#Roadtest: Sachiuri Sagitta
I don’t think there’d be many who would disagree that Maesima’s Dynamic Racing Vision project is one of the most exciting developments in the automotive industry today, and at last we’re starting to see the fruits of their labour. It’s the companies most expensive R&D project ever, working to develop a new generation of performance coupes, and even collaborating with Saminda/Auxuras along the way. I for one have been picking over every last news release, rumour and scrap of information about this car that I could find for the past year or so, and at last I’m going to be rewarded.
Standing in front of me in all its sleek, aggressive beauty is the Sachiuri Sagitta, and this time I actually get to drive it. No special requests for what I can say and what I can’t, no pre-planned route, just me and the car. And a fully paid lunch too, but that’s not my priority right now.
This isn’t just an important car for Maesima though. It’s important for the whole industry; the sports coupe market is packed right now with many cars that all offer almost the same thing. The only way to distinguish them is on how they feel, and even then, that’s difficult. So when an automotive heavyweight with a history of great performance coupes comes in with a plan like this, you have to take notice. This is the kind of car that sets the standard for the rest of the world’s car makers, and I can safely say that it is making an impact; various industry experts, company engineers and journalists are all suggesting that the DRV might be the most important performance vehicle in decades.
So then, no pressure at all on me; they’ve let me be the first journalist in the world to get my hands on the Sagitta, Sachiuri’s luxury sports coupe. It’s a car the fledgling brand will be relying on to make an impact, and it’s already making waves before anyone’s even driven it yet. The specs on this top of the range ‘4.4’ trim really do speak for themselves; 4.4l N/A V8 producing 565hp, all-aluminum construction along with other advance materials, 7 speed DCT that delivers all the power to the rear wheels, making it good for 0-60 in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 203 mph. If that’s a little too much, then there’s also a 3.2l V6 variant that’ll shove you from 0-60 in a mere 3.8 seconds and costs around $16k less.
All of this puts it right into the firing line of the sports car heavyweights; the Himmel E.O., Erin Scarlet and upcoming Grandea GTR to name a few. It certainly competes with them spec wise, with even the 3.3 trim besting the fastest version of the Scarlet in a straight line and happily keeping pace with the others. A strong start then, on paper at least.
Obviously though, for a car such as this, you need do a lot more than just straight line speed. Cars like this need a soul, something to connect with. Time to find out if all the money and all that research has put one in the Sagitta.
I fire her up and get under way. First impressions are very good. It behaves itself on the city streets of Antiyita, though you can tell by the raspy noises coming from that V8 whenever you build up the revs that it wants to stretch its legs a little more. And so, as with every other test I’ve done here, we’re headed for the mountains.
Maesima certainly got lucky with Anikiatia’s geography; the Yekkwae mountains are one of the finest works of art that the Pacific Plate has ever made. And luckily, it seems that the government’s road planners made every effort to utilise their majesty to create some truly stunning ribbons of tarmac. Views, corners, gradient changes; this is mountain driving utopia.
Of course, the real question we need to ask here is how good the car is. Answer? Sharp. Razor sharp. Mind bendingly reactive. It’s insane. Driving this thing is like pointing and clicking. Turn the wheel, and boy, it turns. That can make it a little hard to keep smooth, but you soon learn the feel of this car, and you can start to get an idea of just what it’s capable of.
And it’s weird just how sharp this car is, given how wide the wheels are. Though I’m not complaining, they give it phenomenal levels of grip, meaning that I had to up my game to get close to the limit with this car. There is a genuine sensation that this thing is glued to the road, and combined with the precision of its steering, it makes it capable of some unbelievable driving.
Obviously though, these are mountain roads and staying glued to them isn’t always fun. Switch the traction control off and you will find that this thing can be very tail happy when it wants to be. What’s great though is how well the wheels handle all it’s power; there’s enough there to make it spin its wheels, but not so much that it becomes absurd, and the result is acres of sideways lunacy. This thing loves to powerslide.
The transmission is lovely. 7 speeds, 1 of which is an over drive, perfect for cruising, whilst still giving you everything you need to make the most of that power. It’s a DCT, making it modern if a little unengaging, but when you experience the performance that allows this car to deliver, you can forgive its computer-like sensibilities.
Speaking of the performance, it’s breathtaking. The 0-60 time is very fast, but it’s how it delivers power the rest of the time that impresses. The near-flat torque gradient means you always have the kick you need to get out of a corner, and the way it keeps revving up to 8700 rpm is incredibly exciting and fails to tire. It feels exactly how you’d expect a sports car to feel, and that’s saying something.
The noise too is brilliant. Being a flatplane V8, the engine makes a soulful yet raspy cream that echoes among these mountains. It’s a classic sound for such a car, but there’s no doubt that it’s personal to this car too.
And more than anything else, it feels remarkably purposeful. They’ve clearly set the car up to perform and go and feel this way, and I like that. Sure, it’s all rather calculated and not exactly natural, but it seems that they’ve built-in certain driving characteristics like that desire to wheelspin on purpose and learnt to work with them, as oppose to trying to design to negate them and make something that feels over worked. They’ve clearly done their research into what makes a sports car nice to drive.
By now, we’ve climbed to one of the many ridges in these mountains. It’s in the Yongdusan National Park (I think), an area that, were it to be in Britain, would have easily met the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty criteria. I’ve been told I’m getting a free lunch courtesy of the company at a restaurant here, which has views of the countryside, Antiyita and even the sea. Arriving there, they certainly weren’t lying about the view. I was in mind to give one of my colleagues a ring and see if he could see me, but I was more concerned with the car.
And would you believe it? I arrive and I’m taken to my seat, with my own reserved table and everything. This job does have it’s perks, as I’ve said before, and one of them happens to be free posh food to soften you up over their car. Better still, I’ve actually got a view of the Sagitta from my seat, a perfect contrast to the stunning backdrop of the mountains and Antiyita in the distance.
I order kimchi with BBQ pork chops, an East Asian signature dish, and a personal recommendation from my waiter. Much like the cars that Maesima makes here, it’s warming and familiar, yet still has a hint of far-east exoticness to it. It also gives me time to mull over the Sagitta, and to decide firstly on what I don’t like about it.
Being brutally honest, the looks aren’t quite working for me. There is no denying how stunning this thing is from every angle, and I adore that mile-long front bonnet and the huge rear haunches. But the front grille design feels rather oversized, almost as if it’s mouth is like that of a Whale Shark’s. I like it, no doubt, but it’s hardly pretty. The front lights are also a bit finnicky personally; I’d have preferred something smooth and less drastic. Obviously, these are all very subjective comments, and perhaps in a few years time I’ll be telling you how actually, this was a very ahead of its time design.
The interior is fairly sparse, even for a low weight car like this. The infotainment system was particularly disappointing; Sachiuri are meant to be a luxury brand yet this feels like it belongs on a Prova. The comfort could be better too. I don’t expect it to be that amazing on a car like this, especially when it feels this sharp, but it left me feeling as though they could do better. Those big wheels don’t help either; road noise is loud in here, that’s for sure.
Combine that with its large size and as an everyday sportscar, this wouldn’t work. Perhaps the 3.2 trim, but still, it’s definitely more of a weekend machine more than anything else.
But not a weekend toy, I should clarify. What I find amazing is that in a car which has been so heavily engineered and so adorned in performance tech is that it does have a soul. It feels advanced but also recognisable, and it’s certainly very friendly to drive. Even with that razor sharp handling, it’s hardly scary to use. Don’t be fooled though, it’s very easy to set this thing up to be a challenge, and that’s a good thing. It makes it rewarding to drive, which is exactly what you need on a car like this.
Let’s also not pretend for a second that, as a performance machine, it is anything less that outstanding. The engineers behind this have worked every last bit of this car to perfection, and it is astoundingly quick and responsive. Certainly then, this is an amazing track car, and I would love to be able to take it on one at some point.
Indeed, nothing on this car has been left to chance. Aside perhaps from the interior, it has clearly been poured over and perfected and refined multiple times over. The desire of the Sagitta’s creators to make it nothing short of incredible is written all over it.
As I drive back down the mountain roads and back to the city, I feel as though I’ve been convinced. The argument for how a performance coupe should be has been forward very strongly by Sachiuri. Yes, it does have a few problems that you kind of feel you have to forgive it for. But where it excels, it really does excel. Sure, it does feel as though they’ve tried to make a textbook sports car follow every last detail of that textbook perfectly, but that does make it astonishing to drive and very, very fun. And, they’ve given it a heart too, which means you do feel a connection with this car. Owning it then is sure to be something special and unique.
The Sagitta then is not a drivers car, nor is it going to be the best car use everyday or the best car to look at. But as an engineering piece, it is stellar. Truly outstanding in its achievements. It is incredible to drive, the performance is out of this world and most importantly, it makes you feel great. This is not so much something you drive, but something you experience.
To say the least then, the Sagitta is excellent, and could easily become a new benchmark for sports coupes. Not necessarily the outright best, nor the most special, but the one that most closely resembles what I believe we could all agree upon is a “sports car”. The thing is though, the Sagitta is just the beginning for the DRV platform, and I cannot wait to see what this project brings in the future. Maesima have themselves one of the most well designed sports car bases any company could ask for, and there’s no telling just how much performance could be squeezed out of this thing. In that regard then, the Sagitta is just the start, and it’s a very, very strong start indeed.
Photos all courtesy of @Rk38