All of that is based on the perfect solution to get a one-to-one power-to-weight ratio and exactly 50:50 weight distribution. Some of the parameters therefore you can’t move and change. It’s the lowest car in the world, for instance. Lower than a GT40. There isn’t a single piece of steel in the car, it’s all exotic materials. Again, why Red Bull and why Adrian? They are at the very forefront


AM-RB 001

‘‘IF WE CAME UP WITH AN INCR EDIBLY ELABOR ATE PIECE OF DESIGN, IT WOULD DISRUPT ADRIAN’S VISION ’’

of carbonfibre manufacturing technology. That’s lightweight structures, safety cells, combining resins and weaves that are completely unexpected and that nobody else is doing. It’s rapid manufacturing. ‘‘At one meeting over at Red Bull I mentioned a section underneath the car that looked a bit square. I didn’t know if I was saying the right thing to Adrian, but he said, ‘So you don’t like that?’ I said I felt it could have a bit more lead in, even though you hardly see it. We went to his office, there was his drawing board with tracing paper – a proper draughtsman board. He gets out his French curves, looks at the section, a few strokes of the H4 pencil, rolls up the paper and hands it to me. ‘Put that in CAD, feed it back to me and I’ll do a check on it.’ So out of his head, onto paper, we made the CAD surface, patched it to where it should be on the car, sent it back to him and he ran the CFD and said, ‘Hmm, it’s about 0.2mm out.’ I’ve seen that genius at work.’’

NEWEY AND MAREK’S INSIGHT INTO how the AM-RB 001 has been conceived is fascinating. The inspiration and experiences e ac h h a ve d r aw n on , t h e w o r k i n g relationship that has clearly been established and the same vision both companies share for the car is a refreshing alternative to the many cooperatives in this industry that talk much but deliver very little. There are, however, many more questions evo has to ask. It’s too early in the project to get clear answers now, but next time we sit down with AM and RB’s people we’ll need to know how, exactly, they will build a car for the road that you can drive to the shops one day and lap Silverstone as quickly as Mark Webber in a Porsche 919 Hybrid the next. The most crucial question, and one that perhaps neither party can answer, is how do you train a member of the public to get the best from the 001? There may be enough who can afford the seven-figure price tag, but how many are prepared to withstand pulling 4G through Eau Rouge? L

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by J E S S E TAY L O R P H O T O G R A P H Y by S I M O N DAV I D S O N

E=M3

2

Pent up energy has defined every generation of BMW’s iconic M3. How does the powered-up and screweddown 331kW M3 Competition Package live up to the legend of the screaming and sublime E46 CSL?


M 3 C S L & CO M P ET I T I O N PAC K AG E

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PIN-PRICK PUPILS TAKE A FEW SECONDS to adjust from the bright winter’s sunshine to the gloom of the cavernous warehouse. I usually make a hard left through the over-sized roller door and into the office in order to fill out the paperwork for another BMW press car. Today, though, I bypass the glass box, and merely nod towards the keeper of the cars through his office window. Patrick smiles wryly as my dilating pupils search out a small grey coupe. Just 1400 BMW M3 CSLs were made to cap the brilliance of the E46 M3 range. Underscoring the rarity of the CSL, 23 examples came to Australia and only 21 of which made it to public consumption. Aside from this, the original BMW press car, another CSL never left the dealership and still sits on the showroom floor in country NSW with fewer than 30km on the odometer. The pixelated orange digits of this car’s odometer read just 12,332km – fewer than 1000km per year of its existence. And of those 12,332km, my three previous drives of this very CSL made up around 2000km. All three drives took place over a six-month period while I was working at Motor magazine. Firstly, we compared the CSL to Porsche’s 996 GT3 at Eastern Creek where, unbelievably, the BMW recorded a marginally faster lap time. Actually, not only was it quicker than the GT3, the CSL recorded a lap

time over seven seconds faster than that of the regular E46 M3. Seven seconds! Then the CSL took on a Porsche 996 GT3 RS, Lotus Exige and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.5 Makinen in a battle of the best road racers. Finally, the CSL finished second (by a single vote) to Lamborghini’s Gallardo at Motor’s 2004 Performance Car of the Year. Despite being just 13 years old, the CSL’s interior has taken on the smells of an old car – it’s a heady cocktail of fuel, sweat and wet dog. Much of mustiness is due to the fact that the CSL spends most of its time sitting pride of place within BMW’s Heritage Collection. That two of my three previous drives took place during the height of summer, it’s likely that I’m responsible for some of the manly pong. And I like to think that the perfectly roughed-up Alcantara steering wheel was partly my fault, too. For a long time, my screensaver was of the CSL and above-mentioned GT3 dancing sideways through the frame in perfect unison, me leading the way in the BMW. The idea that the CSL is heritage listed certainly makes me feel old, but there’s nothing old about the CSL’s specification. In fact, it was a trailblazer in 2003, and much of its spec is still boasted about today by other manufacturers. Carbon-fibre was impossibly exotic in the early years of the new millennium and the CSL positively dripped with


Let: If you’re prepared to work the CSL’s manic in-line six, you can keep up with the vastly more powerful Comp Pack.

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Opposite page: Comp Pack’s tied-down suspension is incredibly efective on smooth roads and better sorted than that of the regular M3 on bumpier ones.

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it. Centre console, door cards, front splitters, rear diffuser, airbox and roof were all made from carbon-fibre. The roof saved 6kg by itself and contributed to a significant lowering of the centre of gravity. Other weight-saving measures included forged-alloy wheels, composite bootlid with integrated spoiler, and lightweight, nonreclining front seats. If you were really serious about weight loss, you could also ditch the aircon and radio. All up, the 1385kg CSL weighed in at 110kg less than the regular E46 M3. In the regular E46, the 3.2-litre straight six remains a masterpiece, but CSL-spec transformed it into a crazily angry engine. The bald numbers (up 13kW and 5Nm over the M3) belied the latent fury of the engine, and it is still addictive to chase all 265kW at 7900rpm. With individual throttle butterflies, superbike-levels of inertia and a 90mm intake, the CSL’s response is from another era. Eighty-five per cent of peak torque is available at 2500rpm, yet it screams through the mid-range and hones in on 8000rpm with a serrated note that echoes and tumbles across the landscape. It is not a car in which to make quick and quite progress. With the exception of the McLaren F1’s V12, I’d argue that this is the pinnacle of the M Division’s engine work. If anything dates the CSL, it’s the airy interior, and the low-speed slip and lurchiness of the

single-clutch SMG transmission. Truth is, the SMG wasn’t great in its day, and really hasn’t dated any worse. Away from commuting and cruising where it’s at its worst, the SMG does fire through shifts with pleasing speed. It’s never going to match the dual-clutch transmission in the new M3, but in cut-and-thrust driving it’s not embarrassed, either. Of course, there was a price to pay for this brilliance and in early 2004 when the CSL arrived in Australia, you needed to drop $210,000 ($68,000 more than a regular M3). Like the CSL’s use of carbon-fibre, the fitment of track-biased Michelin Pilot Cup tyres was also pioneering, and BMW and its dealers provided stern warnings over their cold and wet-weather performance. On my final drive of the CSL 12 years ago, I half spun it at 25km/h at the first cold, but dry, roundabout of the day. That I had a NSW Highway Patrol officer in the passenger seat is a story for another day. There used to be a sticker in the top right of the windscreen warning that the first-gen Cup tyres required plenty of warmth to give their best. The sticker and the Cups are AWOL, as the CSL now wears Michelin’s current-gen road-focused Pilot Super Sports. As much as I could eulogise about the CSL for another few hundred words, it’s here to provide historical context to the M Division’s latest


MUCH LIKE THAT OF THE VEYRON, THERE’S A THREATENING INDUSTRIAL OMNIPOTENCE TO THE COMP PACK’S ENGINE NOTE


BMW M3 CSL weapon. The M3 Competition Package (also available on the M3 Convertible and M4 Coupe), has just launched in Australia at $144,615 ($5K above the regular M3 sedan) with a host of upgrades that makes the extra ask look like money very well spent. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six welcomes a 14kW power bump to 331kW, while torque remains static at 550Nm. The Comp Pack brings 20-inch wheels (plusone inch) and these are clothed in 10mm wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres (265/30 front and 285/30 rear). The springs are stiffer by 15 per cent and the M Adaptive Suspension modes have been tweaked to suit. In simple terms, the Comp Pack’s ‘comfort’ mode is equivalent to the regular M3’s ‘sport’ mode, while the CP’s ‘sport’ is the same as the standard car’s ‘sport plus’. For the Comp Pack, a firmer-again ‘sport plus’ mode was developed, while the ESC and M diff were recalibrated to suit the hardware changes. Much like that of the Bugatti Veyron, there’s a threatening industrial omnipotence to the engine note of the M3 Comp Pack. The fearsome, latent potential of the engine is there for all to hear, and while the note doesn’t ebb and flow like that of a naturally aspirated engine, the noise is forceful and it imbues the M3 with a character all of its own. And it is fast. Officially, the Comp Pack is

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Engine 3246cc in-line 6-cyl, dohc, 24v Power 265kW @ 7900rpm Torque 370Nm @ 4900rpm Transmission Six-speed single-clutch automated manual, rear-wheel drive Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar Rear suspension Multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar Brakes 345mm ventilated discs front, 328mm ventilated discs rear Wheels 19 x 8.5-inch front, 19 x 9.5-inch rear Tyres 235/35 ZR19 front, 265/30 ZR19 rear Weight 1385kg Power-to-weight 191kW/tonne 0-100km/h 4.9sec (claimed) Top speed 250km/h (limited) Price when new $210,000 (2004)

evo rating: ;;;;;

just a tenth quicker to 100km/h compared to the regular sedan (now 4.0), but there’s a heavyhitting urgency to the power delivery that just doesn’t give up. Despite the wider tyres, traction is still very much a luxury in the Comp Pack, but once it’s fully hooked up (somewhere beyond 100km/h), the BMW storms well past 200 before there’s any reduction in the furious acceleration. The chassis responds much like that of the regular car but with heightened eagerness – the front end of the Comp Pack simply doesn’t know understeer. If the surface is faithful, you can lean ever-harder on the nose and marvel at the chassis’ ability to find grip. If the suspension isn’t being asked to deal with bumps or surface changes, the rear end remains hooked up even if big throttle openings send max torque through the diff. In such circumstances, the Comp Pack is devastatingly fast off the corner. With ESC dialled back a step, the rear tyres might even rotate a fraction quicker than road speed but still providing outrageous longitudinal acceleration. If, however, the surface changes its character, the front remains resolutely locked on line, but the rear can start to get tongue tied as it searches for answers. That said, it is a huge leap on from the regular car and can more readily deal with vertical inputs.


M 3 C S L & CO M P ET I T I O N PAC K AG E

BMW M3 Competition Package The tauter suspension keys the Comp Pack into the road surface with more conviction than can be mustered by the regular M3 or M4, but the rampant torque delivery still demands your constant attention and respect. If the chassis gets out of sequence with the road, or if you fall a step behind with your inputs, the Comp Pack is a lot of car to catch. Despite spending a day in the company of the furiously fast Comp Pack, the CSL’s performance isn’t shown up. Sure, it requires a gear or two lower and at least another 1000rpm on the tacho, but its size and unflappable dynamic composure allow you to lean on it with confidence and keep the mighty Comp Pack in sight. With 25 per cent more power and nearly 50 per cent more torque (plus a much sharper gearbox), the Comp Pack can make the CSL disappear on even the shortest of straights. But a well-driven CSL is a match for the Comp Pack if the driver of the latter isn’t prepared to take the occasional leap of faith in his car’s abilities. The CSL’s steering (it features a faster rack than that of the standard E46) is as much of a highlight as the razor-sharp engine. Though I’d love to try the CSL on new-generation Michelin Cup 2 rubber, I’m not convinced that

Engine 2979cc in-line 6-cyl, dohc, 24v, twin-turbo Power 331kW @ 7000rpm Torque 550Nm @ 1850-5500rpm Transmission Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rear-wheel drive, LSD Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar Rear suspension Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bars Brakes 380mm ventilated discs front and rear Wheels 20 x 9.0-inch front, 20 x 10.0-inch rear Tyres 265/30 R20 front, 285/30 R20 rear Weight 1560kg Power-to-weight 212kW/tonne 0-100km/h 4.0sec (claimed) Top speed 250km/h (limited) Basic price $144,615

evo rating: ;;;;4

the modern Pilot Sports are any less grippy than the original Cups that were fitted last time I drove this E46. There’s honest grip from both ends and you can flow the CSL through corners with a natural rhythm. The grip window is huge and approaching limits are telegraphed with a clarity that is sorely missing from many modern performance cars. At no point do you feel like the CSL is getting away from you. When the CSL is returned, a sense of regret washes over me. Not because I’m unlikely to again spring it from its Heritage Collection imprisonment, but because I know we got the call wrong 12 years ago. The CSL should have beaten the Gallardo. And while my farewell to the CSL is painful, I don’t need to take off the rose-tinted glasses to confirm that the new Competition Package is a mighty machine. In every real sense, it is an empirically superior car to the iconic CSL. When the CSL was new, only genuine supercars could offer something approaching the outright pace of the Comp Pack. That the new car offers this level of performance in a practical sedan body goes to the very core of what the M3 (and, more recently, the M4) have represented for 30 years. L www.evomag.com.au

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I S L E O F M A N T T R ECO R D

It might seem incomprehensible that a car could all but match the speed of the top superbikes around the Isle of Man TT course, but it’s happened. We ride a lap with the man who did it: Mark Higgins

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NX b y H E N RY C AT C H P O L E PHOTOGR A PH Y by A S T O N PA R RO T T


MISSILE


LWAYS WAVE TO THE NAKED MAN ON THE caravan,’’ says Higgins. Sure enough, there he is, starkers on top of his white Whirlwind 3000 or Pacey 200 or whatever. I imagine you don’t really need that sort of distraction, given that you’re barrelling towards the three corners that make up Glen Helen. The first one’s flat according to Higgins, although it looks anything but. Then down a gear for the second (whatever he does, you can be sure Higgins won’t be hitting the Subaru sponsor hoarding on the outside…), then down again for the late entry into the third. ‘‘This is a ballsy corner,’’ says Higgins a little later, pointing towards the end of the Cronk-y-Voddy straight. ‘‘This is one of those where I’m having a little lift at the moment, but I’m building up to taking it flat. You’re right in where people’s feet are, which is crazy, but you have to be there.’’ Sure enough, as we line up the fast, cresting right-hander of Molyneux at something over 160km/h with dozens of people sitting on the grass, mere inches from the car, we’re so close we could run over an errant shoelace. One man is applying sun cream

Snaefell Mountain Course Location Isle of Man Length 60.65km Direction Clockwise

Peel

Douglas

Port Erin

Castletown

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Ramsey


I S L E O F M A N T T R ECO R D

Let: Higgins tips his modiied Scooby into the right-hander at the Creg-ny-Baa pub near the end of the lap. Right: brakes are full WRC spec with incredible cold performance.

to his reddening back, and I can actually see a bit he’s missed. This is just a taste, albeit a very privileged taste, of what it’s like to lap arguably the greatest circuit in the world. I’m in a standard, road-going Subaru WRX STi with Mark Higgins just a couple of hours before he will attempt to break the four-wheel lap record in his Prodrive-built, 450kW version of this car. The roads are closed and the spectators are all out, lining the sunny banks and warm walls having enjoyed this Monday morning’s Supersport motorcycle race and now waiting for the sidecars qualifying session. We plunge down towards the bottom of Barregarrow (pronounced ‘B’garrow’). I’ve driven the Isle of Man TT course plenty of times but never fast enough to realise why this is one of the scariest places on the circuit for Higgins. Taken at normal speed, you don’t notice anything other than the white wall on your left. Taken at today’s speed, my spine registers a compression so violent I accidently turn off the camera I’m trying to record with. At race speeds sparks will fly from under the car and it represents the outer limits of what the tyres can cope with. As Higgins says, some people wonder what makes this such a great circuit, but you have to drive flat-out to make it come alive. Things that are easy at 160km/h look very different at 275km/h and I’m only just realising quite how much of it is flat-out. Higgins says he is on the dragreduction system for a massive 40 per cent of the lap. At 60.7km long, the Snaefell Mountain Course dwarfs everything else used today.

I remember seeing a poster that had 94 circuits, including giants such as the Circuit de la Sarthe and the Nordschleife, contained within the ‘infield’ of the TT course. It’s not just the size of the TT course, either. The average speed of the lap record around here stands at a whisker under 216km/h. The time of 16min 58.25sec was set by Michael Dunlop on a BMW S1000 RR during the Senior TT this year, and it wasn’t even a flying lap, as he pulled into the pits for a tyre change and a refuel at the end. He said that if he’d known he was that close to 216km/h he would have pushed a bit harder… Then there is the danger. The TT course is the motor racing of which Hemingway famously said: ‘‘There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.’’ To watch the TT is to watch men dancing with death in a way that was perhaps commonplace in the past, but is very rarely seen these days. They know the risks, the spectators understand the risks, and consequently the atmosphere amongst the

crowds is one of reverent breath-holding. It’s quite eerie once you notice it. No one chatters. Certainly no one dares critique. Don’t for a moment think that watching is some ghoulish pastime. The reason for standing on Bray Hill or in Crosby or at Cronk-y-Voddy is to feel and try to comprehend at close quarters just a smidgen of the speed and skill of those going past. It’s when you’re galloping alongside Death’s pale horse that you feel most alive. ‘‘Let’s get a good run through Kirk Michael,’’ says Higgins. ‘‘I’ve spent my life going through here at 50km/h!’’ Pinned from some way before the speed-limit signs, we hurtle down the narrow street, the claustrophobic proximity of garden gates making 170km/h feel more like 270km/h. You can imagine a front window left open and antimacassars on the back of a sofa being ruffled by the Subaru’s wake. The vanishing point grows suddenly closer as the road begins to snake, but Higgins doesn’t lift. Instead he calmly points out that you go from double yellow line on the left to double yellow on the right, then back again, threading the needle between the pavements before heading straight for a hedge as we pop out of the village considerably faster than a cork leaving a bottle (they only reach about 80km/h, apparently). Mark Higgins, three-time winner of the British Rally Championship, was born on the Isle of Man almost exactly 45 years ago. A taxi driver on the way from the airport told me that he used to employ a young Higgins in his icecream shop and Mark was always asking for weekends off so that he could go to the kart track at Peel. Higgins moved to Wales more

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MARK SHOWS HOW TO USE A BUS STOP AS EXTRA ROAD ON THE EXIT OF ONE CORNER than 20 years ago, where he owns a rally school with his father and brother, so he’s not quite local anymore. After clearing Ballaugh Bridge with a nice bit of air under all four wheels (how many race cars have to be set up to deal with 290km/h and a humpback bridge?!), he explains that the next section of the circuit in particular has taken quite some learning. ‘‘I’ve had to work really hard from Ginger Hall to Ramsey, because it’s somewhere we never drove when I was young. You’d go over the top of Tholt-e-Will because it was a rally road.’’ Tholt-e-Will, in case you’re unfamiliar, is the scene of Ari Vatanen’s ‘Oh dear god’ moment in an Opel Manta 400. The section just after Ginger Hall is perhaps the bumpiest on the whole circuit, and Higgins demonstrates, at speed, how the car bounces across the road thanks to a bump mid-corner. On the Sulby Straight he mentions that we’re just passing the place where Paul Shoesmith sadly died two days earlier after his front tyre blew out. Higgins will be doing over 270km/h at this point but the bikers can hit 320km/h. On the way into Ramsey, Mark shows how to use a bus stop as extra road on the exit of one corner. Higgins’ hero growing up was Tony Pond,

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and he cites one of his greatest achievements as overtaking Pond’s record number of Manx Rally wins. It’s fitting, and no coincidence, that the last person before Higgins to set a four-wheeled TT record was Pond in a Rover 827 Vitesse in 1990. For a long time Higgins thought that record – an average speed of 164km/h – would stand for time immemorial, because despite his best efforts, the authorities seemed resolute that there would never be another attempt. It took the perseverance of Subaru of America to change that. It had to carry out a full risk assessment (the mind boggles) and run it as a separate event within the TT timetable with its own clerk of the course. Higgins says they could never have come to the island with this 450kW car back in 2011, when he first broke Pond’s record. It’s taken years of building trust to get to this point. Subaru sponsoring the TT no doubt helps, too. I like the fact that they did the record with a lightly fettled road car first, because apart from anything else its 185km/h average gives context to the speed of the current car. The events of that first year did Higgins’ profile no harm whatsoever, either. I still hold my breath every time I see the video footage of the car

slewing sideways at 250km/h at the bottom of Bray Hill and Higgins’ subsequent fight to regain control. He admits that there was luck in saving it and I remember seeing him white as a sheet when he came back into the paddock, but he says everywhere he goes in the world, people might not know him, but they know that moment. He still doesn’t look forward to Bray Hill. The other bits that scare him are the nearly flat corners. A few times during our lap he says that he wants to concentrate on a particular corner, commenting, ‘‘I’m having a little lift at the moment, but I think I can take it flat if I get my balls in order.’’ That’s the trouble with 270km/h corners here – you have to build up to them carefully, because if you get it wrong… Well, you’re probably only going to get it wrong once. The other trouble, and something I hadn’t expected, is that so much of the circuit looks the same. Yes, there are landmarks, but there are also stretches where one green, tree-lined corner looks very much like several others. One section that stands out is the run from the Gooseneck to Hillberry across The Mountain. Despite being the bit he knows best, Higgins


HOW TO BUILD A TT RECORD BREAK ER IN THE WORDS OF RICHARD TH OM PS O N HO MPS N, S ENI O R RALLY ENGI NEER AT PRODR IVE I

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ENGINE

‘‘It’s based on a 2.0-litre turbo, ’08-spec WRC engine. It’s capable of 450kW and 800Nm, but has been running around 375kW to ensure total reliability. The shift point is about 8200rpm, but it revs to 8500. We needed that engine speed because we’re limited on packaging ratios. We’ve used the rally transmission casing and diff casing, and that means that we could only physically get a certain dimension ratio in there and we wanted to target 290km/h, so you need to rev to 8500. In turn that dictates your crankshaft, piston and conrod design, your timing, turbo spec. The driver has a three-position ‘performance chooser’ that targets different turbo speeds and response levels for anti-lag. We don’t have the old rocket-type anti-lag from the WRC that gives you very good response and torque, because this event is about top speed.’’

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BRAKES

‘‘Full WRC brakes with 372mm discs and eightpiston calipers. The pads have high cold-friction properties as on the straights you’re losing brake temperature all the time. You are then putting quite a thermal shock into the disc so you get lots of expansion issues. We have to be careful monitoring for disc-fracture failures.’’

DIFFERENTIALS

‘‘You want a lot of stability from the active centre differential and consistency for the driver without many variations. So, the centrediff pressure control is quite simple, the diff maps are quite simple and there’s a lot of pressure in there. It’s the same with the front and rear diffs: they’re both mechanical with ramps and friction faces and then a static pre-load, so very simple.’’

4 PHONES

‘‘There are two phones: a Nokia 6210, which has a strong output – it probably frazzles your brain now, but if any phone’s going to get a signal, this will. With the other one, the Stilo Verbacom, we’re in constant communication all the way around, so if he sees a flash on the screen he lets us know. Fuel-pressure, oilpressure warning, something like that.’’ 5

AERO

‘‘We didn’t want the DRS fully active because it brings such a balance change in the car, so it’s better that the driver manages it. Get rid of the lateral force in the car and then you can start to think about dropping the wing. It is down to the driver, other than in emergency situations where we’ll take over and put the wing back up again. At V-max it’s about 22kW, so it’s a worthwhile device.’’

SUSPENSION

‘‘The dampers are four-way adjustable and made by EXE-TC. It’s all WRC tarmac with the kinematics of, say, Corsica. Static roll-stiffness distribution is quite similar to that kind of event, just a little more ride height and damping for the bumps and also for the aero – we’ve got a bit more downforce than on a normal WRC car.’’

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TYRES

‘‘We’re using nine-inch WTCC slicks, which generate more lateral G than an eight-inch rally tyre, so we’ve worked on damper valving and spring rate. No circuit has any compressions like Barregarrow, so we’ve compromised on pressure, run a little bit higher, and on contact patch to make sure that we don’t puncture from nipping the sidewall, because there’s evidence of getting close to that.’’

8

GEARBOX

‘‘We have a six-speed semiauto gearbox using Xtrac gears, but it’s our design for the boxer engine. It’s not sequential, it’s an H-pattern hydraulic. The beauty of an H-pattern ’box with a left-right and a frontback actuator is that if we wanted to we can come from sixth to neutral immediately. No sequential gearbox can do that. There is a slight level of complexity but because we’ve had such an evolution since the early ’90s, we’re very good now at all the shift hydraulics. We’ll have all the gearshift elements done within about 24 milliseconds and that’s far quicker than any mechanical sequential. We’re shifting very quickly and that’s good for the chassis balance. We had to work hard on the gearshift quality because the engine inertia changed with the heavier crankshaft. We’ve got a much bigger pin diameter, so we’ve got a bigger overlap on the main bearings and with that we had to revisit the timings and work on that to get the smooth shift back.’’

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T T R I D E R S A R E G AT H E R E D O N T H E PA D D O C K WA L L N O W, FA S C I N AT E D A N D V E RY R E S P E C T F U L O F W H AT H I G G I N S I S D O I N G says he’s not enjoying it as much as he thought he would, struggling to get a few bits right. We have an interesting moment at Brandywell; taken at 145km/h in the stock STi, we pick up a bit of understeer mid-corner and use all of the exit. All of it. It would have been a bit of a drop, and the accident would have lasted some time, but all things considered it wouldn’t have been the worst place to go off. Nervous laughter (Higgins’ as well as mine) breaks the silence. Higgins takes a bit of grass at the apex of Brandish, there’s another huge bump through Hillberry, then it’s about getting it stopped for the slow corners at the end, because judging slow speeds when you’ve been travelling so fast is extremely difficult. ‘‘This [The Nook] is hard,’’ says Higgins. ‘‘You’ve done all that lap, all that work and then a lot of people overshoot here.’’ That afternoon Higgins starts up at Cregny-Baa, the famous pub as you come down off The Mountain. They used to start at the end of the start-finish straight, but he’s grateful for the few kilometres to not only warm the tyres but also gather himself. I watch him go past on Glencrutchery Road and then the wait begins. For the next seventeen or so minutes he will be

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battling those bumps and compressions, trying to distinguish the entries to 110km/h corners from similar looking 270km/h corners, judging whether to have a little lift as the pale horse gallops alongside. And waving at naked men. I spotted Michael Dunlop chatting to Higgins for a long time yesterday evening, fascinated by the car. Plenty of riders are gathered on the paddock wall now, waiting, fascinated and very respectful of what Higgins is doing. I ask Kiwi TT veteran Bruce Anstey what he thinks of it all. ‘‘When I heard he’d done a 203km/h lap on Saturday I was like, ‘Bloody hell that’s impressive,”’ he replies. ‘‘It’s crazy.’’ That from a man who has done a 212km/h lap on two wheels. Higgins crosses the line safely, pulls off the course at St Ninian’s and immediately gets stuck in traffic! He turns off the engine to stop it overheating, but it means they have to push the car back to the paddock. A curious way to return after a new record 207.13km/h average lap. That evening, after all the hubbub has died down, Higgins, with his easy smile and very faint lisp, says there is still more to come. A cooler day and the car will give more power,

plus the setup could be refined. A 210km/h lap looks on the cards for the last run on Friday, but Higgins says he can now see how a car could beat the bike record. He never thought it possible, but with enough power he thinks it could be done. Something like Loeb’s Pikes Peak car would seem ideal, but even someone with his talents wouldn’t be able to just come to the island and take on the record. The complexity of the circuit simply wouldn’t allow it. Higgins has put a lot of time into this and be in no doubt that this is as much his record as the car’s. In the end the weather puts the kybosh on the Friday run so the 207km/h run stands. Thankfully David Richards, boss of Prodrive, had flown in to see the Monday run. I say to Mark that it was good to see Richards taking such an interest, and mention that he had been full of praise for Higgins. ‘‘Too late for me though isn’t it? If only I’d been in a Prodrive Subaru 20 years ago!’’ he says with a big smile. What might have been indeed, but I think Higgins has cemented his place in the history books with his exploits around the Snaefell Mountain Course. It has to be one of the greatest laps ever driven. L


GIANT KILLERS

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by DA N P RO S S E R , R IC H A R D M E A D E N , J E T H RO B OV I N G D O N & N IC K T RO T T P H O T O G R A P H Y by A S T O N PA R RO T T


G I A N T K I L L E RS


Data. Cold hard data. IT’S NOT E ASY TO DECOUPLE YOURSELF from the subjective when your mantra is the Thrill of Driving, but that’s the exercise here. This is our biggest objective data test in quite some time, the results of which we hope you will find revealing. The point of the test? In a nutshell it’s ‘bang-forbuck’, but rather than look for the obvious giant killers (Ariel v Lamborghini, etc) we picked a group that we hope will inspire curiosity – and create debate. For instance, we thought about BMW M2 v AMG GT S – both front-engined, both rear-wheel drive, both turbocharged, both twin-clutch. But we had what we thought was a more revealing option… We’ve no doubt the M2 would give the AMG GT S a bloody nose, if not ‘win’ outright. But the comparison with the M235i appealed because BMW has narrowed the gap between its pukka M-cars and the ‘prefix’ Ms. And with the M235i being one of the most popular cars among our readership, well, it simply had to be done. At the other end of the scale, it may sound contradictory to label a $245,000 Jaguar F-type R AWD as a giant killer but it is over $200K cheaper than the car we’ve put it up against – the new Porsche 911 Turbo S. Both are AWD, both are extreme coupes, both offer all-weather performance and traction, both have over 400kW and both pulse with desirability. Both delivered impressive results – and I’m pretty sure the Turbo S momentarily stopped the Earth from spinning during one particularly impressive acceleration run… And the Toyota 86 v Mustang V8? Front-engined coupes, both rear-wheel drive, both manual – but what’s really intriguing here is the price. The Mustang is only a moderate monthly payment increment more than the Japanese car, which makes you think, doesn’t it? Thunderous V8 coupe, or delicate fourcylinder dorifto? The Ford Focus RS and the Nissan GT-R elicit a fever like few other cars. Cults and communities revere them, and pretty much at the core of their respective

USPs (and DNA) is the ability to slay giants. Throwing them in the ring together here, with only the total transparency of data to guide us, was an irresistible match. Is the new RS a mini-GT-R? Lastly, we’ve gone extreme. Our long-term Caterham 420R is a phenomenally fast and affordable machine. Sure, it doesn’t have the 991 GT3 RS’s PDK ’box, modern aero or torque-vectoring but the Seven is, and always has been, about major-league performance for minor-league cash. We carried out the test over four days with consistent temperatures and dry conditions. A day at the excellent Rockingham circuit established lap times, with sensible lines adhered to (i.e. no extreme kerb-hopping) and tyre performance monitored. Then we moved to Alconbury in Cambridgeshire – a flat, dead-straight runway with no gradient – for the acceleration, in-gear and braking tests. We took the cars directly from the press fleets and allowed no manufacturer presence at the test – although to be honest, all participants simply threw us the keys. There has been a colossal amount of bullshit spouted regarding ‘special’ press cars, but the majority is internet hokum (the GT3 RS had covered 30,000km). We spot-check press cars on chassis dynos – see our recent report from Jethro on his longterm GT-R for just one example – and I hope you will trust us when we say that if we notice anything, we will let you know. We also weighed the cars with our calibrated scales and adjusted the figures for fuel. Throughout this feature you’ll see all the key data we recorded. For each pairing we also distilled the lap times, acceleration, braking and in-gear data into a single figure that expresses the overall performance of the more affordable car as a percentage of the performance of the giant it is up against. And that’s it. We hope you enjoy the results as much as our road test team did ‘working’ for four days extracting maximum performance from each car… As ever, any questions or comments – please email contact@evomag.com.au. NT

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Toyota 86 v Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT

On track To be honest, I’m not expecting too much from these cars. The Rockingham circuit seems too fast for the tiny Toyota and I have a feeling the Mustang will quickly unravel, but I’ll be proved wrong on both counts. These two conceptually similar coupes with wildly different executions are great fun and kindred spirits. The 86 has plenty of attributes but a sweet engine isn’t one of them. The flat-four sounds strained as the car begins the lap. It reaches just 158km/h on the main straight. Momentum is a precious commodity. The chassis carries decent speed into the unsettlingly fast chicane, though – a good start. The 86 might have narrow, economy-minded tyres, but the low centre of gravity provides good high-speed balance and the car rides the kerbs very nicely. The engine is puffing again on the exit and the 86 hits just 171km/h before the tight left into Deene. But now we’re into the technical part of the lap and the 86’s comfort zone. It has fantastic brake and steering feel, which is important because you can’t overload the front tyres. If you do get the 86 understeering, it

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quickly gets scrappy, so try to stay back from that point, get hard on the power early and feel the transition to oversteer build progressively. As there’s not tonnes of torque, the 86 seems to naturally find a small, neat angle that keeps the revs and acceleration building. Having said that, those tyres are a real limiting factor and artificially undermine the chassis’ agility. The Mustang is much faster in a straight line. It hits 172km/h before the first chicane and 193km/h before the hairpin. Yet while the Toyota is transparent in everything it does, the Ford puts obstacles in your way. The brakes are supremely responsive but the brake pedal is mute. At any speed and whether or not the ABS is activated, it moves about two centimetres and no more. So while your foot says all is well, your eyes see the nose sailing past the turn-in point. In terms of balance, though, the big Ford is a hoot. As with the 86, it pays to be patient on turn-in to avoid understeer. However, its wider tyres tolerate a more aggressive turn-in speed, and in combination with the engine’s wide powerband, this provides all the options


G I A N T K I L L E RS

H OW T H E Y C O M PA R E

Toyota 86

Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT

1998cc f lat-four

Engine

4951cc V8

147 kW @ 7000rp m

Power

306kW @ 6500rp m

205Nm @ 6400 - 6600rp m

Torque

530Nm @ 4250rp m

7.1sec (7.6sec claim ed)

0 -100km / h

4.9sec (4.8sec claimed)

225k m / h (claim ed)

Top speed

250k m / h (lim ited)

Weight

1749 k g (17 11k g claim ed)

Power-to -weight

175kW/ton ne (claim ed)

1234k g (1240k g claim ed) 119 kW/ton ne (claim ed)

Ba sic price

$ 35,990

$57,490

50-110KM/H IN THIRD

A C C E L E R AT I O N

7.8 5.0

250 225

Speed (k m / h)

200

seconds

seconds

160

BRAKING 160-0KM/H 130

QUARTER- MILE 100

13.4sec @ 175.7km/h

60

15.4sec @ 151.6km/h

30 0

5

10

15 Time (seconds)

25

20

105 95 metres

metres

1.0G

1.2G

LAP

you could wish for to thread the car neatly from entry to exit. It’s a big old bus and its body control isn’t that of the 86, but it dances with grace. It does a 1:37.9 to the Toyota’s 1:43.8. JB

Straight-line Dial up 3500rpm, release the clutch smartly but without dumping it abruptly, modulate the throttle through first gear, then slot in each new gear as quickly and cleanly as you can. It’s the same for both cars, despite the power disparity. The numbers show how traction-limited the Mustang is. It may run 275-section rear tyres but it still requires a full two seconds to hit 50km/h, compared with 2.4 for the Toyota. By 100km/h and out of the traction phase, the Mustang’s 159kW advantage over the 86 has started to tell and the margin is more than two seconds. At 160km/h, it’s close to five seconds. Impressively, the 1749kg Mustang also loses speed more effectively than the 1234kg 86. It requires 95.1m to stop from 160km/h, some 9.8m less than the Toyota. DP

FA S TE S T TIM E

FA S TE S T TIM E Chicane

1:43.8

School Straight Tarzan

Chapman Curve

Gracelands

Pif-Paf

Steel Straight

Deene

1:37.9

P E R F O R M A N C E VA L U E

PERFORMANCE

84%

The 86 isn’t a giant killer – how could it be when the Mustang packs a V8 with twice the power? – but it still ofers 84% of the Ford’s performance for just 63% of the price. A bit of a bargain, then? Yep.

PRICE

63%


Caterham Seven 420R v Porsche 911 GT3 RS On track As a rule of thumb, unless the 420R is sliding, it’s not working hard enough. It will understeer – sometimes usefully, if you simply want to find the limit of mechanical grip and nudge beyond it; sometimes unhelpfully, if you ask too much of the front tyres on turn-in. But the beauty of the Seven is you recognise the situation immediately. You can adjust its line from turnin to exit, effecting big shifts in attitude or small tweaks to squeeze the last few tenths out of it. Short gearing means you’re always busy, and the manual shift can be tricky if you rush it. The pedals are cramped, which makes limitbraking and heel-and-toe work awkward, but the brakes themselves are powerful and feelsome enough to work to the point of lockup. It feels great everywhere, but the faster, longer corners really show how finely you can get the car balanced on the way in and dance it through. No car better combines pace, purity and zero-inertia fun. A fast lap in the GT3 RS is like playing with a flick knife. You really have to be diligent in warming the tyres beforehand. With the

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gearbox and suspension set to Sport Plus but PSM still engaged, the car feels just the exploitable side of edgy. Yes, you can feel the systems nibbling away as the 991 settles onto its haunches, but the electronics are quick to release, so it feels like you’ve won more through confidence and stability than you lose in the split second it takes to get back on the power. Disabling PSM in the GT3 RS and going for a lap time focuses the mind like little else. The chassis dances along a knife-edge from the moment you turn into the medium and fast corners. There’s a narrow window in which you can correct and finesse things, but you need to be super-precise and ultra-confident to work in this zone. Do so and you’ll find small gains, but fumble for a moment and those hard-won tenths and hundredths turn to dust. My best analogue lap actually sees me a few tenths up by three-quarter distance, but I’m a tenth or two down by the end of the lap. The GT3 RS is a mighty challenge, but one with extraordinary rewards. It sets a searing time of 1:29.4 – 3.8 seconds faster than the Caterham. RM

Straight-line This was always going to be a daunting comparison for the Caterham 420R, not least because the Porsche 911 GT3 RS makes a very strong case for itself as the fastest accelerating normally aspirated, two-wheel-drive car on the market. Indeed, 0-100km/h in three seconds flat with no turbochargers or front driveshafts is staggering. The 420R records a time of four seconds, which is limited by the manual gearbox’s tricky


G I A N T K I L L E RS

H OW T H E Y C O M PA R E

Caterham Seven 420R

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

1999cc in - line 4- c y l

Engine

3996cc f lat-six

k @ 7600rp m 157 kW

Power

368kW @ 8250rp m

Torque

460Nm @ 6250rp m

203Nm @ 6300rp m 4.0sec (4.0sec claim ed)

0 -100km / h

3.0sec (3. 3sec claim ed)

220k m / h (claim ed)

Top speed

311k m / h (claim ed)

Weight

1490k g (1420k g claim ed)

Power-to -weight

259 kW/ton ne (claim ed)

591k g (560k g claim ed) 280kW/ton ne (claim ed)

Ba sic price

c $120,000

$ 387, 300

50-110KM/H IN THIRD

A C C E L E R AT I O N 250 225

Speed (k m / h)

200

seconds

160

seconds

BRAKING 160-0KM/H

130

QUARTER- MILE 100

11.2sec @ 202.7km/h

60

12.8sec @ 169.3km/h

30 0

4.2 4.0 101 88

5

10

15

20

25

Time (seconds)

metres

metres

1.1G

1.2G

LAP

FA S TE S T TIM E

FA S TE S T TIM E Chicane

1:33.2 throw from second to third. By 160km/h it has fallen 3.2 seconds behind the Porsche. In spite of its power-to-weight ratio being lower than the Caterham’s, the Porsche is faster in every single measure, even in the 50110km/h dash in third gear, where it trims two-tenths off the flyweight’s time. Across the quarter-mile, the GT3 RS pulls out a 1.6-second advantage over the 420R, which, to the Caterham’s credit, is comfortably the tightest margin of all five pairings. DP

School Straight Tarzan

Chapman Curve

Gracelands

Pif-Paf

Steel Straight

Deene

1:29.4

P E R F O R M A N C E VA L U E

PERFORMANCE

81%

In terms of pure performance per dollar, the Seven really is in a league of its own, ofering 81% of the GT3 RS’s shove for less than a third of its $387,300 price.

PRICE

31% www.evomag.com.au

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BMW M235i v BMW M2 On track The M235i may wear an ‘M’ badge, but that could just as easily stand for Mainstream as Motorsport. On the out-lap the straight-six motor feels keen and torquey, the (manual) gearshift sweet and quick and the chassis nicely balanced, but when you go for a lap time that promise fades. There simply isn’t the bite to attack corners on turn-in, so you have to settle for a neutral-to-understeer stance and try to keep things tidy. If there is oversteer – most likely at Chapman Curve or the first part of Pif-Paf – it’s more through momentum than torque, so it’s hard to sustain. The upside to this, at least in terms of the lap, is that the M235i is benign enough to take big liberties through the turn-one chicane. You really can lob it down the banking without fear of it snapping sideways, but the truth is there’s not a great deal of fun to be had during the rest of the lap, even with 240kW. Perhaps the M actually stands for Marketing. The M2 is a curious machine. Much more serious in look and feel than the M235i, there

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as you chase the throttle, you feel the rear end hook up and then kick into oversteer. It’s not scary, but it’s hard to find a sweet spot where the tail is just sliding, but not enough to need significant steering correction. Through the endless sequence of left-handers at Pif-Paf and Gracelands it’s tricky to get the M2 settled, but it’s the tight hairpins that are the most frustrating, as it’s all too easy to waste your work in getting the nose neatly to the apex by getting a tonne of oversteer from apex to exit. Fun, certainly, and a much more impressive experience than the M235i, but the M2 lacks the finesse to maximise its advantage. RM are far greater reserves of performance to draw from. The 272kW engine feels much gutsier and sharper, as you’d expect, and the brakes, though noisy, resist that old M trick of wilting at the first sniff of hard use. Chassis-wise the M2 has a generous, fun-loving setup that’s easy to read and enjoyable to push to and beyond its limits, but when you’re trying to stay just on the quick side of lairy, it’s less satisfying. There’s decent front-end grip to lean on, but

Straight-line With an extra 32kW and the DCT gearbox – and therefore launch control – the M2 does, naturally, find an advantage over the M235i away from the line. But at 50km/h that advantage is just one tenth of a second – there is only so much work two contact patches can do. Once out of the traction phase, though, the


G I A N T K I L L E RS

H OW T H E Y C O M PA R E

BMW M235i

BMW M2

2979cc in - line 6 - c y l, turb o

Engine

2979cc in -line 6 - c y l, turbo

240kW @ 5800 - 6000rp m

Power

27 2kW @ 6500rp m

450Nm @ 1300 -4500rp m

Torque

500Nm @ 1450 -4750rp m

5. 2sec (4.8sec claimed)

0 -100km / h

4. 3sec (4. 3sec claim ed)

250k m / h (limited)

Top speed

250k m / h (lim ited)

1541k g (1470k g claim ed)

Weight

163kW/ton ne (claim ed)

Power-to -weight

1566k g (1520k g claim ed) 179 kW/ton ne (claim ed)

Ba sic price

$7 7, 500

$98, 500

A C C E L E R AT I O N

50-110KM/H IN THIRD

250 225

Speed (k m / h)

200

seconds

160

seconds

BRAKING 160-0KM/H

130

QUARTER- MILE 100

12.7sec @ 182.3km/h

60

13.9sec @ 167.2km/h

30 0

5.3 4.1 94 91

5

10

15

20

25

Time (seconds)

metres

metres

1.1G

1.2G

LAP

FA S TE S T TIM E

FA S TE S T TIM E Chicane

1:38.9

School Straight Tarzan

Chapman Curve

Gracelands

Pif-Paf

Steel Straight

Deene

1:35.6

P E R F O R M A N C E VA L U E

M2 begins to gap the M235i at a fairly startling rate. It reaches 100km/h almost a full second sooner, and by 160 the margin is close to three seconds. The M2 needs 4.1 seconds to power from 50-110km/h in third gear, meanwhile, compared with 5.3 seconds for the M235i. There’s less between the two in the braking test, though, the M235i hauling up from 160km/h in 94.2m, compared with 91.4m for the M2. DP

PERFORMANCE

90%

The M235i makes a strong case for itself, ofering 90% of the M2’s performance for 78% of the price. However, there are significant dynamic diferences between the two cars.

PRICE

78% www.evomag.com.au

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G I A N T K I L L E RS


Jaguar F-type R Coupe AWD v Porsche 911 Turbo S On track Logic suggests that the Jaguar F-type R AWD and Porsche 911 Turbo S will be a bit out of their depth around Rockingham. However, despite their GT-car philosophies and rather hefty all-wheel-drive systems, both display excellent balance and an appetite for being hustled. But can the bruising Jaguar get anywhere near the 911? Erm, no. Not really. The Porsche turns in a 1:31.3 lap time to the F-type’s 1:34.6, yet from the driver’s seat you wouldn’t credit quite that difference. And against expectations it’s the Jaguar that often carries a shade more speed into the corners. It changes direction beautifully and understeer is only an issue in the tightest of turns. For the most part, the Jaguar adopts a neutral balance and then makes a gradual transition into exit oversteer. The key to getting the best time is to let the car gently slide from the apex but not so much that you need a steering correction. Get the F-type walking that tightrope and it’s massively satisfying. The Turbo S likes to work in that zone, too,

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but it’s harder to keep it there. In slow corners it wants to oversteer on turn-in; in mediumspeed turns there’s more understeer than in the Jaguar, and so you’re always busy managing the slip. God it’s fun, though – the balance ever shifting and the drivetrain allowing you to take silly liberties. The ceramic brakes are outstanding, too, whereas the Jaguar – even with optional ceramics – displays marked fade early on. The 911’s power and traction advantage creates a big disparity in acceleration zones.

It reaches 200km/h to the Jag’s 191km/h on the banked start/finish ‘straight’ and howls out of the first chicane to reach 216km/h at the fastest part of the track, before the left hairpin, when the pattern is repeated. However, the Jag fights back by carrying more speed into the turns, usually by around 6km/h. If only it could retain that advantage. The 911 requires a lower entry speed to avoid time-sapping under- or oversteer, but then allows you to pin the throttle. In the Jag you’re fighting to keep that precious momentum


G I A N T K I L L E RS

H OW T H E Y C O M PA R E

Jaguar F-type R Coupe AWD

Porsche 911 Turbo S

5000cc V8, sup ercharged

Engine

3800cc f lat-six , t w in -turb o

404kW @ 6500rp m

Power

427 kW @ 6750rp m

680Nm @ 3500rp m

Torque

750Nm @ 2250 -4000rp m

3.6sec (3.9sec claim ed)

0 -100km / h

2.6sec (2.9sec claimed)

300k m / h (claim ed)

Top sp eed

330km / h (claimed)

1825k g (17 30k g claim ed)

Weight

1619 k g (1600k g claim ed)

234kW/tonne (claimed)

Power-to -weight

267 kW/ton ne (claim ed)

Ba sic price

$245,050

$456, 500

A C C E L E R AT I O N

50-110KM/H IN THIRD

250 225

Speed (k m / h)

200

4.1 3.4 95 88 seconds

160

seconds

BRAKING 160-0KM/H 130

QUARTER- MILE 100

10.5sec @ 213.7km/h

60

11.7sec @ 193.7km/h

30 0

5

10

15

20

25

Time (seconds)

metres

metres

1.1G

1.2G

LAP

advantage and inevitably failing. As you’re carefully metering out that supercharged V8 to avoid a big oversteer angle, you can almost see the ghost of the Turbo S already fully hooked up and rocketing away. Lighter, more agile and consistent, capable of soaking up lap after lap of punishment and just scarily fast in a straight line, the Turbo S really is the total package. JB

Straight-line The F-type is so overpowered for its price point that it only gives away 23kW to the Turbo S, despite being $210K cheaper. Somehow, though, the Porsche’s slim advantage manifests itself as a whole new level of pace. It is more than 200kg lighter than the Jaguar for one thing, but its launch-control system is also crushingly effective. The 911 records an absurd 2.6sec 0-100km/h time, giving it a 0.9sec lead over the Jag. By 160km/h, it’s ahead by more than two seconds. Both cars are equipped with carbon-ceramic brakes – an optional extra on the Jaguar – but with much less weight to contain, the Turbo S stops in 87.8m to the F-type’s 94.8m. DP

FA S TE S T TIM E

FA S TE S T TIM E Chicane

1:34.6

School Straight Tarzan

Chapman Curve

Gracelands

Pif-Paf

Steel Straight

Deene

1:31.3

P E R F O R M A N C E VA L U E

PERFORMANCE

87%

The F-type R AWD ofers an impressive proportion of the Turbo S’s breathtaking performance (in fact it is the faster car on corner entry) for just more than half of its asking price.

PRICE

54% www.evomag.com.au

121


Ford Focus RS v Nissan GT-R Track Edition On track From the moment you engage Track mode, you sense the Focus is going to be a hoot. The engine has a sharp response and plenty of torque. The handling balance (this car is on the standard Michelin Pilot Super Sports rather than the optional Cup 2s) is really exploitable and very entertaining. Plenty of turn-in bite is backed up by strong mid-corner grip. Then, as you see the corner begin to open out and you can get back on the power, the balance neutralises, then shifts rearwards. It’s all so natural – you never feel like you’re

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waiting for the front end or reining in the rear. The brakes are strong, but the pedal goes a bit soft three or four laps in. That said, the stopping power remains consistent, so you just need to adapt when it comes to heel-andtoe downshifts. The manual gearshift is quick and light, though the gate could be a bit more defined when you’re really trying to make the quickest possible shifts. A best lap of 1:37.5 is respectable, and it’s the most fun I’ve had on track in a hot hatch in a long time. Lapping the GT-R is all about managing its mass. At first you think you can drive

through the understeer, but the harder you try, the scruffier it gets. Running in its most aggressive suspension, transmission and stability control modes, the Nissan is more constrained than the Ford, and struggles to find a sweet spot. The front end just wants to push wide through the long corners, while tight corners are sometimes punctuated by an unhelpful spike of oversteer as you exceed the limits of the trackday-spec Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT tyres. If you do get the car to slide under power, the systems catch it too soon, leaving you becalmed in


G I A N T K I L L E RS a weird oversteer stasis. Switching off ESC reveals how hard it was working to keep the GT-R reined in. Now the understeer is more exaggerated, as is the snap to oversteer when you trail-brake or try to provoke the chassis to avoid understeer. It’s a surprisingly frustrating and joyless machine to drive on track. Too heavy and too cumbersome to feel at home, it delivers its lap time – 5.3sec quicker than the Focus’s – through raw grunt and traction. For evidence, just look at the steepness of the acceleration trace! It’s effective, but for finesse, fun and exploitability, the Focus is the better car. RM

H OW T H E Y C O M PA R E

Ford Focus RS

Straight-line

2261cc in -line 4- c y l, turbo

Engine

3799cc V6, t w in -turb o

257 kW @ 6000rp m

Power

404kW @ 6400rp m

4 40Nm @ 2000 -4500rp m

Torque

632Nm @ 3200 -5800rp m

4.8sec (4.7sec claim ed)

0 -100km / h

3.4sec (2.7sec claim ed)

265k m / h (claim ed)

Top speed

315k m / h (claim ed)

1567 k g (1524k g claim ed)

Weight

17 78k g (1740k g claim ed)

169 kW/tonne (claimed)

Power-to -weight

232kW/tonne (claimed)

Ba sic price

$50,990

c $185,000

50-110KM/H IN THIRD

A C C E L E R AT I O N 250 225 Speed (k m / h)

The Nissan GT-R has long been the consummate giant killer, and on the face of it, the Ford Focus RS – also turbocharged, also all-wheel-drive, also uncompromising – could be equipped to pull off the same trick at its own price point. But in spite of the GT-R struggling to match its claimed performance figures on the day, there is still a fair margin between them. There is beyond 50km/h, anyway, because it’s actually the RS that gets away from the line more rapidly. After running neck-and-neck with the Focus to 50, the Nissan registers a 3.4sec 0-100km/h dash – we’ve seen them go faster – while the Ford clocks a still impressive 4.8sec time. The Nissan goes a second quicker in the 50-110km/h sprint, too. The GT-R also overcomes its 211kg weight penalty over the RS to stop from 160km/h in 93.3m, a slim 2.4m sooner than the Ford. DP

Nissan GT-R Track Edition

200

5.0 4.0 96 93 seconds

160

seconds

BRAKING 160-0KM/H

130

QUARTER- MILE 100

11.6sec @ 199.8km/h

60

13.5sec @ 167.7km/h

30 0

5

10

15

20

25

Time (seconds)

metres

metres

1.1G

1.1G

LAP

FA S TE S T TIM E

FA S TE S T TIM E Chicane

1:37.5

School Straight Tarzan

Chapman Curve

Gracelands

Pif-Paf

Steel Straight

Deene

1:32.2

P E R F O R M A N C E VA L U E

PERFORMANCE

84%

The ‘bargain’ supercar has finally met its match in the value-for-money stakes, because the Focus RS ofers 84% of the Nissan’s ability for around a third of the outlay.

PRICE

28% www.evomag.com.au

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MINI CHALLENGE

RISING TO T H E CHALLENGE evo lends a helping hand to develop Mini’s hardcore, track-focused John Cooper Works Challenge

by DA N P RO S S E R P H O T O G R A P H Y by A S T O N PA R RO T T


FIVE GUYS STAND IN A pit garage at Oulton Park circuit. They discuss the relative merits of 25 damper clicks on the rear axle versus 20, agreeing that the firmer setting is an improvement. ‘‘It helps the front end into the apex,’’ offers one, and the others nod along. The garage will have witnessed this exact exchange a thousand times before, but probably only in relation to purposebuilt competition cars. In the context of a small, factory-built, road-going hot hatch? I’ll bet this is a first. Let me fill you in on the Mini John Cooper Works Challenge project. There’s a nucleus of die-hard driving enthusiasts at the Mini Plant Oxford – guys who spend their weekends racing cars – for whom the limited-edition Challenge is an extra-curricular activity. Between them they wanted to find the trackday car within Mini’s cutesy little hatchback and set it free. With the standard Mini John Cooper Works as their starting point they took inspiration (and the name) from the Mini Challenge single-make race series and approached the same companies that supply components for the racing cars; Quaife for the limited-slip differential, Nitron for the dampers, Mintex for the brake pads and Team Dynamics for the wheels. Then they approached evo. They would be drawing on our familiarity with every significant hot hatch and trackday car of the last two decades and we’d get a rare opportunity to peer over the fence and get an insight into the development work that a big manufacturer undertakes before releasing a new model. In this age of precisely stage-managed product launches, being party to a new model long before it’s announced to the wider motoring press was a novelty in itself. We all met at Mini Plant Oxford in February to discuss the car – which will be built in very limited numbers – in minute detail. The engineers listened to what we had to say and told us everything we wanted to know about the chassis upgrades and the styling www.evomag.com.au

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tweaks but, strangely, on the subject of tyres they were very coy indeed. Before going our separate ways we set a date for the allimportant development driving session. A month later, five guys stand in a pit garage at Oulton Park circuit. Representing Mini are Nicolas Griebner, head of product, Mini UK; James Loukes, Mini John Cooper Works Challenge project leader and Chris Fryer, Driving Dynamics Test Engineer – between them they form the aforementioned nucleus. Contributing editor Jethro Bovingdon and I fly the evo flag. Naturally, the development of any new model, be it a trackday car or motorway hack, is a lengthy, iterative process. James and Chris first ran the John Cooper Works Challenge on its expensive Nitron suspension at an underthe-radar test session during a public trackday at the Bedford Autodrome one Saturday in February, then conducted two further track test sessions ahead of our day at Oulton Park. They’ve also been using a pair of development cars as their daily rides for the past few months, giving them ample opportunity to thoroughly test various settings and components.

The Challenge will be the first Mini to run fully adjustable suspension, meaning bump and rebound, ride height and camber settings will all be adjustable. In order that the buyer isn’t left stranded in a disorienting world of damper clicks and C-spanners, the factory will specify recommended road and track settings as a starting point, leaving owners plenty of freedom to adjust the various parameters to suit their own tastes. The job for today is to work towards defining those road and track settings. We’re also testing two tyre options, each of them selected from a longer list of candidates during the earlier tests, with a view to reaching a conclusive decision as to which will be the original equipment. It isn’t until Jethro and I arrive at Oulton Park and see the development cars tucked away in the pit garages that we learn which tyres are being assessed for the Challenge. Neither James nor Chris had wanted to give too much away during our initial discussions. I’m sure they had good reason. I just hoped it would be something quite sporty, such as Pirelli’s P Zero or a Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport. The sort of rubber you’d find on a bigger, more

powerful hot hatch or a mid-range sports car. I definitely didn’t expect to see the stacks of 17-inch Team Dynamics wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and Dunlop Direzzas. Even the more road-biased Cup 2 would probably be the most aggressive tyre ever fitted to a small hot hatch. For all the encouraging noises made during that meeting at the Mini Plant Oxford, learning of those two tyre options for the first time is the clearest indication yet that Nicholas, James and Chris are determined for the Challenge to be a serious, fully equipped trackday machine, and not merely an approximation of one. Time to get down to work. Before donning our crash helmets and tackling the undulating Oulton Park, though, we venture out onto a road route. The Challenge has to work both on track and as a day-to-day road car – indeed that’s the very reason why the development team arrived at an adjustable suspension configuration – so we start by peeling out of the paddock and onto Cheshire’s craggy back roads. The yellow car wears the Cup 2s, the green car the Direzzas, Jethro and I swapping each

The team is determined for the Challenge to be a serious, fully equipped trackday machine

Let and above right: two cars have completed test work on road and track. Far right: tyres are crucial to the Challenge’s setup.

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time we complete the 30km loop. We start with five damper clicks on the front axle and 10 on the rear – one being the softest setting, 25 the firmest – on both cars. Whatever the tyres, the Challenge instantly feels a world apart from the standard John Cooper Works, with a tauter ride, much tighter body control and immediate, precise steering responses. Both tyre options serve up enormous grip levels, but the Dunlops claw so much purchase out of the road surface that I wonder if the Challenge needs a middle pedal at all. They also howl like a wounded animal, though. It’s an odd wailing noise, one that rises in volume and pitch as your speed increases. On top of that, the super-stiff sidewalls give a slightly more unsettled ride than the Cup 2s, but not to the point of ruin. ‘‘The Dunlops give the car amazing turnin and they’re really stable when you lean on them hard,’’ says Jethro when we return to the track. ‘‘They also back up the natural agility in the chassis with genuine grip, which the Pirelli Cinturato tyres on the standard JCW don’t do.

But they’re so noisy! The Michelins give most of the performance of the Dunlops, with much better refinement.’’ With five clicks on the front and 10 on the rear, both cars feel pointy and agile in that trademark Mini way – the rear dampers being stiffer than the fronts edges the chassis balance towards oversteer – but with grip, steering response and body control elevated well beyond any other third-generation Mini. Chris reckons the Dunlops’ stiffer sidewalls are worth around five damper clicks over the Michelins, so Jethro and I agree that the Cup 2s with 10 clicks on the front and 15 on the rear strikes a neat balance between handling, ride quality and refinement on the road. Owners will still be able to soften things from there if they choose to, we reason. We start on circuit in the original road settings to give us a baseline from which to work. Both cars feel vastly better controlled and much more composed on track than a standard John Cooper Works would do, even in the road setup, but over Oulton Park’s quick

crests and at its high-speed turn-in points there is a degree of floatiness just when you want to feel that the car is locked into the track surface. It’s less prominent on the Direzzas and the more aggressive rubber allows you to carry more speed, too. In fact, while chasing Jethro – him in the Dunlop car and me on the Michelins – I run out of track on consecutive laps at the final right-hander, Lodge Corner, demonstrating in mildly alarming fashion just how much grippier the Direzzas are than the Cup 2s, which themselves are really quite impressive to drive on. We pull into the pitlane, switch to the proposed track settings – 15 clicks on the front and 20 on the rear – and return to the circuit. It actually takes a few laps and a handful of really committed corners to identify the improvements, but they are there. Whereas the road setup made the car feel slightly aloof and vague right when you needed to know exactly where it was, the track setting keeps it resolutely tied down. No longer does the body trip slightly out of phase with the wheels at the

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We feed back to James and Chris in the pits, who write detailed notes on their assessment forms

Top: Oulton Park is a suitably demanding test venue for the Challenge setup. Above: downloading evo’s indings to the Mini Challenge project squad.

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top of the fourth-gear crest, and no longer do you have to wait a fraction on turn-in for the tyres to dig into the track surface as the weight transfers. The real benefit, though, is that my faith in the car goes through the roof. We feed back to James and Chris in the pit garage, who write detailed notes on their diligently assessment forms. ‘‘It’s much better in the track setting,’’ reckons Jethro. ‘‘I think you could make the Cup 2s feel more like the Direzzas by turning up the suspension settings. I’d also like a little more oversteer dialled in so you can turn-in early, lift off and allow the car to steer itself in towards the apex.’’ So that’s how Jethro and I arrive at our preferred track setup: 15 clicks on the front with 25 clicks on the rear to give agility and a slight oversteer balance at corner entry. We’ve both discounted the Dunlops now, agreeing that they’re simply too noisy on the road for a car that must be useable day-to-day. I feel a bit conflicted about that. I suppose I approached this exercise believing I should

push for the most aggressive chassis settings and the grippiest tyres on test out of some sort of duty to this magazine and all that it stands for. In fact, that is more-or-less what Jethro and I have done in terms of chassis settings, but on the subject of the Direzzas we had to make a sensible call. Our recommendations are made and dutifully noted. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres; 10 clicks on the front and 15 on the rear for the road; 15 on the front and 25 on the rear for the track. At the end of the day, somebody points to the Michelins on the rear of one of the cars, which have worn in a pleasingly consistent way, suggesting we’ve arrived at a pretty smart chassis balance for the Challenge. Nicholas, James and Chris will do with our input what they will. The Mini John Cooper Works Challenge is a tremendously promising car, though. Next month a third member of the evo team will test the finished product, complete with Challenge-specific paintjob and body styling, to see how well that promise has been fulfilled. L


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Porsche 911 GT2

Let: trip to the Highlands was a chance to enjoy some glorious roads and scenery – and to explore the GT2’s characterful performance.

Porsche 911 GT2 Nick and his 996 head to the Highlands for a driving adventure FINALLY, AFTER NEARLY a year of ownership, I’ve had a chance to drive the GT2 on the kinds of roads that you and I live for. Scotland was the location – and in particular the route from Pitlochry to the Isle of Skye. The weather was perfect, the roads extraordinary and the company exceptional (thanks Mrs T). First discovery? The GT2 is indeed nutty fast (to recap, it has 340kW and tops out at 315km/h), but it delivers its performance in an altogether diferent manner to newer Porsches. It doesn’t have the fury of, say, a GT3 – instead you feel the torque from the twin turbos attack the car’s lack of weight with a prolonged and forceful shove. It’s more like being pushed by a powerful locomotive than being towed by a ighter jet. The sense of performance is also exaggerated because the suspension and tyres can barely manage the power. Most modern performance cars – especially McLarens and Ferraris – feel like they

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can handle more power and grip. The GT2 resolutely does not. In a straight line it feels as fast as a 991 GT3, but the newer car would leave the GT2 for dead on the road unless you were prepared to take some big gambles. Indeed, the key performance diferentiator is not the engine, but the wildly superior suspension and traction capabilities of the newer 911s – you can lean on a modern 911 in a manner you wouldn’t dream of in a GT2. You tend to squeeeeeze the throttle in the GT2, your senses distended as you try to process the available grip levels. Fortunately, the steering is sublime – feelsome but not overactive – and the messages you receive through the thin carbon buckets seats are absolutely crucial, especially when the rears start to over-rotate.  Is it any less exciting than the newer cars? It depends. If you like driving thrills with a splash of danger, a dusting of adrenal spikes and a soupçon of sweaty palms, the GT2 is undoubtedly more thrilling. But it’s a

It’s more like being pushed by a powerful locomotive than being towed by a fighter jet

much harder car in which to ind a groove. The 997s and 991s invite you to explore their performance; the 996 GT2 dares you. The other thing you have to be wary of, especially if you’re more used to modern cars, is how the GT2 needs temperature before it operates at its best. The gearshit needs a good few kilometres before it feels slick, and the rear tyres feel hard and brittle unless you’ve got some heat in them. I love that about the car – it’s new enough to feel fast, but old enough to warrant a discipline when you drive it. Porsche hasn’t built a GT2 for four years. If, as rumours suggest, it launches another soon, I hope characteristics like these aren’t completely lost. Nick Trott (@evoNickTrott) Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

June 2015 44,871 359 $0 14.8

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Caterham Seven Roadsport

Caterham Seven Roadsport A second weekend of racing in the Caterham saw Dan Prosser get his first podium spot WE USE ANGLESEY CIRCUIT so oten here at evo that I consider it my home track. I had joked that a home advantage might give me an edge over my competitors come the Anglesey round of the Caterham Roadsport Championship, but I never actually believed it would… Britain’s most picturesque circuit would be the setting for my second outing in the Caterham racing car. I made my debut a few weeks earlier at Brands Hatch (see evo Australia 37), recording a sixth-place inish and a DNF, which let plenty of room for improvement in north Wales. Most of the test day was spent simply trying to get the pedal alignments right. I had found at Brands that the throttle pedal was set so high that under heavy braking I couldn’t easily contort my ankle to efect a blip on downchanges, which caused more than a few lock-ups right when I didn’t want them. When the weekend rolled around it

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For more than half the race I defended as stoutly as I could while chasing down a podium position

became clear that qualifying was going to be rather wet, just as it had been at Brands Hatch. My qualifying performance on that irst outing was distinctly average – 16th out of 28 cars – so I didn’t have particularly high expectations at the start of the Anglesey session, but by the end I’d set the third fastest lap. Come the irst race the weather had cleared and the track was dry. I was daring to believe a podium might just be within my grasp. Then I got an appalling start and dropped down to sixth. But I slowly started to ind my rhythm, and once a couple of the leaders had knocked one another of I could see the third-placed guy right in front of me. I could also see a train of cars immediately behind me, though, and so for more than half the race I defended as stoutly as I could while chasing down that podium position. I cannot begin to describe how stressful that six-lap defence was, but ater clearing the third-placed

Above: the pressure mounts for Prosser as he tries to keep the chasing pack behind him. Below: but a place on the lethand podium step would be his.

car and crossing the inish line I was elated. My irst ever podium, my irst champagne moment and my irst trophy. There’s no feeling like it! That evening Caterham threw a paddock party for all its drivers across the various series. We laughed and joked and told lies about how quick we were that day. It was exactly the sort of atmosphere that would keep me coming back to a series as a paying punter. I inished fourth in Sunday’s race, which rounded of a pretty handy weekend. Next time out will be much tougher indeed, however. I’ll be racing at Snetterton, a circuit I’ve never even seen before, let alone driven, and I’ll be stepping up to the Tracksport championship. Gulp. L Dan Prosser (@TheDanProsser) Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

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Jaguar F-type R Coupe AWD

Jaguar F-type R AWD The Jag’s carbon-ceramic brakes cost a fortune, but are they really worth it? IT WOULD HAVE BEEN switer to uproot a giant sequoia with his bare hands, but Dan Prosser eventually managed to prise the Jag’s key from my grasp recently. He said he really enjoyed the car and then proceeded to pass it around the office like some sort of automotive shisha pipe. A few days later Jethro texted to say: ‘‘Your car was pretty quick on track. Ceramics lasted a lap before going very, very long, though. Must weigh about 3000kg!’’ First sentence good, second sentence deeply troubling. As for the presumption about the F-type’s weight, it proved wildly out when we put the R on the scales and it rang up just 1825kg. Alright, it’s not going to need tethering in a strong breeze and it’s 95kg heavier than claimed, but it was closer than we expected to the 1619kg 911 Turbo that it was pitched against (see page 112). As for the brakes, they thankfully didn’t show any lasting efects from the abuse. It’s one of the advantages of carbon-ceramics that they do

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seem to recover far better from extreme, fade-inducing use. Another major beneit is the reduction in unsprung weight (as investigated by Will Beaumont last month – a man who takes such things so seriously he oten forgoes socks). I remember thinking on my very irst drive in the R that the ride was better, the wheels breathing with the road a little more detly. Production editor Ian Eveleigh also commented on this (the keys having gone straight from Jethro to him), saying how much more composed

Carbon-ceramic brakes do seem to recover far better from extreme, fade-inducing use

it was than the BMW M2 he’d driven the day before. At $20K, the 21kg weight saving is expensive, but if you can aford them then I think they’re worth it. They also look great, as our art director Rob Gould noted. I’ve just pinched the keys of his desk. L Henry Catchpole (@HenryCatchpole) Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

January 2016 14,973 4444 $0 11.3

Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 The MX-5’s simple tech does a good job, but there’s one thing missing DAN’S GOLF R AND STU’S Skoda both have Apple CarPlay itted and, I have to say, it feels like the ultimate form of in-car entertainment. Why complicate things? Really all you need is satnav and some music, so multiple click-wheels, screens and menus all feel like unnecessary clutter. The new Mercedes E-Class

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deinitely has some of the best tech in the business, but a recent drive saw me defaulting to CarPlay and leaving it be as soon as possible. And the MX-5? Its infotainment is refreshingly rudimentary. You get Bluetooth, a simple satnav, DAB and that’s it. All I want is CarPlay and then, to me, it’d be perfect. I hope manufacturers inally catch on to the less-is-more approach, and soon. As for driving the MX-5, it’s been interesting switching between it and my E46 M3. As I’ve adjusted to the extra performance of the M3, I’ve started to lean on the Mazda that little bit harder. I’m going to be taking the MX-5 to some of our track evenings over the coming months and I can’t wait. I’ve been slightly

cautious of stepping outside the Mazda’s dynamic envelope, so the mistake-friendly circuit at Bedford Autodrome should be great fun. Hunter Skipworth (@HunterSkipworth)

Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

October 2015 24,872 1448 $0 9.4

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Bentley Continental GT V8 S

Meaden’s been tinkering with the Bentley’s driving modes in the hope of finding a sweet spot in which the chassis and gearbox can shine

NOT SO MANY KAYS covered this month, but they’ve all been good ones. For starters, the Conti’s on its summer tyres, so I’ve had more grip to lean on. Not that it was exactly lacking on winters. As a consequence of the tyre change I’ve been playing with the suspension modes – four in all, from Comfort to Sport Plus – to try and ind a happy medium. Toggling between each mode is a bit of a faf, because you have to irst press the little damper button at of the gear-selector lever then use the touchscreen to choose the mode you’re ater. It doesn’t exactly make for spontaneous iddling, but for the most part I ind myself in either the sotest or irmest of the Conti GT’s modes, depending on the nature of the road I’m driving along, my mood and whether I’m driving solo or with company.

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Comfort mode can feel a little lazy if you begin to pick up the pace, especially through compressions and over crests, but for the most part it’s ine, and by far the most passenger-friendly. I did go through a phase of trying to stay in one of the intermediate settings all the time, but neither ofers quite the right level of comfort or control, so I’ve decided to go binary and opt for pillowy or planted. Go hard or go home, that’s my motto. I’ve also tried using the paddles, but to be honest they’re pretty much redundant. Keep the selector in D and the car shules smoothly through the eight-speed transmission just ine, always dipping just far enough – but no farther – into the reserves of performance for a truly impressive show of latent force. Slot the lever back into Sport and it’s as

though you’ve poured a can of Red Bull into the Conti’s petrol tank, the powertrain’s wits becoming quicker and sharper. Up- and downshits have just enough snap and the gearbox will hold the revs long enough to see you through most scenarios. Talking of petrol, I’ve managed to reach new fuel-economy heights but also plumb new depths over the last month. A particularly relaxed, but not especially sedate, 400km round-trip on the motorway yielded an average just shy of 9.5L/100km (the GT has a 90-litre tank, by the way), while the very next day a rather more spirited 65km charge along some favourite, near-deserted roads delivered an equally satisfying 20.5L/100km. Which reminds me, I really should do my expenses. L Richard Meaden (@DickieMeaden)

I’ve managed to reach new fueleconomy heights but also plumb new depths over the last month

Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

February 2016 9356 875 $0 13.7


Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2

Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk2 Often the best modifications are the ones you can’t readily see THE GTI HAS COVERED quite a few kilometres in its 26 years on the road, so with the weather improving and long weekend drives becoming the norm, I thought it a good idea to carry out some maintenance on and enhancements to its suspension. When you talk about improving the handling on an older car, one of the irst suggestions is always to replace the suspension bushes. This makes sense, as in my car’s case the OEM rubber bushes were simply very, very old. With so many colleagues and friends rating PowerFlex’s highperformance polyurethane bushes, choosing replacements was easy. The kit I opted for included bushes for the rear beam, front anti-roll bar, front wishbones, front subframe and the steering rack. With the bushes being replaced, it made sense to refresh some other components too, and thanks to classic-Volkswagen parts specialist VW Heritage I was able to get a new set of front lower ball joints and a

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similarly fresh set of tie-rod ends to improve steering response. Finally, I decided to upgrade the anti-roll bars to Eibach’s 22mm front and 25mm rear items – probably the best on the market for the Mk2 GTI. With all the hardware ready to go, I needed someone to it it and then correctly set up the GTI to really communicate the beneits of each modiication. Former evo editor John Barker pointed me towards Qprep, a company with a superb reputation in this ield, so I organised a date and drove up to their workshop in Northamptonshire. When Quentin, Qprep’s owner, told me about some of the cars they had previously worked on – including a rallyprepped Mk2 Golf, a Mazda MX-5 with a Honda S2000 engine and, last but by no means least, Barker’s legendary V8 Capri – I knew they were perfect for the job. Qprep’s preferred approach is to spend time enabling you to feel the diference of the work they carry out. So I went for a drive

with Quentin and discussed what I liked and disliked about the car’s current handling. The second stage was to get the Golf onto a set of corner-weighting scales, and ater a bit of fettling, Qprep managed to get the car’s 960kg kerb weight balanced nicely. Then it was time for another drive. The diference was impressive – just from getting the car balanced correctly. Following this, the new parts were itted, the car was corner weighted once again (with me in the driver’s seat), and the ride height was set to get the best from the ST XTA suspension and Yokohama tyres. Lastly, the front and rear toe and camber settings were adjusted, transforming the car’s stance. I have to say, the drive home was epic, the GTI feeling more responsive and controlled and with better stability under hard braking – so oten a weak point on older cars. In summary, then, it was a job worth doing, and it was done well. L Aston Parrott (@AstonParrott)

I needed someone to correctly set up the GTI to really communicate the benefits of each modification

Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

April 2012 289,081 317 c$3000 10.0

Above: original rubber bushes had perished badly. Above right: one of the new, uprated Eibach anti-roll bars alongside an original. Right: itting the front anti-roll bar. Far right: checking the wheel alignment is key.

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Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R The Honda’s standard Continental tyres are off, replaced by a set of Michelin Cup 2s and a whole new level of hardcore OKAY, SO I CHANGED MY mind. A couple of months ago I said that I was glad the Civic was wearing Continental SportContact 6s. They were impressively grippy in the dry and performed admirably in the wet, too. Win-win. Who needed trackdaystyle tyres and their inconvenient compromises, I pondered. And then spring arrived, dry roads became the norm, the front Contis nudged their wear indicators and curiosity got the better of me. As you probably know, there isn’t a trackday tyre on the options list for the Civic. However, its main rivals – the Renaultsport Mégane, SEAT Leon Cupra Sub8, Ford Focus RS and the new VW Golf GTI Clubsport S – are all available with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber, so deciding which high-performance tyre to it to our Type R was a no-brainer: it had to be the Michelins. Around $2200 later, plus a visit to our tyre itter of choice, Tyres Northampton, that is what our Civic is now wearing. So what efect do they have? The steering is slightly heavier, there’s a little more road noise on some surfaces and there’s a slight increase in torque-steer and tramlining – none of which is a surprise with all that extra rubber on the road. And then, of course, there’s the

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additional grip. Oh my goodness the grip! Cornering in the Civic now presents a new mental challenge: convincing myself just how much faster the car will go around any given corner. I’ve found I’m now tackling some familiar bends a gear higher than before, yet still the car simply slingshots around well within the limits of the tyres – and I emerge from the other side laughing at the absurdity of it. With all that grip, the character of the car has changed quite a bit. It’s become more physical and even more intense. But with the grip limits moved out to a point you very rarely get near on the road, the handling has lost some delicacy and inesse. Swings and roundabouts, then, but the cornering performance on the Cup 2s is just so hilarious, I can absolutely see the appeal. I bet they’ll be perfect for trackdays, too – something I hope to conirm shortly. Perhaps a set of Contis for the mankier months plus some Cup 2s for the summer would be the perfect solution, then. L Ian Eveleigh Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

January 2016 12,713 1527 c$2200 tyres 9.5

Skoda Octavia vRS Big kit and even bigger mileage calls for something more sensible than a V8 Bentley from the vast Volkswagen Group stable

IT TAKES A LOT TO wrest the Bentley key from my hand, but even I had to concede that a trip to Spa-Francorchamps with two videographers and all their equipment, plus my own race kit, meant the Conti GT had to be swapped for a more practical car. Practical is something the Skoda Octavia vRS does very well indeed, especially when it’s the wagon. What’s more, ours being a diesel

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Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS No traction control and a lairy diff? Yes, more power is just what the RS needs… IT’S AN OWNERS’ CLUB fable if ever there was one, but I think there may actually be some truth to the claim the Mk1 RS was rather more powerful than officially suggested. The igure up for scrutiny is 158kW, which might be quite tame now, but back in 2002 was (briely) the most ever bestowed on a front-driven production car. Here’s the thing, though: with the sole deviation from factory spec being the Powervalve exhaust system (manifold let untouched, note) itted last month, my car recently made 175kW on the chassis dyno at Superchips HQ in Buckingham. Now Powervalve are good, but that good? Surely not. Not that I’m complaining. That kind of output means the exhaust is working bloody well. It also showed that the engine is in rude health, and ripe for a Superchips ECU remap, which is why I was in Bucks in the irst place. The promised gains from the irm’s ‘Bluein’ sotware amount to an extra 20kW and 55Nm, but I’d hoped the fettle would also yield more shapely power and torque curves and smooth of the smashand-grab power delivery. And it has. The 2.0-litre motor now makes 189kW and 360Nm,

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which in terms of power-to-weight puts the RS within a whisker of a pre-turbo Cayman, but even better is the way all that go is served up. Peak power now arrives a little later, but torque, up from 310Nm, doesn’t climax until 4150rpm (it’s normally 3500rpm). Early signs are that a sweet spot where power can still be put down cleanly without the need to micro-manage the throttle has been found. Ten per cent more and I think it would be a diferent. (In the wet, and despite the best eforts of the excellent Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres,

Early signs are that a sweet spot where power can still be put down cleanly has been found

making progress still takes a level of patience I don’t inherently possess.) The main thing, though, is that there’s more satisfaction to be had from wringing the engine out, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say. Proof? How about the fact that I’ve only just found out the car has a rudimentary little upshit light? L Richard Lane (@_rlane_) Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

January 2015 124,535 1093 c$1000 ECU remap 10.9

Skoda Octavia vRS TDI Estate

meant we could fuel-up just before the Chunnel then drive to Spa in one hit and do the back-and-forth from hotel to the track for three days before illing up once more and making it home without stopping. When you’ve got miles to cover, these things matter. A diesel wagon isn’t exactly the stuf of epic road-trips, but the vRS recipe is smart and efective, delivering a spread of tractable performance and impressive

cruising reinement. The motor is workmanlike, but the six-speed DSG ’box adds some pep, so you can liven things up if you’re in the mood. Five or more hours at the wheel tell you the seats are super-comfortable, too. We averaged 6.3L/100km and a little under 100km/h for the entire journey (no, we weren’t hanging around!), and though we could have pimped things up in something like an RS6 Avant, the truth is the Skoda did the job brilliantly. I even had an

entertaining cross-country drive home once I’d ditched the video boys and their tonnes of kit at the office. I’ve long been a fan of Skoda’s take on performance motoring, and on a hard-working, 1600km weekend this Octavia vRS reinforced that. Subtly stylish, discreetly rapid and brilliantly versatile, it’s hard to imagine a car that covers more of everyday life’s bases so well yet ofers a lifeline to those who need a true family car but don’t want to feel like they’ve had to

give up on owning a car that’s above and beyond the ordinary. If that description itted me, I’d be sorely tempted to have an Octavia vRS in my life. L Richard Meaden (@DickieMeaden) Date acquired Total km Km this month Costs this month L/100km this month

October 2015 27,350 3234 $0 6.4

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Knowledge

Ratings

Database

Thrill-free zone 3 Tepid 33 Interesting 333 Seriously good 3333 A truly great car 33333

Superminis / Hot Hatches Best of the Rest

Our Choice

BMW’s M135i feels like a bargain at $70K, and it’s rear-wheel drive too, of course. At less than half the money, the Ford Fiesta ST (left) is an absolute riot, as is the mental Mercedes A45 AMG. Benz’s latest weapon packs 265kW from just 2.0 litres.

Price

Engine cyl/cc

kW/rpm

Nm/rpm

Weight

kW/tonne

0-100km/h

Top speed

L/100km

Volkswagen Golf R. A flagship Golf to get really excited about, the new R offers immense pace and a truly engaging driving experience in a compromise-free package with class and quality aplenty. Cake both possessed and consumed.

$25,200 $39,150 $42,500 $59,900 $46,100 $68,400 $29,990 $38,990 $25,990 $38,290 ‘09-’11 $39,490 $49,900 $74,900 $40,500 $49,200 $52,600 $56,900 n/a $29,990 $29,290 ’09-’13 $42,640 $47,140 $27,990 $37,490 $23,990 $27,790 $41,990 ’09-’13 ’12-’13 ’10-’13 '05-'09 '06-'09 ’02-’04 ’88-’92 ’82-’84 ’08-’12

4/1368 4/1742 4/1390 4/1984 4/1997 6/2979 4/1598 4/1368 4/1596 4/1999 5/2522 4/2261 4/1991 4/1991 4/1598 4/1598 4/1598 4/1598 4/1598 4/1598 4/1618 4/1998 4/1998 4/1998 4/1390 4/1998 4/1586 4/1390 4/1984 4/1984 4/1984 4/1984 4/1984 6/3189 6/3189 4/1781 4/1781 5/2521

125/5500 173/5500 136/6200 206/5100 160/5000 235/5800 115/6000 118/5750 134/6000 184/5500 257/6500 190/5500 155/5500 265/6000 135/5500 155/6000 155/6000 160/6000 147/6000 147/5800 147/6000 147/7100 195/5500 195/5500 132/6200 147/5100 100/6900 132/6200 162/4700 155/5300 173/5500 188/6000 147/5100 184/6300 177/6250 100/6100 83/5800 169/5000

250/2500 340/1900 250/2000 380/1800 310/1350 450/1300 240/1400 230/3000 240/1600 360/1750 460/2300 380/3000 350/1200 450/2250 240/1600 280/2000 280/2000 280/2000 250/2400 275/1700 250/1750 215/5400 360/3000 360/3000 250/2000 280/1700 160/4400 250/2000 350/1500 280/1700 300/2200 330/2500 280/1800 320/2500 320/2800 168/4600 148/3500 320/1500

1145kg 1320kg 1190kg 1455kg 1345kg 1425kg 1165kg 1035kg 1197kg 1362kg 1467kg 1385kg 1445kg 1480kg 1140kg 1130kg 1165kg 1140kg 1293kg 1133kg 1204kg 1281kg 1375kg 1375kg 1253kg 1460kg 1060kg 1189kg 1354kg 1360kg 1318kg 1476kg 1336kg 1510kg 1477kg 1111kg 840kg 1469kg

109 179 155 142 119 165 99 114 112 135 175 137 108 179 118 137 133 140 114 130 122 115 142 142 105 101 94 111 120 114 179 127 110 122 120 93 99 113

7.5 6.8 7.0 4.9 6.4 5.1 7.2 7.4 6.9 6.4 5.9 6.5 6.6 4.5 7.2 6.5 6.5 6.3 7.8 6.8 6.7 7.2 6.0 6.0 7.3 7.3 8.7 7.0 6.5 6.9 6.5 5.9 6.7 5.8 6.4 8.0 8.1 6.7

219 240 227 250 250 250 214 210 220 248 262 250 240 270 228 238 240 241 216 230 230 227 250 250 224 240 195 228 246 238 248 250 233 250 248 200 180 240

6.0 7.6 5.9 6.9 6.6 8.0 6.7 6.5 6.2 9.9 6.6 6.9 5.8 6.9 7.1 7.1 6.9 5.9 8.2 8.2 8.2 6.2 7.7 6.5 6.1 7.2 7.7 8.1 8.7 10.7 11.5 9.8 7.8 8.7

Car Alfa Romeo Mito Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf Audi A1 1.4 TFSI Sport Audi S3 BMW 125i BMW M135i Citroën DS3 Dsport Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse Ford Fiesta ST Ford Focus ST Ford Focus RS500 Mazda 3 MPS Mercedes-Benz A250 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG Mini Cooper S Mini John Cooper Works Mini John Cooper Works Coupe Mini John Cooper Works GP Nissan Juke Nismo Peugeot 208 GTi Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup Renaultsport Mégane 265 Cup Renaultsport Mégane 265 Trophee Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Octavia vRS Suzuki Swift Sport VW Polo GTI VW Golf GTI (MkVII) VW Golf GTI (MkVI) VW Golf GTI Edition 35 VW Golf R (MkVI) VW Golf GTI (MkV) VW Golf R32 (MkV) VW Golf R32 (MkIV) VW Golf GTI 16v (MkII) VW Golf GTI (MkI) Volvo C30 T5 R-Design

rating + Great MultiAir engine, impressive ride - Not as feisty as we hoped + Shows signs of deep talent… - …but should be more exciting + Audi’s Mini rival is an accomplished thing - But not a hugely fun one + Very fast, very effective, very… err, quality - The VW Golf R is a touch more exciting + Performance, price, running costs - Dull four-pot soundtrack + Great fun, storming engine, playful chassis - Not a looker + First fun Citroën in ages - Petrolheads might find it too ‘designed’ + Tough but cute looks - Price buys lots of hotter hatches + Chassis, price, punchy performance - Firm ride but little else + Cracking hot hatch. Good value, too - There’s a bit of torque-steer + Huge performance, highly capable fwd chassis - It could be the last RS… + Quick, eager and very good value - Not on the radar of most buyers + Mercedes builds a proper hot hatch - But denies it a manual gearbox + Fastest, most powerful hatch ever made - Very firm ride + New engine, Mini quality - Lacks old car’s direct front end + A seriously rapid Mini - Occasionally just a little unruly + The usual raucous Mini JCW experience - But with a questionable ‘helmet’ roof… + Brazenly hyperactive - Too much for some roads and some tastes. + More than the sum of its parts - Juke is coming to Oz, but maybe not the Nismo version + Supple suspension an playful chassis - Some ergonomic issues + Faster, more refined, easier to drive - We miss the revvy atmo engine and manual ’box + The hot Clio at its best - Why the long face? + Standard RS Mégane gets same power as Trophy; chassis still superb - Not a lot + Hot Mégane gets more power and fwd Ring record - A pricey upgrade + Well priced, well made, with great engine and DSG ‘box - Dull steering + Drives like a GTI, a bit cheaper and more practical - Interior quality doesn't match VW + The Swift’s still a great pocket rocket - But it’s lost a little adjustability + Modern-day MkI Golf GTI gets twin-clutch DSG - It’s a little bit bland + More refined and faster than the MkVI - Still doesn't thrill like a Megane + Still a very accomplished hot hatch - Not as fun as a Megane RS + MkVI GTI gets the power it craves - Expensive compared to the standard car + Great engine, tremendous pace and poise - High price, ACC only optional + Character and ability: the original GTI is back - Lacking firepower? + Traction’s great and you’ll love the soundtrack - We’d still have a GTI + Charismatic - Boomy engine can be tiresome + Arguably the best all-round Golf GTI ever - We’d be splitting hairs + The car that started it all - Tricky to find an unmolested one + Good-looking, desirable Volvo - Lacks edge of best hatches

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Sedans /wagons / 4x4s Best of the Rest

Our Choice

Audi’s RS6 Avant runs the E63 S close and is the practical choice. Twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 has great throttle response and eightspeed auto is brilliant. Want something smaller? Try Merc’s C63 sedan or wagon (and coupe). Last of the line 507 Edition models have arrived as a swansong to the atmo 6.2-litre V8.

Mercedes-Benz E63 S. The facelifted E63 S looks better and, with a 430kW, 800Nm version of AMG’s twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8, it goes even harder than before. It’ll nail 100km/h in 4.2 seconds, cruise in comfort or tear up a mountain pass. And it sounds terrific. Best big sedan ever made.

Aston Martin Rapide Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro Audi S4 Audi RS4 Avant (Mk3) Audi RS4 (Mk2) Audi RS4 Avant (Mk2) Audi RS4 (Mk1) Audi RS2 Audi RS6 Audi RS6 Audi RS6 Avant Audi RS6 Avant Audi S6 Audi S7 Audi S8 Audi SQ5

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$371,300 $61,700 $120,400 $149,400 '06-'08 ’07-’08 ’00-’02 ’94-’95 $225,000 '08-'10 '08-'10 ’02-’04 $168,900 $179,900 n/a $89,400

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12/5935 4/1984 6/2995 8/4163 8/4163 8/4163 6/2671 5/2226 8/3993 10/4991 10/4991 8/4172 8/3993 8/3993 8/3993 6/2967

350/6000 155/4300 245/5500 331/8250 309/7800 309/7800 280/6100 235/6500 412/5700 426/6250 427/6250 331/5700 309/5000 309/5000 383/5800 230/3900

600/5000 350/1500 440/2900 430/4000 430/5500 430/5500 440/2500 410/3000 700/1750 650/1500 650/1500 560/1950 550/1400 550/1400 650/1700 650/1450

1950kg 1530kg 1705kg 1795kg 1650kg 1710kg 1620kg 1595kg 1935kg 1985kg 2025kg 1865kg 1885kg 1945kg 1975kg 1880kg

179 101 144 184 194 183 163 150 213 218 214 180 164 159 194 122

5.2 6.5 5.0 4.6 4.5 4.9 4.9 5.0 3.9 4.5 4.6 4.9 4.6 4.7 4.2 5.2

306 246 250 250 250 250 274 262 305 250 250 250 250 250 250 250

14.9 6.8 8.1 10.7 13.5 13.5 16.6 15.7 9.8 13.9 14.0 14.6 9.6 9.6 10.2 6.8

+ Performance, soundtrack, looks - Rear room is absurb. Brakes lack bite + A good match for its German foes - No longer any naturally aspirated options + Seriously rapid, sounds good - Too subtle for some, RS4 overshadows it + Looks, value, quality, noise, balance - Harsh ride, unnatural steering + A leap on for fast Audis, superb engine - Busy under braking + Screaming V8 - Everyone thinking you’re married with kids + Effortless pace - Lacks finesse. + Storming performance (thanks to Porsche) - Try finding one + Sounds great, stunning acceleration and grip - Slightly inert steering + Looks and drives better than estate version - M5 still looks tempting + The world’s most powerful wagon - Power isn’t everything + Amazing V8 rumble, point-to-point ability - Numb steering + The ultimate Q-car - A little too Q? + Looks and drives better than S6 it’s based on - Costs a bomb more + Quicker and much more economical than before - But still underwhelming to drive + Performance, economy, comfort - Steering lacks feel

33334 33342 33342 33332 33333 33333 33332 33342 33334 33334 33332 33332 33332 33342 33332 33342


Database Entries in italics are for cars no longer on sale. Weight is the car’s kerb weight as quoted by the manufacturer. kW/tonne is the power-to-weight ratio based on manufacturer’s kerb weight. 0-100km/h figures in bold are independently recorded, all other performance figures are manufacturers’ claims. L/100km is the official ADR81/02 combined cycle figure or international equivalent.

Key

kW/rpm

Nm/rpm

Weight

kW/tonne

0-100km/h

Top speed

$374,634 $662,857 $65,900 $91,400 '08-'11 '11-'12 '05-'11 $98,200 $115,600 $229,145 ’04-’10 ’99-’03 ’92-’96 ’86-’88 $147,000 $150,400 $190,900 $56,000 $66,000 $44,990 $46,235 $64,390 $70,790 $45,490 $60,990 $76,285 $92,990 $97,900 $95,295 $189,545 $222,545 $319,645 ’86-’89 $126,300 $250,000 $298,800 $154,900 $169,407 ’04-’08 $249,900 '06-'09 ’03-’06 ’98-’02 $392,400 $498,700 $263,000 $179,400 $216,730 '04-'12 $56,990 '00-'01 $287,100 $318,300 $382,400 $443,600 $150,400 $222,100 $61,395 $161,000 n/a ’09-’12 $645,000 $855,000 $59,990 ’98-’99 $99,950

12/5998 8/6752 4/1997 6/2979 8/3999 8/4361 6/2979 4/1997 6/2979 8/4395 10/4999 8/4941 6/3795 6/3453 6/2993 8/4395 8/4395 8/6410 8/6410 4/1999 6/3983 6/3983 8/4951 8/5967 8/6162 8/6162 8/6162 6/3696 6/2995 8/5000 8/5000 8/5000 12/5167 8/4969 8/4691 8/4691 8/6208 8/6208 8/5439 8/5461 8/6208 8/5439 8/5439 8/5461 12/5980 8/5461 8/5461 8/5461 8/5439 4/1998 4/1997 8/4806 8/4806 8/4806 8/4806 8/4806 8/4806 4/1999 8/5000 8/4367 8/5000 12/6592 12/6749 4/2457 4/2212 6/2953

460/6000 377/4200 180/5000 225/5800 309/8300 331/8300 225/5800 180/5000 225/5800 423/6000 373/7750 294/6600 250/6900 210/6500 280/4000 300/5500 408/6000 347/6100 347/6100 149/6000 270/5250 310/5500 335/5750 270/5600 317/6000 340/6000 430/5250 235/7000 250/6500 346/6000 404/6500 375/6000 335/6800 311/6600 316/7000 331/7000 336/6800 373/6800 269/5750 430/5550 378/6800 350/6100 260/5500 400/5500 450/4750 386/5250 386/5250 400/5500 350/6100 217/6500 206/6500 294/6500 316/6700 368/6000 405/6000 309/6500 368/6000 177/5500 375/6000 250/3500 375/6000 420/5250 338/5350 221/6000 206/6000 257/5700

800/2000 1020/1750 350/1250 400/1500 400/3900 440/3750 400/1500 350/1250 400/1200 680/1500 520/6100 500/3800 400/4750 340/4500 740/2000 600/1750 680/1500 631/4150 631/4150 300/1750 533/2000 565/1950 570/2200 530/4400 550/4600 570/4600 740/200 360/5200 450/3500 575/2000 680/2500 625/2500 500/4500 505/5200 490/4750 510/4750 600/5000 610/5200 510/4000 800/1750 630/5200 700/2650 530/3000 800/2000 1000/2000 700/1700 700/1750 760/2000 700/2750 407/3500 373/2750 500/3500 520/3500 700/2250 800/2250 515/3500 700/2250 340/1750 625/2000 700/1750 625/2000 780/1500 720/3500 407/4000 363/3200 500/2800

2475kg 2585kg 1455kg 1520kg 1605kg 1580kg 1535kg 1610kg 1700kg 1870kg 1755kg 1795kg 1653kg 1431kg 2190kg 2190kg 2305kg 1983kg 1983kg 1581kg 1694kg 1805kg 1822kg 1745kg 1792kg 1764kg 1800kg 1765kg 1695kg 1800kg 1912kg 1795kg 2700kg 1714kg 1990kg 1990kg 1730kg 1730kg 1635kg 1845kg 1840kg 1835kg 1642kg 2120kg 2260kg 1870kg 2345kg 2475kg 2580kg 1590kg 1365kg 1770kg 1920kg 1970kg 1995kg 2085kg 2170kg 1670kg 2590kg 2360kg 2330kg 2435kg 2650kg 1515kg 1270kg 1684kg

166 146 124 148 193 285 147 112 132 220 289 223 209 200 128 137 177 175 175 94 159 172 184 155 177 193 239 133 147 192 211 209 124 181 157 166 194 216 164 233 280 271 219 192 203 210 232 220 190 185 205 226 228 254 276 202 231 144 200 144 189 235 181 200 220 153

4.6 5.3 5.9 5.5 4.9 4.4 5.8 6.3 5.9 4.4 4.7 5.5 6.1 6.1 5.4 5.4 4.7 4.8 4.8 7.6 5.0 4.9 4.9 5.5 5.0 4.9 4.4 6.2 5.9 4.9 4.6 4.9 7.8 4.7 5.4 5.0 4.4 4.2 5.2 4.2 4.5 4.7 5.7 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.8 5.4 5.5 4.7 5.0 5.6 4.5 4.2 3.8 5.7 4.7 7.6 6.2 6.9 5.4 4.9 5.9 5.2 5.3 4.9

322 296 210 250 250 290 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 251 250 250 250 250 250 238 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 300 250 210 270 280 287 250 280 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 250 210 210 250 241 285 288 303 306 261 278 217 225 217 225 250 240 255 248 250

L/100km

Engine cyl/cc

Car Bentley Continental Flying Spur Bentley Mulsanne BMW 328i BMW 335i BMW M3 (E90) BMW M3 CRT (E90) BMW 335i M Sport (E90) BMW 528i BMW 535i BMW M5 (F10M) BMW M5 (E60) BMW M5 (E39) BMW M5 (E34) BMW M5 (E28) BMW X5 M50d BMW X6 xDrive50i BMW X6M Chrysler 300C SRT8 Core Chrysler 300C SRT8 Ford Mondeo 2.0 Eco Boost Titanium Ford Falcon XR6T FPV F6 FPV GT Holden Commodore SSV HSV Clubsport HSV Clubsport R8 SV HSV GTS Infiniti M37S Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 Supercharged Jaguar XFR Jaguar XFR-S Jaguar XJ Supersport Lamborghini LM002 Lexus IS-F Maserati Quattroporte S Maserati Q'porte Sport GTS Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507 Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG Mitsubishi Evo X Mitsubishi Evo VI Mäkinen Edition Porsche Panamera S Porsche Panamera GTS Porsche Panamera Turbo Porsche Panamera Turbo S Porsche Cayenne GTS Porsche Cayenne Turbo Range Rover Evoque Coupe Si4 Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged Range Rover SDV8 Range Rover V8 Supercharged Rolls-Royce Ghost Rolls-Royce Phantom Subaru WRX STI Subaru Impreza 22B Volvo S60 Polestar

Price

Sedans /wagons / 4x4s Continued

16.6 16.9 6.3 7.2 12.4 12.7 9.6 6.8 8.4 9.9 14.8 13.9 16.5 7.5 12.5 13.9 13.0 13.0 8.0 12.0 12.3 13.6 11.5 10.2 9.8 12.2 9.6 11.4 15.7 15.7 12.0 12.0 11.9 10.0 14.3 12.9 12.1 10.6 14.3 10.0 11.8 13.8 15.9 10.8 12.5 10.7 11.5 11.5 10.7 11.5 8.7 14.9 8.7 14.9 13.6 14.8 10.5 11.2 10.2

rating + Performance, wonderful interior - Have you seen petrol prices? + Drives like a modern Bentley should - Shame it doesn’t look like one too + New-age four-pot 328i is great all-rounder - We miss the six-cylinder soundtrack + Great engine, fine handling, good value - Steering confuses weight with feel + Every bit as good as the M3 coupe - No carbon roof + Sedan chassis + weight savings + GTS engine = best E90 M3 - Just 67 were made + Stunning drivetrain, controlled chassis - Looks a bit steady + Four-pot 528 is downsizing near its best - You’ll miss the straight-six sound effects + New 5-series impresses… - But only with all the chassis options ticked + Twin-turbocharging suits all-new M5 well - Can feel heavy at times + Screaming V10, great chassis - SMG gearbox feels old-tech + Magnificent V8-engined super sedan - We’d be nit-picking + The Godfather of super sedans - The family can come too + Look what it started - Understated looks + Triple turbo has heaps of shove - Do you really need that in an SUV? + Stunningly good to drive - Will you want to be seen arriving? + Fast and with physics-defying handling - But it definitely lacks the M factor + Stripper model offers incredible value - Is it too bare? + Refined and very fast - Still not a proper sports sedan + Terrific chassis, sweet engine - Interior feels dated next to Mazda 6 + Performance car bargain - Its 2016 demise weighs heavily on buyer's minds + Jet-like thrust from turbo six - Chassis barely contains the power + Fabulous supercharged V8 - Styling isn't subtle + Great value and strong performance - Generic styling + Carry over engine, imporved refinement - Lacks equipment next to SSV + SV engine option and lightweight wheels - Styling isn't subtle + Monster grunt from supercharged Chev LSA V8 - Supercar scare, anyone? + Stands out from the crowd - Not as involving as some rivals + Fast, comfortable, refined - Bland engine, poor economy compared to diesel V6 + Brilliant blend of pace and refinement - Doesn’t sound as special as it is + Strong engine, superb auto gearbox, supple susension - Styling is a bit overt + Superb handling, monster performance - Opinion-dividing looks + Craziest 4x4 ever, Countach V12 - Craziest 4x4 ever… + Shockingly good Lexus - The M3’s available as a (second hand) four-door too + Finally, a QP with more power - Grille is a bit Hannibal Lecter + The most stylish sedan in the world - Slightly wooden brakes, unforgiving ride + Monstrous pace and extremely engaging - M3’s just a little better… + Harder-edged and faster than regular C63 - Rear suspension a touch firm + Furiously fast, commendably discreet - Overshadowed by M3 and RS4 + Engine is a monster but chassis is a match for it - Seats could be more supportive + Brilliant engine, indulgent chassis - Vague steering, speed limits + M5-humbling grunt, cosseting ride - Speed limits + Dragster disguised as a limo - Tyre bills + Massive torque, massively reduced emissions - Massive car + God’s own supersedan - Unholy price and thirst + Monster performance - Not as desirable as a (more expensive) Bentley or Aston + Great engine, surprisingly good dynamics - $180K almost buys a Boxster and an ML350… + It exists; epic soundtrack - Ancient chassis, silly price + Thuggishness, anti-style statement - It’s a bit silly + Evo gets twin-clutch transmission - Not as exciting as it used to be + Our favourite Evo - Subtle it is not + Great cabin and typically fine Porsche chassis - Only a mother could love its looks + Sharper chassis; more urgent and vocal V8 - A BMW M5 is $90K less… + Fast, refined and dynamically sound - It still leaves us cold + Pace, excellent ergonomics - Steering feel, ride + Dynamically the best SUV on sale - At two tons, it’s still no sports car + Greener, faster, better - Odd rear styling, numb steering + Striking looks, sporting dynamics - Hefty price, and petrol version is auto-only + Thumpingly fast and hugely comfortable - It’s no Cayenne in the corners + Lighter, more capable, even more luxurious - Diesel V6 model feels more alert + Fast, comfortable, luxurious - Big, heavy, thirsty + More sporting, more affordable Rolls-Royce - But it still costs $650K + Rolls reinvented for the 21st Century - The roads are barely big enough + Still a point-to-point weapon - Merc's A45 AMG is close on price + On paper, the ultimate - On the road, too uncompromising + Capable of very swift, smooth progress - Could be a bit more fun

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PAST MASTER

BMW M3 (E46) The third-generation M3 combined neckswivelling looks with an equally arresting driving experience, as John Barker discovered

This latest six-cylinder unit makes 252kW, for 79kW per litre. It has more than enough grunt to edge the M3’s tail out in second- and third-gear turns if you’re keen and, since it remains strong all the way to 8000rpm, you can dictate the length and angle of the slide.

BMW quotes 5.2sec to 100km/h and an electronically limited 250km/h, but it’s not figures that define the new M3, it’s character. The new straight-six delivers it in spades, with strength and a constantly shifting, confident howl that pushes all the right buttons. It’s

matched by a chassis that is keen and confident and allows you to drive it how you want. The original four-pot M3 may never be surpassed for sheer brio and tactility, but, as six-cylinder cars go, the new M3 is unquestionably the most desirable there has been.

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Sports Cars / Convertibles Our Choice

Best of the Rest

Audi R8 Spyder. The Spyder boasts supercar looks, presence and performance, yet you really could drive one every day. And while the V10-engined car makes the more spine-tingling noise, the lighter and even more agile V8 version gets our vote.

Price

Engine cyl/cc

kW/rpm

Nm/rpm

Weight

kW/tonne

0-100km/h

Top speed

L/100km

$260,000 $280,600 $431,561 $380,500 n/a $102,800 n/a $146,000 n/a $308,400 $395,800 $449,500 $79,900 $119,900 '06-'09 ’98-’02 $112,900 $173,450 ’00-’03 n/a $69,990 $84,990 $89,990 n/a n/a $108,990 n/a $409,888 $138,645 $171,045 $201,945 $213,000 $233,000 $299,000 $67,990 $79,990 $328,000 $338,000 $47,280 $118,595 $154,690 '07-'08 $304,145 $381,145 $486,645 n/a $97,500 $254,000 $76,500 $101,500 $126,500 $266,200 n/a

8/4735 8/4735 12/5935 12/5935 12/5935 4/1984 5/2480 6/2995 8/4163 8/4163 10/5204 8/3933 4/1997 6/2979 6/3246 6/3246 6/2979 8/3999 8/4941 4/1397 4/1596 4/1999 4/1999 4/1595 4/1999 4/1999 4/2261 8/3855 6/2995 6/2995 8/5000 8/5000 8/5000 8/5000 4/1598 4/1798 8/4691 8/4691 4/1999 6/3498 8/5461 8/5439 8/4663 8/5461 8/6208 4/1598 2/1990 8/4799 6/3696 6/2706 6/3436 6/3800 6/3800

313/7000 321/7300 380/6500 380/6500 380/6500 200/6000 265/5400 245/5500 331/8250 316/7900 386/8000 373/6000 135/5000 250/5900 252/7900 236/7400 225/5800 309/8300 294/6600 78/6000 85/6000 127/7200 127/7200 104/6900 134/7300 177/8500 191/7500 412/7500 250/6500 280/6500 364/6500 283/6500 375/6000 404/6000 100/6800 162/6800 324/7000 331/7000 118/7000 225/6500 310/6800 295/5750 320/5250 395/5500 420/6800 155/6000 60/5300 270/6300 245/7000 195/6700 232/6700 295/7400 300/7300

470/5750 490/5000 570/5750 620/5500 570/5750 350/2500 465/1650 440/2900 430/4000 430/4500 530/6500 660/1700 270/1250 500/1500 365/4900 350/3250 500/1300 400/3900 500/3800 129/5000 155/4150 177/6000 177/6000 163/5790 194/6100 206/6300 271/6200 755/4750 450/3500 460/3500 625/2500 515/3500 625/2500 680/2500 160/4400 250/4600 490/4750 510/4750 188/5000 370/3500 540/4500 520/3750 700/1800 800/2000 650/4750 280/2000 140/3250 490/3400 363/5200 280/4500 360/4500 440/5600 420/4200

1710kg 1690kg 1760kg 1815kg 1810kg 1455kg 1510kg 1875kg 1920kg 1660kg 1720kg 2470kg 1470kg 1505kg 1410kg 1375kg 1735kg 1810kg 1585kg 540kg 675kg 675kg 700kg 520kg 535kg 675kg 565kg 1729kg 1597kg 1614kg 1665kg 1621kg 1725kg 1725kg 876kg 924kg 1980kg 1980kg 1173kg 1465kg 1690kg 1495kg 1785kg 1785kg 1695kg 1185kg 525kg 1100kg 1554kg 1310kg 1320kg 1465kg 1515kg

183 190 216 210 210 187 225 178 235 259 183 151 92 166 178 171 130 171 185 144 126 188 181 200 250 262 338 238 157 173 219 175 217 234 114 175 164 167 101 154 183 197 179 221 248 131 114 245 158 149 178 201 198

4.9 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.3 5.6 4.4 5.4 4.9 4.8 3.8 5.0 6.9 4.8 5.0 5.4 5.8 5.3 4.7 6.8 6.0 4.9 5.0 4.9 4.8 3.4 3.2 3.6 5.3 4.9 4.3 5.6 4.8 4.4 6.5 4.6 5.5 5.2 7.6 5.6 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.3 3.8 6.9 6.0 4.5 5.8 5.8 5.1 4.7 4.8

290 305 306 295 305 250 280 250 250 300 311 301 232 250 250 250 250 250 250 177 190 208 208 193 209 240 250 315 260 275 300 250 250 300 204 234 283 285 213 250 250 280 250 250 317 235 185 250 250 264 279 301 302

13.8 12.9 16.4 14.3 15.5 8.2 9.1 8.5 10.7 14.4 14.9 10.9 6.8 9.0 12.1 11.1 8.8 12.7 14.5 6.2 8.2 8.2 7.7 10.5 9.0 9.1 11.1 11.2 12.3 12.3 6.3 7.5 15.4 14.5 8.1 8.3 8.5 12.2 9.4 10.1 13.3 7.1 12.1 11.2 8.2 8.8 9.7 11.2

Car Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster Aston Martin Vantage S Roadster Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster Aston Martin DB9 Volante Aston Martin DBS Volante Audi TTS Roadster Audi TT RS Roadster Audi S5 Cabriolet Audi RS5 Cabriolet Audi R8 Spyder V8 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Bentley Continental GTC V8 BMW Z4 sDrive 20i (Mk2) BMW Z4 sDrive 35i (Mk2) BMW Z4 M Roadster BMW M Roadster BMW 335i BMW M3 Convertible (E93) BMW Z8 Caterham Seven Classic Caterham Seven Roadsport SV 120 Caterham Seven Roadsport SV 175 Caterham Seven CSR 175 Caterham Seven Supersport Caterham Seven Supersport R Caterham Seven 485 Caterham Seven CSR 260 Superlight Ferrari California T Jaguar F-Type V6 Jaguar F-Type V6 S Jaguar F-Type V8 S Jaguar XK 5.0 Jaguar XKR Jaguar XKR-S Lotus Elise 1.6 Lotus Elise S Maserati GranCabrio Maserati GranCabrio Sport Mazda MX-5 2.0 Mercedes-Benz SLK350 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG Black Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster Mini John Cooper Works Convertible Morgan 3 Wheeler Morgan Plus 8 Nissan 370Z Roadster Porsche Boxster (Mk3) Porsche Boxster S (Mk3) Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabrio (991) Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabrio (997)

The mk3 Porsche Boxster S is a brilliant all-rounder, while the Lotus Exige S Roadster counters with a more focused driving experience. Jaguar’s F-type also impresses in both V6 S (left) and V8 S forms. Mazda’s MX-5 is best for budget rear-drive fun, but for the ultimate thrills, get a Caterham 620R or Ariel Atom.

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THE THRILL OF DRIVING

PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS

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+ Sportiest, coolest drop-top Aston in years - Lacks real teeth + Sounds amazing, looks even better - Still not the best drop-top in its class + As good as the coupe, with amplified V12 rumble - Just a smidgen shakier + Consummate cruiser and capable when pushed - Roof-up wind noise + A feelgood car pa r excellence - It’s a bit of a heavyweight + Effortlessly quick - Long-term appeal open to question; not cheap either + Terrific engine… - …is the best thing about it + Gets the S4’s trick supercharged engine - Bordering on dull + Pace, looks, interior, naturally aspirated V8 - Not the last word in fun or involvement + Dynamically outstanding, sounds terrific - V10 sounds even better + Looks and sounds sensational - It’s the most expensive Audi ever + Still arguably the world’s best topless GT - Still no sports car + The Z4 has grown up… - …and got fat + As above, with more power - Not as much fun as it used to be + Exhilarating and characterful, that engine - Stiff suspension + Fresh-air M3, that motor, hunky looks - M Coupe drives better + Looks good, great to drive, fantastic engine - A bit shaky + M DCT transmission, pace, slick roof - Extra weight blunts the edge + M5-powered super-sportster - M5’s more fun to drive + The Caterham experience starts here - It’s pretty raw + New Ford-engined model is just great - Bigger drivers need SV model + The Caterham for everyday use - Loses intensity of R300 + Focused dynamics, more than enough performance - The usual Caterham downsides + One of the best Caterhams - You can build it yourself + The best road-and-track Seven yet - Impractical, noisy, uncomfortable + Hits 100km/h in 3.4sec and feels even faster - Will shock those coming out of a Boxster + Brilliant for high days, holidays and trackdays - Wet Wednesdays + A brilliant GT with an impressive turbo engine - doesn't engage like other Ferraris + Supercharged V6 sounds great - lots of expensive options + The sweet spot of the F-Type range - most supercars have more boot space + V8 punches hard but chassis doesn't sparkle - Starting to get pricey + Basic XK gets extra power… - …but loses some of its GT refinement + Gains Jag’s fantastic new V8 - Loses sporting ground to its main foes + Loud and mad; most exciting Jag in years - It’s also the most expensive in years + New 1.6 Elise is light and fantastic - Smaller engine could put some off + New supercharged Elise boasts epic grip and pace - Pricey) options + As good to drive as it is to look at - Lacks the grunt of some rivals + Looks, performance, cruising ability - Brakes could be sharper + Handles brilliantly again - Less than macho image + Best non-AMG SLK yet - Still no Boxster-beater + AMG SLK is quicker and more economical than ever - Should be sharper, though + AMG gets serious - Dull-witted 7G-Tronic auto box, uneven dynamics + Wafty performance, beautifully engineered - Lacks ultimate sports car feel + Monster performance, lighter than before - Still heavy, steering lacks consistency + Loses none of the coupe’s talents - But (understandably) loses the gullwing doors + A manlier Mini cabrio. As hardcore as the hatch… - …which is still better + Quirky, characterful, brilliant - Unnatural brake feel; you’d better not be shy + Hilarious mix of old looks and new mechanicals - Refinement is definitely old-school + The Zed’s old-school character remains intact - Its purposeful looks don’t + Goes & looks better; cleanest Boxster ever - Steering now electric to help cut consumption + Boxster steps out of 911’s shadow - But gets 911’s less appealing new steering + All-new open 911 drives just like the coupe - Which means the same artificial steering + The best 911 drop-top you can buy - Lacks glamour of an R8 Spyder

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Database

Knowledge

Coupes / GTs Our Choice

Best of the Rest

The new Cayman S is right up there with its 911 bigger brother – put simply, it’s sensational. The Lotus Exige S (left) is a proper road racer for $120K and our joint 2012 Car of the Year. Audi’s R8 is another gem, especially in supercar-rivalling V10 Plus form. And, of course, there’s always the Nissan GT-R…

Price

Engine cyl/cc

kW/rpm

Nm/rpm

Weight

kW/tonne

0-100km/h

Top speed

L/100km

Porsche 911 GT3. PDK, electric steering, a new engine with zero racing pedigree… Yes, we were nervous about the new GT3 before its arrival. Thankfully, it’s still fully deserving of the badge, although you’ll now need a healthy disregard for your licence to feel it truly come alive.

$231,000 $251,700 $386,391 $349,500 n/a $75,050 $98,400 $139,400 $135,400 $161,400 $279,500 $366,900 $408,200 ’10-’12 $370,000 $408,870 $450,000 ’10-’12 $108,700 $155,100 '10-'11 ’00-’07 ’05-’07 ’03-’04 '06-'09 ’98-’03 $292,500 $38,490 $31,990 $83,500 $189,000 $209,000 $299,000 $119,990 $123,990 $145,990 $288,800 $308,800 $364,900 $157,900 '12 '06-'09 '07-'09 $422,800 $69,500 $172,000 ’99-’02 $58,990 $139,900 ’11-’13 ’11-’13 ’11-’13 '06-'09 $206,500 $243,100 $222,200 $258,800 $294,100 '08-'11 '08-'11 ’11-’12 ’04-’08 ’02-’05 ’98-’01 ’94-’97 ’09-’11 ‘10-’11 '11-'12 ‘07-’09 '07-'09 ’03-’05 ’03-’05 ’99 ’95 ’93-’95 $37,150 $29,990 n/a $47,990

8/4735 8/4735 12/5935 12/5935 12/5935 4/1984 4/1984 5/2480 6/2995 8/4163 8/4163 10/5204 10/5204 10/5204 8/3993 12/5998 12/5998 12/5998 6/2979 8/3999 8/4361 6/3246 6/3246 6/3246 6/3246 6/3246 6/2993 4/1497 4/1591 6/3696 8/5000 8/5000 8/5000 6/3456 6/3456 6/3456 8/4244 8/4691 8/4691 8/6208 8/6208 8/6208 8/6208 8/5461 6/3696 6/3799 6/2568 4/1598 6/3436 6/2893 6/3436 6/3436 6/3387 6/3436 6/3799 6/3436 6/3799 6/3799 6/3614 6/3799 6/3799 6/3824 6/3596 6/3387 6/3600 6/3797 6/3797 6/3996 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3746 4/2990 4/1998 4/1998 4/1984 4/1984

313/7000 321/7300 380/6500 380/6500 380/6500 155/4300 200/6000 250/5400 245/5500 331/8250 316/7900 386/8000 404/8000 412/8000 373/6000 423/6000 460/6000 463/6000 225/5800 309/8300 331/8300 252/7900 338/7900 265/7900 252/7900 236/7400 412/6000 99/6600 136/5500 235/7000 283/6500 375/6000 405/6000 257/7000 206/6400 257/7000 302/7100 338/7000 338/7000 336/6800 380/6800 354/6800 373/6800 400/5500 245/7000 404/6400 206/6800 147/5500 239/7400 195/7200 235/7200 243/7400 217/6250 257/7400 295/7400 257/7400 295/7400 350/8250 254/6500 283/6500 300/7300 261/6600 235/6800 221/6800 200/6100 320/7600 331/7900 368/8250 305/7600 305/7600 280/7400 280/7400 265/7200 221/6500 176/6200 147/7000 147/7000 155/5300 188/6000

470/5750 490/5000 570/5750 620/5500 570/5750 350/1600 320/2500 450/1600 440/2900 430/4000 430/4500 530/6500 540/6500 540/6500 660/1700 700/1700 800/2000 800/1700 400/1300 400/3900 440/3750 365/4900 269/5000 370/4900 365/4900 350/3250 680/1500 172/1000 265/1500 360/5200 515/3500 625/2500 680/2500 400/4500 342/4700 400/4500 460/4750 520/4750 520/4750 600/5000 620/5200 630/5000 630/5250 800/2000 363/5200 632/3200 392/4400 275/1700 370/4500 300/4400 370/4750 370/4750 340/4200 390/5600 440/5600 390/5600 440/5600 440/6250 390/4400 420/4400 420/4200 400/4600 370/4250 350/4600 330/5000 430/6250 430/6750 460/5750 405/5500 405/5500 385/5000 385/5000 370/5000 355/5400 305/4100 205/6600 205/6600 280/1700 330/2500

1630kg 1610kg 1680kg 1785kg 1695kg 1295kg 1395kg 1450kg 1675kg 1715kg 1560kg 1620kg 1570kg 1520kg 2295kg 2320kg 2320kg 2240kg 1525kg 1580kg 1530kg 1495kg 1495kg 1385kg 1420kg 1375kg 1790kg 1198kg 1313kg 1706kg 1585kg 1678kg 1678kg 1176kg 1382kg 1430kg 1780kg 1880kg 1770kg 1730kg 1710kg 1755kg 1760kg 2135kg 1520kg 1740kg 1560kg 1421kg 1320kg 1330kg 1350kg 1295kg 1415kg 1380kg 1395kg 1430kg 1445kg 1430kg 1415kg 1425kg 1420kg 1420kg 1405kg 1320kg 1370kg 1395kg 1370kg 1435kg 1395kg 1375kg 1380kg 1330kg 1350kg 1270kg 1335kg 1216kg 1257kg 1373kg 1351kg

192 199 230 216 228 128 145 175 148 183 201 242 262 275 165 185 192 210 150 148 220 172 172 194 180 178 130 83 106 140 182 227 245 224 151 183 161 183 190 197 226 207 215 197 163 235 134 105 184 148 177 190 163 181 214 183 207 242 183 202 215 183 163 172 157 233 295 274 222 225 202 213 202 179 136 120 119 114 146

4.9 4.5 4.2 4.6 4.3 6.1 5.2 4.3 4.9 4.5 4.6 3.9 3.8 3.6 4.8 4.5 4.2 3.9 5.5 4.8 4.4 5.2 5.1 4.9 5.0 5.4 4.2 9.0 8.4 5.9 5.5 4.8 4.4 4.0 5.1 4.8 5.2 4.7 4.6 4.5 4.2 4.6 4.2 4.5 5.4 2.7 4.7 7.6 5.0 5.8 5.2 5.0 5.5 4.8 4.5 4.9 4.5 3.5 4.9 4.7 4.6 4.7 5.1 5.2 5.3 4.1 3.9 3.9 4.3 4.2 4.5 4.4 4.8 5.0 6.5 7.6 7.6 6.9 6.0

290 305 305 295 295 245 250 250 250 250 302 316 317 320 303 318 325 329 250 250 305 257 250 259 250 250 250 200 214 250 250 250 300 274 262 286 285 298 301 250 300 250 300 250 250 320 265 231 283 265 277 282 275 289 304 285 299 315 290 302 306 293 285 280 267 312 310 310 310 310 306 306 302 277 254 226 226 240 250

13.8 12.9 16.4 14.3 16.3 7.1 7.7 8.5 8.1 10.8 14.2 13.9 14.9 13.9 10.6 14.5 14.5 16.3 8.4 12.4 12.7 11.9 11.9 11.9 12.1 11.2 9.9 5.0 6.8 10.5 11.2 12.3 12.3 10.1 9.3 9.9 14.3 15.5 14.4 12.1 12.2 14.2 15.3 10.6 10.5 11.8 14.1 6.7 8.8 30.1 29.7 9.7 10.6 9.0 9.5 9.3 9.9 12.4 10.3 10.6 10.6 11.5 11.1 10.1 11.1 12.6 13.2 13.8 13.0 13.0 12.9 12.9 13.0 12.4 10.3 7.8 7.8 7.4 8.1

Car Aston Martin V8 Vantage (4.7) Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Aston Martin V12 Vantage Aston Martin DB9 Aston Martin DBS Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Audi TTS Audi TT RS Audi S5 Audi RS5 Audi R8 V8 Audi R8 V10 Audi R8 V10 Plus Audi R8 GT Bentley Continental GT V8 Bentley Continental GT Bentley Continental GT Speed Bentley Continental Supersports BMW 335i M Sport BMW M3 (E92) BMW M3 GTS (E92) BMW M3 (E46) BMW M3 CS (E46) BMW M3 CSL (E46) BMW Z4 M Coupe BMW M Coupe BMW M6 Honda CR-Z Hyundai Veloster Turbo Infiniti G37S Coupe Jaguar XK 5.0 Jaguar XKR Jaguar XKR-S Lotus Exige S (V6) Lotus Evora Lotus Evora S Maserati GranTurismo Maserati GranTurismo Sport Maserati GT MC Stradale Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG Nissan 370Z Nissan GT-R (MY13) Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) Peugeot RCZ 1.6 Porsche Cayman S (Mk3) Porsche Cayman (Mk2) Porsche Cayman S (Mk2) Porsche Cayman R Porsche Cayman S (Mk1) Porsche 911 Carrera (991) Porsche 911 Carrera S (991) Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (991) Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (991) Porsche 911 GT3 (991) Porsche 911 Carrera (997.2) Porsche 911 Carrera S (997.2) Porsche 911 Carrera GTS (997.2) Porsche 911 Carrera S (997.1) Porsche 911 Carrera 4S (996) Porsche 911 Carrera (996 3.4) Porsche 911 Carrera (993) Porsche 911 GT3 (997.2) Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997.2) Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 (997.2) Porsche 911 GT3 (997.1) Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997.1) Porsche 911 GT3 (996.2) Porsche 911 GT3 RS (996.2) Porsche 911 GT3 (996.1) Porsche 911 RS (993) Porsche 968 Club Sport Subaru BRZ Toyota 86 VW Scirocco GT 2.0 TSI VW Scirocco R

Ratings 142

rating + 2012 upgrades keep the V8 Vantage on song - Starting to feel a little dated, though + Keener engine, V12 Vantage looks - Slightly sluggish auto only + The best series production car that Aston Martin makes - Erm, a tad thirsty? + Better than the old DB9 in every respect - Automatic gearbox could be quicker + Stupendous engine, gearbox, brakes - Pricey. Can bite the unwary + Front-driver loses nothing to quattro TTs - Steers like a computer game + Usefully quicker TT; great drivetrain - Still steers like a computer game + Sublime 5-cylinder turbo engine - Rest of package can’t quite match it + Supercharged V6 makes S5 cleaner and faster - Pricey once you add options + Brilliant engine and improved chassis - Still not as exciting as you’d hope + Finally, a true 911 alternative - Exclusivity comes at a price + Real supercar feel - We still prefer the V8 + More power and aggression, less weight - Firm ride may be too much for some + Everything we love about the R8 - Not as hardcore as we wanted + A proper drivers’ Bentley with decent economy - W12 suddenly seems pointless + 325km/h in utter comfort - Weight, thirst + 330km/h in utter comfort - Feels nose-heavy in slow corners + A thoroughly impressive car… - …rather than a fun and involving one + Eager engine, exploitable chassis - Slightly unadventurous styling + Fends off all of its talented new rivals - …except the cheaper 1-series M + Highly exclusive, most focused M-car ever - Good luck trying to find one + One of the best BMWs ever - Slightly artificial steering feel + CSL dynamics without CSL price - Looks like the standard car + Stripped-down road-race M3 - Standard brakes barely adequate + A real drivers’ car - You’ve got to be prepared to get stuck in + Quick and characterful - Lacks finesse + Great engine and economy, excellent build - Numb steering, unsettled B-road ride + The first hybrid with sporting intent - No match for a good diesel hot hatch + The usual Hyundai value, with added fun - Styling might be too quirky for some + Softer 370Z delivers sharp-driving swing at the Germans - Bland looks + Fine car for the likes of us - Jag buyers may not like the harder edge + Fast and incredibly rewarding Jag - The kids will have to stay at home + The most exciting XKR ever - It’s nearly $300,000 + Breathtaking road-racer; our joint 2012 Car of the Year - Doubts over Lotus’s future + Sublime ride and handling. Our 2009 car of the year - Pricey options + A faster and better Evora - But one which spars with the Porsche 911… + Striking, accomplished GT - Doesn’t spike the pulse like an Aston or 911 + The best everyday GranTurismo yet - Starting to get long in the tooth? + Brilliant blend of road racer and GT - No rear seats + Mercedes makes a proper two-door M3 rival - C63 saloon looks better + The C63 turned up to 11 - Too heavy, not as fiery as Black Series cars of old + Power, control, build quality - Lacks ultimate involvement + AMG goes Porsche-hunting - Dull-witted gearshift spoils the party + Presence, pace, monster engine - Stiff ride, stiff competition + Quicker, leaner, keener than 350Z - Not quite a Cayman-killer + GT-R is quicker and better than ever - Suspension is too firm for Australian roads + Big, brutal, and great fun - Very firm ride + Distinctive looks, highly capable handling - Could be a bit more exciting + The Cayman comes of age - Erm… + Extra power, just as involving - Still lacks the desirability of other Porsches + Still want that 911? - Yeah, us too + Total handling excellence - Styling additions not to all tastes + Pure and rewarding - If they’d just move the engine back a bit… + 911 becomes cleaner and cleverer - But some of its character’s gone AWOL + As above, but with supercar pace - Electric steering robs it of some tactility + A touch more engaging than 2wd 991 - Still stand-offish compared to 997 + The best 991-generation Carrera - Choose your spec carefully + Our 2013 eCOTY. Brilliant - Some purists will moan about the lack of manual + Faster and greener than the mk1 997 - Lost a little of the 911 magic + Poise, precision, blinding pace - Feels a bit clinical + Fitting finale for the 997 generation - Absolutely nothing + evo Car of the Year 2004; like a junior GT3 - Tech overload? + Second best 996 only to the GT3 - Very little + evo Car of the Year 1998; beautifully polished - Some like a bit of rough + More character than 996 - Harder work at speed + Even better than the car it replaced - Give us a minute… + Our 2010 car of the year - Looks and noise are slightly OTT + The ultimate modern 911, and our 2011 Car of the Year - Unforgiving on-road ride + Runner-up evo Car of the Year 2006 - Ferrari 599 GTBs + evo Car of the Year 2007 - A chunk more money than the brilliant GT3 + evo Car of the Year 2003 - Chassis is a bit too track-focused for some roads + Track-biased version of above - Limited supply + Our Car of the Year 1999 - Porsche didn’t build enough + Barking engine note, gearchange - Not quite hardcore enough + One of the all-time greats - Lots have been driven very hard + Fine chassis, great steering - Weak engine, not the slide-happy car they promised + More fun than its cousin (above) - Same lack of torque, poor interior quality + Golf GTI price and performance - Interior lacks flair + Great engine, grown-up dynamics - Perhaps a little too grown-up for some

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Thrill-free zone 3 Tepid 33 Interesting 333 Seriously good 3333 A truly great car 33333

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Database

Knowledge

Supercars Best of the Rest

Our Choice

Porsche’s 918 Spyder (left) pips the McLaren P1 on the road, and vice versa on the track. (Is the LaFerrari better still? We’ll let you know when we get one together with its hybrid rivals.) Meanwhile, Pagani’s Huayra was our joint 2012 Car of the Year and Lamborghini’s Aventador offers true supercar drama.

Price

Engine cyl/cc

kW/rpm

Nm/rpm

Weight

kW/tonne

0-100km/h

Top speed

L/100km

Ferrari 458 Speciale. The regular 458 Italia is amazing enough in itself – in fact it used to occupy this very space – but the Speciale follows in the tradition of the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia and makes the car it is based on even more, well, special. The supercar to buy.

$472,840 ’10-’12 ’78-’81 n/a n/a n/a ’91-’95 n/a $525,772 $588,806 $550,000 '04-'10 '04-'10 '07-'10 ’99-’04 ’03-’04 ’97-’99 $691,100 '06-'12 '10-'12 '11-'12 ’02-’06 ’97-’02 $625,000 '04-'11 ’02-’04 ’96-’97 ’87-’92 ’84-’85 ’04-’06 ’92-’94 $409,500 $455,000 n/a n/a ’06-’08 '07-'08 $761,500 $795,000 ’01-’06 '06-'11 '09-'11 ’99-’00 ’00-’02 ’88-’91 '10-12 n/a n/a ’94-’98 '09-'10 $467,965 $639,000 ’04-’07 n/a n/a ’01-’05 ’05-’06 '09-'10 ’09-’13 ’10-’13 ’10-’13 '06-'09 ’00-’06 ’04-’06 ’95-’98 ’96-’99 ’04-’06 ’87-’90

12/5935 12/7312 6/3500 16/7993 16/7993 16/7993 12/3500 8/6162 8/4499 8/4499 8/4499 8/4308 8/4308 8/4308 8/3586 8/3586 8/3496 12/6262 12/5999 12/5999 12/5999 12/5748 12/5474 12/6262 12/5748 12/5998 12/4698 8/2936 8/2855 8/5409 6/3498 10/5204 10/5204 10/5204 10/5204 10/4961 10/4961 12/6498 12/6498 12/6192 12/6496 12/6946 12/5992 12/5992 12/5167 10/4805 8/3799 8/3799 12/6064 12/5980 8/6208 8/6208 8/5439 12/5980 12/7291 12/7291 12/7291 12/7291 6/3800 6/3800 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 6/3600 10/5733 6/2850

421/6750 559/6000 204/6500 736/6000 736/6000 882/6400 412/8000 476/6500 419/9000 419/9000 445/9000 360/8500 360/8500 375/8500 294/8500 312/8500 279/8250 545/8250 456/7600 456/7600 493/8250 379/7250 357/7000 486/8000 397/7250 485/7800 383/8500 351/7000 295/7000 410/6500 404/7200 405/8000 412/8000 419/8000 419/8000 383/8000 390/8000 515/8250 515/8250 427/7500 471/8000 493/8000 423/7300 405/7100 339/7000 412/8700 459/7500 459/7500 461/7500 493/5400 420/6800 464/7400 460/6500 537/5800 567/6300 410/5500 443/6150 499/6200 368/6000 390/6250 456/6500 353/6000 309/6000 355/5700 300/5750 321/5750 450/8000 331/6500

620/5500 750/7600 330/5000 1250/2200 1250/2200 1500/3000 618/3750 819/3800 540/6000 540/6000 540/6000 465/5250 465/5250 470/5250 373/4750 373/4750 363/6000 690/6000 608/5600 608/5600 620/6500 589/5250 569/5000 683/6000 588/5250 657/5500 471/6500 577/4000 496/3800 678/3750 644/4500 540/6500 540/6500 540/6500 540/6500 510/4500 510/4250 690/5500 690/5500 650/5400 660/6000 660/6500 630/5500 620/5500 500/5200 480/7000 600/3000 600/3000 617/4000 1000/2200 650/4750 635/5500 780/3250 1000/2250 780/4500 750/4100 760/4000 780/4000 650/1950 700/2100 700/2250 680/2100 560/2700 640/3500 540/4500 540/4500 590/5750 500/5000

1739kg 1740kg 1303kg 1950kg 1990kg 1838kg 1566kg 1528kg 1485kg 1430kg 1395kg 1449kg 1520kg 1350kg 1390kg 1280kg 1350kg 1630kg 1688kg 1688kg 1605kg 1730kg 1716kg 1880kg 1840kg 1365kg 1229kg 1100kg 1160kg 1538kg 1470kg 1380kg 1410kg 1340kg 1485kg 1520kg 1420kg 1575kg 1625kg 1650kg 1665kg 1565kg 1490kg 1625kg 1447kg 1480kg 1434kg 1474kg 1137kg 1876kg 1620kg 1550kg 1768kg 1350kg 1210kg 1250kg 1230kg 1400kg 1570kg 1585kg 1370kg 1585kg 1540kg 1440kg 1500kg 1215kg 1380kg 1450kg

246 326 161 389 380 488 267 316 286 278 320 253 243 282 215 248 210 339 274 274 311 222 219 259 219 361 316 328 261 263 280 298 298 318 286 255 278 331 321 262 287 320 292 255 238 282 324 318 418 267 250 299 284 404 470 337 370 361 238 253 338 226 203 253 206 253 332 232

4.1 3.7 5.9 2.5 2.7 2.5 4.2 3.6 3.4 3.4 3.0 4.0 4.1 3.6 4.5 4.1 4.7 3.1 3.7 3.7 3.4 4.2 4.4 3.7 4.0 3.7 3.7 4.1 4.9 3.9 4.1 3.9 3.7 3.4 3.9 4.0 3.8 2.9 3.0 4.0 3.8 3.3 4.4 3.9 4.9 3.7 3.1 3.2 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.5 3.8 3.3 3.3 3.7 3.6 3.4 3.7 3.1 3.5 3.7 4.2 4.0 4.3 4.4 3.9 3.7

295 354 262 407 407 415 342 330 325 320 325 315 311 320 295 300 295 340 330 330 335 325 320 335 320 350 325 324 305 330 343 320 325 325 324 315 315 350 350 332 340 337 338 335 298 325 333 329 387 320 317 315 334 360 349 317 345 349 312 315 330 310 304 319 290 295 330 300

14.4 24.5 24.1 24.9 23.1 15.0 13.3 11.8 13.3 15.2 15.2 15.7 16.6 16.9 15.0 17.9 17.5 22.9 22.9 15.4 20.5 13.3 13.7 13.7 13.8 17.0 17.2 17.2 21.4 20.6 20.6 11.7 11.7 14.9 14.4 13.3 13.7 14.5 11.5 11.4 11.9 12.8 13.5 12.9 15.7 -

Car Aston Martin Vanquish (Mk2) Aston Martin One-77 BMW M1 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Bugatti Veyron Super Sport Bugatti EB110 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Ferrari 458 Italia Ferrari 458 Spider Ferrari 458 Speciale Ferrari F430 Ferrari F430 Spider Ferrari 430 Scuderia Ferrari 360 Modena Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale Ferrari F355 F1 Berlinetta Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano HGTE Ferrari 599 GTO Ferrari 575M Fiorano Handling Pack Ferrari 550 Maranello Ferrari FF Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1 Ferrari Enzo Ferrari F50 Ferrari F40 Ferrari 288GTO Ford GT Jaguar XJ220 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera Lamborghini LP570-4 Performante Lamborghini Gallardo Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Lamborghini Aventador Roadster Lamborghini Murciélago Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Lamborighini Murciélago LP670-4 SV Lamborghini Diablo GT Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 Lamborghini Countach QV Lexus LFA/LFA Nürburgring McLaren MP4-12C McLaren 12C Spider McLaren F1 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Pagani Huayra Pagani Zonda 760RS Pagani Zonda C12S Pagani Zonda F Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster Porsche 911 Turbo (997.2) Porsche 911 Turbo S (997.2) Porsche 911 GT2 RS (997.2) Porsche 911 Turbo (997.1) Porsche 911 Turbo (996) Porsche 911 GT2 (996) Porsche 911 Turbo (993) Porsche 911 GT2 (993) Porsche Carrera GT Porsche 959

rating + A much better car than the DBS it succeeds - Shame it looks little different, then + The engine, the looks, the drama - Gearbox hates manoeuvring; only 77 were made + Early supercar icon - A bit under-endowed these days + Superbly engineered 4wd quad-turbo rocket - Er, lacks luggage space? + Warp speed and ferocious noise sans-roof - Ridiculous brolly/roof thing + The world’s fastest supercar - Limited to 415km/h for us mere mortals + Superbly engineered 4wd quad-turbo rocket - It just fizzled out + Huge pace and character - Take plenty of brave pills if there’s rain + An astounding achievement, looks fantastic - There’ll never be a manual + A 458 that sounds and feels more organic - Er, 5km/h slower? + The most exciting car available for sale in Australia - Just about perfect, so nothing + Just brilliant - Didn’t you read the plus point? + Berlinetta dynamics, 8000rpm with the roof down - Looks? + Successful F1 technology transplant - Likes to shout about it + Worthy successor to 355 - Not quite as involving as it should be + Totally exhilarating road-racer. It’s loud - It’s very, very loud + Looks terrific, sounds even better - Are you kidding? + 545kW isn’t too much power for the road - Not as dramatic as an Aventador + evo Car of the Year 2006 - Banks are getting harder to rob + As above, but with a bit more edge - Can be a little too edgy in the wet + One of the truly great Ferraris - Erm, the air con isn’t very good + Fiorano pack makes 575 truly great - It should have been standard + Everything - Nothing + Four seats and 4WD, but a proper Ferrari - Looks divide opinion + Awesomely capable grand tourer - See above + Intoxicating, exploitable - Cabin detailing falls short of Zonda or F1 + The best drivers’ Ferrari - Lines lack tension + The shape that launched a thousand posters - Er… + Painfully beautiful, rarer than the F40 - You are joking? + Our 2005 Car of the Year - JC had one. Reckoned it didn’t handle… + Britain’s greatest supercar… - …until McLaren built the F1 + The mad rear-driven Lambo is back! - Gallardo not feeling as fresh as the 458 + Still a missile from A to B - Starting to show its age + A reminder of how great the Gallardo is - LP560-4 does as good a job + It’s a Superleggera Spyder… - …that’s not actually that super-light + On a full-bore start it spins all four wheels. Cool - Slightly clunky e-gear + Lighter, more agile - Grabby carbon brakes, clunky e-gear + Most important new Lambo since the Countach - Erm… expensive? + Sensational engine and styling - A wee bit on the thirsty side + Gorgeous, capable and incredibly friendly - V12 feels stressed + Compelling old-school supercar - You’d better be on your toes + A supercar in its truest, wildest sense - Be prepared for stares + Briefly the world’s fastest production car - They made only 80 + Best-built, best-looking Diablo of all - People’s perceptions + Still the definitive supercar - Visibility, pract- oh hell, who cares? + Absurd and compelling supercar - Badge and price don’t quite match + Staggering performance, refinement - Lacks design flair + No discernible dynamic compromises - Requires commitment to come alive + Still the most single-minded supercar ever - There’ll never be another + Bonkers looks, bonkers speed - Bonkers price + Great engine and chassis (gullwing doors too!) - Slightly tardy gearbox + The most thrilling car to wear the pointed star - Can intimidate + Zonda-pace, 575-style drivability - Dreadful brake feel + Our joint 2012 Car of the Year - Engine isn’t as nape-prickling as the Zonda’s + The most extreme Zonda ever - The last Zonda ever (probably) + evo Car of the Year 2001 - Harry’s sold his long-termer + Everything an Italian supercar ought to be - Choose interior carefully + The best Zonda ever - Doesn't come up in the classifieds often + The Turbo at the very top of its game - The GT3’s cheaper… + As above, with more power - The GT3’s even cheaper… + More powerful than a Carrera GT. Handles, too - Erm… + Monster cornering ability - A bit woolly on its standard settings + evo Car of the year 2000; the 911 for all seasons - We can’t find any reasons + Later revisions made it even more of a star - Care still required + Stupendous all-weather supercar - It doesn’t rain enough + Hairy-arsed homologation special - Harry won’t buy one + Probably the greatest modern supercar - Can bite + Tech showcase, still a great drive - Limited choice of colours?

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BUYING GUIDE

MASERATI QUATTROPORTE

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Why would you? Because it’s beautiful, charismatic and driver-centric, making it one of the greatest Maseratis in recent years. What to pay Good, pre-facelift cars, which had a 4.2-litre V8, should be $35,00050,000 with sub-100,000km.

Later cars with the 4.7-litre engine start at around $115K. What to look out for Regular (i.e. annual) servicing is vital, with no skimping – every four years there’s a big service that costs nearly $5K. With the DuoSelect automated manual ’box, gearchanging

anomalies, such as jumping from second to fourth, could mean a worn clutch. (The optional ZF auto on later cars is usually trouble-free.) Creaks and knocks can mean worn suspension. Brakes are very expensive – over $1000 for front pads and $2500 for drilled discs.

SPECIFICATION (4.2 V8) Years 2004-2013 Engine 4244cc V8 Power 294kW @ 7000rpm Torque 451Nm @ 4500rpm 0-100km/h 5.2sec Top speed 275km/h Rating 33333


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145


Art of speed

Honda NSX Monel ignition key by R IC H A R D L A N E | P H O T O G R A P H Y b y S T E V E H A L L THE KEY TO YOUR CAR IS OF GREATER MEANING than its modest dimensions imply. Obviously it starts the engine, but there’s much more to it than that, especially if the car in question is of an evo persuasion. You don’t get quite the same jittery sense of anticipation when you reach into your pocket for your house keys, do you? The best keys are the simplest ones, of course, featuring only a flattened plane to grip between thumb and forefinger and a serrated snout to rattle down the barrel and coax the lock pins into position. Twist once to awaken the electrics and hear the fuel line gulp, twist again to fire a high-voltage current to the spark plugs. Sadly the significance of this ritual is lost on most manufacturers now, and as a result this satisfyingly gritty sensation of physically prompting an engine into motion is becoming rarer by the day. In fact, you have to go back many years to find a mainstream supercar with a proper key. What you see here is one such key – the one Honda supplied with the NSX for the model years from 1991 to 1996. A bit like the car it unlocked, it was a futuristic metallic slither with the sole adornment of three letters. With all the beautiful simplicity of the old Ferrari keys but without

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the Piaggio Ape vibe, compared with something like Aston Martin’s nauseating ‘Emotion Control Unit’ it is simply in another galaxy of cool. And emotion, for that matter. That it could also easily be mistaken for the key to one of Honda’s excellent lawnmowers only adds to its charm. Part 35113-SL0-A11 was not, as it is often said, made of titanium. Honda instead used Monel, an expensive and highly corrosion-resistant alloy of nickel and copper that’s often used in marine engineering. Non-magnetic and able to maintain its shape at searingly high temperatures, it has been used in the anchor cables of minesweepers, on experimental rocketpowered aircraft, for military dog tags and, most impressively, for the strings of Sting’s Fender Telecaster. Monel is so robust that cutting a key blank is said to be a highly risky undertaking that could easily damage the machine. A quick job at Bunnings it ain’t. As a material, then, Monel was overqualified, but few keys have had a higher calling than that of life-giver to the all-aluminium VTEC engine at the centre of the NSX experience. It was three litres of open-ended power delivery with a six-cylinder bark that hardened viciously as the revs climbed. It was something of a masterpiece, it had titanium conrods, it was built by hand, and the key-related overkill was probably justified. L

Epic drive in the new Aston Martin DB11 N Ferrari California T Handling Speciale N Mercedes-AMG GT v Jaguar F-type R


CHRONOFIGHTER VINTAGE 8th Avenue Watch Co., Emporium Melbourne 03 9639 6175 8th Avenue Watch Co., Westield Doncaster 03 9840 6304 Hardy Brothers, Collins Street 03 9624 5300 QLD 8th Avenue Watch Co., Paciic Fair Shopping Centre 07 5575 4883 VIC

Automatic day-date chronograph Fast-action start/stop trigger 44 mm steel case, grained dial Hand-sewn calf leather strap

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