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FIGHT ME (Market Research Gryphon Gear style)


#143

As a quick clarification, technically the Misty is a kit car and not officially sold by Adenine (being a homage to the Adenine Mist which ended production in 1999) although they do supply many of the parts for it. That’s because this:

is 100% accurate and even a naturally aspirated V6 is too un-optimized for them :stuck_out_tongue:


#144

I can’t stop laughing after reading the latest set of reviews! The Mist(y) and Kunai definitely take some beating as true drivers’ cars though, just as I expected.


#145

Oh, this is definitely getting good. And I think the 4 or 5 a day thing is just fine. Keeps the suspense up, after all.

Plus, the reviews are great, and I can’t wait to see where the Storm Breeze and the Dynamite GX4-R fall in.


#146

I, for one, wish to welcome our suspension tuning overlords!!! :crazy_face:

Any help tuning suspension would be much appreciated and gladly received… :heart_eyes:


#147

Well, about this, I’d like to expand upon it, not because I disagree, but because this refers to an often robust debate based on personal views. I suspect it comes down to what one feels is a true driver’s car. I’ve tried to keep an open mind by emphasising the pros and cons of certain things and keeping to how cohesive each approach is. Some might say that from the list reviewed so far, the Nardella is the most true driver’s car because it’s fully old school. Others might say it’s the Rizun because it’s so dedicated and focused. Others might say it’s the Kunai RS or Mist(y) because they modernise away the deficiencies of old, but then some might argue that the Kunai is the truer driver’s car because it still allows more engagement and room for some dynamic fun (read: difficulty and error) whereas the Mist(y) is glued to the road and harder to throw off than a Lotus Exige and has vastly superior handling.

Who knows? I’m going to avoid making a judgement on this particularly when the purpose of this challenge was “market research”, to create a pool of mixed attributes to determine, really, just how badly the GBF-GG Bellua SR8e would be an outlier. So far, it’s still pretty out there!


#148

Kai is freaking awesome.


#149

Sorry for the lengthy delay. I have to move to my rural rotation tomorrow, so I was frantically doing all the life admin required. I should be able to finish when I’m over there but it’ll be several days before the next batch.


@DoctorNarfy

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First Impressions- Strop

Shromet steadfastly does things its way, just as its founder intended it. Over the years their methods may have changed but their vision hasn’t: frequently comfier and smoother than their rivals, regardless of what the vogue of the day is. In the decidedly crowded performance hatch sector, therefore, where Armada went lean, mean and kind of insane, Shromet stuck to their guns, and went to the opposite end of the spectrum, beyond the Conan, and the Cavallera. What results is something tastefully styled, but not without hints of what lies beneath the hood. The interior is definitely business, more than on par with the sportier stuff out there (and definintely a cut above the understated interior of the Armada), but also comes with an entertainment system on par with the upmarket offerings. Like most of the others it also lacks for the fifth seat, but for this alone shouldn’t be disqualified from being considered a solid potential contender, as it makes up ground with a class leading boot. There is promise here.

First Impressions- Kai

It looks like what it’s supposed to look like, I guess.

Driven Civilly

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If I recall correctly, Shromet have a thing for inline sixes. This can only really be a good thing, even (or especially) in the small displacements where most would be using four pots for ease of production. This engine however can punch out a specific output of a hefty 160hp:L without compromising the silky smoothness. There’s a few double-edged swords to this. The first one is that the displacement is still not huge, so the single turbo spools at 3k, which mainly rewards slightly higher revvers and not those who like to cruise with minimal effort. Once you get there, though, there’s a deliciously even surge that lasts to the redline. The powerband is wide and strong, and despite the relatively short final drive, performance is such that coincidentally cruising at freeway speeds is just about on peak efficiency in sixth. Nice. It also seems while the engine is naturally quiet, a bit of the engine tone still filters into the cabin; apparently Shromet didn’t want to muffle the sound too much, and the result is actually rather pleasant. Remarkable also are the spacing of the lower gears: actually a lot shorter, much more like a regular daily driver, with a first gear top speed of around 40 instead of 60 or even 70 as was commonplace on this test. That’ll save the clutch on a hillstart. Unsurprisingly the suspension was set up mainly to absorb bumps unobtrusively, dulling the feel on the front wheels slightly and causing a bit of scrub when piling hard on the steering, but without the unpleasant body roll of some of the larger, heavier cars tested. Despite the committed sporting seats and firm feel, everything else was almost enough to forget that you were driving something with some significant hoon power.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Blink and you’ll miss the shift from first, you’ll be banging off the rev limiter with the shift light flashing. This may be the first car I drove where once I shifted out of first, I didn’t return to it, at all. The Radiant Limited’s schtick was its big power and its AWD. It made for very confident driving and a nice meaty feel with the aforementioned torque plateau with the turbo in full force. The brakes were also on point, well balanced and very amenable to repeated stomping. But it also had rather soft handling, the sort that would tell you very early if you were pushing it, especially with the 50:50 power split. Backing off on the throttle and adjusting the lock mid-corner was the rule. For this it felt very safe, but also not very fast, and this was for once reflected in the time.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

The American took a diet, yes, but didn’t go to the gym, no. Time again to enjoy the SWEET SURROUND SOUND.

On the track

How does it feel to get overtaken by a Nardella with about two thirds of the power? Drive this, and you’ll know, when the Nardella jumps you at the chicane, passes you on the inside of the Thunderdome, does an over under and slips by coming out of the tight right hander, and drafts you on the straight. Close ratios low down make for spaced ratios high up, and having eschewed most performance enhancing drugs aerodynamic features, there’s no surprise improvement in top end. Just a general lack of acceleration and watching smaller cars creep up in your rearview. In short, the performance weaknesses hinted at in Humevale were blown wide open here. If you want to track this car, I hope you’re feeling chillaxed and not particularly competitive, because even for the average (Automation) enthusiast, your desires will likely exceed its capabilities.

Pros

  • Superior blend of comfy and practical
  • Pays attention to all the little details that enhance the experience

Cons

  • Comes at the expense of a substansive, challenging sport drive
  • You’ll be left for dead at the track

What Real Car is this like?

A Ford Focus RS with rather more cushion and somewhat less pushin’. So maybe more like a Golf R with… more pushin’?

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~38000

Verdict

Like playing on easy mode: very pleasant and stress-free, but you won’t be hitting any high scores.


@LaffingHyena

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No Picture, Too Ugly For Automation

First Impressions- Strop

We presume this was a test mule, because it didn’t exactly have a design. It also came with a lengthy dissertation about why this exercise was dumb. In that context, the effort taken to explain this also seemed like a waste of time, a fact once noted caused some amusement. The motives, therefore, for sending the car itself, remained a mystery. Ultimately we decided that it would be a waste of time not to test the car, as data was data and the other midship AWD car we’d tested so far was an unmitigated disaster. If the other condescending claims in the brief were correct, at least this would be a far more optimal experience, fugly exterior notwithstanding. Given this was, however, an exercise in pushing buttons and sliders, what I can say is that it derives much of its cost cutting from being one of the only entries to use EFI instead of DI. As for the rest, if you want tips on how to get the best yield for most of the stats, this car is quite a good example. Just look at the specs.

First Impressions- Kai

I’m not driving that. You can’t make me drive that.

Driven Civilly

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We trailered this one, but suffice to say, the interior was premium throughout and the spring rates were set pretty low, so it was clearly optimised for comfort. It was also worth noting that there didn’t seem to be sufficient ventilation, which had us wondering how hot the engine would run when we raced it hard.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

This was essentially a showcase of real AWD confidence, with power balanced to weight distribution. One of the easiest cars to drive, combining AWD, balanced braking, grippy but not too sharp and twitchy handling, bump-absorbent ride with adaptive dampers and active sway bars, and a flappy paddle gearbox. The higher power to weight ratio gives it very good acceleration. So with better than average everything, it actually turned in a slower than expected time, probably due to it having much less of a hard edge to its handling, which meant a lot of wasted speed on scrubbed tyres despite the relatively good grip. It’s also worth noting that the tyres were higher profile (40, 50) than the average sport tyres we tested (mostly 35s), which was a further hint to its focus, or rather, lack of performance edginess. In this modern day it would be quite difficult to imagine 16" rims on a performance model, but we always ask ourselves why some manufacturers have bought into the marketing of making unnecessarily large rims (like the 21" plus at the higher end). Certainly the brief did state that it didn’t aim to be at the pointy end of performance, but what performance it did have, was not difficult to access for the average driver.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

We couldn’t make Kai drive it, so we didn’t.

On the track

We had an inkling this would happen, but it was still a surprise when the theoretically outclassed Fore Eagle GTi blew past on the Thunderdome. It later outbraked this model, then tucked itself on a tighter line in the sharp corners. It’s not that this isn’t a track-able car, on the contrary, it’d definitely be good fun on the track. It’s just that it has a much softer focus, for somebody who can’t bear to part with the nicer things in life, like when one has hit their stride leeching off the global community trading fake money and thinks they deserve to have their cake and eat it too.

Pros

All-rounder
Cost-effective
Comfier than most, if not all the competition

Cons

Undercooled and complex, so reliability suffers
Chief sporting advantage is straight line speed, not dynamic cornering

What Real Car is this like?

A cheaper R8 Coupé 5.2 FSI quattro

How much would it sell for in the real world?

You don’t sell test mules, but the RRP of an Audi R8 starts at about 160000. This isn’t quite that, but given the original stipulations, it’d probably still be good for 120000.

Verdict

Like its real-life counterpart, it’s a well-balanced rounded, sensible mid-engined 2 seater optimised across multiple conflicting demands. If actually fleshed out it could actually be a decent competitor for the Znopresk Zeus. Except buying a Zeus would make you kind of cool.


@HighOctaneLove
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First Impressions- Strop

When the Fox 250 Sport came out, fans and enthusiasts rejoiced, for this was the return of a proper FR sports car for the budget minded, a sector sorely lacking and forgotten by manufacturers. Then the complaints started rolling in: for all the old school purism, the lack of modern performance was a real issue. “Give it a turbo!” came the outcry, and Bogliq listened. Hence this version, which comes with nigh 1 bar of boost to give it fairly mad performance. This is off the factory shelf parts, too, with zero upgrades, which raises some concerns about what that turbo’s doing for the engine reliability. But you can’t have enthusiast powered cars without a wrench handy, right? The rest of the car has certainly been given the proper Bogliq sport treatment, from the powder blue to the buggy headlights and the retro futur I’m-not-sure-what-they’re-doing rear end. This may be an older contribution but Bogliq are certainly making moves to keep up with the pace.

First Impressions- Kai

AHHHH THE TRIPLE BUG EYES IT’s AN ALIEN

Driven Civilly

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At first, the 250 Sport wasn’t noticeably different from, say, an amalgamation of the sportier characteristics of the other cars tested at this price point. There was the noticeable turbo spool delay, then at 3krpm a surge of glorious amounts of torque. There was the row your own with the tall first. There was the modern sporting interior with the heavy tuner feel, and the rather cramped interior space, thanks to the addition of the rear bench (quite cramped a cabin for a 2+2, mind you), making the cabin noise slightly the more intrusive for it. Having a decent stereo system was actually a plus, in this case. The suspension and handling was crisp and sharp but not overly so, really quite a well done balance they’ve achieved here. But the standout moment was when we went to actually stop the thing. By god the pads grabbed hard from the outset. It was virtually impossible to slow down smoothly, and that was when we realised that the Sport package came with race-grade pads. What they were doing on this car, which seemed to be somewhat geared for the road as well, what with the frugal fuel economy and the relatively normally sized wheels, was a bit of a mystery, but hey, we were testing the intended capabilities, so we would reserve judgement on that for later.

Also note the extra caveat: with great turbo comes great fuel requirements. The Fox 250 Turbo is actually very economical, but not all petrol stations have 98.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

As expected, when you gotta stop, you gotta stop. There was no point faffing around, just jab the brakes hard and let the anchors do their work. The addition of the turbo to this model really gave it some extra oomph but did make the front end a bit heavier, dulling the handling. Nonetheless the steering was direct and very precise, almost to a fine point. Usual caveats about running boost aside, it was still not difficult to put the boot down and bang through the gears, daring oneself not to lift off unless absolutely necessary. Surprisingly, the rear end stayed quite planted even if pushing the gas a bit too early. That said, on a road like this, I still wished that I had more ability to modulate the brake, to let me go in harder and transition more gently into the corners, that probably would have let me push the limits more and shave a tiny bit off (or at least feel like I could), though ultimately it shares a pretty close rivalry with the Maesima and the Conan, among other less similar cars.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Can’t be mad, can’t be sad. Fun-sized tyres means fun-sized skidmarks!

On the track

Now here was a car that balanced a sleek profile with handling to produce something that could still turn at speed, plus make those speeds. It had a bit more oomph than several of the slightly more softly spoken hatches and coupes it went up against, which made for some hot competition on the track, reeling in the rivals on the long straights and the banked Thunderdome, fighting to stay in touch on the corners. There was definitely more edge to this experience, the most yet out of its class, not so much due to the brakes here, but to the super sharp handling, and all who drove this car emerged from it with the whitest knuckles.

Pros

All the turbo powaaaa you’ve been missing from the original
Intense and involving
Still very streetable

Cons

Quite cramped
Keep the wrench in your garage on standby
Every corner you wonder if you’re getting the most out of it because it’s so on edge
Definitely could get more out of it if the tyres weren’t so… normal

What Real Car is this like?

A Toyobaru 86/BRZ given the tuned and pimped treatment

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~27000

Verdict

It could be what all the fans needed. It’s definitely what all the fans wanted… or are they gonna find something to complain about anyway?


@Mikonp7

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First Impressions- Strop

This is an unusual configuration, a throwback to the original roadster configuration, made notable by the likes of Panoz (a wonderfully elegant example), and Donkervoort (a… well yeah I don’t know, it’s fast at least?). Small, low and aggressive, it brings the fight to the same small market as occupied by smalltime hobby crafters like OranjeAuto and… and not many else. So this is an uncommon looking machine to say in the least. What experience it therefore promises, is an unknown quality.

First Impressions- Kai

It’s- it’s just- just, it’s just… I dunno man. I dunno.

Driven Civilly

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From looking to sitting in and driving, this car was full of surprises. To be perfectly frank not all the surprises were good. For a low boost single turbo i6 we had some pretty high expectations but when pulling away with almost nothing, it prompted us to take a second look at the turbo, whereupon we discovered that it was journal bearing. Not particularly optimal when ball-bearing turbos are so easy to come by. Then there was the brake feel. The car isn’t that heavy (compared, at least, to other passenger cars) so the stopping distance is fine, but it’s a bit weird driving a modern car where one stomps on the brake pedal and the feel is immediately… a bit light on. No ABS activation, nothing. And then there was the interior, a taut, stitched affair that was rather more than one would expect from this body, plus the six speakers in such a small cabin. Not that this is necessarily unwelcome, of course… oh what is this? A suspension mode switch? In this kind of car? In all honesty the inclusion of multiple ride modes was… interesting. It certainly did its job of keeping things civil on the road and less so on the track, but had us confused over whether this was trying to masquerade a little too much.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Steering around a giant dinner table at slow speeds was an interesting exercise that had me peering out the windows to make sure I wasn’t about to clip the curb on every corner. Doing this at high speeds was actually not a bad thing. The unique body of the car allowed for a lot of visibility for the apex in particular, such that once I was accustomed to steering by the butt end, it was oddly satisfying. Less so the relative feeling of lack of traction. Thanks to what I would consider to be “extras” in this car, it came out rather heavy for its size and shape, so despite very good takeoff, it felt like it lacked teeth. The strangest and most unsettling thing was pushing hard in the hairpins, the rear end had a tendency to step out at every given moment, regardless of if I was on throttle, off it, or, worse yet, on the brakes. With a light-feeling front end thanks to the rearward weight bias, it was like being in the launcher of a slingshot, and let’s just say that there’s a good reason people of the old days didn’t put humans in their slingshots (unless it was a method of execution, maybe). This on a road with a lot of rocks and cliffs, and you at the sliding end, is just scary. I learnt rather quickly just to take it a bit easy on those corners. To make matters worse, the brake feel started out a bit weak already, but after a few minutes of giving it a good stomping, the pedal was becoming really mushy due to the heat. Better upgrade the discs before you fang it.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

It’s like an overstuffed cream donut. Wait, no, that’s a bad analogy, cream donuts are delicious.

On the track

For all the numerous deficiencies picked upon in the hillclimb test, the track test revealed that the handlign was rather more stable at high speed, which was a bit more confidence inspiring, only to note that at the end of every fast segment was some rather heavy braking, which was a sobering thought. Comparable in performance to a great many of the cars in the same power to weight bracket, it nonetheless lagged very slightly behind, each of the odd features conspiring to put it at ever so slight a disadvantage to all of its competitors, whether it was on the straight, in the corners, or braking. That would be fine if it were meant to be about on par for less, but truth be told, it has far more potential than that and with some good adjustment and optimisation, we think it could actually leapfrog the competition. It is, after all, smaller, has a purpose built body, with a big engine bay. The OranjeAuto Lelikj Touring already did it better a dozen years ago. It could be a real track killer for the same price if the engineers really put their mind on it.

Pros

Unique
Surprisingly pleasant interior

Cons

Rear biased cabin and natural oversteer make for a terrifying combination
The brakes aren’t up to scratch
I’m pretty sure that exhaust configuration is illegal in several countries

What Real Car is this like?

A very poor enthusiast’s Donkervoort D8 GT

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~29000

Verdict

Hasn’t made the most out of what it could be. The quickness should be proportional to its ugliness.


#150

Nice review @strop! :cowboy_hat_face:

My impressions was that my car’s handling was on the razors edge with the addition of the turbo and the feedback is very welcome. I’m terrible at brakes, as I hate having brake fade of any kind, which means they’re often overpowered… It’ll be interesting to see where my car lands overall. :thinking:


#151

Such a great set of reviews to read (and laugh at if I’m so inclined)… Anyway, keep up the good work!

Also, I struggled to keep a straight face when I saw this:

Couldn’t agree more with you on the Radiant, which is definitely among the cars in this field that would make a great sporty daily driver, but hardcore enthusiasts would rather take something harder-edged instead.


#152

My worry grows. Will the Orbital bomb?

Great read thus far.


#153

Since the last post, I moved towns for work, then my hayfever flared up so bad I got bronchitis (ain’t nobody got time for that), and ended up being a patient in the same hospital I work at. Now I’ve got some kind of asthma and am dependent on puffers. Once nature stops trying to kill me I might be able to even walk down the street again without suffocating.

As it is, I’m confined to the desk in my accommodation, so finally, here’s the next batch.


@Ornate

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First Impressions- Strop

You know those fancy upmarket Kei cars that make no sense outside of Japan? Or the sporty models of times past? Various markets have tried to capitalise on select parts of their appeal (their practicality, anthropocentric ergonomics etc. etc.) but in reality, after grey-market imports such as the Copen and Cappucino, they virtually vanished from our roads, which was widely regarded (among a select niche) as a crying shame, because this was where real fun was. Sure they were slow, cramped and would get absolutely flattened by a lifted Ford Ranger, but they were insanely chuckable and captured an essence that’s being lost from motoring… and then injected with something else entirely. So that’s what the Criceto is: first and foremost this thing is tiny, and light, or, in the eternal words of its designer, the embodiment of thinn meme. That said, not so much this trim. This is the Pimped to the Max Premium trim, the kind of display piece you send to a show. I’m told that this is because this is the only trim level that would pass the proposed next tier of safety regulations due to start in a few years, hence also the only trim worth testing around here. I’m still keen to see what it can do, never mind that all the fuckheads in their ricerboi shitboxes are going to call us faggot hairdressers the whole time.

First Impressions- Kai

Is this what they mean by a Chick Car? responding to hecklers OH, OH YEAH HEY, YEAH, YOU LIKE SOME OF THIS WOULDN’T YOU HONEY :kissing_closed_eyes:

Driven Civilly

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The interior is a showcase. It’s just like sitting in another world the portal through which lies an LCD touch display to rival Tesla and what’s more, a real FREAKING HUD. It’s the kind of stuff GG had been developing to put on our top tier models, except this doesn’t skimp on the rest, with more speakers than Kai has digits and knobs and dials and censors… it probably has an auto-wash function for when you spaff your pants from the luxury overload. Anyway. The car may be small but the cabin has been maximised, being long with an early and relatively upright A pillar which doesn’t do the visual proportions of the car any favours, but it sure does feel roomy. With plenty of room for just two that leaves plenty of room for boot space, which makes this practically a car that I could easily live with right now (but forget it if you have kids or regularly travel with more than one friend). Start the engine, and you have to recalibrate again. This thing needs to rev. If you like screamers, then this is the one, with a redline of 10500rpm, in what must be close to a record. It’s good for 150hp, too, which is far more than you’ll ever find in something that actually fits Kei car regulations. The result is a decently brisk pull, though it’s all relative to the size of the car: even a modern Honda Civic would flog this at the lights while sipping less fuel. But that’s really comparing apples to oranges. The biggest gripe to be had here is the unusual, er, ride. The wheels are practically glued to the road, traversing every single bump with an immediacy, but the feel is vague, and the body tends to wobble and roll around like a luxobarge twice its size. The idea of the road feel is more of an abstract one, an intimation of information that may or may not make it from the wheels to the chassis to your bottom. The dampers and sway bars are state-of-the-art active affairs that really smooth all the shenanigans over, but while that is comforting, it’s hardly sporting.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

This was the moment we were waiting for: would one of the least powerful cars on the grid actually overcome its disadvantage through sheer handling? The cornering grip at lower speeds was otherworldly, better than even the superglued-to-the-road Armada, and its small size meant tossing it along a small road actually didn’t feel daunting. The engine really got a workout, staying either at the top of second or third most of the way, and we flogged it and flogged it egging it to go faster. Funnily enough it was paradox of being a luxury subcompact that stymied the full experience; even if it was a freaking go-kart on the corners, it was difficult to engage with any sense of speed, hence the strange wish “this should have even more power”, which might have been a reasonable thing for a larger car. That being said, being so far outmatched on power with almost every car on the track, that it pipped such cars as the Nardella speaks volumes of its performance potential, and perhaps also goes a long way to explaining its domination at this year’s ACCC.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

It’s little, but it’s fat. So do I REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE or do I doof doof? Translation: Kai wasn’t sure whether to focus on the 10500rpm redline, or the 21 speaker system with the voice activated commands, which would explain why the interior lighting kept changing all the way through the test

On the track

In a furious battle not to be last place (well, actually, there were a couple of cars that were very obviously content vying for that spot, but the Criceto was not one of them), once again we found ourselves locked in mortal combat with the Nardella. Less power, yes, but the secret was in the cornering and the braking. Turn 8 was crucial, for the exit from that long tight right-hander provided the necessary exit speed to reel it in at the S, and then start drafting it after the chicane to properly threaten it at the complex multi-apex right hander before the finish. That said, the Nardella would claim its spot back every single time and get away through the Thunderdome, because no amount of cornering power would make up for having 150hp/ton, which, incidentally, is, again, less than what a 1.5L turbo Civic has. As for the rest, well, obviously the Criceto just lacked the necessary power to threaten anything else.

Pros

  • Otherworldly interior
  • Thinn meme
  • Ridiculous low speed cornering

Cons

  • There’s slow fast and then there’s shopping trolley slow
  • Mismatched spring/damper settings makes the body roll more than a Lincoln Town Car
  • Had to get fat to make up safety
  • All that fat detracts from the point of thinn meme
  • You can’t get the trims that don’t have this problem due to ANCAP restrictions

What Real Car is this like?

A Suzuki Cappucino except double GT cream and full fat and the cow was on anabolic steroids

How much would it sell for in the real world?

I dunno, ~80000 because would you get a luxury HUD for less?

Verdict

Market enforced upsizing killed the small fun car. This one has some voodoo black magic going on with it but just like zombies, they aren’t quite the same as the living article.


@Nomade0013

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First Impressions- Strop

Back to something more purpose-built, a perky small mid-engined coupe like we so desperately crave. This one occupies yet another part of the spectrum, at least by looks it harkens more to the perky Elise, except with quite a bit more under the hood, because it shamelessly borrows from a larger family: quite a fine thing to do and hardly the only car company to do so (see: Armada’s Fore trims above and beyond the Eagle…). However, as did happen with the Elise’s stablemates, everything grew up, and so did this, except apparently without telling the Surge first, because its face looks positively shocked at the developments. Is it having a crisis of sorts? Maybe it’s encountering a sudden realisation that the facelift means that it’s nearing the end of its generational life cycle, which started in 2011. Only driving this one will tell me whether it’s a sheep or a wolf in a squirrel’s clothing and I’m not sure that even made any sense.

First Impressions- Kai

Didn’t your mother tell you it’s rude to stare?

Driven Civilly

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Sitting inside, the impression from the outside is definitely reversed. Spacious cabin for two, neatly put together, looking the business of modern sports car, but with a surround sound speaker system. It’s not GBF Exsilio levels of ostentatious let alone that ridiculous Criceto, but this isn’t in the same price bracket. This thing also comes with all the doodads for daily driving, by which I mean the stability controls but also the lane assists and the blind spot cameras. That does also come with the impression that this thing has more heft than it looks. Not sure how I feel about that. At least on the road, there are no problems, with the exception of a slightly twitchy rear end, thanks to the relatively firm springs that carry perhaps a bit more bounce than they should on Melbourne’s poorer roads. The steering is nonetheless sure and direct… to the point that giving it the beans on one of the 270 degree onramps we discovered like a couple of the other cars here it has an oversteering tendency. In a midship. Definitely felt a bit of a sphincter squeeze at the thought. Without trying our luck or the stability control system again, the car was a very solid experience as a daily: solid go, solid stop, solid economy and a very solid shifter where sixth was overdriven to the point freeway cruise was done at a not-unpleasant 2300rpm. Yeah, a solid daily under its pint-sized guise.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Let’s face it, this isn’t thinn meme. It isn’t particularly chuckable or any of the things that I expected a car of these dimensions to be. It also has a decent acceleration off the mark thanks to its format but again, anything past second exposes a relative lack of donk in the modern day, with 217bhp:ton. There was a lot of egging the car on, because past 100km/h it was in its element, surefooted, pliable. But where I was hoping for it to perform best, in the tight technical bits and the hairpins, the rear end was just itching to swing out and pitch me into the rockface, because I just knew that if the Surge threw a tank slapper, no amount of opposite lock would save it. Short wheel base, rear heavy… and not feeling game enough to attempt to make like a Lancia Stratos. It just never quite felt comfortable enough to really commit, so, unsurprisingly, it fell behind in the charts where it should have held its own against similarly powered competitors.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Give me another go in it and I’ll give you a remodelled car butt.

On the track

So far, unfortunately not so good. But the Surge had a trick up its sleeve, like many modern competitors: the active wing. As we’ve seen so far, this little bit of kit has seen varied mileage, depending on the setups and the inherent abilities of the car. Here, on one hand, was the chance to see the handling issue resolve at higher speed (we hoped so, anyway, because a high speed tank slapper would be likely death). On the other, the low power to weight meant as far as the field was concerned, brisk might not be enough to see a benefit. Fortunately on both counts, it did the job, even if modestly. Pull at the top end was not as weak as expected and we were brave enough to even pull a couple of passing moves in the Thunderdome. Unfortunately, down the back end, around the tight corners it revered to its nervous rear end that had fingers twitching for the “control” stability mode. On the flip side, the suspension is simple and easily accessible, so with a bit of adjustment, this could be quite easily rectified.

Pros

  • Competent daily driver
  • Bit of spirited fun
  • Won’t break the bank

Cons

  • Shame about the lack of trunk space
  • A bit of a mismatched drive experience compared to the first impression
  • Twitchy terminal oversteer at low speeds not a good thing in an MR car

What Real Car is this like?

A base model Evora in an Elise sized body

How much would it sell for in the real world?

Realistically this spec Evora would go for ~50000

Verdict

Misleading wrapping aside, with a bit of tuning this would be a competent 2 seater package for somebody who wants a bit of fun but not at the total expense of their spine or sanity.


@NormanVauxhall

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First Impressions- Strop

As with the Znopresk sporting traditions, the design immediately catches the eye with its bold, squarishness… but wait! The angular, long pointing nose. The low down peering, are those really the headlights? Znopresk has a flair for classic nostalgia, and even when modern, this here evokes a throwback to their raw appeal. It’s just missing pop-ups, but of course, those would be barely legal and superfluous. This, here, is about serious business. The business of serious fun. That’s what the ZRP badge stands for: but even more than that, the rumour had it that the Znopresk Reparto Performance people took a few whispers from Iurlaro Skunkworks, so most likely under the hood will be something unmatched by the other small 2 seater coupes. In fact it’s going to be positively unhinged, if the track record is anything to go by, something approaching rallycross levels but road legal.

First Impressions- Kai

Mafia car has fun-sized pocket-rocket cousin. Very good.

Driven Civilly

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Civil? What is civil? For starters, civil is actually somehow having proper seats to sit on. Snug fit, but with plenty of leg room and adequate head room. It’s also suspension that rides sure but supple, doesn’t fidget over bumps but dampens quickly. Civil is also having weight-balanced AWD. And tyres with reasonable profile, that aren’t uncommonly wide. And the full range of driving aids that will keep your street legal machine driving street legal. That’s where civil ends. The rest of this car is raucous. The lack of radio: forget it, your audio is the engine thanks to a single muffler and a big fat five inch fart cannon: a screaming note from the i6 with a redline of 9100rpm. Lots of boost. Lots of whistles and pops. The very grabby DCT and geared LSD. The giant front discs. And the drive: between the spool of the sizeable snail and the grabby gears, you are alotted about 150Nm with which to push your shopping cart around unless you like doing your dailies at over 4k rpm. Then it’s the dreaded cliff of torque and hold the hell on (while playing Lazerhawk!?). Considering that the fuel economy is pretty good. And the best part: with the launch control on, nothing short of a hypercar will beat it off the lights. Only don’t do it in sight of the cops… launching spins the wheels.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

This was always going to be fast and white-knuckle. The only question was how much. With the AWD setup the way it was, what was remarkable was just how readily one could stamp on the gas with impunity almost the moment the corner was done. And this was not a large or particularly heavy car, so the sense of speed was incredible, the feeling the fastest so far. The main drawback was due to the smallness of the engine compared to the turbo, the throttle response wasn’t as sharp, with a little pause for turbo-lag. On the plus side the ratios were closely spaced and there was almost a rally-like satisfaction to banging through them rapidly. The one standout feature here was that this was a car that demanded commitment. It rewarded focus, but the punishment for any distraction was death. It only seemed easy because it’s very good at communicating how capable it is, but, as the timesheet showed, this is definitely on the extreme end of the spectrum.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

AAAAAAAA WOOOOOOO POCKET ROOOOOCKEEEEEET TO THE MOOOON!

On the track

Where all out sporting performance was king, there was one clear rival to the Znopresk: the strange but actually quite similar in philosophy FRE. Big boost. Similar power to weight ratios. In this relatively rarefied space, where the ZRP was effortlessly blowing past nearly everything else, or being left for dead by the stratospheric super machines, it found a competitor in the FRE: slightly faster off the line, it was very gradually reeled back in each corner with the FRE’s slightly superior cornering grip and stopping distance thanks to significantly wider tyres. Therein lay the crucial difference and highlighted the single biggest issue we could identify about this track machine: it was running tyres that would go on a lukewarm hatch… when it really had enough pedigree and oomph to be bringing it to some of the foremost track tuned scat pack pony cars and should have rubber to match. And think just how much more unhinged it’d look in widebody!

Pros

  • God it’s sex
  • Such brooding
  • So focus

Cons

  • Enjoy that engine… while it lasts
  • Follows the law of street legality to the letter, and the spirit of disdain for homologation rules
  • Performance limited by tyre dimensions

What Real Car is this like?

A street legal made-in-2016 Celica GT-4 ST165 with RB-DET powaaaaa

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~70000

Verdict

It’s ‘street legal’ but it’s obvious what this machine’s really about. The first thing you’ll do is rivet on wider fender flares and change the wheels out for some real sporting performance.


@abg7

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First Impressions- Strop

Built by engineers, for engineers. The Australian manufacturer car market was already well in its denouement when the CMS-16 ceased production, so for this to be brought back because the engineers wanted it must have been something akin to a coup. Certainly it looks the part of a budget performance car: minimal, businesslike design mainly ensuring that everything was in its right place. But the use of more sophisticated technologies and materials and higher production times required make this actually a not-insignificant gamble. Is this the one that will bear the torch of the spiritual successor of the MR-2 and have punters reaching for their cards? The conundrum is immediate: alongside the other cars along this spectrum already reviewed, decisiveness is the first litmus test to determine the standard and the appeal. On one hand there is the ‘definitely a toy’ Hodan Rizun, made in far smaller numbers. Then there’s the knock-down kit Adenine Mist tribute which represents a lofty gold standard but only a handful exist. And there is the closest competitor yet in the Gamma Surge, although perhaps this is not so bad a thing depending on distribution, as it is my impression that their markets don’t overlap so much. As it stands, the Albury engineers have planted themselves firmly in the middle: keep all the comforts in but pay special attention to all the drivey bits. Kind of reminds me of a different car philosophy, I wonder what it is…

First Impressions- Kai

Angry face… dopey butt… angry face… dopey butt… angry face… (Kai is running around the car in circles)

Driven Civilly

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Get in the car and it is obvious that the Albury Motor Racing people wanted to leave their indelible mark on this. In what is probably the main design sleight of hand, the seating position, the cabin, it all leaves you with absolutely no false impression that this is anything else but sporty. It is a statement of purpose. It’s a bit surprising therefore that when billed as a budget sportscar, you also get six speakers and every safety feature coming as standard (as said before, similar to the Gamma Surge). Perhaps this is a sign of the times when ‘the general public’ is just that bit more demanding than before. Despite this the car is not heavy, aided in no small part by the all-aluminium construction. The suspension is actually quite absorbent, not particularly firm, strengthening the impression this is a car tuned for road driving. The steering is light, responsive and very direct, which is good all the time. The fuel economy is a tick, too. Like many of the other similarly powered cars, the turbo i4 is fairly standard (ha, a new standard this is!), spooling at 3500rpm. Below that, a sedate drive. Above that, a big dollop of nice even torque and satisfying acceleration, certainly enough to keep up with most of this field, especially on this budget. The brakes are plenty powerful and are quite content to be stood on repeatedly from whatever speed. Then to the on-ramp test to test the cornering and… oh, this appears to be another MR car that likes to get tail happy with not a whole lot of warning. I’m sure the engineers found that exciting, but I’m not so sure about the average punter who’d take six speakers and A/C with their budget track toy, if you know what I mean.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

This was a busy drive. The lower ratios are shorter than many, which is great for fans of shifting, since the shifts are crisp and quick (not orgasmic like in the 1800 Exsilio, but it gets the job done). Thanks to the generous application of boost, timing of throttle application was quite a delicate matter, particularly coming out of slower corners as due to the oversteer characteristic, the rear became very flighty, needing lighting quick correction and precision. In some situations this could be called fun. In a car like this that’s probably debatable, where more of the fun is probably to be had from wringing the guts out of it and being given a bit of space to explore its limits: leave the “I’ll kill you if you look at me funny” to the really pointy end of the spectrum, of which this car was never meant to occupy. So as it stood, the handling, while exciting up to a point, actually became something to be wary about, and I’m pretty sure it slowed me down.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Again!? Ok that’s it, MR DORIFUTOOOOOO- oh ok that is sketchy.

On the track

The CMS-20T showed its strength better in the pack, able to contend with several of the hot hatches in close battles, using its lightness and downforce to give it the edge in higher speed cornering, but again, the rear flightiness causing it to lose out in the tighter sections. And that’s when it hit us. The reason we were struggling to characterise this car all along is because it’s not actually an MR track toy. It’s actually a hot hatch trapped in the body of an MR car. That’s probably both a testament both to just how sporting hot hatches have become, but also how this car has straddled six of one and half dozen of the other in having many fine things in it but never quite deciding which way to go. It’s not like it was actually less strong or less sporty feeling per-se, than things that resembled it better. It just has a lot of contrasts: the engine is cheaper but the chassis is light and pricey, but the interior has creature comforts and the suspension is softer, but the handling is dangerously edgy. It’s the comparative cousin to all the cars around it but never quite gets settled into being itself. That’s more the domain of the knock-off international rebadge import market more typical to what the Australian car market has become, but from locals building for locals? The patriotism would need to run strong when you can get, say, a similar-but-different Matteo Miglia Legatus Piccante (see later for our review of its plush stablemate Turismo) for less (even after import tariffs) and it’s just as capable around the track.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Boosting and shifting is good fun
  • Won’t break your back, very pliant ride on rough roads
  • Not that expensive to run

Cons

  • Some compromises make it more expensive than it wanted to be and not as good it could be elsewhere
  • The combination of harsh boost threshold and oversteer characteristic make it a scary handful for the prospective buyer, who, frankly, isn’t going to be buying this because they fancy themselves a proper sporty driver
  • Still can’t daily it with almost no boot to speak of

What Real Car is this like?

A Seat Leon Cupra R with two seats, no trunk and formatted backwards

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~30000

Verdict

It’s got good things in it but I can’t figure out whether it’s more expensive than it intended or not as fancy as it could be. This demonstrates why it feels strange to approach the midship sports car with such things as real world compromises.



#154

There is one other car that I have sent you: the Harris Nimrod. The trim I submitted for that one is the one named “Harris Nimrod 5.0 Coupe”. It seems that the reason you have not listed it here is that the body it uses may not be working on your end - unless you copy it to your Camso folder.

But regardless of whether or not you find the time to review it, I am pleased to hear that you have a somewhat favorable opinion of the CMS-20. Still, I would like to point out that its suspension is fully adjustable - I just hadn’t figured out how to dial in some understeer to keep it drivable. And I will use the feedback from your review to improve the car in the future.

On another note, I am relieved to find out that you have persisted with this challenge, despite everything that life has thrown at you. Keep pumping out the reviews when you can do so - if there are any left to finish!


#155

You’re right, there’s a problem with the mod. What I don’t understand however is how the path to the mod is the same as certain other cars, but the body still refuses to load. I can copy the mod to the CamSo folder as requested, but because that is extra work for me, you’ll need to help me out by pointing out exactly which mod it is etc.

I think there’s another dozen or so cars to go now. After that there’ll be a more detailed analysis by car class. It’s there that you may find the impression of each car really starts to form… and whether or not I think it’ll sell.


#156

It’s the smaller version of the 10s sedan body (~2.8m wheelbase) - not the vanilla one, but the mod by @Corvette6317 that resembles an Audi A5. It’s called “10SedanMidCorvette” and I have also copied the relevant files to the Camso folder on my end. Do that and there’s a fair chance that my other submission will get reviewed.


#157

looks like it’s working now, as it appears directly below in the list, it’ll be in the next batch!


#158

Tis as I feared, Znopresk (@NormanVauxhall) did indeed enter a strong entry.


#159

Tis strong indeed m’lord. Shall sire retaliate?

I love ye olde english


#160

Ok I’m going slower than I hoped, but I guess that’s life! These are cars 23-26, btw.


@abg7

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First Impressions- Strop

First things first, who the fuck calls something Nimrod these days? What are they gonna remember, the hunter of Biblical proportions, or that weird creepy slimeball who kept making those really awkward jokes? That aside, we’re not here to judge names, we’re here to judge the car. And the most clear thing about this one is, it’s a big’un. Full sedan sized, two doors, two plus two, it’s pretty much an M4 except with a fascia and rear lifted from anywhere in the last two decades… except this one. With a flat slab for the headlight and grille, imposing and stately was the presumed target, but thanks to the dimensions, stunned mullet was more the result. And as for the proportions, ungainly was the word that came immediately to mind, with a cabin line which seemed to gradually ebb away to the point it was hard to know where it started or ended. I guess you could say that made it an A5… without the definition. But enough about that, the intent at least was clear enough: mid-size performance coupe, of which there were a couple in the mix. These larger types would be an ambitious task when it came to tackling the touge, but with something special under the hood of this one, I should know better than to judge a book by its cover.

First Impressions- Kai

It’s big, and it’s blue, and… uh… it’s bored.

Driven Civilly

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Entire cultures in automotive history have sung the song of the mighty V8. But for decades they’ve been in decline, for all the constraints of a changing reality. So for this particular defiant hurrah, the exhaust note, throaty, fruity, rumbly, is simply music. The naturally aspirated 5L V8 has been plenty updated, though, giving great response, great smoothness, and being one of the most efficient NA engines in its class. This alone is one mighty pillar underpinning the foundations of a touring drive. The next is the premium interior, leather, electric seats, heated, big touch-screen and chunky buttons, woodgrain, all swaddled in a quiet, cool darkness. Where from the outside the cabin was a bit of an amorphous blob on the inside it was just a neverending vista of space. This was the kind of car one imagined would burble along, never leaving the low end, never breaking a sweat, almost floating over the bumps with those special magnetorheological dampers. But not quite so here. Here was a stick shift and a geared LSD. An engine that was in fact a little peaky, the torque building in the top end of the rev range. Incongruously, you were invited, encouraged, cajoled to rouse yourself from reverie and get involved in the actual process of driving. And when one did, it had poke: given its heft and bulk not the stuff of insanity, but again the building fury, the stuff of ballistic missiles. Not to say that the steering wasn’t absolutely direct and precise, rather, it was among the most responsive of any of the cars tested, which would bring joy to the silver fox whose fire hadn’t quite gone out.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Big car with big power to the rear wheels, meet little road. Not a particularly attractive prospect. But the on-point handling and the wide tyres went a long way to alleviating the nerves. A tourer like this did have to be treated with respect, but with that a given, it was an eager performer, with plenty of pull and quite enough stop. Nose heavy, it plunged into the corners and you’d know if it was too hot in no uncertain terms as the car simply wouldn’t turn at all, but past the apex, the rear was very happy to go around, maybe even slide out a little and with the top end power and throttle response it was easy to throw a bit of opposite lock and let it all out. Even on a narrow road such as this. Sure, with its inherent disadvantages in this setting, it wasn’t quite able to keep all the power locked down and therefore wasn’t able to keep up to its power to weight ratio, but as long as you weren’t trying to actually race, there was a lot of fun to be had.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Like a fat Englishman who is suspiciously good at dancing in heels.

On the track

Away from the chop and change, the Nimrod was far more at home on the smooth corners and sweeping bends. First and foremost a tourer, it eschewed serious aerodynamic adornments, so the front end was decidedly light at higher speeds, enough to make for some nervous floaty momvements around the Thunderdome. There was no changing its ponderous nature, but there was also no denying the satisfaction of roaring out of each corner, using sheer momentum and power to devour smaller and slower cars. It enjoyed a close rivalry with the sportswagen Stryker Sinatra and the LHE Orbital, a similar-but-different sedan, getting pipped by both owing almost entirely to slightly slower corner speeds all around thanks to slightly less grip. That shouldn’t detract from what this car is about, though: not so much the raw numbers or breaking records, but the feel and the experience.

Pros

  • Very well sorted touring car
  • Very sporting steering balance and throttle

Cons

  • My eyes are bleeding. Is this a tourer or a cheap knockoff?
  • The number of people who are going to insist on rowing your own in a comfort trim this plush is going to be pretty small
  • Definitely on the pricey end to buy and run

What Real Car is this like?

An M3 E92

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~90000

Verdict

A slathering of Jekyll, a touch of Hyde. Getting old and fat and ugly but still good for some action, and I’m not necessarily talking about the driver.


@findRED19

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First Impressions- Strop

I remember this car! We first encountered it when trying to find Kai a birthday present I think, sometime last year (please don’t tell Kai I forgot when his birthday was). To our resident America-phobe, it was distinctly, defiantly American and so it faced an uphill battle, but it seems the manufacturer actually took it to heart and have come back harder and stronger… and with more turbo. It’s still angry and angular and winged and chromed with that gaping upturned face I’m still not so sure about. It’s got some new adornments, as if its intentions weren’t already bellowed loudly enough through the quad exhausts. It’s got wide rubber all around. It promises to be a gripping ride, in the spirit of a proper track-oriented pony car.

First Impressions- Kai

This thing again? Well, I guess if the Nimrod wasn’t so bad…

Driven Civilly

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Note: run of total 12000 units, this is an estimate

This is far from a tired refrain: American car building has come a long way, thanks to a combination of things. Sheer bloody-mindedness, a bit of innovation and ingenuity, and a renewed focus on modernisation. The Eagle GTR puts its best foot forward from the get go, seating you deep and low in proper trim. This may be muscle but it’s also an experience, oozing both modernity and nostalgia, swaddled in surround sound and many secret storage pockets and, dare I say it, all the conveniences designed to make one lazy. The act of driving itself is entirely another matter, the engine making its new boosted character known almost the moment you put your foot down. With a massive surge of torque early in the range, there was a lot of accidental chirping of the tyres. That mastered, the ride was actually pretty amazing. A car of this heft having not much roll but soaking up the bumps while at the same time giving precise feedback of both the ride (to a point: not, say, every single crease in the road), and the steering. This was a car where you may be coddled in three kinds of softness, yes, but it didn’t take a jot away from telling you exactly how agile it could be right to its limits.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Larger car, big fat midrange turbo boost, this was going to be a lot of fun, emphasis on hairy. The Eagle GTR had two distinct set of characteristics, one for its stop and go, and the other for its turning. The turning, as mentioned, was mint. Super direct, fantastic feedback, no need for second guessing, just the pure experience of feeling the corner and traction beyond what I expected. Longitudinally speaking, it was on the heavy end on things, so while it was plenty fast, the feeling of fast here was more like a wrecking ball gaining momentum… and the same applied to stopping. While confident and reliable, the brakes actually felt a bit light on in the front, especially from higher speeds, compared to other modern sports cars that just tend to go maximum overkill on this kind of thing. But the thing that made this especially lairy was that mid-range torque combined with what had to be the laziest throttle response in the entire field. Coming to a corner, I felt the urge to get on the brakes early, which would almost invariably drop me into the midrange. Knowing how much and when to put the foot down was a guessing game a bit like 80s F1: too little too late and you’d feel a wasted opportunity. Too much, too soon, the rears will light up and the tail will get real frisky. On one hand there’s something to be said about that kind of real potency just waiting to be unleased in that lump under the hood, almost “more muscle than muscle” in a way. On the other, I didn’t want to be handing this car to Kai with fresh skidmarks on the seat.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

The gas pedal is more American than waiting in line at the DMV. I actually used heel toe to keep the throttle open in the corners so I wouldn’t die of old age waiting for the boost.

On the track

As with the larger cars, we were expecting this to make up whatever ground it lost due to its girth on the touge, with the extra power. We weren’t wrong. With more performance edge than the big sports sedans, it cut a bit of a lonely figure, chasing down cars in lighter classes with its top end grunt on the Thunderdome, but getting edged out having to get on the brakes early and the throttle late for the chicanes and S bends on the back half. Eschewing fancy tricks in favour of a big wing, the surprise of the day was being passed by the Fore Eagle GTi in the Thunderdome, then losing touch in the tight corners until it took sweet revenge on the straights, blowing past like it was nothing. Similarly the Misty briefly appeared in the mirrors and harried the Eagle with its superior cornering and tighter dynamics, but come the straight again, and with a good 40hp:ton difference it was blast off!

Pros

  • Tuning has maximised potential, of which it has plenty
  • Well-rounded package: great performance, great comfort
  • Runs on pump gas, of course

Cons

  • Really saggy throttle response
  • Modern muscle fuel economy, emphasis on the muscle
  • Not all the looks you’ll get will be approving
  • Purists will be salty about the turbo, others will be baffled by the midrange surge

What Real Car is this like?

Despite body resemblances to the Corvette, it shares more in character with the Camaro SS 1LE. With extra turbo.

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~55000

Verdict

State of the art as far as Touring Muscle goes… if only the throttle lag weren’t so noticeable.


@koolkei

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First Impressions- Strop

Oh, we missed this earlier! It’s another MRZ-3, except this one looks… more tuned, with extra vents on the hood. Apparently this one came from the motorsports arm of Komodo, KSR, and, er, from the spec sheet it appears to be the most bonkers engine swap they could squeeze in. This may very well be the most powerful engine we have with us today, topping even the excessive Bellua by a good 200hp. It’s like LS swapping an MX-5 and then boosting the hell out of it. I’m not sure exactly how this is going to turn out, but here’s hoping that the whole thing’s been given a rebalance and general beefing up considering just how orgiastic an experience fondling the gearstick driving the STX-R was. One thing we can tell straight up though, the interior got a good stripping down, probably an attempt to offset the lump of cast iron under the hood. If the STX-R was the Nardella’s cousin who went to the gym and wore tight trousers, this one’s the cousin that went and got fucking juiced with horse steroids and struts around in a muscle tank top.

First Impressions- Kai

So this one is the sexy and fast one?

Driven Civilly

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Street legal hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Street hahahahahahahaha. Hang on a minute while I catch my breath. It’s about as streetable as the kind of car you enter the Hot Rod Drag Week in: sure it’s doable but it’ll leave you a nervous wreck if you do it regularly. Tall gears, stiff clutch, turbo that spools at 4k, barely muffled engine noise and boost boom that competes with the road noise in the cabin, super wide low profile tyres that run into every groove and bump, and a fuel economy figure that’s better suited to naturally aspirated muscle. And stalling the thing is an exercise in flustered panic to get it going again, not least because there’s no guarantee you won’t flub it more than once at the same lights. At least it doesn’t have something that stabs you in the leg when you sit in it, and the turbo spool actually comes on not all at once, like in purpose built touring racers like the Feroce. Oh, and just in case you really want to gun it from the get go, it actually has launch control. Little mercies, perhaps? Make no mistake this is almost right up there with the purpose-built racers on the “let’s just get this thing to the track so we can race it already” scale.

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Not gonna lie, I was scared. With the ability to spin the wheels all the way to the top of third, suffice to say this was the one car in which at no point whatsoever did I dare use full throttle. There was one part on the straight in the middle where I thought I’d give it a shot but that was just plain terrifying. In fact, throughout the sharper corners and hairpins, the rule was use just the minimum amount required to keep in touch with the boost, no more. Even with an LSD the biggest challenge was keeping the wheelspin to a minimum when dropping the clutch after shifting, though when finally in sync with the unwieldy powerplant, the superior drivetrain components did make this also the most enjoyable part. Not surprisingly, with the tyres being as wide as they were, there was heaps of grip, although thanks to the big lump of iron in the front, the car’s balance was definitely, well, ruined. The body just heaved and rolled and the tyres jittered and wobbled over the bumps, and the front end was pretty much a battering ram that just plowed over everything. Just saw away at the wheel and hold on for dear life.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Who needs a fast time when you can do the entire course SIDEWAAAAAAYS

On the track

Hold the presses and recalibrate everything. This was a car that could not be driven like the others. Much earlier braking points and braking points where they didn’t even exist for most cars. Even on smooth and wider roads, much of the time was spent barely touching the throttle. The big wing on the rear did instil some confidence at higher speeds and allowed us to get properly underway, clocking some of the highest numbers in the speed trap, some 265km/h at the end of the Thunderdome. Probably those numbers would be higher still if it had the balance for us to hold our nerve anywhere south of 160km/h. Of course, once there was sufficient straight road in front of the nose, that didn’t really matter so much as it fairly blasted past nearly everything with the exception of the Smooth Basking, the OMG RM5, and the Bellua. All, we would add, of which had significantly lower power to weight ratios!

Pros

  • Mad powa
  • MAD POWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Cons

  • About as balanced as a one-ended stick
  • It may be street legal but you know it’s really a trailer queen

What Real Car is this like?

I dunno, the Devil-Z on crack?

How much would it sell for in the real world?

You’ll only find something like this in a tuning shop garage, it’s surely not something that’d get sold.

Verdict

Hilarious shenanigans. Forget serious racing, with shorter gears and optimised suspension this would make a better D1 drift missile.


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Koolkei forgot what this car was actually called, so I don’t know if Pilot is the Model or Trim name


First Impressions- Strop

Half Dodge Viper, half NOTICE ME OR I’LL HIT YOU SENPAI, this chunky slab of 2+2 puts the grill in grill. I actually mostly like the combination of long bonnet and sloping cabin with the squarish body, though the rear legroom and headroom is strictly paediatric. Overall this is kind of muscle, but not the kind of car that actually quite qualifies at that, depending on who you talk to. After all, it’s turbo V6, more the kind of thing that goes into the most modern generation of pony car, that has the purists wringing their hands. But on the other hand, that’s the market and its demands and if this is what’s best equipped to cater to that… And there is no denying, being lighter, more balanced, with less difficult compromises, and at a more reasonable budget, one could make a compelling argument that this here indeed is the smart buy for somebody who wants a bit of vroom without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

First Impressions- Kai

How thicc is a thicc grill? Upon being asked what the fuck Kai since when did you start talking like that It’s all the social media you’re making me do damnit!

Driven Civilly

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Sitting in here is a bit cosy, thanks to the rear bench. For Kai it wasn’t so much of a problem, but for Strop the seat had to go pretty much all the way back. Once inside, it was clear the car was made more for lightness than luxury, given the comparatively scant audio system, but on the other hand, it certainly didn’t scrimp on the safety features, going above and beyond, and the seats themselves were decidedly well built for something clad in regular fabric. The overall result was a car that still came out lighter than many of its competitors at 1490kg. There was no doubt as to what the twin turbos were there to do, but in reality, with an appropriately sized engine, the low range torque was not b
ad at all, making even working the tall first gear on a manual transmission not that unreasonable. But the big surprise was the greater than expected level of noise in the cabin, both from the engine, and also from the tyres, relatively big thick threads, even though they were well cushioned with a far more civilian 50 profile. The same applied to the ride: very plaint and rough road friendly, but also with some tangible sense of body roll, yet the steering was quite light and direct, It was all actually a rather mixed bag, half ‘drive me hard’ and half ‘I won’t bite’, just not quite in the way expected. Were the compromises the right ones after all?

Driven Hard




On the Hillclimb- Strop

Put simply, 450hp is plenty, so when push came to the shove, this has plenty of shove. There isn’t ludicrous amounts of boost, but enough that one had to take special care in first and sometimes in second, coming out of the corners, not to light up the rears. Certainly the 50 profile tyres softened the handling to the point there was a noticeable amount of early lateral scrub and some imprecision, so I had to take extra caution in the sharper bends and hairpins. There was also the strange sensation that the brakes were a bit rear biased, in that going hard on the brakes, with the weight pitching to the front the fronts did not lock up, but the rears did. This added to a bit of instability into the corners but on the other hand trailing the brake helped the nose get around that little bit. Not that the car was particularly nose heavy, to its credit.

On the Hillclimb- Kai

Tsunder-car is all angry looking but has a big heart and a soft side.

On the track

Given the lack of aerodynamic support in a field full of giant wings and fancy hydraulics, we were expecting this car to rely on its big power more than anything else. That much certainly came true: it was more in the company of the bigger cars and wagons, hunting them down on the straights but falling behind mostly in the corners both slow and fast, limited mostly by its tyres and lack of downforce. This makes for a strange mix in the modern era in which less is yielding more, because in this case instead of making up for less power with a tight ride, it has power compromised by a soft ride, which makes it more a tourer than it does pony. Perhaps then this is why it feels somewhat like a poor (ok, modestly affluent) man’s Harris Nimrod.

Pros

  • Good right-sized engine for both the easy and hard drive
  • Very reliable
  • Relatively cheap considering the power it has
  • Rides nicely on roads

Cons

  • Built like a budget pony car but handles like a budget tourer

What Real Car is this like?

It doen’t match any of the real world trim levels of any of the current pony cars because the interior is pared back but it then doesn’t come with any Scat Pack addons. It’s actually a bit more like a 2 door Kia Stinger.

How much would it sell for in the real world?

~33000

Verdict

If you don’t want your curry laksa to be too spicy, don’t just completely forego the curry and the sambal… then all you have left is the coconut milk and the balance of flavour is all skewed. But… but maybe instead of a less spicy curry laksa maybe you actually wanted a mildly spicy butter chicken instead. Does this make any sense? I’m hungry.


#161

That’s just what I was aiming for when I submitted the Nimrod.

Oh, and I named it after the de Havilland Comet derivative that served in the Royal Air Force as a maritime patrol aircraft until 2010 :grin:

And KSR’s take on the MRZ-3 is, quite frankly, mental - I have to tip my hat to whoever came up with such lunacy!


#162

i had fun reading the KSR tuned one. MAAAAAAD BOOOOOOOSCHT!

but then ofc you made my other car a tsun-car-e…
rough and powerful on the outside, but soft on the inside. right? :stuck_out_tongue: