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The Exhaust Note - A Car Magazine [Reviews, impressions, car lore]


2020 Seongwoo Jimin BTS - Modern Market 4

_car by @doofus _

Seongwoo has come a long way since being started in a struggling Korean Republic in 1962. Producing different consumer items, from white goods to sewing machines, and gaining some expertise in engine building with ventures into agricultural and mining equipment, it took until 1980 before the company switched to cars. The Seongwoo Domestis E was a small and basic city car with a small 3-cylinder engine, a start into a tradition of small-engined vehicles

The Jimin BTS - Boxer Turbo Sport - is the newest roadster of Seongwoo, and immediately we were impressed by its playful appearance. At same time, its front looks aggressive enough to express the sporty nature of the car and appeal to the enthousiast. And to appeal to the enthousiast it should, because this little roadster is fun. Seongwoo is probably hoping so as well, because with prices up to $36000 it is not cheap to manufacture or buy.

Part of the high price for the relatively little car you get out of it is due to some intricate engineering. First there is the engine, a small unit as we are used from Seongwoo. The 1154cc four-cylinder boxer engine is twin-turbo charged and has a very retro five valves per cylinder. Secondly, there is the quite complex rear suspension setup, which is reminiscent of a race car pushrod configuration.

The enthousiasm you should feel for the Jimin is linked to the tried and tested roadster formula. Front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, engine revving to almost 9000 rpm, a very throw-able manual gearbox (a well tuned six speed), a meatier engine sound than its size has any right to, and a solid suspension combining road feel and agility.

It’s sporty and it’s quirky, but how is the Seongwoo Jimin BTS as an everyday car? Interior space and luggage room is predictably limited. The sport suspension makes driving around the corners extremely enjoyable, but does cause you too feel many a pothole while cruising. The interior is comfortable with sporty bucket-like seats and equally quirky dashboard and infotainment layout. At first sight this might appear somewhat overwhelming, but we quickly easily found our way around in it.

At high speed, we are reserve judgement over the brakes. We have the feeling that they overheat quite quickly and cause brake performance loss. At legal speeds this should not be an issue. Likewise, handling with the the driving aids inactivated is highly lively, with the rear wanting to brake loose every change you give it - knowingly or not. The ESC works perfectly though and when not disabling it you can really throw this car into the corners without any fear.

The engine of the Jimin is both an automotive jewel as well as a cause for concern. The now rare five valve configuration on a boxer engine gives it a unique sound. With 131 horsepower and 158 Nm of torque it is not the biggest powerhouse, but it sufficient for a small roadster that weighs barely over a ton. The engine is also economical with between 6 and 7 l/100km (34-39 mpg) on average in nearly any circumstance. The downside at this point appears to be rather abysmal reliability.

Despite the doubt about the engine reliability, despite the relatively high price for a small sporty roadster, we remain impressed. Our only other critique would that the rear does not communicate the same sleek aggressive look as the front. The gloss black accents on the body and the rims and of the removable top are exquisite. The fun of revving the engine up to 5k or 6k rpm in normal street traffic and still getting good economy, the responsive turn-in, and the huge sense of speed you get in this small, low car; there is no way to not love driving this when you love cars.

The verdict:

(+) a little roadster with a great character
(+) driving experience
(+) fuel economy

(-) engine reliabilty
(-) harsh ride
(-) product of a small manufacturer and concerns regarding resale value

Final score: 13/20 (extreme fun, but limited daily use, and potential money drain in terms of maintenance)


Compilation of Short Articles 3

A story of over-ambition

car by @Avanzat0

The 1990 Daimyo Futon “T-Top” is the quirkiest coupe you have never heard of. Daimyo is the title that was given to a feudal lord in Shogun Japan. The brand, not that well known outside of Japan, has produced many types of vehicle, but even with sporty coupes the lordly nature its brand name implies shines trough. These cars are impressively engineered. Over-engineered one would say. Looking like step-in Japanese coupes, the Futons (Ermh… which in a rather non-sports-coupe-related way refers to traditional Japanese bedding, and has been taken over by many a European language for sofa beds) contain among other things an engine with double overhead cams with four valves, high quality stereo high-fidelity sound systems, five well-finished (yet cramped) seats, and ABS and power steering - which are exceptional for this class.

Back in 1990 you had the choice between 3 engine trims of this coupe with its distinctive glass roof panels: a 1.5 liter with 95 horsepower; a 1.6 liter with 110; and a 1.8 with 135, the models being designated γ, β, and α. Gamma, Beta, and Alpha. In terms of exterior you can differentiate between the trim by looking at the fog lights of the Alpha and the plastic middle rear section, and smaller steel rims on the Gamma - it is red reflective glass on the Beta and Alpha. The other difference is obviously price. And this is the reason that the Futon never broke through on foreign markets. The Gamma trim was available at $13.700, which was only slightly below the faster, lighter, and rear-wheel driven Miata at the time. Prices between $18.000 and $18.500 for the other two trims were very steep indeed.

The Futon is front-wheel drive, ambitiously equipped, and excellently styled. Extremely drivable and comfortable for a small coupe - as long as you ignored the back seats - it certainly is a good car. But it lacked the fun of rear-wheel driven competitors. It lacked the potential as an entry race car because it was too expensive, too pliant, and lacked the brake setup for extended heavy use. With is distinctive, modern styling, there was certainly a potential audience for this car in Europe and North America, but its breakthrough was hampered by expensive design choices.

Driving a road legal 1990 BTCC car

car by @Centurion_23

Pemhall was a post-war restoration company, attempting to benefit from - and support to - the restoration of the economy in post-war Britain, by offering affordable commuter vehicles. Production remained focussed on commuter cars, but the top trims were increasingly used in racing.

The biggest success story was probably the late 70s Ascot, the model that formed the predecessor of the Pemhall Bratton GXR that we are driving today. The Ascot was available as a basic family car, but with the top engine trips being used extensively in road and rally racing.

With that history in mind, the Bratton was designed as a sports coupe from the onset with Group A and the then newly introduced BTCC regulations in mind. The GRX trim was outfitted with the top engine - a 2 liter naturally aspirated and rev-happy inline four putting out 170 horsepower - and an upgraded interior and radio compared to other trims.

The Bratton is now the second car we had the chance of driving around the mythical Nürburgring. An integral view of the lap can be seen here: link.

The Bratton GRX was one of the early adopters of the all-wheel drive system on sports cars mainly targetted and road performance. And despite its novelty, the system works well. The Bratton is stable around the corners, with a slight tendency to understeer. We found that when pushed over the limit, you are more likely to end up in a still controllable four wheel drift than losing controlled entirely. It actually made seeking out the limits too enjoyable to be safe.

When really pushed, especially on hard high speed braking, the Bratton will give up on you, but even at high speeds this is a very enjoyable sports car in sensible hands. 170 horsepower is low to modern standards, but this sleek coupe only weighs 1150 kg, and we can assure you that the sense of speed is enjoyable indeed.

Grandpa is on Steriods

car by @vouge

Launched in early 2000, the second generation of the Albany Atlas was one of those SUVs that sat between the initial interest of consumers in the bigger off-road vehicles as daily drivers, and the more finished SUV product that truly sought to combine the advantages of off-roaders and road-going sedans.

Lessons learned from the first generation Atlas, a true off-roader, that became popular for daily use thanks to quality interior and ample cargo space, but suffered from bad road handling, high fuel consumption and a clunky 4x4 system; the second generation focussed fully on the interior and the utility. It dropped the 4x4 for simple rear-wheel drive, cancelling out much of the all-weather and all-terrain capabilities, but making the platform more accessible as a daily driver.

Although popular at launch, numbers sold fell back after 2002 due to competitors better balancing the advantages and disadvantages of the SUV. Albany kept the second generation Atlas in production until 2005, when it also launched this particular SST trim. Only 1000 SST Atlasses were produced. The SST was fitted with a V8 5004cc engine straight from a performance car. With 340 horsepower, the outdated 2005 Albany Atlas SST was suddenly one of the fastest SUVs ever made at the time.

Fastest in a straight line, that is. With slightly over 6 seconds to get up to 100 km/h and a top speed of 240 km/h this was one fast two ton truck. In the corners however, the rear-wheel drive and the traction controlled system that was never really programmed for this power output suffered.

Driving the SST ourselves - thank you to the reader you contacted us and allowed us to take it on a spin - on public roads knowing you have extra power is enjoyable, but apart from that you do not really notice. We think there is not so much difference between this and the standard 3.5 V6 or 4.5 V8 engine choices. Our biggest critique would be that the six-speed automatic gearbox is tuned a bit too short and sporty, increasing fuel consumption at highway cruising speeds (to about 14 l/100km - 17 mpg).

You do not really noticed the lack of all-wheel drive on normal road surfaces and normal speeds, and we can comprehend the choice that Albany made in its development. The SST was probably a smart move to gather attention for a frame that was overproduced compared to its demand at that time. It made sure you remember a model that would otherwise have easily been forgotten.


Really nice writing! Keep up the great work!


Thanks, I had less time that I wanted the last week and a bit. I’ve got four cars for larger articles lined up now though.


2002 Rocco Ruffian LT 4WD 3.5L - Retro Review 3

Car by @micz233

We are a fan of how the new Ruffian by Rocco Industries looks. This is very good looking for a first venture of a brand into this market. And with larger utility vehicles becoming more and more popular as family vehicles, it might just prove to be a good move by Rocco.

Rocco Industries used to be big on the utility market until the 80s recession caused a downscale of their production. Mainly know for heavy duty material, they are a new player on the offroad and family SUV market. A bold move from the company that is still in bad papers after a massive pullout of investors in 1999. Join The Exhaust Note to see if the Ruffian might just prove to be Rocco’s saving grace.

Styling and Utility

The Ruffian looks modern and even playful while at the same time rugged and reliable with those round lights and the interplay of metal and heavy duty plastics. Rocco really nailed the balanced between innovative and recognizable design with this offroader.

In terms of utility, the Ruffian we drove has 6 comfortable seats in three rows. This does take away some of the cargo space. We feel that in this market segment, the extra seating is of added value. That rear row can be removed, though not folded down, relatively easily. This easily doubles the cargo space available.

The Ruffian is not designed as a true-bred offroader, but it remains capable on all surfaces. This adds to its utility as a family car in cold, snowy areas; or where dirt tracks are common.


The 175 horsepower 3.5 liter V6 is not the most modern engine unit on the market, but it gives the Ruffian more power than the 2.2 four cylinder base model engine. As with most larger displacement V6 engines, it rumbles quite a bit. We didn’t find it too loud, and appreciated its responsiveness however.

The automatic gearbox works well, but the short gears can be a nuisance in daily traffic. On the highway and in general out-of-city cruising the Ruffian runs quite high in the revs. This has its impact on the engine noise and on fuel consumption.

Interior, Comfort, Safety, and Price

Safety is another reason why many families, despite living in the suburbs or even city centres, are buying utility vehicles more and more often. The well styled Ruffian will most likely appeal to this crowd, if they get around the relatively high fuel consumption (11.3 l/100km - 20.9 mpg mixed).

Comfort is decent for a vehicle in this class. The seats and interior quality are decent without being luxurious. The seats give sufficient support on long drives - where the only downside is road and engine noise.

Price is certainly a selling point for the Ruffian, with the base model starting as low as $12.300. It is quite amazing how Rocco Industries managed to keep production and development costs so low for what is in our views a quality vehicle.

Driving and conclusions

We took the Rocco Ruffian out on a very demanding offroad course, and it performed admirably for an offroader without proper 4x4 and manual lockers. The Ruffian has permanent all-wheel drive, yes. But it cannot lock the front or rear axle, and the limited slip differential is of the rather basic viscous type, which will need to be replaced after about 75000 km.

In everyday traffic the Ruffian is surprisingly mundane and comfortable, although as mentioned earlier, the gearbox does not appreciate highway cruising all that much. Our test drive that featured more than its share of it ended up with a fuel consumption of near 16.3 l/100 km (14.4 mpg), which we rank as very high.

The Ruffian has its downsides, mainly in terms of fuel economy, but with its cheap price, alluring looks and high reliability, this might be your car of choice, if you want an all-wheel driven vehicle and the fuel prices near you aren’t too high.


2020 Legore Bisango Bi-Turbo Twelve - Modern Market 5

car by @Mythrin

Legore puts the bar very high for themselves when they claim their new Bisango trim is "built with the intention of being the most opulent SUV in the world”. We had the opportunity drive one of the press cars close to the final product of this aggressive big SUV.

The Bisango Bi-Turbo Twelve is powered by a six liter twin-turbo charged V12 putting out a massive 720 horsepower and a road-churning 1300Nm of torque. Set low on its massive 23 inch wheels (285 front and 325 rear), and with only 4 proper places, this is a luxury-sports car in an SUV package. Utility and offroad capabilities rank low on Legore’s priority list.

Legore is an Italian brand that has always focused on luxury and performance. Born from the legendary Scagliati brand, a rogue offshoot as it were, its commercial history has been rickety, with only the last decade turning Legore into a serious player on the market under the ownership of Ceder Automotive Groupe, who also entered into a joint venture with the Apollo Motor Company, the engine developer of, among others, the Legore engines.

The Bisango was first introduced in 2017 with two 4.0 liter V8 engine options, a twin-turbo charged petrol engine, and a turbo-diesel variant. 2020 is seeing the introduction of this V12 option. The turbo-diesel variant - which was very popular on the European market, and which the Exhaust Note also drove - is currently being faded out and will be replaced by a new 3.0 V6 hybrid power plant.

The question that Legore itself obviously invites: is this the most opulent SUV in the world? Our testing can confirm that the Bisango Bi-Turbo Twelve is certainly luxurious. Our Bahia Green test car featured all top trim options. The four seats are bathed in luxury, with rear privacy glass, extreme quality seating, ample leg room and high level infotainment, with personalization possible per seat.

The interior is leather (Punalu Black with Cirrus Grey highlights and double stitching in our case), has a ‘twelve’ signature embroidered on the seats, features deep pile lambswool carpets - slightly too fluffy for our tastes - and has dark stained burr walnut inserts along the dash and doors. The inserts in particular create a nice contrast between old world luxury, and the hyper modern infotainment screens along the dash, in the back of the front seats and on the front and rear center consoles.

If there is any critique from our side, it is that the seats can be quite a tight fit. Comfortable, but shaped somewhat like a racing seat to keep you in place under heavy cornering. And with that we come to the issues we at The Exhaust Note find that this new behemoth Bisango has.

This Bi-Turbo Twelve has massive amounts of power, will accelerate the 2.5 ton (despite all aluminium construction) SUV to 100km in well under 3.5 seconds to a top speed of around 315 km/h (unlimited on the special Pirelli compound tyres), but it is not a sports car. The suspension set up is quite loose, favouring dampening road feel over handling. The brakes are remarkable in normal traffic, but overheat and dangerously lose effectiveness when put on the track.

As mentioned before, we also drove a 2019 V8 turbo-diesel Bisango, and while certainly less powerful and slower (430 HP, 892Nm - under 5 seconds 0-100 and a top speed of 265 km/h) with less aggressive 22 inch 275mm wheels all around, this trim offers much of the same opulence on the inside. The price of this 2019 Bisango: $250.000. Price of the new Bi-Turbo Twelve: $480.000. That is double the price for far less than double the car.

Sure, the ride in the Bi-Turbo Twelve is extremely smooth - you don’t hear the engine or the 9-speed gearbox unless you put your foot down properly. In the V8TD you notice you are driving a diesel (although in higher revs and with the turbo engaging, we are actually a fan of the sound). Sure the interior contains more hand-made components and an updated infotainment system. Sure the tyres are specially made and the drivetrain now contains a limited slip differential. But those changes are still quite minimal to warrant the huge price increase.

As mentioned earlier, the Bi-Turbo Twelve adds in terms of drivability and luxury, but despite those special tyres and that LSD, we had the feeling the Turbo-Diesel actually was more fun in the corners and on braking. Weighing almost half a ton lighter helps here, we presume. The Bisango is a fantastic top level SUV, and we are looking forward to the Hybrid version coming out next year. The Bi-Turbo Twelve on the other hand, looks to be more a prestige buy rather than a sensible buy. But then again, this might be the point with Italian luxury brands.

The verdict:

(+) beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside
(+) smooth and silent cruising
(+) extreme luxury and comfort
(+) top level infotainment

(-) tight squeeze in the seats if you aren’t 100% fit
(-) implies sportiness but fails to deliver
(-) money for value compared to other Bisango trims

Final score: 15/20 (opulent, but also a bit of a try-hard - not the prefect well-rounded package)


Excellent! I think you hit it on the head, the Bisango is more of a continent cruising limosine wearing an SUV suit rather than the super SUV that it appears to be.


1912 Zephorus 2000 - The strange, the odd, and the remarkable 3

cars by @Sky-High

"No need for the hand crank. It has an electric starter."

We at The Exhaust Note are not that familiar with pre-war vehicles, but if we were certain about one thing, it would be the stereotypical cranking the engine to start it. But nothing is at it seems in this 1912 Zephorus 2000; probably the first car produced by the somewhat elusive design house.

As a result, we actually do not know that much about this particular vehicle. We do know it has one of the first electric starter mechanisms for a car. There is a crank just in case, but you start the Zephorus by putting your key into the ignition lock, turning the ignition lever, manually priming the fuel pump, opening the throttle (more on that later), and finally pressing the true ignition button.

"Yes, two pedals. No, it's not an automatic. It's the brake and your clutch."

Suffice to say driving without a gas pedal is a quite an alien experience. It’s not that you cannot regulate the throttle. There is a switch on the dashboard next to the ignition that has 4 settings, basically: off, some, more, and full throttle. You should start in “more” or with full throttle in first gear not to stall, and then can cruise in low, more or full in second - being also your top - gear.

It’s difficult to wrap your head around at first, but you get used to it. We don’t actually know the specifics of this particular vehicle, but we guess the engine has a power output of about 35 horsepower. The sense of speed is enormous, but the Zephorus 2000 cannot really go much faster than 80 km/h (50mph). So in reality, the unusual throttle control does not make it that difficult to drive safely. Well, sensibly, rather. Let’s not talk abut safety when you are sitting on a rickety, smoking 105 plus year old machine without seat belts and with sponges for brakes.

"Feels like a Great War fighter plane, doesn't it? You can see why he loved it."

The “he” is Lieutenant Jan Olieslagers, one of the Belgian Great War Flying Aces, and general dare devil and speed maniac and lover of cars. He and his brother Jules were the last known owners of this car. He is said to have bought it in 1921 after being retired from the army. Remaining involved with mechanics and flying, he died during the Second World War a national hero. His Zephorus 2000 then ended up in the hands of the Belgian State.

Now restored and shared between the War Museum and the Autoworld, it is a part of history. But its early years are unclear. We know the Zephorus was not cheap when new, with hand made light-weighed panels and hand made interior; an exciting engine and new-fangled accesories such as the electric starter, it was a luxury tourer, costing probably one to two average year incomes.

"It's a bit of a star in the collection. It sees more action that most of the pieces."

Driving the Zephorus was a truly unique and sometimes scary experience. This is not the only dark red 2000 out there. A number of surviving examples from 1912 to 1914 are in the hands of private collectors, all in the Zephorus dark red, because that was the only option. This is the only model currently in public ownership and exhibited for public viewing. This makes it all the more remarkable that this vehicle is still in working order. Olieslagers himself is claimed to have praised the reliability of the Zephorus - rare for hand-made low volume old cars - compared to his other, newer vehicles at multiple occasions.

The museum staff is proud of this old gem in perfect working order. Sure it’s not fully original with its engine completely restored, the tires changed, and the rear seats replaced by replicas. But this also means it sees more activity than the average exhibit. The Zephorus has featured in historical movie shoots, in Great War re-enactment and remembrance events, and even in a historical rally or two. Keep an eye out for it, should you visit Brussels or Flanders Fields. The poppies might not be the only red thing that catches your eyes.

Zephorus Autos [Stories + Formatting] WIP

1963 Alfrezza Potenza GT - Cars in History 4

car by @BF94387

A Sicilian design studio, BF9 Design, was responsible for the 1963 Potenza GT by Alfrezza. It is not a well known car but it oozes that raw sixties Italian flair. It’s big double headlights and the floating thin-pillared roof are the most eye-catching. Produced in limited numbers for only two years, we at The Exhaust Note are grateful to be able to drive the car and give your our impressions.

Created in 1932 - with a hiatus during the war - Alfrezza produced in small quantities a number of rather unremarkable but quintessentially Italian light sports cars. The Potenza and the coorperation with BF9 Design house was its throw at the bigger stage. Introduced on the 1963 Paris autoshow, it received positively for its styling, but with the aim of breaking through in the grand tourer market it fell short of the expectations. Production was cancelled less than two years later.

Technically, the car was not really ready for production. Notoriously hard to drive and uncomfortable for a grand tourer, its troubles started with an unreliable, loud and heavily vibrating 3.2 liter V6. Large for a European sports car at the time, it produced 200 horsepower, making Potenza at least living up to its name in terms of the figures. Weighing in at just over one ton, it was fast in a straight line. Nobody knows exactly how fast though, because over 180 km/h it becomes highly unstable.

The Italian quirkiness does not stop with the engine. From its 180mm wide special made wheels, to its headrests in the rear, which are part of the design but not actually attached to any usable rear seat, the Potenza is a classic car that looks rushed. It did result in a bit of a cult of appreciation for surviving examples.

We went to Italy to get the opportunity to drive the Potenza on home territory, on windy mountain roads. And we can confide in you that we started our drive terrified, having read up on comments of its oversteer, its lock ups on braking - especially of the rear wheels, its unstability. But by the time we exited the city and were on the open mountain roads, we had grown understanding of the cult following of the Alfrezza Potenza GT.

It is, in fact, a tourer. It might lack the size and comfort of a typical one, but the drive should be experienced as such. Going into high rev ranges and taking turns sportively, not anticipating braking sufficiently ahead, you could feel where the negative comment come from. But driving the GT sedately, the engine is neither loud nor rickety; it rumbles softly between 2 and 3 thousand rpm while you go to through the manual 4-speed. Driving with anticipation, the handling is neither unpredictable nor dangerous, but the Potenza glides along the road.

This is not a sports car. This is a Sunday lazy drive tourer. What you lack in comfort, you gain in experience as the engine rumbles lazily but with some kind of old airplane character. It is to be driven as it is to be admired for its styling; somewhat detached, as if you were glancing though a book on Italian car design, with a cigar and scotch in hand. Nothing ought to be rushed, nothing too intensely experienced, just the slow meaty rumble of the engine in the background and your slow determined movements preparing for the next upcoming corner.


Beautifully written! Thanks for taking to time to appreciate the Potenza :ok_hand:


Beautifully written, and a beautiful car!


This is what happens when your car magazine has an open invite day - Short Articles 4a

car by @chichicoofisial

And we are not even mad. We appreciate all wheeled transport here at The Exhaust Note, and it was interesting to drive around in this 2003 AHB G1-370 semi-truck - or so we heard from our two journalists that have the necessary driver qualifications to take it on the open road.

Powered by a small-angle 10731cc turbo-diesel V8 producing about 370 horsepower and well over 1000 Nm of torque, this AHB is the base model from 2003. Regardless, we found the truck running smoothly, greatly helped by its hydro-pneumatic suspension - which we found perfectly tuned - and the automatic gearbox (a six-speed, though with a low and high range for each). We can imagine the gearbox is standard for the AHBs from that period, as even cruising over the speed limit on the highway, we never used high sixth gear. Top speed is electronically limited - for everyone’s safety, especially others’ - to 120 km/h.

The cab alone weighs over 6.5 tons, so engine braking and anticipative driving are necessary. But we found the brakes more than capable. Pulling power is obviously good, though we heard from the owner than the real heavy work required the more powerful engine choices. Still, he continues to use this sixteen year old truck on a regular basis professionally. We are inclined to understand his enthousiasm and fidelity to the AHB. We’ve certainly driven cars that were harder to handle and drove less comfortably.

[note: I’m running behind in writing out my notes on a few fantastic cars that I received in the last weeks. Life has been busy in good ways recently. This article should have been part of three, but the other two didn’t get written out yet.]


Beautifully written! Love that article, thanks for giving it a try!


I thought these were extinct - Short Articles 4b

car by @Boiled_Steak

This magnificently aggressive coupe is the 2019 Aria Suzuka V6 GT. And in a time where every smaller engine is turbo-charged, the small Japanese company Aria Auto decided to built their newest iteration of the Suzuka, a line going back to 1968, around a naturally aspirated small angle V6 engine. The 3206cc powerplant may “only” put out around 300 horsepower and equal Nm of torque, but the incredible responsiveness and magnificent sound - we’re not entirely sure that the version we got would pass noise limitation tests - it makes in high revs more than makes up for that.

We are on top of that a great fan of its looks. Finished in ‘Dark Rose’ Metallic paint, the colour underlines the flowing yet powerful lines that run along the bodywork. The front and rear both have that enticing mix of angular and flowing elements that define alluring styling. The 20 inch wheels give the Suzuka a forceful and attacking stance together with the large hood and side vents, as well as the bold large rectangular exhausts.

The all-wheel drive system is set up with a mild rear wheel bias. Not enough to make go so sideways, but enough to give you the impression the car might allow you if you really tried. It makes for a fun and lively yet stable drive. And a driver’s car this, with only two seats, decently but not luxuriously equipped, and a gearbox that favours getting as close to that 8,4k red line even at normal traffic speeds.

That short gearing is the feature of the 7-speed automatic gearbox. It does have paddles on the steering wheel but it’s no racing gearbox. That said, even in pure automatic drive with the sports mode on, the drive is both lively as well as suitable for daily traffic. Fuel consumption is not very low, but remains reasonable at 8.6 l/100km (27.4 mpg) claimed - though realistically closer to 11 l/100km (21.5 mpg).

Price is hefty with just over $90.000 for the top trim model with all the options. Maintenance costs are relatively low though, helped by sensible material choices and going for relatively standard base components, from the normal automatic gearbox to the all-around 215mm tires. We tested the Aria both in traffic as well as on the track, and it performed admirably as civil grand tourer as well as a sports coupe. The brakes are probably too standard for sustained track use as well, but the times it set around the track were in the range of much high powered turbo-charged competitors.


Love the writing. It was worth the wait!


Sneak peeks at ongoing Christmas Special compilation work


when you make these, you just go around the forums looking at car brand threads right?


Strop’s corner :eyes:


No, people send me there cars and ask if I’m interested in reviewing them. Or occasionally I reach out for a specific design. Car brand threads and lore are obviously great sources of information to make the articles interesting and a good read. But the reviews an sich are based on the .car file, with some flavour added via BeamNG tests. Though that last one is not conclusive and mainly meant to add flavour.



Presenting: 48 pages of goodness:


Kadett Motor Company - 2020 Kadett Beat