It’s not often that I get to drive tuned versions of cars, making this is a pretty special opportunity. Infamous tuning freaks Enso have had quite an extensive history with Erin, and their latest creation continues that lineage, seemingly having put the company’s third gen mid-size saloon, the Tauga, on steroids.
Sporting a multitude of bodywork modifications - mainly in the name of aero and cooling - including a whopping great rear wing, carbon fibre bonnet, roof scoop and enough canards to give Lockheed a run for their money. There’s no denying what it sets out to do, that’s for sure.
And the main part of what it does is found under the bonnet. Erin’s latest generation V8, this time in a 4.0l configuration, has been turbocharged and remapped to send nothing short of 660 hp to the rear wheels via a Tremec 6060 6 speed manual. That means 0-60 in 4.0 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
Compared to Erin’s most sporty version of the the Tauga, the 370X, that is quite the difference. While that still has some semblance of being a road car, this is purely for performance, and all the better for it.
Which is why it’s so surprising that this manic-on-paper, fire snorting garage creation is quite easy to tame. The wheels do like to get loose, but only if you’re really gunning it. The handling is razor sharp, but it’s predictable and even generally tends to understeer. The whole car is very uncomfortable no matter where you drive it, but only because it’s then very taut on the limit. It feels refined and well executed, capable of handling its power and not trying to kill you.
It’s worth noting that there is absolute not illusion that this thing isn’t fast whenever you’re driving it. It’ll keep pace with some GTE cars in terms of lap times, and at Bedford Autodrome’s west circuit where I tested it, it felt pretty damn close to a race car. It’s not too close for comfort though, and it’s that slightly forgiving element Enso have worked into it that makes this such a rewarding car to drive, mainly because you know you actually have a chance of nailing a chicane in it without spinning out.
It does end up being a bit in your face after a while though. The lack of comfort makes this purely a toy, and certainly not one you’re going to be able to fully appreciate on the road alone. The brakes don’t help this either. They work, that’s for sure, but being carbon ceramic, they have a habit of splurging your organs all over the place every time you slow down. It’s lucky I’m still quite young, because I doubt most of the mid-life-crisis buyers are going to be able to subject their bodies to the forces this thing can deliver long term.
As an engineering piece though, it’s stellar. Well designed, well tuned and, while far from pretty, well styled too. And, bloody, bloody fast. The regular Tauga may well be a fairly sharp machine, but what Enso have done to it makes even the sportier trims of the base machine look like fair cakes compared to this vindaloo of a car.
- Gavin Anderson