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too cool for school

East meets West for Summer fun

370Z GT Edition › Honda CR-Z › X Games › USA Auction


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elcome to the ‘Too cool for school’ Summer holiday issue of Road Magazine. This month, Road is all about four seriously slick auto-related features – from the far East to Western USA. Over in the States, Road’s first lady, Ashley Van Dyke, has two characteristically fun, stylish and wild reports to entertain you all in her own unique, high energy, glamour manner: Her first is from the amazing X Games in LA where Ashley gets all dirty with the rally cars and stars. Then she’s off to Orange County, California, to one of the world’s biggest and best auto auctions, Barrett Jackson. Both ace articles reflect the awesome nature of these jaw-dropping American events. The other two features are classic Road Magazine auto tests from the other side of the world, Japan. There’s our cover car – the amazing new Nissan 370Z GT Edition...the best sub £40K coupe on the market? Then we take a ride in the fun, funky and fabulously-engineered Honda CR-Z GT Navi, with its innovative hybrid technology. We really hope you’ve had a fun Summer, and enjoy this FREE issue of Road Magazine. Do please share it about...


WORDS & IMAGES: WWW.ROYLEMEDIA.CO.UK


37 0 Z GT Edition: You get what you paid for On paper, the ÂŁ35,000 370Z GT Edition might seem steep, some ÂŁ5K more than the standard 324bhp, 155mph 370Z. But the gorgeous looks and awesome suspension justify it alone...


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uestion. How do you go about celebrating 40 years of amazing Z Cars and huge success in GT Racing? Nissan’s answer... the £35,000 370Z GT Edition. But at £5K over the asking price of a standard 370Z – which already offers drop dead coupe looks, RWD, a front-engine 3.7-litre V6 with 324bhp/363Nm, six-speed manual or sevenspeed paddle shift gearbox and generous specifications – is this super sexy GT Edition offering enough? First things first... what do you get for your additional £5,000? Well, externally, there’s certainly no escaping the striking Storm White paintwork, complete with retro chic GT Edition side decals, nor can you fail to notice the stunning and oh-so-cool Rays 19-inch dark forged alloys – both of which are fabulous, in our humble opinion. Less glamorously, the GT also gets extra underfloor insulation, to help reduce NVH levels, which works. roadmagazine.co.uk


Inside, you also get Nissan’s excellent new touch screen Sat Nav (complete with 9.3MB hard drive storage, voice activation, iPod connectivity and a Michelin guide), a neat tyre pressure monitoring system (handy for those track days), a useful reversing camera (given how wide the 370Z is, not to mention the price of those rims), and there’s now

a ‘snow’ mode if you select the seven-speed paddle shifter – all as standard GT Edition equipment. That does represent a lot of visual jush and specification equipment, but, if that were all you got for £5K, you’d been feeling short changed here... even with those beautiful Rays alloys, which we all know don’t come cheap.

But, thankfully, the GT Edition has more up its stylish sleeves... a LOT more, in the form of serious fettling of the standard 370Z suspension by Nissan’s top engineers. i.e: Substance. The GT Edition’s spring rates and dampers have been modified and fine tuned, to suit British roads and perfectly meet the needs of the UK driver,


along with other subtle, but mightily effective tweaks to the geometry. The aim is to eliminate some of the harsh, crashy ride, unwanted steering kick-back and twitchy handling quirks unfortunately found in the standard, not perfect 370Z. The result? Practically perfect ride and handling – making this a serious contender for the best sub

£40,000 coupe on the market, even compared to the perfect (more expensive) Porsche Cayman S and new BMW 1M. Out on the road, you notice the suspension differences in all environments. The GT Edition is a more comfortable cruiser, almost making it a pure GT car to live up to its name afterall (although others do this

better). And it’s certainly a whole lot more accurate, composed and sporty in feel now, with nigh-on perfect control approaching and at its limit – allowing the experienced driver to explore the true Z car nature of power oversteer, on tap, safely and exhilaratingly (which few do better, and not for this sort of money invested). Sweet.

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It’s utterly amazing how far the chassis and suspension have come from the old 350Z to the 370Z and from there to this outstanding GT Edition, which is as close to ride and handling perfection as you can get for a sub£40,000 sports car. This special Z’s charms are hard to resist. Before you get in, the clean, mean, voluptuous, sexy looks suck

you in. Once settled in the sports seats, the much improved 370Z cabin quality and excellent functionality win you over. And the driving position is superb. Then, push the 4th generation 3.7-litre V6 VQ37VHR engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and LiftControl) into life, and the deep V burble gets your juices flowing nicely. The chunky

clutch adds the perfect feel. As for performance... thrust from the now 324bhp and 363Nm V6 is dramatic, especially when you hunt out the 7,500rpm redline, where the burly, meaty engine sounds as it should do, with a lush boom filling the cosy cabin, fierce induction noise up-front and a real roar from the rear. The 0-60mph figure of


5.3s seems conservative, in our view, and the 155mph limit easily achieved, we’d guess... The GT Edition special suspension work and switch to larger 19-inch rims with monster 275/35 rear and 245/40 front tyres has given the burly Zed even more grip too. It’s always making good road contact. And, when you do provoke

it to break traction at the rear – as is actually law in a 370Z (especially a special edition) – it cuts loose freely, predictably and is easy to hold onto by working the throttle, or bring back in shape with a lift... as your mood dictates. Such handling prowess on a car that’s ‘only’ £35,000 is quite amazing really. And oversteer on tap like this

is very much up our street. Impromptu drifting is highly addictive, and lifts even the darkest mood. The GT Edition is capable of making even the dullest commute big, stylish fun! The huge 355 x 32mm 4-pot front and 350 x 20mm 2-pot rear ventilated discs are equally superb too, suitably bionic to match the V6’s acceleration capacity,


on the road at least. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to test the GT Edition out on track, so can’t report back whether the massive stoppers are fade-free under duress, but they were on the road, with good feel... a characteristic which could also be applied to the steering, so vital in sports cars like this, and so often all wrong. The 370Z GT Edition steering is heavy and chunky, meaty and manly... like its V6 and its slick six-speed manual. They all work together in nigh-on perfect, Porschelike harmony. Just as the modified suspension does. It may be too flash for some. And it’s not a pure GT car, despite the badges. But killer coupe? You bet your wife’s knickers it is.


“The GT Edition is capable of making even the dullest commute big fun�


WORDS: ASHLEY VAN DYKE IMAGES: AL MERION

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Ashley Van Dyke takes us focusing on the awesome r part in this unique, all-Americ


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s around the 17th X Games, rally cars and stars taking can adrenaline action event.


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he road to X Games is paved with dreams of gold. This summer marked the seventeenth running of the ESPN televised sporting event. My interest in going to check out the lairy action was to spend some quality time up close and personal with the rally cars – this year taking their anti-lag pops and crackles to the streets of downtown Los Angeles, for what would be the sixth consecutive year of rally competition held at the summer X Games presented by Mobil 1 – bringing more speed and noise than any other sport X Games presents. Fun, fun, fun! The recent addition last year brought a second class of racing – Rallycross – adding even more excitement, with wheel-to-wheel racing between some of the best drivers and manufactures in the world. These are purpose built race cars doing 0-60 in a little over two seconds, with awesome power. roadmagazine.co.uk


The only company onsite providing tyre service to the rally paddock was BFGoodrich. “The tyre of choice for many of the drivers that competed in the Rally Car Racing and Rally-

cross events at X Games 17 was the BFGoodrich RC01 Rally tyre,” said Silvia Mammone, BFGoodrich motorsports marketing manager. “BFGoodrich Tyres enthusiasm for rally competition

is evident by our offering of tyres that can be applicable to almost any surface.” Rally finals were held on Saturday. This was a match-up of two cars on course at the same time go-


a big jump in the middle of the three-quarter mile long course that has two sections covered in dirt. After a series of qualifying rounds and heats, 16 drivers were paired up for eliminations in a two lap race. And each driver has to take the Joker lap one time in each race. This Joker lap comes after turn five and gives you the option to make a tight left hander, leading you up to cross the 55ft jump, or you could keep right and head underneath the jump. Either way you choose will bring you back out to the front starting straight coming off making a very tight, and from what I hear, 1st gear handbrake corner. It costs more time adding approximately six seconds to your lap when you take the Joker ing for the fastest lap times lap, so strategy definitely overall in a head-to-head comes into play when it’s fight against the clock. The up to the driver what lap he race circuit was a grand prix goes for taking the jump. style course on the public The Rally final came down roads surrounding the Stato the Ford Fiesta Best Buy ples Center, LA. There was Finnish driver, and ex-WRC

sensation, Marcus Gronholm going up against a young driver from the UK driving a Citroen C4, named Liam Doran. Gronholm holds two World Rally Championships, but it was the rookie who surprised everyone, such is the unpredictable nature of the epic X Games. The build-up noise from the turbos on launch control at the start is so exhilarating. If you’re in close range, you can feel the vibrations and it makes your heart race. These cars are so loud you lose your voice trying to speak over them. They are furiously fast machines that fly around this course. Controlling the slides and avoiding contact are the keys to putting down fast laps. Sunday was all about Rallycross and this was what I looked forward to as my highlight of the weekend. Round one for 16 drivers consists of four separate heats with five laps each. Winning the heat in this round meant advancing roadmagazine.co.uk


into the Final and locking yourself on the front row of the starting grid. Finishing first in their races in this first round were Brian Deegan, Liam Doran, Marcus Gronholm and Tanner Foust. “We’ve had some issues with our launch control. That was obvious yesterday.” Said Tanner Foust,

Rock Star Ford Fiesta driver, “The start is so important because this is so much like drag racing. It’s all about getting a good start off the line and getting the car into the first turn out front.” Round two was three heats for five laps putting the cars that did not win in Round one against one

another for another shot at getting into the Final. These heats were swept by the Subaru camp as Travis Pastana, Dave Mirra and David Higgins each win a race and advance into the main round.  Travis Pastrana broke his right leg during a motorcycle competition for “Best


Trick” on Thursday earlier in the week. This kept him from making his NASCAR Nationwide debut back in Indy, which was suppose to be the same weekend as his endeavours out West at X Games. But, with an open toe cast, he was determined to go all in for a shot at Gold and to podium

in Rally. The cast was taped to the inside body of the car and the team worked overnight to set-up the Subaru STI with hand controls for the throttle. He used the brake and clutch pedals with his left foot, but it was all about his busy hands as he worked throttle control and steering on the wheel. Impressive guy! The most popular Rally driver at X Games is without doubt Ford Fiesta driver Ken Block. Having issues all weekend, Block doesn’t take a win in either Round one or two on Sunday, find-

ing himself in a go-or-gohome battle for the Last Chance Qualifier race and isn’t able to advance to the Final. Shocker! With gold up for grabs and bragging rights for next year on the line, the Final race for Rallycross staged eight drivers, putting them on two rows of four at the starting grid of the eight lap main. As we went green and the Final began, Deegan pulled off to an early lead with an amazing start. Foust goes out of his way to punt Doran going into the first turn causing them both to


loose precious track time. Mirra holds third place early on but is hunted down by Gronholm and Pastrana as the laps count down. There was tight racing going on between second and fifth all race. The cars were in close proximity and passing was happening every lap. On the final lap, Pastrana spins and takes a hard hit into the safety barrier wall, giving his broken leg quite a shake up. Deegan takes his Joker on the white flag lap, making it look so easy and smooth. There was some lap traffic coming


through until the checkered flag as Foust tries to chase his teammate Deegan down from second. Foust doesn’t come close, as Deegan ran a fast, clean race and no mistakes, leading every lap. “That was the moment of my life.” Says Deegan after the race,” I’ve been thinking about beating Tanner all year. I achieved my goal!” It was an impressive podium with the blue oval sweeping all the Rallycross medals. Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Marcus Gronholm celebrate an outstanding achievement, proving that Ford Racing is the team to beat in Rallycross.


WORDS: ASHLEY VAN DYKE IMAGES: JOHN GRAFMAN


going once: American V8 auction heaven

Always hankered after an amazing American automobile – burbling V8, chrome rims and all? ROAD’s Ashley Van Dyke goes to the world’s best: Barrett Jackson


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alifornia. Orange County Fair Grounds. More than 100,000 folk come together for arguably the world’s greatest car auction. When you first think of Barrett Jackson, you know it’s going to be a high dollar showdown of big car collectors duelling it out for their favourite rare and unique V8 automobiles. Some are one of a kind and some not found anywhere in the world. What you may not know, if you’ve never been to Barrett Jackson before, is that there is so much else to

see and do while you’re at these mega auctions. The range of vehicles the show brings together is utterly amazing and there’s truly something for everyone. Pavilion halls are lined up with classics like a pristine ‘69 Camaro and ’67 Mustang, to new car mod-

els like the Chevrolet Volt found at the GM booth. Of course, there is no shortage of exotic cars like the Bugatti Veyron and Ford GT too. You could literally spend hours in just one hall gazing over the craftsmanship and detail in your favourite foreign and domesroadmagazine.co.uk


tic beauties. You will find interesting looks and designs in automobiles made and customized from all parts of the world – the kind that has everyone holding a camera to get snaps of their favourite rides. But the biggest kick of the weekend for me was getting my hands behind the wheel on the autoX track with the GM ride and drive experience. The instructors were there from the Ron Fellows

Corvette School, located at Spring Mountain Raceway. These guys really know what they are doing. I was impressed with the line-up of test vehicles GM had brought out for anyone to drive. And anyone who bought a ticket to Barrett Jackson was welcomed at the driving experience. Thankfully, with a smile and a flash of my media pass, I didn’t have to join them in waiting in that long line! roadmagazine.co.uk


The Cadillac CTS V is a car I’ve had my eyes on for a while and this was my first chance to drive one. The instructor was wondering where my hand was going when I leaned over from the driver’s side to reach between his legs…guess what?...the traction control button on the V is no longer located inside the glove box but rather on the steering wheel. Talk about more convenient! Needless to say this baby has way too much horse power to be chained to the

cone structure in a parking lot, but I did enjoy the jump off the line and the smooth ride as I over-powered the corners, sideways. I have a soft spot for charity and one of the coolest auctions of the weekend was a Chevrolet Camaro donated by GM to support Cell Phones for Soldiers. This cause helps place cellular phones with our troops and aids in covering their services charges while serving our country overseas. The Chevy was won with a $100k bid and brought tears

to the eyes of many who where there just to support this fabulous auction. For the first time in person, I was able to check out the newest hot rod to the Chevrolet family, the Sonic. A fun small car that comes as a hatchback or sedan with a 1.4L turbo engine. Many are hopeful this car maker is onto something with this new small car product. I’m looking forward to learning more about the Sonic and what role it will take up against its competitors in the near future. What a day!


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Retro Modernity

Honda’s CR-Z may hark back to the cult ‘80s CR-X visually, but its hybrid technology shows its C21st roots. And from £18,735, here’s a bargain piece of retro modernity


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or those of you who are too young to remember, Honda made a very cool cult car in the 1980s, the CR-X. Compact, stylish, techy and oozing Japanese urban chic, the baby Honda was a popular mini coupe – designed to be attractive outside and in, sporty and yet offering fabulous economy from its 1.3 to 1.6 VTEC engines. Job done. Wind the clock forward two decades, and we’re back on familiar territory. Or are we? On the surface of things, the slammed CR-Z does look like the CR-X, with its shallow raked roofline, truncated rear, split level rear glass hatch and aerodynamic styling. But, as Honda say: “The CR-Z is the 21st century rethinking of the 80s classic, with cleaner tailpipe emissions, great fuel economy and an exciting drive.” The clean, sporty drive comes courtesy of what

Honda call ‘Generation H’ for hybrid. And the all new CR-Z is powered by the innovative, advanced, low emission technology: IMA (Integrated Motor Assist). At the heart of the CR-Z is a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine that’s new to the UK market. It’s Euro 5 compliant, but like most small Honda engines is seriously eager to rev engine and produces an OK 114PS at 6,100rpm and torque of 145Nm at 4,800rpm. But, working in conjunction with this petrol engine is a small electric motor, positioned between the engine and gearbox, adding 14PS and boosting torque by 78.4Nm, super low down the rev range, between 1,000 and 1,500rpm. This low down torque improves initial acceleration and means the CR-Z “bursts into action almost immediately – making it perfect for stop-start urban driving.” Working in harmony, the petrol engine and elec-

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“You don’t have to ab to satisfy you


bandon your passions ur conscience.�

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tric motor generate a power output of 124PS at 6,100rpm and 174Nm of torque between 10001,500rpm. This is equivalent to the peak torque of a 1.8-litre Civic... And the torque curve of the new hybrid is unusually flat for a naturally aspirated engine, with the peak arriving at just 1,500 rpm. The result on the road is that the CR-Z manages 0-62mph in 9.9s and has a top speed of 124mph. Most impressively though, the CR-Z delivers an average mpg of 56.4.

The hybrid technology operates permanently. There’s no full electric mode. The petrol engine and electric motor work hand-in-hand constantly – in three different driving modes: Sport, Norm or Econ. Throttle maps, steering feel, climate control and the level of IMA assistance are all altered, palpably. And this technology is monitored and displayed by a Star Trek classic ‘80s dash, with a range of ambient colours (green for econ, blues for normal and red for sport). The multi-colour display is backed

up by the ‘Eco Assist’ display, showing an ‘eco guide bar,’ displaying real time fuel consumption and the level of involvement from the electric motor. The aim is to encourage economical driving and lower emissions. It’s very responsible stuff, and quite addictive, if you are in the mood (you even get awarded flowers for seriously eco driving!). Although in my counter productive hands, I just liked seeing the dash burning red in sport mode, and enjoy the CR-Z’s fun drive. Matched to a slick six-


speed gearbox and a truly wonderful chassis, the CR-Z is a honest, good drivers’ car. Sitting down low, the comfortable CR-Z handles superbly, and the ride is excellent. It feels light and agile. It stops well. And, whilst it’s definitely not quick, short shifting to maximise the useful torque of the electric motor between gearshifts, you can pedal the CR-Z pretty darn fast down a classic British twisty B-road... big smile on your face, exaggerated by your flower count disappearing on the dash. Whilst so many manufacturers are getting it all wrong going green, this is modern eco technology that works, and is fun, so bravo Honda. The 2+2 CR-Z is fun, funky and frugal. And, being Honda, it’s different too. We were left with a serious sense of being impressed by the affordable, innovative, retro CR-Z... a cult car in its own right in two decades? Just maybe...

Road 18: Too cool for school Summer special  

This month, Road is on Summer holiday, traveling from the far East to the Western coast of America. We've got two Stateside reports from Roa...

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