It will definitely get noted.
We just have something that fits the requirements. Let me present you yet another XR Variant. This time it’s very orange.
2017 Leeroy Fujiwara
After the early sales success stories of bespoke built, Leeroy Racing cars in the 90’s, Leeroy Racing special editions were to become a profitable arm of the company going forward. Based on a generic Bogliq donor, a theme was selected and a limited-run model developed to best encapsulate that ideal.
The Fujiwara was Leeroy Racing’s attempt at a re-imagining of the car that made Takumi Fujiwara famous. Using the baseline of the 2015 Bogliq Kitten, the entire car was transformed; aluminium chassis, polymer panels, rigid rear axle etc. This resulted in about 300Kg scrubbed from the car (inc the engine) and a bespoke, licence-built ex-Toyota 4A-G 20v was inserted where the usual Bogliq engine resided. The 4AG was modernised with direct injection and a magnesium block and was re-jigged to ensure reliability at 10K revs! The Kitten Sport RS donated it’s interior and the Kitten enTrance donated it’s infotainment unit. Safety was the usual Bogliq standard with the crumple zones re-calibrated for the new materials.
Priced at $32K driveaway, no-one was expecting the cars to rush out the door, but for the right buyer, the Leeroy Fujiwara would seem like a bargain at twice the price…
Buy better, buy Bogliq
Albury’s latest affordable mid-engined sports car, the new-for-2017 CMS-20T, was built to replace the much-loved CMS-16 after a five-year hiatus that still seemed too long for most enthusiasts. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0L I4, it shares its platform with the smaller-engined Harris RMA-4, but has a more aggressive and harder-edged demeanor compared to its sibling.
Pricing starts at $25350 with a 30% markup, which makes it a relative bargain for something as track-focused as this. Can you handle it?
Accursio Criceto Corsa
After Accursio’s dominant performance in the newly formed touring car series, ACCC, Accursio moved quickly to release a road-legal track-spec version of the Criceto available to the consumers. The result was the Accursio Criceto Corsa, a car made sure that everyone could have the racing legend in their driveway (or their cupboard). While it doesn’t use the same engine as the touring car-spec, it does use a similarly sized and powerful, high-revving V6 engine that push it beyond its competitors.
The Criceto Corsa has a curb weight less than 700 kg and shares a lot of technology and parts that made it’s racing-spec sibling light, as it is equipped with magnesium wheels and uses a full-aluminum body panels and engine. This lightweight nature of the car allows it to be extremely agile around track and give it a very respectable 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds.
With the constant war between manufacturers to deliver an affordable sports car. Accursio’s aim is to undercut everyone in the budget sports car market by selling the Criceto Corsa at 12,899$ USD (30% markup), and is willing to offset the costs by running a relatively large production of number of 7000 for the initial year.
I guess you have seen this before, and here it is again. The Baltazar Quasar RS325.
For further information, read here+
2017 Armada Fore Gen. V Condor
The Armada Fore has always been about the hot hatch, GTi variant. That’s the variant from which all others stem, whether it’s the basic entry level model, the Birdie and all its iterations, or, new to this generation, the premium Touring variants, the Albatross, which comes with, of all things, the block from Armada’s sedan range, the Ceres.
All of the above come with 5 seats (with the exception of the Birdie Advance Trophy, which is basically a stripped budget racer for the real purist hoon who wants to recreate the glorious feeling of a stripped EG Type R). However, if you wanted to find out what the Gen V chassis is capable of, Armada’s engineers were thinking exactly the same thing, so created the ultimate Trophy trim, the Condor (see what I did there?). This is the raw two-seater with lightweight sound damping, no radio, short throw shift kit, and every trick in the books, including, for the first time in Armada history, electronically-controlled diff.
The Condor also uses Ceres’ V6, destroked from 3 to 2.8L and using their most advanced internals, redlines at 8800rpm. With the addition of turbo, it becomes quite the hand-grenade:
But due to the light weight at under 1200kg, the Condor will still sip barely 8L/100km. Dynamically, the ride is lowered and stiffened to the maximum and the aero made much more aggressive. The tyres have been thiccened to withstand the brute power going through just the fronts. Nonetheless it still achieves a top speed of 301km/h, one of, if not the fastest in a production FF car. On cheap standard semi-slicks, it’ll do about 7:32 on Nordschleife, which is to say, lapping it with the supercars.
At 30% markup, this hardcore FF machine asks 25870, but in reality it’s probably going to be sold more like at an 80% markup for 37 grand, as it will be a pretty limited run of maybe 400 units.
FWD?! My mind has blown up, I need a new one.
Round 1 submissions are closed now.
We received entries from:
Reviews will be up shortly.
Issue 1: Compact performance skirmish!
-Well Kenji, that must be our truck.
-Yup. So the companies sent us 13 cars.
-Quite a lot for our first issue. Let’s get right to it though.
(Thanks to @Oskiinus for the effort put into these reviews, and the awesome result!)
KHT Augusta and Revera XR Ultima.
While Kuro went to one part of the docks to see the cars he has to transport to our HQ, I’ve checked the other ones. While I was expecting to see absolutely nothing as I work for a startup project basicly I was surprised when I saw two little supercars from two important companies: Revera and Kraft Haus Technik.
KHT’s proposition for the day is the Augusta - sent in track specification, model introduced in 2016. As I don’t know much about entry level KHTs, to which Augusta definitely belongs. But, as I heard, those german madmen setup all their cars for maximum performance, plus they’re expensive as hell - no wonder that a small company like that, despite having tuning division which generates some bigger money needs also own entry level model. And this is how Augusta was born, from what I know. Don’t be fooled though - as I digged through the car, I’ve searched for technicals to say something here - I was surprised when I took the engine cover up - I knew that Augusta is MR, powerful track toy but this compact inline four with turbocharger looks… Well. For me it would fit more into Alfa Romeo 4C, not a track demon that Augusta looks like. But keep in mind that not everything is as cute as it looks, furious yorkshire terriers as example. I’m surprised that the engine family in general started in 2007, but seems like DC1607 engines are even capable today. Back to topic, I was prepared to see pushrod suspension, but well… double wishbone on both axles. Quite good and universal combination.
When going to Revera, this thing is very, very beautiful. Seriously. Those guys are damn masters in their art. Strangely enough, Revera XR and KHT Augusta, despite their models in general being placed apart by 5 years in the timeline share similar profile and shape - with exception of completely different looks. XR Ultima, despite being somewhat top version, or I should say track version still looks like it’s ready for combat, but even with this lively bright orange paint that the car is in it isn’t as flashy as the Augusta. If we check what’s under the hood, there’s some more predictable stuff - pushrod suspension on both axles, and rather small naturally aspirated 3.8 litre flatplane V8. This is italian approach. I like it.
After checking the cars I called Kuro and we decided to bring them finally to HQ. As we had currently only one truck for transporting cars, Kuro took his own cars (they were just barely fitting) and, since I had to borrow some old Mitsubishi Canter, I put the Revera on it’s cargo space and belted it, meanwhile Augusta… Well. It was travelling pinned to a hook. When we arrived, and had a nice sight on all these cars, it was decided that I will drive first with Kuro on passenger seat. First car we took out was KHT Augusta T.
My impressions? When I jumped in the car, which was quite difficult, due to fact that folks at KHT decided to throw in full racing 3 point bucket seats, so it took Kuro with his slightly non-functional-as-before back ten minutes to correctly get in - I was quite surprised. As in interior, there’s literally nothing from entertainment or luxury. The only thing we get at the cockpit is steering wheel, gauges, fuel usage screen and a timer for measuring track times. I wanted to see a rollcage and some racing glass, but I guess that it would be illegal - I don’t think KHT is a company that likes cost cutting.
At the time of turning the car on, I was expecting to open devil’s symphony from exhaust - meanwhile, this car is surprisingly quiet for something that looks like straight out of AMWEC 2015. As I try to get out to drive around the city, I notice something. THIS CAR HAS NO FUCKING POWER STEERING. I mean, it can be practical for better track feeling, and I admit it, but for me, as I’m 47 and slightly weaker than before it’s a problem when I want to do some turns. At least gearbox with electric LSD does it’s job as fine. It’s set up for racing, and that’s known, but pinning gears one by one in the Augusta isn’t much of a problem. The problem begins when you want to cruise. It’s impossible.
KHT does not spin wheels that much, which is actually pretty good. Actually, the wheelspin is so small that with help of launch control, when it’s onboard it’s pretty unnoticeable. On a section where there were no cars I floored the throttle - Kuro was a bit unimpressed, but when I hit the brake pedal to maximum he was about to throw his breakfast. Kudos for Kraft Haus for making the car pretty suitable for emergency situations. However, when driving on streets of Suzuka it felt at least uncomfortable. Stiff, no roll angle, I need to constantly rev it above 5000 RPM to have some reasonable power. It’s 340 horsepower are accessible with ease, but I need to almost redline the damn thing.
There’s another problem with the Tsukuba in Japan, and it is the society. I’ve got pulled three times by police R35s and policemen were asking if this car is even street legal. Of course it is, and they let me go all three times. But I think that if this car is meant to be street legal it can have it’s headlights slightly differently setupped up, because come on. Usually those are not that low. Another social problem with Augusta are carspotters - it isn’t I don’t like them, but seriously, getting partly blinded by flashes from cameras and iPhones on every crossing? What the fuck are wrong with you people? I know that this car catches spotters with it’s looks like Ferrari 458 Italia was catching fire, but that’s way too much.
Anyway, it also shows how the german “budget” supercar recognisable and visible is. No way to blend in the traffic.
There’s one positive thing with using Augusta on streets - it gets surprisingly low mileage of 7 litres per 100 km.
After a trip to hell and back on Suzuka City’s streets in KHT Tsukuba we happily went out of it - it took Kuro again to move from those racing seatbelts, then get out of his seat with his hurting back (seriously, this is what age and working in a supermarket does). Revera was like a salvation or water in the desert - it had actually civilized interior, with all the modern goodness and very deep bucket seats, which were surprisingly very comfortable, like in a midsize stuffed up sedan. Getting in wasn’t a problem, out too. Despite it’s well done interior covered with eco leather and alcantara seats, there’s only basic infotainment - still, more civilized than in KHT Augusta.
When I have turned the key to ignite Revera, it welcomed me with noticeable, but not so loud flatplane V8 growling. Driving this thing is definitely much easier than in Augusta, mainly because XR Ultima features all the assists you can spot in today’s cars, including power steering and tech like electronic stability. The car gives more road feeling, I mean, it feels more like a road car. Sadly, it has tendency to spin wheels at low speeds, but I guess that is because enormous power output of almost 540 horsepower at 9200 RPM, but after that, and on low rpms, it’s not a problem anymore.
The problem is 7-gear manual gearbox, which is actually quite handy, but with it’s usual H pattern and 7th gear it can give some problems to those who never drove such car.
Aesthetically wise, Revera XR Ultima is much more of an road car - has lights in correct place and still looks flashy, but classy too. It’s large double wing is unmissable in the street - in other words, the car looks so fresh that you can’t actually find out that this model in general was shown first in 2011!
Now, some downturns of the car. It’s roll angle, while not being as hardcorely low like in Tsukuba is still quite high for a street legal track car - I mean, it’s doable, but it can serve some problem even when doing street driving. Also, XR Ultima has one problem that would scare out buyers: When pushed hard, it’s oil temperature skyrockets, and that is engine overheating I guess (but you need to push it really hard, like drag races from streetlights). Another downfall of this great design is it’s fuel mileage - the average I’ve got by just roaming around Suzuka was 17.25 L/100 km. This is an abysmal result in comparison to KHT.
Verdict? Both cars are good for what they are - KHT Tsukuba T is incredible track weapon and is horrible for street use and Revera XR outclasses the Tsukuba in almost every possible daily driving aspect. Are they worth it? For sake of comparison, I’ve asked both local dealers: KHT and Revera to tell me the price with their standarized 30% markup. It’s 36920 $ for Revera and 35280 $ for KHT. For me, KHT is very good if you like racing on track in trackdays and don’t mind using this racecar for some street usage, and XR Ultima is for people who don’t mind running costs and possibly decreased reliability.
My choice? Revera XR Ultima.
So after Kenji reviewed the Revera and the KHT, it’s my turn to review my share of cars.
Accursio Criceto Corsa ’17.
The Accursio Criceto Corsa. A street-legal car version of the same car that dominated the ACCC from start to finish. A low drag coefficient, low gravity center and curb weight should make this a cornering monster. We took it from the Accursio dealership and brought it in our transport truck with the rest of the cars that’ll be reviewed today, except the Revera and the KHT.
The body reminds me of a downsized British sports car. The front is not my favourite but it is definitely not ugly. The rear end is rather simple, and reminds me of a Honda S2000 in a way.
I lifted the bonnet, to find out that the car is powered by a 1.1L V6 with twin throttle bodies (one for each bank of cylinders). It’s a surprisingly small engine for its cylinder count, as sub 1.5L engines are usually 3 or 4 cylinders. The engine is not turbocharged either: it’s naturally aspirated, probably to make it more of a purist machine.
I then opened the driver side door and took a look at the interior. The gearshifting is done via a single clutch sequential, with flappy paddles behind the wheel. I must say, it’s been a while since I last saw a single clutch sequential, these are mainly double clutch nowadays. The gearbox is mated to a geared LSD, which is a nice addition.
The car is mounting two basic bucket seats. They’re not too easy to get into nor comfortable, but I can see where they are coming from: they want the car to be as light as possible. You’ll also notice that the car has no radio, no touchscreen, nothing. No comodities: this is a spartan car. My back ached a little bit when I tried to get into the car: the roofline is very low.
I pressed the ignition switch and a softly growling V6 welcomed me. Not too loud, but audible nevertheless, and the sound the engine emitted was a pleasure to my ears. The first thing I noticed as I took the car out of the garage towards the street is that it lacks power steering, which is not too big of a problem considering the car only weighs 700kg, but my age-weakened muscles had to do their best to turn the wheel. The car includes a range of different driver aids, ABS, TCS, ETS and launch control. The suspension feels sporty but a little bit weird: despite being FWD, the car oversteers at low speeds and feels more stable when higher speeds are reached. The brakes have too little margin to lock the wheels in my opinion and they need a whole lot of force to be actuated.
But what made this car dominate the ACCC? Cornering performance? If you though of cornering, you were right. This car pulls 1.39Gs at 20m and 1.43Gs at 250m. Once you get the hang of how this suspension behaves, cornering in this machine is mental, in a good way.
This car is hard to cruise. In the streets of Suzuka, it had to be cruised in fifth gear, and averaged 2000+ rpm, which increases fuel consumption. The sequential transmission made it harder to stop the car at sudden red lights and slowly-moving traffic. We then took it to the highway; reaching a safe 90 km/h speed requires the engine to be revved beyond 3500rpm, which, again, is not too fuel efficient. Despite that, due to a low weight and drag, this car gets 36 MPG, which is actually good.
After half an hour of driving around Suzuka, we went back to the HQ. I asked the Accursio dealer the price of this car. With a standard 30% markup, the car can be purchased at 12900$, making it a strong contender in the cheap track day car game. Is it practical, though? Not at all.My final veredict is that, despite its low price, this car is not practical for everyday driving; however, it is really worth it for track purposes.
Erin Merna 200X – AllDrive ’17.
The Erin Merna, huh? A compact sedan known for its comfort and affordability for its relative “premiumness”. This is not a standard trim, though: this is the AWD trim, which should probably add a lot of sportiness to the model. Anyways, it’s time to check it out.
The front screams Erin. The soft rounded lines on top, with more aggressive lines at the bottom, specially these vents, give the car a smart, yet sporty look. I like the front of this car! Walking around the car, at the rear, it mounts its characteristic tailights, which I’m not a big fan of but, I have to give them that, are unique.
I open the driver side door and find some fine cloth bucket seats. They look able to hold the driver when cornering at high speeds and comfortable at the same time. I seat on them and my - of course faulty – back rests comfortably. There’s a radio with a touchscreen – a nice technological addition – to which you can connect your phone. The car includes a bunch of different driver aids: ABS, TCS, ETS, power steering and even launch control. A lot of safety features are included in the car as well, so I can say without fear of being wrong, that you’ll be safe in this machine. The 6-speed manual gearbox is mated to a geared LSD, improving the cornering.
As soon as I pressed the ignition switch, I heard a raspy I4 with individual throttle bodies, just the kind of sound I love, and it’s not uncomfortably loud either. The 2 liter engine on this machine develops 290hp thanks to a turbocharger, which kicks in around 3000rpm. It can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 5 seconds, which is not bad at all either. This car gets 29MPG; average economy is to be expected from a performance edition of a car, but this falls short in my opinion.
Equally wide tyres front and back and a suspension tuned in a sporty manner makes this car have a tendency to behave like a sports car, oversteering, but nothing you can’t control. The brakes have an addecuate margin to be actuated without having to press them too hard and can stop the car in less than 30 metres. An added lip and wing produces some downforce for the car to be more stable at high speeds. This allows it to pull 1.15Gs at 20m and 1.11Gs at 250m, which is good for a 1500+ kg car.
We took this car to the highway too. It accelerates nicely and gets up to speed early, but to cruise at a safe 90km/h speed you need to get really close to 3000rpm, which reduces the overall fuel efficiency.
After a nice drive through traffic listening to some nice 80s hits, we decided to drive back to our HQ. We parked the car and I called the Erin dealership, asking for a price. Marked up with the standard 30% we’re using for our comparison, this car costs 30160$. Even if it lacks better economy and performance, it’s good value for the money if we take into account comodities, practicality and overall feel. Is it worth it? I’d say it is.
Baltazar Quasar RS325 Hatchback (Mk5) ’17.
The Baltazar Quasar…a 5 door hatchback, and the first hatchback to be reviewed today. I don’t know much about the Brazilian make, but let’s see what we’ve got here.
First of all, the looks. The front looks aggresive, with accentuated headlights, meeting at an upper grille. The lower grille is divided in two, giving the sensation of vents; I don’t know whether I should call that a faux-vent or not, but I like it anyways. They added two extra cooling vents on the bonnet, which I’m not a fan of but I can see their functionality. Moving on to the rear, it’s simple but it works – and I like it! – with dual two-tip exhausts, angular taillights, and a plastic fascia that covers the entire width of the rear.
I open the driver side door to find that the interior has been carefully designed. Fine cloth covering the seats, which are a semi-bucket design, a compromise between comfort and sportiness – something my back greatly appreciates. The radio includes a touchscreen as well, which, again, I don’t see necessary but is a good addition nevertheless. The car includes a wide range of driver aids: ABS, TCS, ETS, power steering and even launch control! The safety system in this car makes me feel safe driving it. The gear shifting is done via a 6 speed manual transmission, which adds to the overall sportiness.
I press the ignition button to find out that this car is powered by a individual throttle body I4 as well. The raspy, growly sound fills my ears, and I’m not complaining. Actually, scratch that, the engine is not too audible, which from a comfort standpoint makes sense, but I can’t appreciate the engineering wonder that powers the car. Nevertheless, this engine is certainly something – making 325hp from only 2L of displacement – with a turbo that kicks in as soon as 3000-ish rpms, it should be more than fast enough to be a fun ride.
The first thing we did was driving around the Suzuka city, as usual. This car is pretty easy to drive through traffic, you can cruise at pretty low rpms, improving fuel economy and reducing loudness; the brakes are responsive, and can stop the car in little more than 30 metres, even though sometimes you have to press them more than expected to lock the wheels. Fuel economy is not good, though. This car gets 27 MPG which is actually a bad number in my opinion.
We then entered the highway. The car is pretty easy to accelerate to 100km/h – it does it from 0 to 100 in only 4.9 seconds, which is really impressive for a hot hatch. Cruising at a safe 90 km/h speed is not that easy, though – the engine reaches more than 2700rpm which, again, reduces fuel economy.
Let’s talk the suspension to finish this all off. The adaptive dampers, and the suspension tune this car uses, makes it corner fairly well while maintaning a high degree of comfort. The car tends to oversteer at low speeds and tends to understeer more and more as the car accelerates. The oversteer is limited by wider tyres at the back, even if the AWD system sends a 60% of the
power to the rear wheels. I forgot to say something, though: the differentials are open, which I think is a design flaw.
We drove the car back to our HQ and I called the Baltazar dealership. With a standard 30% markup, the car costs 29250$, making it a strong contender in the hot hatch category. Is it worth it? Even if the fuel economy and the open differentials cripple it, the practicality, sportiness and safety makes the car worth it.
Assoluto Promessa GT 246 ’17.
Assoluto Promesa…I’ll be honest here. The front reminds me of a Pagani Huayra. Perhaps too much. The headlights are similar, the styling is similar, and I come to the conclusion that a downsized Huayra stands before me. If we move to the rear, we can see…something. I’ll be honest here, I don’t like it at all. Lost exhausts, lots of vents which look like jet engines and two circular taillights that don’t look good on the grille the Assoluto engineers put there. So I think it’ll be better if we move on to the interior.
And I must say the interior is much better. Two bucket seats of fine cloth, with a leather steering wheel, makes this interior the best one we’ve reviewed today yet. The gear shifting is done via a double clutch sequential transmission. Not bad! It is mated to a viscous LSD, which is something to be expected from a performance car like this. There’s a basic radio and not much more, and the safety systems look just enough. In the driver aids department, it includes ABS, TCS, ETS and launch control.
As soon as the ignition switch is pressed, you hear a nice V6 growl. This car is powered by a 2.4L N/A V6 to be precise, with dual throttle bodies, developing 270hp at 8200rpm. It allows it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.8 seconds, which is excellent. But as I left the HQ, I noticed this car has no power steering. Ugh…
I started by testing this car at the streets of Suzuka. Even if the car itself is not hard to drive, the sequential gearbox makes it harder to stop the car at sudden traffic events or stoplights. The suspension feels oversteery at low speeds and more stable at higher speeds, but the 50mm thinner tyres up front makes this car not feel as sharp as it should, even though it pulls 1.25Gs both at 20m and 250m. City cruising is easy anyways: you can cruise at 1500rpm whichs greatly enhances the fuel economy of this car. Speaking of which, is really good: 36MPG.
The brakes don’t have too much margin, so you have to do a lot of force for the car to stop safely. I don’t like that, and I think it is a design flaw that compromises safety.
We then took the thing to the highway. Thanks to its acceleration, it’s easy to get up to a safe 90 km/h speed, but some people can overdo it too, so it’s better to be careful with the throttle. Cruising at a highway requires you to go in sixth gear at 2700rpm+, which reduces fuel economy.
After half an hour driving, we went back to our HQ. I asked the Assoluto dealer for a price, and with a 30% markup this car costs 35620$. An incredible price for what it includes if you ask me. So, Kuro, is this car worth it? Not for daily driving, not for practical purposes. But it is worth it for track purposes!
Leeroy Fujiwara ’17.
A Bogliq car that tries to recreate the Initial D AE86, huh? Let’s see how they did it.
Well, the front doesn’t look too much like a Levin or Sprinter Trueno. If we go to the rear, there’s a little bit more of similarity but not too much either. I can see how they tried to match the lights but they simply don’t. But let’s not judge a book by its cover.
Let’s open the driver side door. 4 bucket seats are mounted, giving this a race car vibe. There’s a basic radio and pretty standard safety systems. Gearshifting is done by a 6-speed manual transmission, mated to a geared LSD. Pretty normal so far, and kinda weird that they decided to mount 4 bucket seats. As soon as you seat on them, they are not too comfortable – my back is killing me again – but they hold the driver nicely. The car includes every driver aid necessary: ABS, TCS, ETS, power steering and launch control.
As soon as I press the ignition switch, a very familiar sound welcomes me. An I4, with individual throttle bodies, that sounds like…wait. I got out of the car and lifted the bonnet: is that a frickin’ 4AGE 20v? Is that even street legal?
I closed the bonnet and got into the car again, trying not to think too much about it. The engine develops 232hp at 9300rpm and redlines at 10500rpm. The loudness of the engine, though, was unbearable.
As soon as I took it out of the HQ and drove it to the streets of Suzuka, I drove it through the streets. You can cruise it at 1500rpm, which is good due to how loud the engine is – we were nearly pulled over by the police once – and to drive more efficiently despite only getting 27 mpg. The suspension is tuned for sportiness, with a tendency to oversteer at low speeds that becomes more stable at higher speeds. As soon as I tried to stop at a traffic jam, though…I barely caressed the brake pedal and the car stopped so fast I almost threw my breakfast up. Turns out the front brakes have way too much margin to lock the wheels.
I finally took the car to the highway. It accelerates nicely and fast, only taking 5.1 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Cruising at 90 km/h forces you to rev the engine past 3000rpm, which makes the loudness unbearable. After half an hour of driving, I took the car back to the HQ and called the Bogliq dealer to ask for a price. With a standard 30% markup, the car costs 31590$, which is a little bit too much for what it offers in my opinion. I’m afraid this car is not worth it, but we still have to test it at Suzuka, so it may redeem itself.
Armada Fore Gen V Condor ’17.
Before me, stands a very special hot hatch. The Armada Fore Condor. Already, I’m liking the styling, it’s very aggressive and “racey”. This car screams “speed”, specially with a touring-car like bottom. Moving on to the rear, it looks pretty as well. The headlights remind me of a mid 2000s Chevrolet for some reason but I can’t remember exactly which car. The bottom features a nice splitter-like grille and centered twin exhaust tips.
As soon as I opened the driver side door, two bucket seats welcomed me. Well, they’re not…too comfortable. My back started killing me again, but at least they keep the driver in its place nicely. There’s no radio, no infotainment, and a very standard safety system. A radio could’ve been a nice addition, even if it was just a basic one. The car includes the complete range of driver aids – ABS, TCS, ETS, power steering and launch control – which is always nice to have for the extra added safety. The gear shifting is done via a 6 speed manual transmission, mated to an electronic LSD – high tech for high performance!
I lift the bonnet up and see a 2.7L V6, rated at an outstanding 435hp! It is twin turbocharged and uses an individual throttle body system. Its growl is delicious, but it is very loud, though, and I can see it being annoying in long trips. Thanks to intelligently engineered gear ratios, this car gets 29MPG – which is actually pretty good for 435hp!
I took it to the streets of Suzuka, like each car. You can cruise it at 1400rpm at the city, meaning a lot of fuel will be saved. I’d liked more margin for the brakes to lock the wheels, though, as you have to press the brake violently to stop the car safely. Even with that design flaw, the car can be stopped in just 25 metres.
The suspension is tuned to be as sporty as possible, but there’s a design flaw: the suspension is way too stiff. My back literally wanted to kill me every time we reached a speedbump or pothole, as every irregularity on the road could be felt. This suspension must be outstanding at the track, though, as this car pulls 1.28Gs at 20m and 1.44Gs at 250m.
We finally took the thing to the highway. Accelerating from 0 to 100 in 4.3 seconds, this car has no problema getting up to 90 km/h. It has to be cruised at 2500rpm at the highway. Not too bad but not too good either.
After half an hour of driving, we took the car back to our HQ and, of course, asked the Armada dealership for a price. With a 30% markup, this car costs 25870$, which is a really good price for what it offers. So, for the power, price and relatively good fuel economy, this car is worth it.
I look at this car and…don’t know what it is. Is it a pony car? A luxury coupé? I guess It’ll have a V8 under the bonnet. About the looks…eh.
Okay…turns out it is a V12. With an OHV valvetrain. And…are these…race intakes? Oh well…let’s check the interior out. 4 seats, nicely clothed. The car incorporates every driver aid and an advanced touchscreen with a HUD mode. Not bad.
The gearshifting is done via 6 speed manual. As soon as I took it out of our HQ, I noticed the brakes do not have a good margin to lock the wheels, which forces me to press the pedal hard, again. The car understeers as you accelerate, and the incredibly undersized tyres can’t put down the 380hp the engine makes. In fact, these tyres are the reason I got pulled over by a policeman. Game over.
The ticket was not worth it. Neither is the car.
Albury CMS-20T ’17.
I don’t know much about Albury. But I’m looking at the front of this car and it looks empty, unfinished. Only two vents, two accentuated headlights and that’s it. Moving on to the rear, and I think everything is too high. Way too high. The grilles, the headlights…they don’t feel right there.
But let’s move on to the interior. As soon as you open the driver side door, you’ll see two nicely clothed bucket seats, with a good balance between comfort and functionality. At the same time these seats managed to make my back not hurt, they kept me in place nicely. The interior features a radio with a touchscreen – which I’m seeing more and more in cars these days – and advanced safety systems, which, of course is a nice addition in case of accident. Driver aids? The complete range. ABS, TCS, ETS, power steering and launch control. Gearshifting is done through a 6 speed manual.
As soon as I pressed the ignition switch, I heard a raspy ITB I4. Nice! The 2L engine develops 300hp at 7700rpm, thanks to the use of a turbo. It kicks in at a little bit later than 3000rpm.
I took it out to the streets of Suzuka, for our usual street and highway test. It’s possible to cruise this car in the city at less than 1400rpm, which improves fuel economy – even though this car only gets 31 MPG. The suspension feels a little bit oversteery at low speeds, but it should become more stable as we accelerate, right? It wasn’t too stiff either, which my back greatly thanked. The brakes had an addecuate margin to lock the wheels and stop the car, which I like. The only thing that’s bugging me is how oversteery the suspension feels, but it’ll understeer if we go faster, right?
Alright, let’s enter the highway. Let’s see how this accelerates…hey, hey, WOAH! Tyres squealing are heard, followed by a crash. The camera goes black.
Kuro is seen onscreen, with some cuts in his cheeks and arms.
Turns out the suspension is tuned wrong, this car oversteers in an unmanageable manner and it made me crash into the guardrail. Luckily I was taken to the hospital by Kenji and no bones were broken, appart of cuts from glass shards that flew towards us and had to be removed and cleaned. We can go on with the reviews, but, for how unsafe this car is, I’ll say it’s not worth it.
Shromet Radiant Limited ’18.
The Shromet Radiant! A hatchback from an American make, and, for what I see, could be a competitor to the Scorcher I own. Looking at it, the styling is nice. I like the accentuated headlights, ending in an upper grille, and a lower grille attached to two vents with a plastic fascia. The front’s nice! Let’s move onto the rear, which I don’t like as much. I don’t like the body-wide taillight and how far to the right the exhaust tip is.
Once you open the driver side door, you find four nicely clothed bucket seats, which I find a weird number of bucket seats (there are usually two or one in sports cars) but, I must say, are really comfortable and they caress my back nicely. The interior includes an advanced radio with a touchscreen and lots of features, and a fair amount of safety systems. It includes the whole range of driver aids – You should know which already – and the gear shifting is done via a 6 speed manual – I was expecting a torque converter auto or semi auto, to be honest, and it is a good surprise to not find one inside it. The transmission is mated to a geared LSD.
As soon as I pressed the ignition switch, I was surprised again. It wasn’t an I4, nor an I3, nor a V6. An I6! A 2L I6 engine, making 322hp of peak power. This car gets a very improvable 28 MPG, but let’s see how it behaves. The engine sounds rather screamy, thanks to a single throttle body, and is audible but not too loud.
I took it to the streets of Suzuka. This suspension is tuned to achieve a balance between comfort and sportiness, and tameness, of course, to make people with less driving skills able to drive spiritedly too. The suspension is kinda soft, which from a comfort standpoint makes sense but it also cripples its cornering potential, which by the way, pulls 1.11Gs at 20m and 1.09Gs at 250m. The brakes, on the other hand, require too much force to lock the wheels, in my opinion. Cruising in the city is possible at 1500rpm approximately, which I must say, is fuel efficient.
So when you take it to the highway, you can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, which is really good. Cruising at a safe 90 km/h speed requires you to rev the engine to almost 3000rpm, which again, reduces fuel efficiency and makes the engine run loudly.
Anyways, back to our HQ. I asked the Shromet dealership for a price, and with the standard 30% markup, this car costs 33540$. Taking into account practicality and comodities, even if it lacks a little bit of performance and fuel economy, I’d say this car is worth it.
T2 [300 Sport] ’05.
Woah, a model from 2005! Is it still produced? Anyways, there’s not much to say about the design. It feels…empty, incomplete. There’s not even a handle. How am I suppossed to enter the car? Oh, wait…
Kuro brings a hammer, smashing the driver side window.
Oh yeah, let’s get to the interior. There’s nothing to be seen outside anyways. Two clothed bucket seats awaiting in the inside, and they’re appropiately comfortable. One thing I’ve noticed…a satellite navigation system! It’s been a while since I last saw one of these being offered in a car. Let’s give it a destination. How about this…uhh…shopping mall? Looks like the software is outdated, but what could go wrong?
So as soon as I took the car out of the HQ, I noticed the rumble. It’s a V8! First 8 cylinder engine in this comparison, and something I wasn’t expecting to be honest. It’s just too loud, though…uuugh, I think both Kenji and I could feel our sanity slip away with that ear-piercing screaming engine.
I followed the indications of the SatNav, which took me to unknown roads, and a mountain pass he didn’t even know existed. The thing even asked me to go offroad twice. Well, I looked at the SatNav, which told me my destination was 1 km ahead of me; when I looked back at the road I was about to crash into an highrise appartment block. I floored the brakes; luckily the car stopped before I crashed into the building.
Lesson of the day? The will of whoever drives should always go before what a SatNav system says. The car’s not worth it, by the way.
GBF Exsilio 1800 Turbo ’17.
And this is the final car to be reviewed. The Exsilio 1800 Turbo. Already, I’m liking how this car looks: aggressive, mean, fast. Accentuated headlights, with a clever usage of fascias and vents, give this car a racey look. The back is really nice too, with a clever vent – taillight combination. I must say that, so far, this is a promising car. Let’s check the interior out!
Two deep bucket seats, comfortable and with the perfect shape to keep you in place.
Gearshifting is done through a six speed manual mated to an electronic LSD, which is a promising start for the mechanical aspect as well. The car includes a premium radio with a touchscreen and lots of functionalities. This car includes every driver aid except power steering, which is something that I can understand from a sports standpoint but would be nice to have anyways. The safety systems seem to be average in today’s standards.
I pressed the ignition switch and a growling V6 welcomed me. The 1.8L V6 on this car makes 270hp thanks to a twin turbo setup and VVT/L. Even with a considerable 270hp punch, this car gets 33MPG, which is one of the best fuel economies in this comparison. This engine is capable of propelling the car from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds, a nice time.
So I took it to the streets of Suzuka. The brakes have a good enough margin to not have to press the pedal too hard to stop the machine, and the car is capable of stopping in 27.5 metres. I noticed this car tends to slightly understeer rather than oversteer, which is just my style. I like it! Cruising inside the city requires you to rev the engine slightly above 1900rpm, which is not too bad and not too good. Engine loudness is not a problem either – you can hear it if you want to and you can turn on the radio and forget about it too – so long trips are going to be comfortable. Speaking of which, the car is adequately comfortable. The suspension is stiff, but not too stiff. When I took it to the highway, I had to cruise at 90 km/h revving the engine higher than 3000rpm, which is not too fuel efficient.
After half an hour, as we did with every car before – except incidents – we went back to the HQ and called the GBF dealership. Its price with a 30% markup is just 28730$, which is really nice for what it offers! Is it worth it? Not for practical or daily driving purposes, but it is for track or fun purposes!
The Suzuka sprint race! (2 laps).
We took the cars to the Suzuka highway, thanks to a couple of guys from MotorNation pulling some strings. We brought a bunch of race drivers with us, and lined the cars up at the starting line. After two laps of racing each other, the results were the following:
Great work on the reviews! I really should have gone for more benign handling at the limit though. And the Revera definitely had this round sewn up!
oi, I have no information on the actual performance aspects of the KHT or the Revera, except that the Revera has 540bhp. Anything else that we race heads actually would like to know???
Aside from that nice and prompt work. And while I know the Condor is the crazy trim (the suspension is adjustable and we sent it with maximum stiffness settings to Kuro… eheh), it does serve as a proof of concept that it is able to keep pace with an Augusta, though of course that’s like comparing apples to oranges, even if both the XR Ultima and Augusta both turn out to be half as expensive again as the Condor
So you ranked the cars purely by performance?
Wouldn’t a more balanced approach, judging between road-going manners and performance make for better comparison? The way this was set up makes great cars like the Shromet Radiant and Erin Merna (and my own Quasar) look lack luster.
340 hp, 2 liter lump from ManHell, turbocharged, 6 speed H-gated manual, 1100-ish kilos, no fancy carbon fiber or anything.
The cars are not ranked by performance. The race at the end of the is just a wink to programs like Best Motoring - where they made cars face each other at the Tsukuba track and Ebisu touge tracks.
I see, fair enough then. I just like muh numbers and rankings a bit too much
Though the feedback is appreciated and a top 3 well rounded cars will be featured in the next issue
I do not think this is right at 30% markup, it should be cheaper… noticeably.
one of the other cars magically switched interior trims to Hand Made, it’s worth checking!