Beater or Sleeper? COTW! Week 64: Jimmies Rustled. (1970 GMC Jimmy)

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On the move
SPD writes Car Of The Week: Week 4 - Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R


A real RWD Mitsubishi. That felt odd to say.

Ahh, Group B. Despite the trouble it came with, it was a hectic time full of excitement. Even though pretty much every manufacturer and their mum's gotten into the hype back in the 80s, I probably didn't realize Mitsubishi gotten themselves into it as well. Apparently, the Starion was the base for their attempt going into it. I can see why.

But I'm confused: the form it came with here is a Japanese RWD sports car, not the sort of madhouse rally machine like, umm, the Ford RS200. I'm sort of sure this trim isn't supposed to be the same line of business, but hey: this is my limited knowledge of the Starion, other than it being the only RWD Mitsubishi I can think of.

And since we're going down and dirty, I'm going to analyze in two ways. One for its road going performance, and the other for the dirt.

First glimpse of my incomplete Mitsubishi garage says I only have 1 already tuned (B class RWD rally). This be meaning I had a quick trip to the Autoshow, because people aren't willing to part with one for under 20k.


Let's go to today's road: a westbound, downhill descent from the top of La Gran Caldera, all the way to Descansar Dorado. Dorado means gold, so.. a sort of golden rock formations? I dunno. Anywho, this track is fun but demanding. It really tests a lot of aspects in an off-road rallying situation. We got tight roads, hairpin, speed sections, walled off chicane, and more. If we ride down this trail in an S1 car, you're practically going to beg your run will be clean.

But my first bunch of notes will be the Starion on the roads around, then on the way up La Gran Caldera, through the eastern paved road. Or you know: tandem drift zone. Was expecting a few drifters on the way, but there were tons (hah, tons) of Unimogs this week, surely anyone knows why at the time.

- I'm not expecting it to be exciting, powerful or anything. It's a budget, low powered (to today's standards), RWD sports car. And as that, the Starion does these traits splendid.

- The looks definitely catches my eye. It's so smooth and sporty. I'm not much for widebody kits, but this one is marvelous. Nothing feels forced on, except maybe the rear bumper.

- One thing to note is how it has this tinge of oversteer, with the rear sticking out notably in higher speeds. The car likes to expose the rear a bit when turning hard. This is good, especially for rally.

- For the heck of it, I tried going around certain drift zones around the map. It didn't have the power, but what was I expecting? What I didn't expect is it somehow managing to get a solid 2 star score in most of them. This is opportunity for a cheaper alternative to the AE86. It even has the looks.

- Even though it's a bit heavy, the car has a respectable torque figure that helps with uphill situations. The launch is surprisingly a fun excellent one due to this, defining the car being not your usual AWD Mitsubishi.

- Despite low figures, I know this isn't a car that wants to play it safe. It's not going to kill me, but if anyone was to raise it a few classes up, it definitely would. Tuners take note.



And.. there's no lava. THERE'S NO LAVA!

Let's go down to Montana Trail for the dirt analysis, that's probably where all the heat is at. What's on the cookbook today?

- For starters, this is a 4 minute-ish trail. Where there is length, there are bound to be moments where the track wants to mess you up. You gotta take your time to learn the various track features so you can predict what to expect.

- Launch off road is fine, so push it all the way. Don't feel any notable advantage for controlling the throttle this way.

- That small oversteer the car had on road stands out notably here off road too. Just this one trait makes this a great car for off-roading as is. Chalk that one up for the options this car can do.

- So far, what's notably bad is power and gearing. These on the stock car is not too suitable for higher level of dirt racing. But that torque helped with smoothing this bump, and not to mention the oversteer.

- Now for traction on the hairpins: a rally staple. This car can wipe out, sure. I particularly get this when I downshifted too much, or used the handbrake wrong. When it doesn't happen, this car loves to do these turns.

- There are parts of the track where it's optimal to go off the trail to get a better line. I'm sure that's okay in rallying standards. On this trail, there are quite a lot of opportunities for that.

What was my time?


I'm not sure how you all do this rallying stuff so well. After an hour of trying and testing, I got me a clean time of 4:04.830. Sad to say this car track combo was not my cup of tea.

But the car by itself is a whole different story.


Right now, I think I am satisfied with what's being offered, so I'll just go straight to the question.

What is the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R? It is..

The rear wheel drive, road going 80's sports car from a sensible Japanese company, which also so happens to be related to their take on the least sensible rally racing league.

So far, this is the most solid Sleeper I've ever had to have the pleasure to say for so far. It didn't even take any kind of self deliberation: the fact that it had REAL torque, able to do burnouts, manageable fun oversteer.. possibly more! It already got my vote, be it on the tarmac or off it.

I'm already thinking of making a drift Starion too.. See! I don't do drift builds, and that's already a good first impression, am I right?


United States
United States
Summer has arrived, as has the holiday season. And in that heat wave in the middle of winter, we've come together once again to determine what the Starion is in the world of Forza.

And the Starion is a Sleeper with 3 of 4 votes! Nicely done! This is the first week where one person has declared anything other than the majority opinion, and I'm hoping that as we continue through the car list we find cars that end up being more controversial. Those will make this thread a lot more fun than usual, I reckon.

Also, well done to @Vic Reign93 once again for absolutely destroying the course this week with a sub-4 minute run. Did you feed your Starion pure nitrous oxide or what? :lol:

Formalities aside, I actually didn't select a winner this week. I kinda didn't want to start going back to the same users over and over again, so I decided to give myself the choice this week!

And we're going to take the...

2003 Nissan Fairlady Z-

Wait, what? Who brought this abomination out here for the photoshoot?! Get this thing out of here and get me a proper Fairlady!


Much better.

Anyways, yeah. We're looking at the Fairlady Z this week. Known as the 350Z here in the States, the Fairlady was the early 2000s iteration on a long line of Nissan RWD sports coupes that slotted in just underneath the more powerful Skyline GT-Rs. The 350Z ran for quite a long time before being replaced by the 370z, which if I remember right started in 2009.

Since this car is popular in a lot of places, why not take a look at the shadier side of Forza Horizon? We're going to be running the Fairlady Z (B 650) around the Hilltop Descent Street Race.

But wait, there's more! The crazy people at Playground Games decided that this is one of the cars that deserves special treatment in Mexico, and they took an unorthodox route this time.

Our bonus (and optional) car this week is the 2003 Nissan Fairlady Z FE!

Yes, you're seeing that right. The Fairlady FE is an offroader. I was just as baffled the first time I saw one.

I don't know what to say about this madlad take on the car, so I'll just announce the track - We're taking the Fairlady FE (A 800) down to the Las Dunas Cross Country layout, including a terrifying rush down the side of the volcano at breakneck speeds.

Let's rev up the engines, warm up the tires and for the love of God don't put bodykits on your Fairlady.

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

So.. The Forza Motorsport 2 Cover Car(Or the better remembered FM2 Cover Car tbh.:P)

The noticeable thing I noted like many others did from the previews of FH5 was the E46 M3 and the 350Z had their stock engine sounds mixed up, after comparing how the 350Z sounds between stock and with a street exhaust it’s obvious the stock one still doesn’t sound like a VQ V6. :crazy:

But let’s be honest, a 350Z isn’t gonna stay stock for too long now is it? :sly:

But aside from the sound, it’s an alright sports car and while it too loses its RB widebody kit from FH4, it still retains the Nismo body parts + the new BCL rear wing.

The gearing was well suited for the gradual downhill run to the finish with me trapping nearly 170mph at the finish line. :cool:

Overall: its a rather neutral Sleeper, not exceptional in one area, but decently good in all of them. 🙂👍

As for the FE edition..


Where to start with this mad thing? :D

For starters, it’s moved from the Retro Sports Cars class to the Unlimited Off-Road class, which is where the likes of the Ultra4 Ford Bronco, Toyota T100 Baja Truck among others reside, including the FE edition of the Mercedes Tankpool Racing Truck.

Then it’s given roof lights, front bullbar, camo paint job and huge off-road tyres.

After that, it’s twin turbo’d, stroked up to 3.8 litres and given a 3 speed gearbox which is common in serious off-roaders.

That engine can also be stroked up further still in displacement… Much Further.

Try a Napier Railton shaming 41 litres of displacement. :eek::lol:

Obviously a typo, but I’ve noticed a few FE’s with some quirky engines.

The Corvette FE starts with a 7.5 litre V8, but you can de-stroke it all the way down to 4.5 litres.

The Morris Minor FE has a 3.5 engine which sounds like a 4 banger and can be stroked up to 3.9 litres and can be supercharged or twin turbo’d to boot.

Just to name those two of the top of my head. ;)

My point? FE cars are more nutty in FH5 than FH4 (Ford Transit FE in FH4 being an exception to that.) :drool:

Back to the 350Z, still rear drive so launch is slow compared to other unlimited off roaders and the stock 3 speed gearing is way too short for yeeting down the side of a Volcano, but that can be adjusted.

Having said that, it handles the off road well like the equipment it has been given to make it good should do.

Personally I think it’s better in S1 with 4wd, but it’s not half bad in A class.

Verdict: Sleeper 🙂👍
On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 5 - Nissan Fairlady Z '03


Painted red, because it's time for a bloody cruZade.

I never was much into Nissan's foray for their flagship RWD sports car. My first exposure of the Z cars was from the Z32.

Yes sir, that big hunk of Nissan. The one with the lamps the Diablo borrowed.

What took me fancy was actually the name. I still can't really understand why it's a fair lady. You can say it's a lady, but since the 90s, this lady packs a V6. What would you say a lady actually have under the trunk? (SPD does innuendo once again)

In Horizon 5, the car was awarded for being, maybe, the real starter car of sorts. Just break one of those sometimes oddly placed boards around the map, and BAM: free Z. So, it's natural over time I would collect a few of these. And this is how it looked in my garage as of writing.


And my quick trip to the Auction House this week was to nab another copy of the Forza Edition. And it's.. pretty cheap, actually, at 113k. Still the most expensive car so far in the current COTW. Oh and the regular Z33 is at a low 13k, so I was hoping for something a little pricier these coming weeks.


And what's the track today? A street race? So that means no walls to hit. Sorta good for racing line reasons.

Hilltop Descent, as described in game, is a speedy sprint out north from the main city. And when I mean speedy, it only consists of just these segments of speed, a little speedy detour, then more speed to the finish. It's a street race, so there's no true way to get some leveled consistency out of it, unless we do it in Rivals.

With its popularity rising from the early days of street racing video games, what does the Z33 give out from the factory floor?

- Let's get the car sound out of the way: I can't believe they still haven't fixed the mismatched sound of this car's and the E46 M3. Not that it means anything here, but it's gotta be addressed.

- Launch is well mannered, and balanced. You're welcome to push it all the way, though throttle control will rule the day very very slightly once again. I find myself shifting at 73-75 hundred revs.

- The handling on this car is already pretty nice. It's what I call the nearly perfect turn: very mild oversteer. Perfect for this track, where there be only 3 optimal hard braking locations. Letting go of the gas gives this car some kind of turn in response that I can explain as.. wonderful? It's slightly slippery, but manageable enough.

- Now to the brakes. Nothing to complain about here at this performance. They'll lock up the rear if you push too much.

- Only that, while the launch is OK, you gotta watch out for some late corner oversteer due to power. It's not that bad, because the power's not high to begin with.

- Time to complain about the track. Did I say complain? I mean.. provide feedback! It's a speedy one for sure. Most of the recorded Rivals times I had to face off was against AWD converts, probably at the top end of the class. I noticed because they took off a lot faster than this car could ever do right now.

- I've been noticing various.. objects impeding the way for a good Rivals time. These would include stray branches, and that stack of planks that's going to punish those who would cut the 2nd braking turn. More reason to not drive super light in Street Races, huh?

- And here's something I like about this Z: the top end. It's really good. All my runs end with this thing climbing up steadily to 171-ish MPH. And the car handles this high speed amazingly for your entry level sports car. We get this to A-Class, and I'm sure top speed will be interesting. Just about every Rivals ghost I take out is by the latter speedy end of the road. Because they're the sort that would think AWD conversions are the solution at this class. Not yet, dude. Not yet.

After a good amount of time learning the ins and out (okay, more innuendo), we got a time.


And that time is 2:19.797.

After last week, I feel more at home with this one. Just that.. the Z33 touched grass more than I think, so consider my morals for on track racecraft ethics ignored here. Feel free to check out the Rivals replay, I'm not changing it for some time.



Off the road and into what might be a helping of HELP ME!

And now we move on to the Forza Edition. This is a pretty oddball car, but Forza Editions are mostly just oddballs to begin with anyways. This souped up Z33 sits at the top of A-Class as an offroader, similar to the veins of the Mercedes Tankpool24 Racing Truck Forza Edition. They both share the same class and PI rating.

Now first we address my love for racing Unlimited Offroads. The DeBerti Wrangler is one of my favorite cars in this game (I'm struggling to say this while my X-Raid Countryman stares at me with intent). There's a lot of me fighting me over what cars I love in the game this time around.

But there are loads of differences that put these two boys aside. To put it briefly: The Tankpool24 FE works, while mostly otherwise in the Z33 FE. Forza Editions usually come tuned for the class they're in, and there are loads that's wrong with this car. I mean, I wouldn't mind if we can convert any car to a big wheeled monster, but for me: this Z has this executed poorly. More on this on the notes.

Let's have a quick look at Las Dunas Cross Country. It's a run down the West side of the volcano, akin to a few events in game.. the intro and the Baja Expedition comes to mind. Still kind of sad about the lack of lava though. But I usually really enjoy my high speed trips down the mountain and the general interrupting of anything that happens in the Baja Circuit.

What do we have in the notes? It's brief, but you can feel the pain.

- Let's begin with the very bad. It's not that it's high power RWD, or a little roll happy. It's got 3 gears. Three. Gears. And much too short for any off-roading situation. This isn't strange, since the DeBerti Wrangler also starts out with 3 gears, least I recall it does in Horizon 4, dunno about that here.

- Y'know, when I do jump off the volcano. I put it to the max and use my final gear. I got out of place A-Class off-roaders that enjoys the 200+ MPH trip down the mountain: from bricks such as the Vandura, to little feathers in the Caterham. They both have proper off-road tunes with long final gears. But this Z can't do that. This car's final gear is 3rd, and it tops at 130. Is this the right track? Because at stock, this is not the right car.

- Let's go ahead and issue the other problem. Traction. I don't think I need to tell you what happens when elevation does to this. But this car has such a soft suspension setup, it wants to go ride into the sunset, like a drag car. Why isn't it one?

- Still in the traction department, I actually ran the car all the way down in third gear without much need to change to a lower gear. Yes, a special pretuned off-roader has a bad transmission setup. I don't know if this is how they work in extreme off-roading situations, but come on!

- Next up: oversteer. I usually tune my off-roaders to be really tail happy, but not uncontrollably tail happy. This car is in a spot where, if deemed necessary, I'm afraid it might spin out or I hesitate, then punishes me to not do the turn the way I intend. And I got good fingers. Any driving sim I play, I usually put away the TC.. maybe except BeamNG, that game's a killer.

After such a terrible experience (actually just 5 runs down the volcano in PAIN), the time I got away with is..


..a 2:29.808. Oh man, I don't want to wish even my enemies this car at its stock form. You really gotta tune this to get it to work, and whoops: no PI! That's why I have my original FE at S1, and I'm sure it's got all the issues buffered out. Better gears, AWD, also tad more controllable.

I was sort of reminded of a rally raid Z34 in The Crew 2, where it was an excellent off-roader due to how it ignores drag from water so well, they nerfed it.. yes it was a bug.



Wait, round 3?

Ya'll probably saw that white Z33 in the garage picture earlier?

That so happens to be an A-Class off road tune with the stock, non aspirated V6, made out of ire from how bad the Forza Edition was to me. This was long before the car got on COTW, so the hatred's mutually exclusive. It's got less power and is slightly heavier, but even if I mucked up the tune, it's probably better.

And you can probably tell I have some kind of connection to the Nismo look of the car.. not too sure about the kit. Anywho, I guess it's the only way of saying this is how I care about the car.

No need notes: just the time. And after going down the mountain the proper way, the time sits at..


2:18.672. My point exactly. A good 10 seconds quicker.

Yeah, the rear wing was a mistake, by the way. I got 2 occasions that my lap time was flagged because the rear landed 1st and hit the dune in my back. That, uhh, makes sense sorta. After checking, it's there because on how it cuts off 8 PI, and that's free real estate.

This wasn't a truly fair comparison to the Forza Edition Z33. I mean I'm not sure about what's up with that car to begin with. Maybe it's decent, with some miracle tune. Maybe it has the potential some guy can tune it to be able to crack 2:20 in A-Class, but I won't be the one to do that.

All this side activity actually did something though: weighting on the verdict!


3 different runs from 1 car. What a day! Let's call it.

What is the Nissan Fairlady Z (Z33)? It is..

A budget, entry performance RWD sports coupe with a subtle V6, but has a problem hiding away that V6 performance, especially when you don't want it.

Even with how bad the Forza Edition is, I would definitely put this at solid Sleeper. The main determining fact is my A-Class offroad build. All the Forza Edition's horribleness (is this a word) did was make the regular Z33 shine even more, especially as something it's not meant to be.

I'm not going to rate the FE, because I definitely need more time with it to see if it can work, just right now it isn't.

If not that, let the exciting high speed drive of the car track combo convince you otherwise. Nobody's going to see this thing come crawling up your rear and speed ahead. That's what happened in those B-Class Rivals runs. 2 ghosts were in classic Corvettes.. those things are supposed to be rockets, but they're not pushing through the stratosphere.. okay, I'll stop with the innuendos.


United States
United States
Suppose I'm the last man in today, huh? I meant to pick up the keys to the 350Z earlier but got sucked into a return-to-office and ended up being too drained to focus on that.

And when I tried to log in today to review the Z, Forza failed to work and required a full reinstall:ouch:

So, since I can't see anything in the game right now thanks to a botched update installation and have to wait out the full reinstall, I'm going to just announce the car this week and implement a backup plan.

The Fairlady Z has earned a 100% Sleeper Rating and the FE only got 1 Sleeper vote out of 3 total entries, which would put it at roughly a Neutral. If that outcome is disagreeable, feel free to voice your complaint to me politely and I will be more than happy to work with you.

Our Car Maestro this week is @Racer283, the curator over at the GT Sport counterpart to this thread! He had asked me to nominate a car, so I decided to return the favor and have him select a car for us.

This week's car is the...

1973 Porsche Carrera RS!

Unfortunately I can't pull a lot of information right now as I'm trying to update this thread quickly - my car picked up a rattle that I need to have looked at today, so I want to avoid getting carried away. This Porsche was given to us as a total rust bucket in the game, then given new life as one of the Barn Finds in FH5. Our circuit today is Cathedral Circuit, a track that I quite rather dislike but a reasonable enough choice for a car as far down the PI list as this Porsche is.

Will this Widowmaker-era Porsche live up to its name, or will it prove to be a car that can't be dismissed? Start up those engines, warm up the tires, and let's keep the nose pointed in the right direction!


United States
United States
I oughta make up for the missed review last week by stepping up to bat with this week's car choice.

The '73 Carrera RS. One of the few Porsches right at the cusp of the Widowmaker era of 911s (the 1977 US Spec 930 was the one that earned the rather dubious title), this is one of the few retro Porsches I find visually interesting. I grew up with a neighbor who had a yellow 1970s Porsche 911, so I may be a little biased.

On paper, this 911 has 207 HP and 188 ft-lbs of torque in a body that weighs 2,450 lbs (1111.3 kg), sitting at B601. Man, I really didn't think this through. B class, on Cathedral? Forget it, haha. I'll try but I won't enjoy this.

The 911 has a twin turbo conversion available to it, along with a widebody kit on top of the standard drivetrain and engine swaps (including the 4.0 F6 from a more recent Porsche). It has plenty of options for customizability. Quite interestingly, on the standard body, it has rally components on it. This means that we've got multiple options available to us for cosmetic and performance kitting. That's a nice plus for it off the bat.

Before I start vetting it in all of its options, let's take a look at how it does at its baseline.

Spare me from these walls.

There's a reason 911s have always been considered an excellent sports car, and this time capsule from 1973 proves just why the reputation stands. It accelerates quickly and without any fuss from the rear tires, and maintains a remarkable amount of grip under high loads. I had very few instances of the car trying to break away from me, and all of those were due to driver problems, not car problems. It actually ended up being the case that the car has deceptive grip, leading me to really misunderstand where to turn in and driving me smack into the walls of the circuit. A few of these blind turns are evil, I tell you!

My final clean time?

Not bad. I have a hard time with this circuit, so this time leaves me proud. It's two seconds shy from a maxed out Ford Focus from a guy I know is neck and neck with me on skill and pace, so I'll take the win.

So, quick notes:
  • Solid acceleration
  • Solid mid and high end speed performance for its power and weight
  • Great handling, if a little understeery under braking force.
  • Looks great
So, the car has a few options ahead of it. Let's first see how it handles being at the top of B class on Cathedral. God help me.

Only two laps and I beat my target.

The car is more twitchy with this light power build, but it's quite effective in a straight line. Now to have a little more fun with it...First test is to convert it into an off-roader, and second test is to widebody it! A class and S1 class respectively.

The A class off-roader kit has an AWD kit and the turbo rally engine swapped in, running offroad/rally parts on everything else to maximize the wannabe-Dakar vibe.

I'm going to take it to a random Dirt track and a random Cross Country track to see how it stacks under both sets of conditions. Those tracks are going to be Baja California Trail and El Descenso Cross Country.


I love high speed rally layouts like this.


Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.


And the Widebody kit in S1 (Carterra Chase Street Race), before I forget:


880+ HP of unbridled fury.


(This lap time beats my prior record on this course, set by my S1900 Vuhl 05RR build that I created back during Week 2!)
So, closing thoughts?

This old-school Carrera RS has plenty of wind left in it, despite being a car that's getting to be half a century old (chew on that for a second). It's got healthy performance numbers even by today's standards, and laid down a foundation that led to the monster Porsches that are available to those with healthy wallets.

The 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS is a Sleeper for me. Good looks, good stats, great flexibility in build potential. This is one Barn Find you don't want to mess with.
Last edited:

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

Compared to the last time we drove this on FM7, this one’s positively sharp and responsive. ;)

Sure it’s no go kart on slicks, but it’s remarkably agile for its age.

Of course the only real black mark against the 911 2.7 is the fact you only get one of them like previous barn finds and considering the customisation options like the rally parts and the RWB widebody kit, you’re forced to pick between them. :irked:

If they allow barn finds back on the Auction House I’ll definitely be picking up another one for rallying with.

Verdict: Sleeper 👍
On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 6 - Porsche 911 Carrera RS '73


A bona fide classic Porsche, but does it hold up?

With the booming success of the 917, Porsche had the right idea to put that championship winning race engineering for the people they entertained. And that's how I know where this puppy comes in. It might be the sporty evolution of the Beetle, but one quick peek, and you know this thing screams racing. From the little ducktail spoiler, to the wide profile.. it's pretty much one of the most iconic homologation models out there.

Sitting at a 601 PI, it just barely misses out on C and gets into B with a whole load for the player to play with. The car weighs at 1.1 tons, and has 200 HP, which is quite peppy for where it is. I mean, for where it is, this all sounds too good to be true..

Well, if anyone ever plays the recent NFS games, they know this thing is the undisputed top car in that world, with the tightest turning circle combining with amazing straight line performance. It just made you wonder why. I'm vocal for not liking the 911 much, but this one's the easy exception, though it's not in my radar for top Porsches. Still, nothing like a rare case of me actually liking a 911.

Speaking of rarity, the car's a barn find now. Which means.. we're going to be stuck to only having one. I tried getting a spare off the Auction House, but the option to even hint a barn find just isn't there. Odd. I do recall how cheap Barn Finds were in 4.


You all know what's next: it's track time.

Oh boy, it's... Cathedral Circuit.

There goes my enthusiasm for trying out this classic Porsche. When it's my turn to dabble into classic sports cars (hinthintMiurahinthint) sometime soon in the future, it's going to be a nice road of adventure and speed, not this somber, cramped nightmare.

Why do I not enjoy this choice of track? Aside the walls, it's a reminder that your car and understeer exists. I go here often with.. things like an A-class road tuned F450, X-Class, 2020 Defender.. it's the place I gotta make sure the tweaks I give em reduce or eliminate the understeer that comes with big heavy machines. That sort of testing is painful but sort of necessary. I've allocated these testing phases now to the inclined hairpin in the Horizon Circuit.

Also factoring this hatred would be the issues how Horizon handles tunnel lighting. It's way too severe a change when going from in to out. I irritate easy, so it's a given I note this.

Being an early representation of Porsche's racing engineering for the public, what can the Carrera RS do?

- Well, I expected something close to a racecar of the past, and there's a lot of traits for these in the car that has that. Only that, anything in those days would really prefer murder if you're no ways skilled. This car is maybe an exception.. sorta.

- But about murder: this is a very tail happy car. Brakes maybe biased to the back? Mid corner oversteer? General instability when the throttle's lifted? This sounds a lot like cars in the past, alright.

- And now a warning for wannabe racers out there: this is a car from the 70s. Nothing will save you from the stock form's many problems in stability, unless you adapt. To put it short: be subtle. Sudden moves may or may not work.

- While the launch is excellent and grippy (similarly with it's turn exit traction), the gearing for higher gears are long. Long so that you're not getting enough performance unless you shift at the last moment. And being an old car means that shifting is slow and cumbersome.

- This is something about the track: the fact that there's curbs. At least it's not an issue for the car. This is a plus, because my best lines have me hopping on and off these curbs in the tunnels. Jarring as it might be, I'll take these.

- This week really sparks that flame of how much I hate the track. It's mainly the width and the destructive objects on the edges. I love driving around the edges. It's exciting. The track denies me so. The destructive objects really hinder this car's lightweight nature. And the super heavy signs in the tunnel don't respawn, which is just super irritating. They get close enough to the apex, and I'm restarting.

For a track called Cathedral Circuit, why does it involve the tunnels underneath? I wouldn't mind if we get some sermon mixing up with engine sounds. Get a sorta religious theme in.

But none of that. Oh well.

After tons of these dirty dangos, I managed a few clean runs. I wouldn't want to share the flagged/not flagged ratio, really.

73 carrera.jpg

The best of these would be 1:09.571.

Initially, I just set a goal for 1:13, since the car's from '73.

But I wanted to do more than just meme a time. I want to learn this track, and set my goals straight to 1:10 after the 1st clean run. There's a lot I still loathe here in this brick filled hatefest, but hey: I suck much less at it now. And if my math's right, this is a solid 69 seconds, which is automatically nice.


I've paved through this thing in the past game, and I would happily do so again. But I really do want more copies of this car to express this. And unfortunately, this means I'll just have to end this sooner than expected.

What is the Porsche 911 Carrera RS? It is..

The classic case of where Porsche takes a race-engineered gamble and makes it work for generations to come.

It's just what I want in a classic lightweight car. It's fun, it's quick, it's really tunable. But most of all for me: it's challenging. Definitely expected this from this era of cars, moreso in a Porsche. And since this isn't the Ghost era NFS games, this is solid Sleeper, though not as solid as the Starion for me.

Golly, that seems to be the theme for these cars these days. These are just positive vibes overall so far.. except that Z33 FE, seriously what were they thinking?!


United States
United States
I have never played a Forza game before in my life, nor have I heard of half the cars that have been selected here in COTW, but @Obelisk , your reviews somehow just really have me hooked. Great job!
I appreciate your kind comment, but I honestly feel as if everyone's reviews in here are all worthy of praise. Everyone has a special way of expressing themselves - whether it be Vic absolutely putting his review cars through the wringer and posting absolutely impressive times, or SPD writing elaborate reviews (I'll admit I tried to emulate his style this week on the Porsche review), or even someone just coming and saying "this car is good" because they've spent so long with the car outside of COTW that they intrinsically know the match-ups and where its advantages and weaknesses are.

Golly, that seems to be the theme for these cars these days. These are just positive vibes overall so far.

(To be fair to the FE, it's kind of more just a fun gimmick than an actual competitive car. I do have a 200+ MPH offroad one in S1 that's actually kinda good)

The verdict on the Porsche is: Sleeper! Nicely done!

Another week, another car to review!

Our car maestro politely declined to select the car for this week, so that makes me the maestro for the week. And if my reply to SPD was any clue, I'm going somewhere...a little more dull.

This week's car is the...


1986 Lamborghini LM-002!

The end product of an attempt by Lamborghini to get a military contract (no, I'm not making this up), the "Rambo Lambo" as it was known was an expansion of the Lamborghini Militaria into the luxury SUV market, with 328 units produced between 1986 and 1993. It has the V12 from the Countach in the front, driving all four wheels. A peculiar machine derived from a peculiar attempt by a sports car company to earn military contracts, the LM002 is a unicorn in many, many senses of the word. And it's supposed to be an off-roader.

To find out if this thing (C 563) actually has any merit, we're going to run it down the El Descenso Cross Country, the opposite route to the one that the Nissan FE was sent through.

Let's start those engines, warm up the tires, and take a Lamborghini off-road!
(said no one, ever)

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

So the ‘Rambo Lambo’, when ambition meets 80’s coke fuelled insanity. :scared:

It’s also not the first time it’s crossed paths with COTW as back when the Horizon Festival was sitting comfy in the Australian Outback, it was tested by us and promptly won the Beater Of The Year award. :odd:

Not a great sign to start with.

In case anyone has never of Lamborghini’s first attempt at an SUV, let’s get you up to speed.

Take a vehicle which was built in an attempt to get a military contract, add the 450hp 5.2 litre V12 from your headline act of the time which was the Countach, give it a 4wd system and give it a full leather interior among other luxuries.

If the 5.2 V12 wasn’t enough for you, you could apparently order it with a 7.2 litre Marine V12 which was commonly found back then in Class 1 offshore powerboats. :drool:

Finding numbers for said V12 isn’t easy, but 720hp was a number I saw mentioned about it. 😉

Of course, such an engine would not only add even more weight to the 2.7 ton Lambo, but make it even more of a fuel drinker than normal.

The gearbox is a 5 speed manual with high and low range transfer cases and going by how long the gearing is I’m gonna safely assume it’s in high range.

How long are the gears you ask?

Put it like this, unless you’re blasting down the motorway or yeeting down the side of a volcano, you’d only ever need 3 of the 5 gears on offer. :crazy:

60mph in 1st, 100mph in 2nd, 140+ in 3rd.

As I famously said way back in the GT6 days of COTW about the Caterham Fireblade’s gearbox, ‘It’s got gearing longer than most marriages.’ :lol:

In stock form, you can forget about driving it competitively as such a heavy machine needs power AND torque to get it going quickly and 369ft-lbs isn’t enough i’m afraid.

Happily if you feel that even a fully upgraded V12 ain’t doing it, you have 3 engine swap options in the form of V8’s.

The 6.7 turbo diesel V8, the 7.2 Racing V8 and the 1750hp Funco F9 7.4 twin turbo V8.

I can respect and appreciate the madness of the LM002, but not as a performance SUV, in the same way the Countach was an iconic looker, but an absolute pain to drive normally.

Verdict: Beater 👎(But still pick one up anyway for fun of it.😁)
On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 7 - Lamborghini LM002


The biggest baddest bull of them all, but I wager it needs a diet

Due to the festive season, I'd have to lag this one back a bit. But here it is.

First off: the amazing nickname of Rambo Lambo. It has to easily be one of those pair of words that just fits so well, yet also feel bad that's how it's known for and I would never ever see it draw first blood.

You know, I really didn't think this big old square thingamajig would amount to anything offered by the likes of Lamborghini. But the idea of stuffing a Countach's V12 to the front bonnet of this armored menace is only the starting course.

But I'm also weirded out to the fact that the LM002 is actually a luxurious car, filled with at the time, the many things of your usual luxury car feel.. luxurious! I need to look up the words for these. But yeah: there it is.

Sitting in the middle of C Class, it definitely didn't waste any of that Countach V12 with the same 450 horses, but has 2.7 tons to carry around. That apparently makes a lot of difference between these two. And we're not considering how bulky this thing looks. I have one ready stock from a wheelspin, so getting another one isn't mandatory..

I'm sure it's already mundane with COTW and non-COTW related visits, but how would I think the trips to the Auction House be like for SPD?

spd visits the auction house again.png

Actually, ignore that.


And this week's track is El Descenso: the other volcano descent track that I luckily didn't have to push through with that certain FE car.

Aside from biome change, I don't see that much a difference from Las Dunas. They both are similar in terms of what they offer. This side's descent I find it to be much more forgiving, both going down and in the trail. There are some patches of water and other fencing this way down, however, so the bigger machines have to count for something here.

You can probably say it's the speedier, but more cluttered version of Las Dunas. It also has a couple big jumps, so it's more rougher, but overall still more forgiving.

Rambo Lambo's going to draw first blood, let's how much blood's in it?

- The gearing is not good. First is way too long, especially for smaller tracks. But these long gears have an advantage in terms of going down the mountain fast. I've reached a peak of 188 MPH before reaching the sweeping turn to the river. Okay, that's not bad.

- The other issue I find in this car is the braking. It feels way too weak for a car this size, not to mention how biased it is in the rear. This issue carries over to the next point.

- While on the road, the car struggles to make its way around. This is sort of a given, because it's one big hunk of Lambo. But off road, it's the other way around: it's slippy and slidey on a mild basis, while the rear likes to go out. The car hasn't enough power to make use of this. I find myself trying to control this, or slip out. It's a toss up, really.

- The springs are fine for general off-road, but the many factors of the car causes this to be an issue when it causes a strong case of bottoming out upon landing from a high drop. I can't figure out exactly what does this. It could either be the suspension being too soft, or the weight causing this.

- Time to tackle some common obstacles on this trail. Shallow water finds itself to be no issue for this Lamborghini. Okay, next! There are some heavy fencing on the way, and the LM002 takes it like a boss, losing minimal speeds. But comes the issue of trying to dodge these. This thing is huge, so you need to consider planning way ahead of your line for these. Cross country in general don't do consistent lines so well.

- I may be a fan of older Lamborghini cars, but the LM002 wasn't really for me. I would probably have more fun making a cross country Miura, actually.

A few runs was enough, and this unusually slippery truck gave me a time of..



I didn't quite enjoy these tuns down, even though they were smooth and hard to mess up. Not that it was a chore, but the stock LM002 wasn't quick or exciting, and definitely shows its age poorly. It desperately needs some fountain of youth, and I may have an idea to not need that.



All pumped up for the next undertaking!

Now we move on to see a nice little SPD feature!

Starring the LM002, it's time for some Italian farm themed cross country three way slugfest!!

In short, the LM002 will try to stand out against its so-called successor: a Lamborghini Urus.


Calling the official successor in? Is it, I dunno.

These cars will carry around 767 PI down the mountain, the same PI the stock Urus comes with. And since I said three way slugfest, I'll round this wacky race out with something else. Let's add.. umm, oh I don't know..


How about a cross country Lamborghini Espada?!

Now it's time to bring them all to 767 PI.

Trying to push the LM002 was the most difficult part of the ordeal since I'm such a purist and would prefer it not changing anything. All it took to get it to 767 as much as to my liking is to swap the engine. That V8 diesel engine took me fancy this time around.

The Espada was quite the opposite. No issues bringing it up to 767 PI. It looked like it was a Bond car. It even remained RWD so that I have something to help differentiate with the SUVS. And maybe see if there's any hope for some RWD A-Class cross country.

I was going to get a stock Urus to run down, but it didn't feel right to do so. Thank goodness the offroad tires cut its PI down quite a bit so I can fit some more power and off-road capability into it.

We'll still remain in El Descenso to make the comparisons. But now: the tale of the tape!


Rambo Lambo. Hah, that would be a really cool in-ring name.

I have a few select sections that will award the best from these 3 bulls a point, and most points.. you get the idea. After ample amounts of runs, here's what these look.

Best time?

After a lot of adjusting for all the cars, let's see where it all matters.

First off is the Urus, which landed a best time of 2:08.756.

The Espada didn't impress, with my best run with it at a measly 2:20.401. The reason should be obvious, but if not, just keep going on down.

The LM002: the main man itself, goes and gets a best time of 2:10.099.

The entire dynamic comes down to how much speed the cars get down the descent. The Urus inches ahead marginally by the bottom, leaving everyone behind. However, by the 70% mark, the obstacles and bumps come in to play, giving the LM002 a chance to catch up. That lasted a few percentages too short, giving the Urus' better overall performance the time advantage. The Espada, haha, it drastically lost pace after the first big jump into the water.

Urus 1, everyone else nil.

Time's not the only factor here, I say! How about some more on hand opinions?

Most impressive?

To be fair, they all are. But one has to be better than the others, right?

To start with the Urus: this SUV not only has the best launch, but it wants to dare you to do dangerous things, and it works! Because I was able to get away with it, which makes it very rewarding for taking mild off-roading risks, while still being a stable, fast machine. I'm not shocked because engineering has came a long way, but still I find myself impressed by this outcome.

The Espada was easily the one that requires my focus and attention to input the most. After a few adjustments, it felt like it was competitive while being exciting until I saw where the Rivals ghost for the Urus went. That makes it easily more of a toy to have fun with than to win with. To think it would also sort of keep up is impressive, but it does mean having as much grip as possible is paramount in off-road situations. That's just one of its many problems.

Diesel Rambo Lambo acted the way I wanted in an off-roader, which makes it a good sense of fun for something so huge. I ended up swinging corners with my rear out, then exit with power at the ready. Definitely much better than anticipated. It's grip hangs on to the surface amazingly thanks to new tyres.

All are great, but I'm unsure how to give points. The Urus impressed, but not as much as the other 2.

I'm handing the LM002 it's first point, because as stated earlier, the Espada couldn't compete, amd what's good is all that fun if it's completely slow?

Fastest top speed down the mountain

In MPH, the Urus managed to top out at 219, while the Espada lags behind at 206, and the LM002 tops out at even less: 204.

Darnit, LM002, you know I was betting on you to get this one easy. But that Urus now has 2 points!!

Most challenge?

To begin with the Urus, it wouldn't be surprising to say it all was simple, and there's nothing to complain about in general. The main challenge comes with not by using it, but rather: the situation on how it is used. More on that later.

The Espada, as I've tuned it, will only mess you up if I decide to use the handbrake wrong. It's got great grip, even if it's only RWD. This is promising, and also makes some sense on describing other RWD offroaders. Drifting with this thing isn't just push all the way: you need a sense of control, and you can do some fashionable drift overtakes quite nicely in this. Well, definitely a challenge.

The LM002 definitely did show challenge. It wasn't fast, nor was it stable. It wanted to go wild. And I gave it just that treatment. The result of all that proved on the car actually not being hard to drive. I think even the Espada was much more difficult to drive than the stock LM002.

So, easy point to the Espada. It's definitely going back to the asphalt.

Biggest cock (I mean, how dominant it is as a cross country racer).

The Urus suffers in this category. It already felt too.. urban. Even as soft as I go with the suspension, it will bounce and lose control over uneven terrain. It also has issues going through water and the stone walls, which is quite the downer.

The Espada's issue is definitely here. It's not built for this environment, and thus suffers. Bottoming out, the gates reducing speed marginally, and the water really drags it back. I lost 4 seconds on one water puddle, and there are a couple of these..

The LM002 is, how do I say it.. it's, uhh.. you probably read the notes on the stock version, right? Okay it's automatically getting the point for this one.

Best car overall

Now I'm starting to regret this old showdown format, because even though they tied, I've ruined this segment by proving the Urus has surpassed the LM002 in almost all ways, even with the same PI. I could even mess this up more by putting a 'Most reasonably priced' segment, because the Espada would win and all cars would have 2 points.

This was a bad idea, I knew it was!


Now we should end before I put the Diablo SV in the mix somehow.

What is the Lamborghini LM002? It is..

A V12 powered luxurious entry for your once friendly neighborhood tractor maker to go try serve their nation's military.

To me, the only thing that stood out was the nickname. Rambo Lambo. I can say that all day long. But how was everything else? The drive sucked. The overall experience of the stock form sucked. It wasn't even much of a looker. It really got known for having a Countach V12 and that's it.

But what saves it from being purely 'bottom of the barrel' Beater was the fact it was actually succeeded. Still, I can't say it's neutral. Rambo Lambo might've sounded cool, but that's just the only good thing I can get from you.

The RC F weeks back was somehow more impressive, because I can make it way more fun. And if done right, can be competitive. This one can't even touch the Urus.

Sorry dude. You're just straight Beater. If you fancy a heavy military machine to race, the Hummer H1 is the one to go for.

Before I forget:

Rambo Lambo.

Heh heh heh, why does that never get old?? It just tickles that part in me.
Well, a ride like the Lambo LM002 is not something that I enjoy to drive in FH, but I recognize it as a footnote that deserves to be included in this (and future games.)
It was certainly ahead of the curve, since now every sports car company (except Ferrari, perish the thought) has a luxury SUV in their lineup, which also happens to be their moneymaker, and its relative failure was probably the final nail in the company’s coffin that lead to the purchase by Chrysler, and thus the Diablo and so forth.

And now my very pedestrian time:

I was more concerned in having a clean run. No, I don’t think I will build something better, I will just ride the Urus. It’s a beater, but with a place in history.
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United States
United States
Alright, alright, alright. I know some of you are frothing at the mouth to see what the next poor soul machine being reviewed is, and I know! How dare I be late to my own party?!

Truth be told: on a vacation trip with a friend and fellow GTP'er. He's watching me write this and called me a nerd for the Destiny reference.

Anyways, let's review the Rambo Lambo before I do my usual busywork in here. Shorter than usual because I'm running late, lol.

We did not like this thing back in Horizon 3. It was too lethargic, too...useless. How's it going to hold up two games later?


...Not good. Like a lot of other people have already pointed out, this car does not accelerate all that well. And who in their right mind thinks a 3 ton, low torque SUV can hit 185 MPH in any circumstances???

The LM 002 was also not getting a lot of traction on the rough stuff, and I noticed that it's quite easy for it to get turned around if you don't downshift as it's sliding. Something to do with the engine losing power as the revs go down, I guess?

...yeah, not a lot to say about this. Let's try it at C600 and see if that works. The biggest issues that might be addressable are the weight and gearing - time to send in the mechanics.


Time to give this a spin. And the final result is:

A five second difference, just from fixing the gearbox and some light tweaking to the rest of the car. That said...the car needed the seven speed gearbox in order to actually put its power down effectively. :grumpy:

I don't need to go any further with this. It's a Beater, and only really serves as a sort of niche sidegrade to the more useful SUVs in its Car Type. Lamborghini, WTF were you smoking?

That aside, let's tally the votes and roll out the next car.

The LM 002 is...a Beater, with all drivers voting in favor. Nicely done, Lamborghini. Nicely done.

We had an interesting car choice this week, but I unfortunately had to veto the choice because the car was one of the Seasonal rewards, and not everyone is going to have access to that. The auction house prices are already at the maximum cap as well, at 20 mill per car.

So, instead, we're going somewhere more mundane. This week's car is the...

2013 Mazda MX-5!

Now, I will admit that I was a little biased when trying to decide what car to swap in for the unfortunate choice that was veto'd since I own one of this generation of Miata IRL.

We're going to be taking the 3rd generation MX-5 (C 549) down the Jungle Descent Street Scene event to see if this car holds up in the world of Forza.

Let's start our engines, warm up the tires and remember the motto:
Miata Is Always The Answer.
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United States
United States
Happy new year to everyone here at COTW, and by extension everyone at GTP! I figured I'd kick the year off by stepping up and taking a shot at my own car before everyone else uses the Top Gear argument*. :lol:

*"It's uncool because [host] owns one!"

Right, let's have a look. This should be interesting, coming from the perspective of a Miata owner.

The Mazda MX-5. There's really not much I need to explain about this model that hasn't already been covered by its presence in everything and everywhere. It's a light, low-power sports car and the NC MX-5 featured this week is no different.


Truly a charming car...Wait.

...Wait, hold the phone.

[muffled background conversation]

The COTW administrative staff is insisting that the photo of the yacht above is indeed the NC Mazda MX-5. I disagree, because a yacht has easily ten times the power of a Miata (which sits at a humble 167 HP) and easily twenty to fifty times the weight (the Miata is a modest 2540 lbs on the heavy end). The game demanded that I drive to the Horizon Wonderland off the bat, so why not incorporate that into the test? It'll be a good test of how the car feels to drive over extended distances without the pressure of race conditions. And...well, they managed to match the feel of the in-game car to the real one. It's really easy to drive, and it's engaging enough that you don't get bored and want to fast travel to your destination. It also doesn't necessarily build up enough momentum to make you stress or become overly cautious/proactive with the brakes.

Plus it looks goooood.

Can't you tell I'm a little biased?


A nice climb out of the city at speeds that'd get me pulled over immediately IRL.

Adding to that, it can still get up to a rather lively 145 MPH without losing any stability or control which is a good selling point in a C class car.

It handles dirt roads pretty smoothly as well, no doubt in part to a slightly softer suspension setup than a true track-oriented sports car. A minor pet peeve of mine with the in-game model is that the oil temp gauge doesn't react to throttle input (i.e. flooring it causes the temp to rapidly rise, driving at a cruising speed with minimal input doesn't lower the oil temp to the lower 1/4 of the gauge), but we can't all have cake and eat it too. Same goes for the retractable hard-top. I wonder if the model is too old for the devs to implement that feature without something breaking.


I would get arrested on the spot at the speeds I'm going in-game, lol. Also...where is the duckbill wing option, PG?!

The drive to the Wonderland was uneventful, but I would recommend that you all do the same to get a feel for how the car drives in low-pressure situations, because these NCs are wonderful and engaging cruisers.

Turns out that @Populuxe was kind enough to send me a Sesto Elemento FE, so thank you very much my friend. I will put that to good use alongside the other one I picked up a while ago.

The pleasant bits of the drive are now over, sadly. Time to take this thing around the track for this week and see just what makes the Miata a sports car.


Ah yes, a 100+ MPH gutter run. Where's the bass-boosted eurobeat meme when you need it?

  • Acceleration: The launch is quick and fun. The car digs in at 5,000 RPM and takes off with very little fuss. It hovers at 5000 RPM from 0-25 MPH (0-40 kph) and then runs through the rest of 1st gear almost immediately.
  • Speed: For a C class car, it has good top-end speed. It gets itself to 100 MPH in roughly 20 seconds and doesn't have too much trouble getting up to its effective top speed of 145 MPH. The gears are nicely spaced in general, though maybe a little on the optimistic side as I'm guessing the redline speed in 6th is somewhere in the realm of 165 to 180 MPH.
  • Handling: Lovely, smooth handling on this car. It responds to input without threatening to turn itself around and almost feels on rails in the high speed segment that comprises the majority of the track. This leads to the car not scrubbing a lot of speed in the sweepers, whereas the Celica I was running against was losing speed enough for me to notice the time gain.
  • Brakes: More than effective enough for the stock car's needs. They stop the car quickly, letting the car lean into a more aggressive, late-braking type of driving style.
  • In general: The car feels very much like a momentum-based car when it comes to competitive balance. Its straight line speed is nothing to write home about, but it has the grip to make up the difference in the technical sections. Against the Celica powerbuild that I was using as my guide, the MX-5 is catching up by the first switchback and running away by the end of the switchback. It gains just enough of a lead from sheer momentum and cornering speed alone that the Celica's power advantage became null and it ended up behind me.
For anyone trying to run this track during this week, those switchbacks are do or die for your run. Get a good run through there and it could shave two seconds off your time.

After a few runs where I had some trouble at the switchbacks, I finally got the Celica behind me. My final time?


A very, very respectable time for a car in the middle of C class. Let's take her up to C600 and try again.


This is a C-class tune I created in the first week of the game going live, and it still works quite well. And yes, it shakes out like the base car does, only faster. Flat-out around most of the sweepers at 145+ MPH, with gentle speed loss due to the forces from cornering. The only difference is that the car can push back against that better, so the speed loss is much smaller relative to the factory spec. So how did this stack up?


I, er... 34th place globally?! Excuse me?

...I think we're onto something here. I'm going to try Las Afueras and see if there's a similar kind of result here.



Let's...uh. Let's go try a Circuit (Estadio) and a Sprint (Sierra Verde) to see if it's just the design of the street races or if the Miata is genuinely a monster in C class.


Honestly, it's just so happy to be here.


(side note: Forza crashed at this point in the review. I was trying to load up Sierra Verde.)

My rival time that I'm grinding my nose against is a power-build FWD. I've been seeing a lot of those in the lower classes...could someone enlighten me as to just how they're getting away with that? I haven't been able to replicate the builds.

Asides asides, Sierra Verde:

Not the greenest car you can buy these days, but it looks great when set against nature.



So, this is telling. This car's general personality and behavior leans pretty hard into longer sprint races, which makes sense. Sprints rely on momentum a lot more than circuits do, and the MX-5 is a momentum-based car.

Now, remember how I mentioned in Week 2 that I got into an A class leaderboard war with a couple of mates of mine? Yeah. I was using this exact MX-5 for that one with a build pushing almost 450 HP. It was really quick, but getting to the absolute limits of what the car can handle even with performance parts shoved in it. And knowing how it's set up in C class, you could lean pretty hard into a raw power build up in B class without losing much in the way of good handling and grip. And, it could make a pretty solid rally car. There's also, for engine swaps: the Supra I6, an LS swap, the 1.6L turbo rally engine, racing I6 turbo, and the 4 rotor from the 787B or some road-legal variant of it. All of the engines could actually fit in the engine bay, if I'm not mistaken - the LS is the largest of the engines. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The MX-5 has always had a reputation as a good car choice, and it's one of the most diverse platforms in terms of build potential both in-game and IRL. That said, in a game world where it's one of the most mundane and ignored car choices, the NC Miata can only be one thing.


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On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 8 - Mazda MX-5 (NC)


The third of a Mazda success story. I can't wait to extract all that juicy roadster goodness..

Oh goody, it's time for some Mazda Roadster action. My proper introduction to this car in a racing game has to be.. Forza Motorsport 4: the pinnacle of the Motorsport series. I often just go to the time trial on the Top Gear Test track, quit on purpose, then just watch the car go around the airfield in legendary camera choreography. That game also introduced me to some other legends in my car enthusiast life. Mostly odd supercars, so things like the Noble M600, the Lamborghini Miura Concept, and the Mosler MT900S.

Well, to keep it relevant, one of those cars included was the MX-5 Superlight. It looked so unusual, so strange, but so appealing. It was my go to for just about any low powered event, don't remember if it was A or B.

So, uhh, if I had to rate the MX-5s, the NC would sit at the bottom. Don't boo yet, it's just because the other generations had more impact and connection for me. The ND being a superb current era sports car, the NB was a classic tuner identity, and the NA: the best one, because it started the budget convertible trend, and I owned one for 10 years before having to sell it. But it don't mean I have to discredit the NC. All the Miatas are kings (or queens, I dunno) in my book!

Well, it seems I got one ready stock for this week. And I'm not in the mood for some New Year's shopping, so we're only getting this stock car run. I am in the mood for painting, and it's a panda.. sort of!

At 549 PI, this iteration of Mazda's beloved roadster finds itself at the center of C-class. I don't know about you, but I have this feeling, nagging away behind my head about that PI.

Ah, must be the cowbells of that LM002 last week. Good old Rambo Lambo, amirite? Well, let's go to the track.


What have we here to take the Mazda out for a spin? It's, drumroll... Jungle Descent!

Contrary to what it sounds like, this isn't some Cross Country action in the jungles south of the map. It's just called so because of how you begin at the top of an overlooking bridge, then slowly descend into the jungle. Not a half bad track. It's mostly speed, with a little diversion by the later part, that's still speedy. All for a nice, hair waving drive.

Now if only we can take off the roof of this car..

But let's forget about roofs and find out what makes this car move.

- A minor gripe: does the NC really sound this, umm, light? I had an NA and it sounded much beefier. Well, it threw me off for 2 seconds, but if this sound is correct, I guess I'll just move on.

- I'm going to try keeping this brief. Launch good. At stock: no need control: go for it. My shift is at 74-75 hundred RPMs.

- Handling: it makes you feel like this is a race car, but it doesn't cost you a secondary human organ. No wonder they keep on making this car a league racer. It works! Though, if you turn all the way, you may.. uhh, turn so much that you'll lose a bit of speed, so watch that angle.

- The track's one major feature would be of its many sweeping turns. Noticeably the NC may slip out after a long high speed swing. But this is C class, so it's not a big issue to correct.

- For a speedy track, the MX-5 has revealed it's (hopefully) only issue: being consistent by the top end. The 6th gear is placed in a spot where the car barely has enough oomph to push it ahead in the slight uphill speedy sections. It also has the unfortunate case for cruising these roads at 120 MPH, which is the bit of 5th gear where you either have the urge to shift up but shouldn't, if that makes sense. I wonder how this is dealt with using an automatic gearbox.

- The only main braking point for this track would be at 69% (nice, no I'm not making this up), and this is where the only point of brake testing is. I'm sure I don't need to tell you the NC did this splendidly, though it can lock up the rear if done late. That said, it really can't stop if you brake moments too late. Even more: this is where most Rivals ghosts lose time, because they overshoot.

- There's more. Did I ever tell you about the last hairpin? Another place to overshoot. The nature of Street Races allows this sort of behavior, so nothing I can do but just mention it. I can also mention the NC's behavior around them: it's so nice, grippy, and no issues in traction. This is a handling car for sure.

- The real difficulty in getting a top time for this class, at a track like this goes to the smallest twitches in your input reactions. You thought that sort of trouble was for S2, oh no.

And enough times above the mighty jungle, I have a time that'll wake those lions up, I think.

MX-5 NC.jpg

That would be 2:43.388. Like a few weeks back with the Z33, this lap probably is counted dirty for track rules.

This is a super good car, and this is a super speedy track. Unfortunately, this isn't a super good combo (still a good combo). Least the best I can say is on how to upgrade the MX-5 is definitely aim for power. Handling is already so good, though you don't want to go all out on the car's steering rotation.

Unusually that nagging feeling from earlier still remains. It's not Rambo Lambo, is it? Yes, this is just another excuse to say Rambo Lambo heh



Speeding through the jungle has never been so exhausting. Let's bounce before the wild animals wake up.

Well, I'd say, another week settled. Let's wrap it up.

What is the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R? It is..

Wait, that didn't come out right.
Okay, I'll try again.

What is the..



After up and down the mountain, he's back!

I know surprises can be out of hand, but how about another SPD showcase? This time not including a cross country sports car, but one that is born out of that idea.

Time to push the NC with a friendly showdown. Say hello again to the Mitsubishi Starion from Week 4: the current Sleeper I put on the top on my list as of writing.

It so happens that the NC has the exact same PI as the Starion, so I want to make the best of this and pit them against each other.

While the NC has a lot of ups with the handling being so nice, smooth and forgiving, the Starion has that monster torque bringing it ahead in a high speed road like this. But, if any, how much of a difference do these guys have?


I'm not going to be the judge of this. You are.

I've created a little something in the in-game EventLab. A race in good old Jungle Descent for the kind of showdown between these 2 cars. I can't promise it'll be fully fair, but every test run I had, the two cars always had a close race. Maybe even more the closer we get to Unbeatable, but it could vary.

You will see the Starion's torque at full force as much as the NC blissfully weaving these turns.

Here's the code:


And I'll leave you to it. My best with the Starion is 2:43.571, 2 milliseconds behind the NC. It's a more chaotic car, so I definitely feel it can go faster if I put more practice in. More importantly, if this pairing's not as equal as you think, think again.


Haha, alright, enough surprises. That was the nagging feeling taken care of.

What is the Mazda MX-5 (NC)? It is..

Another great refinement of Mazda's iconic entry level sports convertible.

I don't care what it is about the car that makes it so darned good. It's going to be Sleeper every time we get a Roadster/MX-5/Miata here, and I will put out all the stops in convincing any of you why. I gave it the grueling task to challenge the Starion, and, besides surviving, it had the gall to tell us it can do better.

It's not the same beast, but I bet maybe the NA model will impress me even more. I know, I am a bit biased for the car I used to own.
For this week my judgement on the car is a little conflicted. As I took the CX-5 downhill I could clearly feel some floatiness and loss of grip at the very limit of the wide turns before the “S” section in which you need to break hard. To me that’s the combination of poor aerodynamics and skinny tires, and my best time was:

I was rather disappointed, but I saw potential If I improved the aerodynamics (by lowering the car) and grip (wider tyres), since most of the route can be done by trail-braking. So after putting some parts, I improved to:

The car now felt planted, although a bit underpowered, so I decided to make it a full C600:

On the basis of the car’s improvement with proper parts, I will go with a Neutral ranking. However, at this point I feel the platform had exhausted its potential. I’m just glad we got a successor in 2015.
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Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

I’ll level with you folks, the NC MX-5 never really clicked for me in past Forza’s compared to its brothers.

The NA is a JDM cult classic, The NB Mazdaspeed is MX-5 with extra turbo torque and the ND is actually lighter than the NA model by 20lbs despite over 20 years difference.:eek:

The NC is the 2nd most powerful stock MX-5 at 166hp, but it’s the heaviest at just under 1180kgs.

Granted the ND is “only” 100+Kgs lighter, but in the world of MX-5’s it’s a lot. :P

But that’s not to say the NC MX-5 is a bad car on its own merits because at the end of the day it’s still an MX5 Miata, it’ll hang on well in the turns and provided you don’t lock a wheel when running no ABS, stop nicely too.

So on its own merits it’s a Sleeper, but compared to its brothers, you’ll be more likely to get more out of them than the NC.

Verdict: Sleeper. 😁👍


United States
United States
With the weekly reset comes the advent of summer in the middle of winter. Funny how that screwy regional weather works. Let's pull over and take a breather from our lovely spring cruise to see how the Miata tallies up!

And we have an overwhelming majority voting Sleeper! Nicely done. Time to introduce another fun little car for the wet season.

Our car maestro this week is @Nacho Libre and he had a really interesting idea!
Nacho Libre
I wanted a Mexican theme (...)
So we're going to roll with the Mexican theme this week with the...

1992 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v MK2!

Try saying that ten times in a row.

And our testbed for the car (D 429) this week is the Festival Gatecrash Street Scene! You might be wondering, "But Obelisk and Nacho, how on earth do these two things relate to Mexico?"
I'll let our friend Nacho explain:
Nacho Libre
I wanted a Mexican theme since: a) The Golf was widely produced in Puebla, Mexico and b) is geographically appropriate since the factory is close to our main volcanos.

Well, I don't have much more to say here. Let's warm up our engines, warm up the tires and-


[Technical difficulties due to host being struck by a golf ball]
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A little history: After VW's Pennsylvania plant closed in 1988, production of the Golf was shifted to the Puebla plant, and every version was produced there, up to the seventh generation, totalling 2,136,878 million vehicles until production ended in March of 2021.

Fun fact: I was once an industrial design student and a finalist in a nation-wide design contest organized by VW (the first place award was an internship.) All contestants were welcomed to tour the plant and a newly established design studio. I didn't win, and over time I abandoned design for other professional activities. In the end the studio never produced a fully local design for production, and now many of the economy models for sale here are styled in Brazil/India.

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

Another week, another car which has lost customisation compared to FH4, the ‘92 GTI loses the RB Widebody kit just like two previous picks (350Z & RCF).

That means instead of 275 MM tyres all round with the widebody, it’s 245 MM tyres all round, granted the slick tyres do offset the difference a bit, but still.. :rolleyes:

Small licensing gripe aside, the ‘92 Golf GTI still shows it’s a decent follow up act to the MK1 Golf GTI, but not in terms of PI.

Despite the 9 year gap, there’s only 1 PI difference between the two GTi’s, mostly down to the MK1 weighing just over 1900lbs to the MK2’s 2425lbs. :eek:

Handling is classic hot hatch, darty and agile, but will understeer at the limit, no limited slip diff I’ve noticed and under heavy braking while turning, it’ll lock a rear tyre up.

With the right parts, it’ll be even more of a riot to drive on the twisty’s. :D

While it’s a good Sleeper, I’d argue it’s predecessor is even more so as after setting that time, I’d brought out the MK1 GTi and despite the power deficit and the latter half of the track favouring power, it set a time only 1.202 seconds slower than the MK2. 😳

Heck it was quicker in a drag race in real life against the MK4 Golf GTi, Probably why Turn 10 picked the R32 version of the MK4 Golf instead all those years ago. :lol:

‘92 Golf Verdict: Sleeper 👍


United States
United States
@Vic Reign93 God dang it, I thought I'd had you for good at Estadio! :grumpy: One of these days, I'll get your times real good.

Anyways. The Golf. Since Vic was the first to post a time, I have his time to aim at when trying to give this car the runaround.


Probably shouldn't have trusted that sketchy-looking guy. Pretty sure I've lost all but one of the cylinders...and the brakes, and everything else-

Sporting a 139 HP inline 4 and weighing in at a tiny 2,425 lbs, this 1990s era Golf is a compact package that looks promising on paper. Let's see how it stacks up in practice.

I...don't like this thing at first pass. It feels heavy, for some reason. There's something off with the way it drives, and I can't quite put my finger on it.


I've also got a game complaint: Why are the gearshifts on Manual setting so...slow? I lost a huge chunk of my time to the gear shifts when trying to chase down Vic's ghost and that really soured my initial impressions of the car. Playground Games, why?

I'm not having a great initial impression of the Golf too. The weight is all directly on top of the nose, and it shows in how it gives into understeer quickly. It's decent to drive in general, but...yeah. The slow gearshift. :grumpy:

I did land top 700 with my time, so I'm at least OK with that. Let's try a dirt track since FWDs are supposed to be pretty decent on dirt. Off to Bajio Trail.


At least a door isn't falling off here...

On dirt, it's a bit of a different story. For the most part, the car behaves the same on dirt and tarmac. Actually quite a generous amount of grip available to it, even though that led to me complaining earlier about the car feeling "heavy". It's fun on the dirt!


Reasonably solid time as well.

And with that, I think I have enough of a feel for the car to make my verdict.

It's a low spec, sporty hatchback that doesn't pretend that it's the next big thing. It does exactly what it was expected to do, and it does a good job at that. It doesn't have that spark of magic that the other cars we've reviewed in this thread have, but it also doesn't have that disgusting, unpleasant feel that rendered the LM 002 a beater. It's just...a car. A reasonably fun one, but one that's basically the equivalent of vendor trash in some other games. Forgotten, neglected, ignored.

I can only really give this car a Neutral, since while it's quick enough in D class, it tapers off after that on the factory engine and drivetrain. It's...yeah, I can't find a lot really good or really bad about it.
On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 9 - Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 2


I may know black is a boring car color, but I seem to be a big fan of them.

These days, I find myself asking: what's my favorite little classic hatchback.

Radio silence.

I guess I never really was into them to begin with. I am a 6 foot dude, so I do want my cars spacious. As mentioned last week, I did own an NA Miata, and there are no bad memories of it being tight or uncomfortable.

But I've always heard good things about the Golf. It's a hot hatch staple. If it's commonly mentioned, or have multiple entries in one game, it's gotta be good or sort of iconic, right? My favorite's easily the Mk 5, and I have an uncle who owns the Mk 7 GTI. I find it strange we don't have the Mk 5 in this game, where we have a near full collection of Corvettes, WRXs and M5s.

What do I know about this Golf? Well, it was the second step to the Golf's evolution, and it's showing signs of it getting bigger and fatter, maybe not for the best. It shows when the Mk 1 just has a PI difference of 1, when what sets them apart is just about 25 horses and 250 kilos. But I can't say it's not sporty at all. It still has that kind of cheap sports flavor on it. But it brings with it a full set of BBS rims, and it also garnered a cult following for tuners, so it probably isn't wanting to give us a cheap sports flavor.

The little hatch finds itself at late D-class, on 429 PI. We finally have something on the bottom now to play with. I'm still waiting for a S2 car from the factory floor to appear, but I know that'll be a while. It's also FWD, which its weak points become an issue only when we reach far ahead into top end A-class and above. In terms of ownership, I have 1 ready for this week. I've actually gotten like 2 more from Wheelspin, but opted to give them away. It's a super cheap car at 20k credits, so there's no big loss should I want another.


This week's track is another Street Scene sprint in Festival Gatecrash.

We're not crashing down any gates, but this track is essentially a drive down from the northern side of the volcano, go around that lava-less sad piece of mountain, all the way down to the Horizon Mexico Festival site. If there's something about these Street Scene track, I'd say speed is the name of the game, though there are some brake points so it's not all power.

Aside from traffic on Street Scene, this track is pretty straightforward. I'll let the 16 valve Golf do the talking about what it can do.

- I mean, okay, we're not expecting any wheelspin or something fun. You're fine to launch on full power. However, what I love so far in terms of first impressions is that I shift very very late. At exactly 8000 RPMs. Don't ask me why this is satisfying.

- Understeer is to be expected? Well, since we're so mild into performance, I don't see it. Which is until it's too late. That moment is when I push this Golf so much it eventually came. I shouldn't be surprised it's there, but I am, because it's there when I don't want it. That is how surprise works, right?

- The track also has some uphill segments that pushes this car's power to the redline. It couldn't do anything as the speed reduced in a tiny fashion. Aside from me being overly literate with this, you can already tell it was terrible. Though, I did find being at late RPMs help with this.

- To the brakes. I can't say it's bad, but it'll lock up if you go too far. I found this out when I decide to do some engine braking at certain points. If you tap, it's OK, but it doesn't settle instantly if you're turning. The lock up also is biased to the rear, so it might work out when you're off-road.

- Time to complain, and it's about the track. The best line for this track has me find out the viability of having S1 cars with AWD and rally tires. You're literally cutting the track, and for the game rules it's okay as long as you're in checkpoint range. My dirty highlights include the first corner of 5% (if you don't mind the car leaving the asphalt, it's a work of art), and there's that left hander by 59% that has me feel like a newbie going through his first try at the final corner of Laguna Seca: really wide. These moments are there, and I'm not overly proud of it.

- Then again, with this sort of tactic available for me to exploit, I find that when the tires lose grip a bit, it likes to slide great. I can deduce that the current state of the car is very suitable for off-road. The grip loss feels minimal there. Convert to AWD, slap on some rallying digs, and it might do some good. I heard the Mk 1 triumphs there quite well, maybe it can do so too..

Honestly, I find that D-class feels completely redundant outside of people wanting to enjoy the slower pace, or have a go at Rivals. Then again, one of my favorite cars in Horizon 4 is a D-class. And I've faced it as one of my ghosts. That car was the Ford Lotus Cortina Mk 1. Maybe that'll be my next choice, but I will be so favorably biased to it so much that.. ah well, just venting a bit. I'll try not to put cars I truly love on here.

Alright, time to show my best efforts with the Mk 2 Golf. That is..

Mk 2 Golf.jpg

3:22.917, and always with these street roads, my run's flagged dirty as always.

Compared to other delegated COTW dirty runs, this one stands out, being WAY more dirty than usual, which weakens the whole experience. You can tell I was pushing this thing too hard. It's not showing much, but like most cars, a tune will save the day. Though, that might be for another time. I'm really looking forward for more powerful toys ahead.


It's the first week in 2022, and I find myself busy, so I guess it's time to send it off.

What is the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk 2? It is..

The beginning of Volkswagen's compact hatchback growing up, unfortunately a teeny bit more spoiled as it goes on.

I remember the fact that the generations of Volkswagen's golf dwindling in terms of popularity and performance after this second one. It went on quite some time until the Mk 5 would save it. For a FWD car, it doesn't seem like it stands out, but I do sort of realize why this car has a tuner's following behind it. I go with Neutral: it's not spectacular, but I'm no ways disappointed. Maybe the other Golfs could present themselves better.

Though I appreciate the tone this week. Mexico is represented pretty barely car wise, huh? There's that one Reddit post mentioning how each Forza Horizon game celebrates car culture at that region, and they meme'd the fact for Horizon 5, it's only the old Beetle/Vocho filling up that space of 6-7 cars. And the VUHL, that too, I guess.
The thing that I noticed about this Golf mk2 was the mechanical grip, straight line speed, and the understeer under heavy braking, which became impossible to overcome at the top of my times:


However, I saw potential if I could lessen the understeer somehow, so I build a D500 version and:


A 7-second improvement and more enjoyable drive. On that basis, this Golf is a sleeper in my book.
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United States
United States
Time to tally the votes. And uh...oh, dear. We have an even split between Sleeper and Neutral. My weighting system doesn't account for this, darn it! I'm going to flag this as Neutral-Sleeper due to the dead-even split. That's a first in COTW history if I'm remembering right. :lol:

As the new season rolls around and the leaves start to fall from the trees, our car maestro @SomePlayaDude has asked us to take a little trip back to the eighties, to a simpler time where horsepower and straight line speed took precedence over cornering ability.

Our car this week is the...

1987 Buick Regal GNX!

This car is a true sleeper in real life - at the time it was new, it was the top of the line model for the Buick Grand National, priced at what would equate to $68,000 in 2020 dollars (about $29,000 in 1987 money). It was rated at 276 HP, even though its actual power output was 300 HP. In the real world, the Buick earned its infamy due to the fact that it was able to out-drag a Porsche 930 and a Ferrari F40 over the quarter mile, with a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds! That's still eye-wateringly fast these days.

Unfortunately, not many of these were made. Shame, I'd actually love to have one of these.

This week's circuit, in keeping with the 1980s theme (and Miami, apparently) is Playa Azul Circuit.

Let's take this beast (C 564) out to the beach, and see if its reputation holds up in the world of Forza. As always, warm up those engines, break in those tires, and let's roar off into the sunset!
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Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
United Kingdom
Linthium Reign

So the Buick GNX.

Buick’s own going away present for the second generation of the Buick Regal and what a present it turned out to be. :P

The second Gen Buick Regal had been using turbo V6’s since the late 70’s, but like most American cars of the late 70’s they weren’t all that potent due to still recovering from tighter emissions and with the oil crisis still a fresh memory.

But in ‘78 I believe Buick was the ONLY turbocharged offering from America, the rest were from Mercedes, Porsche and Saab.

In 1982, the Grand National moniker was born, 215 Regal’s were retrofitted with the GN package, but only 35 had been specced with the turbo V6 at 175hp.

Over the next 5 years, the turbo V6 steadily went up in power, upgrading to computer controlled fuel injection, improved intercoolers and by 1987, the normal GN’s were now being rated at 245hp. :)

But with the 3rd gen Regal on the horizon, a proper send off was in order.

Enter Mclaren ASC.

ASC stood for American Sunroof Cars and while that does sound left field for such a project, ASC has done a hell of a lot of work and does have quite the list of cars which they applied sunroofs too, with manufactures support.

Here’s a few.

Nissan 300ZX Convertible, Pontiac Trans Am WS6, BMW Z3, Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder, Saab 900 Convertible, Porsche 944 And 968 Convertibles and the Chevrolet SSR..

I didn’t say they were ALL good. :lol:

But Vic that’s all well and good, but where does this other company McLaren come into the picture and why does it share the name with the McLaren we know and love?? :confused:

Well here’s the thing..

It IS the McLaren we know and love, specifically McLaren Engines, founded by Bruce McLaren himself in Michigan in 1969. :eek:

Originally founded for Mclaren’s Indy and Can Am efforts, it was still putting work in until the mid 80’s when ASC came along and bought them up as a potential powertrain division as they were still doing R&D at the time.

I’ll skip over the rather rare ASC Mclaren tuned Foxbody Mustangs and Mercury Capris and get straight to the Buick.

So a Sunroof company and a race engine development group doing R&D came together to help Buick build the most badass production Grand National ever.

Talk about doing things differently. :D

Buick would send a total of 547 GN’s to be turned in to the all black brawlers that would become GNX’s or Gran National Experimental’s.

They upgraded the turbo with a Garret turbo, redid the suspension and gearbox and gave the 16’ wheels some high performance rubber to play with amongst other tweaks.

Officially rated at 276hp(There’s a familiar number for GT fans.:sly:) it was underrated and was making closer to 300hp and 380ft-lbs of torque.

‘Lord Vader, Your car has arrived.’:cool:

In 1987, The GNX was America’s Hero, ripping off sub 5 second 0-60 sprints and trapping low to mid 13’s in the quarter mile, this wasn’t after Mustangs, Camaro’s or Vette’s, it was going after Porsche’s, Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. :odd:

And coming out on top the majority of the time. :drool:

This car in my opinion, is to the Americans what the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton is to us Brits( or at least to me.).

A car which to most people, is no different to the normal version, but to the ones who know, it’s a genuine wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Unassuming in its looks, deceptively quick in its performance.

A Sleeper if you will. ;)👍
On the move
SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 10 - Buick GNX


Bow down, for the Dark Lord has arrived.

It's well known that the 70-80s would be known as dark ages of American cars. Mainly due to America trying to control emissions and regulate their oil industry, this meant that everything regarded as performance was weak, and for some reason also ugly. There are a few exceptions, but the general consensus stands.

By the end of these dark times, there was one car that not only stood out, but also became unintentionally iconic. That car wasn't a Mustang or a Corvette (they were terrible then), but a high performance, limited run variant of Buick's Regal. Known mainly as the GNX, it carried a turbocharged V6, and only came in black. The timing of the release going along the popularity of Star Wars then even has it known as the 'Darth Vader car'.

My preferences of that association isn't too good.. because let's face it, my love for Star Wars isn't so great, and I celebrate May the 4th purely towards a meme song associated with Shrek. Even without an Imperial March, I still find myself convinced that this would be in the top 5 if I ever made a top 10 for classic muscle cars, and in my mind, it's in definitely dream car territory. It's the sort of muscle car that finds itself categorized at the slot. That slot being somewhere in-between the chads from the 60s, and the virgins from that age after.

Even with all those numbers, the car sits in C-class, at 564 PI stock. Which is unusual for something with that amount of horsepower and torque. I wager it's got to do with car's aspects that's still a domestic 2 door cruiser. How can it beat an F40 when that car's way up there?

This week, I aim to find out if that these distinctions would mean something to be known as one of the most iconic classic sleeper cars. Because I don't know, it just shouts cheap American performance mirroring their efforts today.

Though, it's not exactly cheap in game, at 140,000 credits. Ehh, that's affordable, but better yet: more affordable at the one place known as Auction House. I actually don't have a need to go there, since I already have 2, but even mere mention has me going there. All it takes is the power of suggestion. For example.. are people selling the AT37?

Quick musical intermission while I check people have actually NOT been selling the AT37, because it just came out and the fact that I think the devs made sure they don't end up here until the week after, but I'm still browsing.. People are selling Ferrari F40s for 1.4 million; 200k more than the Autoshow price. Who are these suckers??

Okay, we're back.

Let's ask some questions about the situation. Will this car convince me it's not only fast, but unexpectedly fast? Can I get myself to like the GNX more than I already have? Does the car being called the Darth Vader of cars being irksome to me weigh in? Why am I asking all these questions? And most importantly: why am I deciding this important factor over a racing video game?


This week, we find ourselves in the easternmost side of fictional Mexico, onto Playa Azul Circuit..


..but first: a life changing decision! I have to choose between 2 Playas.. that's not me! At least I'm not blind or anything. I'm sure this MINI won't be in COTW anytime soon.

Literally meaning blue beach (is this a thing in these languages??), this narrow and difficult high speed circuit tests how well a car can handle high speeds with some mildly angled, long sweeping turns. There should be a variant of this circuit for mixed surfaces, because that would really rock.

I don't have to mention the fact it has the word Playa in it. I'm me, but I didn't quite pick the track because I want to feed my ever growing ego that I need to convince myself isn't going to matter. Nope! As mentioned earlier, 'playa' does mean beach, after all. But it's part of this 80s theme. Themes make it memorable when done in the right ways.

What not to define this 80s themed week with an 80s classic. I've got a cassette tape for picking up good vibrations. But does the Buick rattle as such?

- Recalling the last bit of the track description: 'Watch out for water on the apex of turn 2'. This is just fun tease to those guys who care about racing lines. I care, but I wanted to undermine this little statement by plowing through the puddle with the Buick. It.. didn't work if you're going through the whole thing, but if you skim on the outer left side, most cars just don't care.

- Alright, we have to talk about the biggest issue this car has first: the four gears. It means you got to have a choice of what gear you want to enter this turn with. Playa Azul has a few of those, and it's evil. And to make matters worse: gearing down this thing will grant you some nasty cases of understeer.

- Following that, the whole role of the GNX in races is to be in those more speedy tracks with way less of those hairpins. I find myself only being at 3rd the whole way, only going to 4th after the turn 2 puddle, so this means Automatic drivers may need to go Manual. Any higher classes, and I have to put on the Race Transmission. I find myself shifting at 6100 RPM, but lower when transitioning from 3rd to 4th.

- The handling is just wow. The car just turns in such a way, ignoring the likes of both understeer and oversteer. My thoughts say this is a muscle car. It is, but it's a very.. refined one. I have a closer understanding to see what it means when cars handle like a dream. It's perfect if you're looking for a cruiser car. Maybe just as serviceable for racing, but that's just me. You're welcome to turn it all the way, and the car won't even slide horribly.

- Also the brakes. So far, these have been the most advanced, thus impressive set of brakes I have ever ran on. I even purposely engine braked from 4th and.. with ABS on, the smoke count is quite little. Boy, on the regular brakes, this thing can sure stop, and it's because when they lock, it's at the front. Hard braking is not recommended, but soft braking gives the car a short slippery moment that can help tackle turns. And these brakes isn't something ostensibly high tech, so I guess it ranks the top if I ever made a list for car brakes in COTW for the time being.

- Let's combine both the surprisingly excellent brakes with the car's handling tendencies. Braking mid corner? Completely acceptable. But the car will understeer real bad after any sort of hard braking, so if trail braking is a thing here, it's going to be useful.

- Yeah, the obvious first impression for the car would be the acceleration. If I had to compare this to the Starion earlier which has an also impressive torque figure, this car just needs 15 PI ahead to give us about 100 more.. that's THAT much more torque. And it's launch is no mess of a tire warming show, but a proper, sophisticated launch. I felt the need to double check if we are in both C-class and the stock car, because this is respectable acceleration and stability in a RWD machine.

I'm already familiar with Playa Azul as it's one of my first tracks raced in this game, just as I finished setting up the Horizon Apex outpost. But the GNX gave me that same feeling of zen I had with the VUHL in week 2. This is the same zen that had me refuse to stop lapping.

Eventually I had to. This time with breaks in between, I'm not going for a full 44 lap medley straight up. But the best clean time I got with this car?


It is 1:25.679.

I was gunning for 1:26, but that zen kicked in, and I started landing these 1:25s. My fingers and dexterity were on a test, for a car I've chosen on the track I've chosen. And this combo.. it's absolutely just zen. Least I can fault on how I mentioned zen a few times too much.

I've looked up to this car in many ways since the early 2000s, and the general feel of the drive is definitely one of them after these laps. I was also chasing an AW11 MR2, which so happens to be one of my favorite cars in Horizon 4. Here in 5, it's yet to impress me because I haven't been driving it around often.



Here be the segment for me to overclock the time machine a bit.

Since this is one car I adore so much, I have one for A-class road. That always seems to be the case.

At first, I struggled to find its footing, but then, it became more apparent with this week's COTW entry.. it's my entry, but at least I still learned something. I have made some changes and it's one fine drive now.

You know what else is in A-class?

The Ferrari F40. This is a car I got pretty early in my Horizon 5 career, juiced up to S1 to get a taste of performance a few hours in. With that, I also got me a spare thanks to this week's Speed Trap.

And to top it off, let's find another high powered, domestic styled sedan that's a well known sleeper. Sounds like a hard quota to satisfy..

That sounds like a job for the AMG Hammer.. of which I also have 2: one for A-class road.

Well, I'm not doing a points based competitive threesome like I did with the Rambo Lambo. I'm just going to note a quick experience with 3 A-Class purist builds from 3 different manufacturers, as well as their times on Playa Azul. The only thing they got together is that they are fast, and from the late 80s.

My aim is to at least reach 1:10. Not exactly competitive A-class, but I'm not putting aero, driving modern supercars, or swapping engines. How did it go? Well..


Big Darth GNX's channels its inner Dark Side to capture a best time is 1:10.973. This one has all the usual upgrades. The transition to A-class was a bit shaky, particularly how it can feel a bit tail happy upon either gear shift, or when I press the gas mid-turn. Maybe I forgot to put rollcage? I dunno, this isn't supposed to be super serious after all. I will need to revise this for sure, but it's a start.


This F40.. being a white flash of a car icon's final project managed a best time of 1:09.759. Even without race brakes or gearbox, this car is an absolute beast from start to finish. That V12 pushed it far ahead, and it's definitely the best car around the corners. Only issue: it's not a driver's car, and it wants to kill you unless you know what you're doing. My fingers dance with the inputs, and that's how I like these kinds of cars.


Last, but definitely not least, the AMG Hammer's brings down a best time of 1:11.173. This one felt more like a muscle car than the GNX did, due to it having the most power of the three. More wheelspin, not much grip, too much understeer. It's definitely fun, but struggles to keep up.

We can't hate the GNX for not being quick enough. It had to go up like 2 and a half classes. Besides, should I ever go under 1:10 with the car it it's current state, I have a lot of flexing to do. I'm not ready for that: there's plenty of Playa to go around.

Okay, I'm done here. Time to head out.. where is my MINI?


There it is. Whoever took it is for the kind of ride you'd expect from your usual AWD sedan. It still had some grip issues to combat mid turn understeer, but it clocked a pretty okay time of 1:11.128. The car was made for those tight city tracks, though the rally tires might come in handy for when a bit of bumping and shunting happens.


And let's get out of the beach. Much as I like them, they have sand: the coarse, rough and irritating stuff. With the GNX at full force, it'll get everywhere.


What is the Buick GNX? It is..

The stand-out, high powered, dark lord coming out of an infamous American age of slow and ugly, with its tyranny however leading it out of that period, for the better.

It cruised in a Sleeper. I just came, expecting it to just be Neutral.

But not even a lap in, I was impressed. Even if it is for this game's physics, the car provides the example for a bona fide cruiser, and it's no slouch on the track too. It's also tall enough for dirt applications, and this is just me saying with the right tune, it can do anything.

To me, there is no question how fine a Sleeper this has, and how glad I am to find out personally rather than rely on hearsay. Why did I have doubts on putting this declaration on one of the most iconic classic sleepers, I can never know.

It may have altered that opinion, and I'm sure there's no way it's getting altered any further.


United States
United States
It's always an interesting time when a real-world sleeper gets put through a COTW review week. There's a set of expectations laid out for the car ahead of time that, if not met, will ruin its image entirely and keep it from really being used anywhere else.


Back in blue. Who says black is the only cool color?

The Buick GNX is no different. As I mentioned in the announcement post, the GNX was a monster in 1987 - out-dragging two of the best sports cars in the world without breaking a sweat. But...Can it keep up where it counts in the world of Forza? Let's see.

But first, the casual drive to Playa Azul from the Horizon Rush Outpost. This is just to feel out the car in a low-pressure situation (for those who are cruisers in here).


Wet, but not wild.

Not bad at all! It's no Miata, that's for sure, but it still drives nicely. Feels kinda heavy at times, but that's to be expected from a car primarily meant for straight line speed. Overall, I enjoyed the drive down to Playa Azul. Now it's time for the meat of the review.

Present and ready!

Right out of the gate, the Buick gets out of Dodge in a way that I haven't seen in a while in this thread. Strong launch, with a shift deep in the redline and it's up to 100 MPH before I even realize it. I found myself putting on Aqua's Back to the '80s on loop while running this hotlap.


Back when the coolest thing in store (woah) was the Commodore 64!

During the run, here's what I noticed:
  • The handling is...interesting. I wonder if it has a live axle or a rear differential. It has good grip, but the gear you're in and your engine speed in that gear has a huge impact on your cornering. If you're under 4,000 RPM in any gear, the car is going to start understeering. If you're above 4,000 RPM, it turns in very quickly. It's really confusing.
  • Straight line speed is a bit disappointing for a car with 300 HP. I mean, consistently hovering at 114 MPH for most of the back half of the track? The NC we reviewed could do that and it has half the power. (Author's note: Nope. 107 consistent. Your singular brain cell isn't working well, Obelisk!)
  • This car is super reliant on precise input and timing to get super fast lines...unless you're Vic. What on Earth are you doing that I'm not, dude? :lol:
  • Acceleration in general is really good. Almost feels like a B class car but with soggier suspension.
And my final time?

Huh. Must be my lucky day. By the way - @Vic Reign93 I'm within a second of you on this one. My trick with normal Manual was to shift really late because I noticed the car's butter zone is about 3900 RPM and higher. I was shifting at like 5700 RPM to get the car right into the butter zone off the bat...but I certainly am not going to catch you unless I go full manual/clutch and I don't feel inclined to train that muscle memory into me.

Anyways! It's a promising lap time. However, I did mention the NC earlier and because I have just a little too much pride in being a Miata owner, I decided to revert it to stock PI once again and see how it stacks up.

The Miata ran a 1:26.906 with room for improvement, so I guess this highlights one flaw of the GNX - While it's fast and has quite a lot of grunt behind it, it's still obsolete 1980s tech and a newer car with half the power can keep up with it on a circuit. On a straight line, the Miata would have no hope.

Anyways, that aside, let's send the mechanics out for the GNX and see just how hard we can push it in C class.

My methodology here was to slightly increase lateral G's and improve the gearbox for better overall performance.

This thing gains PI like crazy this far down. It's a little disappointing. I wonder if the race transmission gets rid of the trick torque arm the GNX uses to maintain traction?


A second's difference is improvement, but not enough in my honest opinion. I imagine this car would be a lot more competitive in B and A class racing. Something tells me this is a road car and has little room for rally builds...

So, the GNX. A sleeper in the 80s that has translated pretty well to the world of Forza, and still holds potential for a long time coming.


The GNX is still a Sleeper, though take that with a bit of caution as it has some flaws.
The GNX... Less flamboyant that it's Monte Carlo sibling (which was kind of a status symbol in Mexico), but still a BEATER with more power than it's rather floaty suspension and slow steering can handle. I posted a 1:40 something time and I just left it like that. I guess I could build a more decent B version, but I don't wanna.