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

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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 33 - Toyota GR Supra (J29), BMW Z4 (G29)


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So, it might not be destiny, but have you ever found a person so similar to yourself in many ways? I haven't. If you ask me, it's a creepy thought. I enjoy the idea of being unique.


While we have 2 cars this week, usually they would come in relation with each other. This week's probably the most recent take on this, sort of like how the Jeep Renegade is a Fiat 500L, or how the Alfa MiTO is a Fiat Punto Grande. Hmm, these sure are oddly Fiat related examples. But now we get into the recurring gag of Toyota's revival of their iconic Supra would kind of double as BMW's revival of the Z4 as a soft top.

Let's get into the nitty gritty of this awfully similar duo. So, after a good 16 years without a certain car icon, Toyota, still wiping themselves clean with money from the 86's revival, decides to go with the flow and wants to bring back said icon: the Supra. Okay, sounds like a day in the office. BUT instead of being randomly Asian and innovating a new engine that might not work out, they want to bring back tradition, referencing the old A80 Supra and have it powered by an inline 6. Rather than develop their own, they went to BMW, who have both the know how and the supply of these engines.

Toyota, having already partnered with Subaru to develop the 86/BRZ duo, would naturally strike a deal for yet another industrial collaboration with their name on it. Toyota would provide funding, while BMW would develop both these cars' 3 liter turbocharged inline 6 engines, powertrain and platform.

But that's where the similarities mostly end. While Toyota would base their machine's styling from the FT-1 concept, BMW went to bring back the soft top convertible form that we last saw with the Z8.. which is odd. I like the Z8, and it definitely is not some niche sports roadster thing. Where the heck is it?

And even though the similarities are only inside and with the tires, it's not the case once again here in Forza. You can see it in their PI. While they're.. sort of middling A-class cars, they're quite apart. That's because for some reason, the Supra's inline 6 is detuned to a measly 335 hp while the Z4 gets the full 382 hp package. Unusually, against my findings would be the weight, where the Z4 is supposedly heavier, and pricier, where in Mexico it's not the case.

Let's go touch some numbers: the Supra sits in low A-class at 731 PI, which is 20 PI behind the Z4. We've already mentioned the setbacks, but really: the price is just off. You can get another GR Supra for 55,000 credits, with the Z4 being 20,000 credits behind.. a complete anomaly since many comparisons I find online have the Supra's value at an advantage. Maybe Mexico taxes Toyotas pretty heavily.

When it comes to the economy, anyone who's played the game would have a modified GR Supra in their garage tuned for top of A, but not really for the new Z4. Of course I have mentioned pricing above, but the Auction House can differ if you want a better deal. For the Supra, it's 49,000 credits most commonly, but can go down as low as 20,000. And the Z4 can be commonly found and best valued at 20,000 credits. In my case, I do need another GR Supra, but know that the Auction House is the place for another either of these.


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Maybe as some form to spite the wildly unrepresented upper class, these domestic heroes would duel it out in Emerald Circuit.


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Someone's looking to head to the beach for some sand? Let's make you look slow first of all, and I'll make you think twice on what kind of car you want to play on the sand with.


"A challenging, technical circuit passing the Palacio Azul del Oceano hotel. No time to admire the scenery though, as a series of chicanes will test your driving skills."

Now I think about it, this track is just chicanes on a varying degree.

Even through it's nicely designed for just about any sort of road going machine, the issue with Emerald Circuit comes in the form of a couple things: the tiny rocks by the hotel can eff off and die, for starters. Then we have the really strangely designed road, that sometimes I feel driving through a bus stop rather than a chicane. In Horizon, I guess I better learn track design isn't the kind of thing they put a lot of time on.

But what we do get if we ignore all this is the kind of track that is helpful to see if your cars can turn and settle well in lower and higher speeds. It has just about every type of turn for any type of speed, except really darn slow.

I'm not flipping coins, so I'll just let the Supra in general go first.


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Even though it had a divisive opinion till the newer manual version came out a couple years ago, there's no way I can see the GR Supra as a complete failure. It did never click on me, so now's the time to see if it can.



- Inside's the first thing as per always. The Toyota comes with a left hand drive for Horizon, which is off putting since I drive these Toyotas usually by the right in that other game. That is a large screen to not be using, and I feel you're going to need more surface area to the tight speedometer if I'm going to give it more points. We're calculating points, right?

- Now, launch. It's solid enough for you to just put it down 100 percent. The car's got power, but not enough for it to be trouble when coming from a standstill. The shift point I like to hit is just before 7000 RPM, which is indicated quite nicely if you drive cockpit like I do.

- We might not be laps in, but the GR Supra's handling is pretty nice. Not slippy for a RWD car, and when you take a turn, it will stick nicely with a mild bit of oversteer. And when I mean mild, I mean molecular levels of mild. This is a far cry from the Lexus all the way back in week 3.

- This might be the 8 speed auto, but I'm glad a pedal shifter is handy for optimal racing shifts, and this is one Toyota that decides to have it. While this means there won't be much issues in shifting traction.. if that's the correct word for it, the gears on the whole feel a bit too long and cumbersome. Yes, even with all those gears. Imagine if it stuck with the usual 6 gears.. That could be bad.

- Traction overall is fine, except for one part: exit from tight corner, which will bring out the carelessness of drivers on certain portions of this week's track. This isn't a powerful car, so it's not going to spin you out.

- Brakes has always been a point to note out ever since the 1st week, and this car's brakes are good. Not super duper. But good enough. Even if you find yourself braking a bit late it won't lock hard to the rear that it'll end you. It does mean hard braking to a tight corner can put that rear out a bit: something to take advantage of.

- Now we see how the track goes. I like Emerald Circuit. The first portion after that.. uphill chicane to a downhill sweeper has me usually not braking with the Supra. This isn't the case usually with most cars. The Supra can sure turn. I'll observe these with the BMW later.

- Another point of interest is by the hotel, where we get another set of chicanes where the optimal car shouldn't brake after those tiny rocks of slowing you down. The Supra also passes this test.

- Barry R has been doing some work on the outside, so the cutting has to be done on the inside. And this is a track where the best line has to involve these insides. Could an off-roader do better?

- Final note on this Supra? It's a starter car, with just about everything about it being quite generous. Go ham with it. It wants you to so you too can feel the potential coming out of it. This car is a canvas for so many things, and even the game handing you one to begin with is a sign for this.


Usually I have a general opinion here. I'll put this aside until we get to the Z4 analysis.


GR Supra.jpg



I do have a best for the Supra: 54.914. Not your usual pic? Yeah, for some reason I do have an A class time in this track.

Me trying to get under 55 seconds felt like a cruel joke. Guess I do have the last laugh, even if it is to myself, huh? Time to take a few extra steps and go German.


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And now it's time for the Z4. With a significant PI lead, I'm expecting better things than that of the Supra. And even though I like the older Z family BMWs, especially one Z8, I don't really have much feels for the Z4 family.



- Another open top car means another time I get to admire the inside of this week's nominee. I already give props to this car when it comes to this if I compare it to the Supra. There are a lot of things in similar places. Do they share the side mirrors too? The Z4's inside I feel is the kind of thing you'd expect in a BMW's interior: just an overall feeling of a much more smoother nature. Here's some post script: smooth will be a word I will be using quite a lot in negative ways for the drive later.

- Launch wise.. okay, the memes can be right, sometimes. It's super similar to the Supra, except that you will get rev bouncing. I don't see any other way to get it off the line quicker than just putting it all the way down. My shift point's, since it's the same engine, also just under 7000 RPM.

- To put it simply: the Z4 is like the Supra.. but give it a squirt of extra power. As a result, it isn't a forgiving car to drive. It's an unwieldy roadster with quite a bit of issue getting the car to stick sometimes. Analysis underneath will follow, but I'm giving you the general tone, as mentioned earlier.

- You heard of the phrase 'monkey see, monkey do'? It doesn't seem to apply for the Z4. Long sweeps will give the car quite a chunk of understeer, and I don't mean molecular levels of that. This does mean that the Supra, which can take the pre-hotel section without braking, can turn better than the Z4, which does need a small tap of them to even make it out alive.

- What is up with the handling? I mean, the Supra grips so nicely, while the Z4 maybe follows the dummies guide on how to corner without issue. The grip's just.. like a disappearing contradiction from a gruesome Phoenix Wright trial. Barry R's been handing out penalties left and right, something Phoenix Wright better not be piling up..

- There's gotta be some kind of good out of this car, right? There is. The gearing actually feels suitable. It's got that extra power, and I actually feel satisfied with the acceleration. It also has the same automatic gearbox, so the shifting's positives carries over.

- For a car who likes to shake that booty, it actually has much more manageable traction on corner exit. Something I feel and kind of notice is that the traction through acceleration isn't that bad an issue on the Z4 than that of the Supra.

- The brakes are actually similar to the Supra. They lock up the rear, but in the Z4, it locks up pretty nasty if you don't put in any power. I think we're starting to see something here..

- The Z4 might be the one with higher PI, but you gotta pay the fine for it. And that fine comes in the form of having less grip, more understeer, but also with a hint of power that stands out better than the Supra. The decision is yours, after all. I'm not forcing you to drive any car that's nominated.. maybe except that Corrado.


If the Supra was nice, I expected the Z4 to be just as. But nope. The only thing about it that makes it seem better is that it has more power, and thus get a better time. What's that look like, you wonder?


Z4.jpg



The Z4 bolts through the circuit to earn a best of 53.837. That's odd, why's it 752? I double checked that this is a stock Z4.

And with this picture made, I actually beat my old time which was a bare 53.9. I need to high five someone. Where's that Racer XomePlayaDude?

Being a second ahead of your own clone is quite a feat, but I definitely agree that the Supra is the better car for the everyday driver... and I can vouch for that, 110 percent!

And what better way to say that last sentence with me giving the GR Supra the 10th Mark of Zen, and golly, it's such a simple, friendly and joyful to drive sort of machine, breaking the rules of a track touted to be complex. I had to stop myself from lapping with it, since I never can escape that trance of me shaving off a lot more time than the barely under 55 seconds it got.


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After weeks without, how about a Showcase?

This week's theme is... well, to follow the Z4 and the GR Supra's essence, it's just gonna be new cars on the top of A-class. So I will be limiting it to cars within a 5 year gap. If nobody's going to check, it's those born in 2017 or later.

Due to the amount of cars in it, how about.. another restriction, being: also parented by A-class? Now with these set in stone, I'll call this week's Showcase: The A-listers. And for the non-COTW additions: I'll just pick a car from a class I see.

New? No worries! Showcases usually involve me taking the track, be it the regular track or a provided EventLab, on the top of a given class.. usually without any form of conversion. And since PI is equal, I usually table these by the end. To add: the COTW nominee gets to be tiered, and I usually have this result weigh in where they stand.

This week, prepare to see some cars with.. a deep sense of questioning why they're in this class. Let's begin with I think the biggest one.


Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

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I'll just assume everywhere's a drag strip, and I'm sure it'll be fine.


You know, I had a look at the EventLab and arrived at the locale witH this car, and said NOPE, back to Emerald Circuit.

So, the SRT Demon: the dragster you can buy. It's suitable considering how else is someone going to buy a Challenger anyways? It's big hulking mass with a need for power other than 2 rear wheels. And with all this power, I wonder how it will do for a base time?


Demon.jpg



Surely a member of hell's army would be potent, but it somehow powered through these chicanes with a time of 53.731.

This is just a millisecond ahead of the stock Z4. To say this is a terrible time is just putting it mildly.. molecular mildly? Nah. But it shows all the power isn't going to work at a track like this. And the car overall feels.. weird. Not the best start to a Showcase, amirite?


Honda Civic Type R FK8

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Any fans out there ready to see what happens when we get a piece of VTEC on top of A?

Super Hot Hatches are possibly a class I have zero interest in until we got the likes of other Hot Hatches in COTW, that being the Corrado that's been a dominant Sleeper in more than one way, and the car that started it all in week 15 with the Escort RS Turbo. But with the new car restriction going on, the FWD represent this week will come in this Civic.


FK8 Civic.jpg



Years of the Type R badge has been backed up as this Civic stamps in a NEW best of 51.766.

Like any proper tuned hatch, it's a nice drive hampered by a little understeer. But the car is peppy, and has great traction and control. Maybe solid top end too, but I didn't choose.. the EventLab..


Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

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No doubt this week's executive choice of performance.


Next in my list is the GT 4 door coupe. And to be honest I don't quite see what's up with the naming. It's not a coupe. But what it is is a V8 powered monster with AWD and 2 turbos mated to 9 gears. All these numbers make me water in my mouth, so let's go before I realize SpongeBob has a million dollar hat I just sold him to.


AMG GT 4Door.jpg



A ride this exclusive should provide the kind of smooth time like this best of 53.278.

So, what went wrong? It's obviously the size. It's big, and carries a good chunk of understeer all around. But it's not difficult, and the drive isn't bad. Emerald Circuit slowly leans towards the light and quick rather than the big but powerful, it seems so far.



Aston Martin DB11

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For Queen and country.

Yet another swanky ride. But this time, it's a proper British made GT car from Aston Martin. The DB11 has been quite a car when it comes to how exposed I am to it. Let's not dilly dally and see what its wings truly are meant to carry.


DB11.jpg



The DB11 is a patriot through and through, proudly giving its best of 52.193.

A chunk more power and a chunk more weight, the DB11 is a bit slippery, but it's multitude of gears gave it the traction and all around goodness of a GT car. I really enjoyed this car's drive, actually.


Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk


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So what happens if I combine the SRT Demon and the GT 4-Door Coupe? Probably something nasty like this.

So, it might not be the Demon, but I guess another SRT will have to step in this new A-class battle. I was going to get the Urus, but here's something a little.. more suitable, I guess. The Trackhawk stands as the top trim of Jeep's Grand Cherokee. Taking its powerplant from a Hellcat, how does this not usual family carrier carry along Emerald Circuit?


Trackhawk.jpg



The Trackhawk is a hunter, preying away with a time of 52.740.

Sure it might be heavy and cumbersome on the turns, but it's perfect everywhere else. The traction is there. The acceleration is fantastic. And maybe it might give a solid top end. Who knows? But this SUV isn't half bad.



The Nominees are up next, and thus it's time to set up the tiers. How else would I add or remove favor to the overall verdict?

GOD - Beat the Civic, which is 51.7 seconds. Nuff said.

HIGH - To satisfy this, the Supra/Z4 would need to get... something in the region of high 51, to low 52 at the least. So be at the pace of the DB11, which is about 52.4 seconds.

MID - Just be at the range of 52.4 to 53 seconds. Shouldn't be hard, right?

LOW - Can't even go under 53 seconds? I guess I'll have to book ya for getting better at being a beater.


COTW Nominees #33 - Toyota GR Supra J29, BMW Z4 G29

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Both in one entry? That's a first.


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I've already established the Supra to go first, anyways.


So, even though we have sort of the same car, it's body makes them both different. As seen with the Supra getting my Mark of Zen, and the Z4 maybe getting something worse if I have to make it. But this is the time they can shine. I've made adjustments to these cars, and the Supra retains its beautiful handling while getting it the power it needs. The BMW just gets a whole overhaul. How would you like to know that this Z4 was one of my A-class racers too?


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Let's see how the handling holds up to more power. I expect good things from this little Toyota mashup thing.


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I'm not joking when I say I overhauled it. After initial tests, it took me a good 10 minutes around Horizon Circuit to readjust everything, but I'm confident we got something to ride with.


And we have times. Up first: Supra.


GR Supra.jpg



The Toyota brings back the golden days, reflected with a best of 52.032.

An excellent performance lands it in the High tier. The car's issue with the brakes are gone. There's a sense of speed, and the only issue that remains is the traction, which got worse, but nothing a few adjustments can't dampen.

Now to the Z4, and would you believe it?


Z4.jpg



The Z4 failed to impress in stock form, but came to me saying it landed a NEW best of 51.601, which gives this Z4 the top honors in the form of God tier.

It might be my tune that fixed it, but it convinced me that if it was born a loser in Horizon, it doesn't mean I can't make you a winner. And win it did. A completely unexpected turn of events.

How it won was simply because of the acceleration. It had it in there. All I did was fix the terrible fishtailing, and I can definitely do that with a bit of suspension adjustments. Another all rounder that proves it's more than just an average joe.

Here's our table..


33 Table.jpg



Now let me go get the verdict down.


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I was expecting the Civic to take it, but the upgraded Z4 really pulled itself together from its stock form. Here's a reward for you: a quick run of this week's EventLab


So.. there's two of them, so like how it's been, first up the J29, then the G29.

What is the Toyota GR Supra? It is..

The revival of a Japanese legend, born with a German heart but carries a Japanese soul

Easy to see its a no nonsense Sleeper. This is a fine car just doomed to being the starter people drop. Or worse: straight up put the kit on and ignore it. It's the best example of a canvas one can use for just about anything Horizon. I wonder if anyone's gone and made a rally car out of it. That I want to see.




What is the BMW Z4? It is..

The machine we appreciate mostly as the transplant donor for a Japanese legend's comeback.

Getting it to God tier in the Showcase saved it from being a Beater.

Yes. That's right. I had hopes this car would be just as good as the Supra. It wasn't. It let me down hard. But that's before I took it to the Showcase, and became the best car there. It was a bad car, but it can be saved. And somewhere inside is the kind of car you can bring and race in Horizon Open, no doubt.

But I can't call it a Sleeper. Neutral sounds like the place it belongs. But you're a pretty fine Neutral. This is the first time I saved something from being called Beater, but you're free to say it is at stock form.


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So, the choice between Supra and Z4 seemed obvious at first, then came my Showcase and that idea has been ruined. Well, I'm not saying I like them both, but it's not stopping anyone from having that opinion.
 

Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
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While I could go down the path of mixing these two up, there’s only so many times you can make that joke before it loses its freshness.

On that subject, the Supra’s new design direction certainly split fans of it, from the BMW like kidney grills and the fact it’s a open top is a massive departure from the previous gen Supra.

What isn’t debated is the 385hp from its turbocharged 3.0 I6 which is sent to the rear via an 8 speed gearbox.

Handling is…

The Penny Drops

Ah son of a 🤬.

I can see now why people get these two mixed up. :dunce::lol:

So… the Z4 is the open top and the Supra is the hardtop?

Yes

Right.

To get serious for a moment, both do have similarities which given it was another collaboration with yet another manufacturer is no surprise and yet there’s notable differences in performance.

The Supra was slower, but more stable and composed through the turns and the Z4 was faster, but was more skittish at the limit compared to the Supra.

Both do have custom visual upgrades, but unsurprisingly it’s the Supra with more on offer with a Widebody kit option.

Both can be had for dirt cheap, I payed less than 20k to get BOTH of them at auction so value for money with these two is certainly impressive. :cool:

As for which ones the better of the two?

Well what do you want out of them is the question you should ask yourself, do you want the Supra with the Widebody option or do you want the more powerful Supra with the roof chopped off? :P

But here’s something that I can answer, They were pleasant to drive and are nicely balanced Sleepers. 👍

Verdicts: Sleepers 😉👍
 

Obelisk

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So, my controller is giving up the ghost. I'm not sure if I'll be able to play FH5 effectively enough to give the cars an honest review, but that doesn't mean I can't keep the thread rolling. Figured I'd let you all know that I can't do a lot of a review work.
 
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This is my take in short:
- The BMW Z4 is the prettier of the pair, and probably the last good looking BMW for a while. It's clearly meant for cruising and not bruising; since is an open top, the chassis is less stiff, the suspension is not that hard, and the tires lack grip at the limit. Hence, it's rather difficult to get a fast lap around the Emerald circuit, because in the fast turns you will get body roll at the limit, the tires will lose adhesion, and the steering is not responsive enough to rectify. My best times were around 48 sec.

-Oddly, the Supra has more in common with the prior Z4 (by Chris Bangle) with its rather "distinctive" proportion and looks. Still, not really my taste. You can notice the difference with the BMW almost instantly: more grip, more stiff suspension, and probably a lower ride height, which translates to a full second less in the track, in the low 47 sec. range, and overall a more satisfying driving experience.

IMO, the one that can clearly benefit from more downforce/grip/power is the Supra, I would leave the BMW for sunset drives up and down the Baja coast.

BMW Z4: Neutral, not great, not terrible.
Toyota Supra: Sleeper with potential in the high A numbers (750-800).
 

Vic Reign93

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So as you can probably tell by the title update, the car for this week is..

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The 2018 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4!! :cheers:

Due to IRL commitments, @Obelisk gave me the green light on announcing this weeks car, he’ll be back to tidy up any extra details if needed. 👍

The track for this week had to be fitting for the name, so the track in question is the EK’ Balam Cross Country Circuit which is a 1.6 mile scramble around the EK’ Balam temples.

Over 210hp, 4wd and a fast shifting 8 speed gearbox, should be a blast around here. 😉👍
 
64
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Is that a Supra? No it's a BMW! (..sorry)

Double feature this week. A collaborative effort to develop a platform used by two cars from two brands. Something that's becoming more commonplace of late, and honestly I think it's a good thing. Even if we have to suffer through all these terrible jokes about pretend confusion. If a shared platform cuts development costs while making a better car and giving more options in terms of styling and trims, that's a win-win in my book.

Visually there's no confusing the two, nothing would lead you to believe they share parts, showing any concer that the two would end up looking similar were unfounded. Now let's see if they are as distinctive on the track.

Screenshot (181).png


First up the Supra. The best word to sum up this car is "balanced". Just the right amount of power, not enough to wheelspin on launch, but not too little to feel sluggish. It's incredibly composed, front end doesn't turn in to aggressively but nor does it oversteer (unless you really push it). Grips well through the corners, with few surprises. It also handles bumps well, which helps on this circuit where the best line is often partly off-track. Getting to grips with its limits takes no time at all. Great car in stock form, but also makes a perfect base for tuning.

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It's a Sleeper, great car to get into a flow while hotlapping. No doubt even better tuned.

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The Z4 distinguished itself on the road just as much as it does aesthetically. First off it has 50bhp more, so quite a decent chunk of power. Through the corners it's not as composed, this is a car you have to hustle around. Oversteer creeps in easily when you're on the edge, and through most corners the fastest way round is to be just about on the wrong side of that edge, which doesn't fill you with much confidence to push. Also doesn't handle bumps very well, take the wrong line on the fast double apex corners before the hotel and the bumps will send you straight into the barriers. That said it's more than a second quicker than its Japanese counterpart on a 50 second lap, so it's clearly not slow, but it'll keep you busier at the wheel.

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Despite its faults it's still a Sleeper. I wouldn't say it's especially hard to drive, more that the Supra is so easy, and in the end the performance speaks for itself.
 
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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 34 - MINI John Cooper Works Countryman All4


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Another week, another car to find on my driveway and give it the SPD breakdown. These days, I haven't been entirely keen on these, but for this week only, I might as well give it some effort before the busy times in July might occupy me.


Hey, it's the weekly MINI! Why's it here already. I don't remember being track test time already?

What?! No!!

How dare you! HOW DARE YOU!!

This is supposed to be MY nominee. 24 weeks in, and I've been building it to be the next big thing. I mean, it is big, but it also has a name like MINI, meaning.. small.. Hmm, I already lost my way on where this is going. See how rage can blind oneself?

Time for a bit of history on a small car's company take on the big leagues.

So, MINI: iconic car makers of the 60s that made a huge boom in the compact car market thanks to the Austin Mini. And even though they died out as we enter the 21st Century, that era of mourning didn't quite last long with BMW reviving the brand. We got another week with another car associated with these Bavarian engineers that's not named as a BMW.

What follows the success of the basic but sporty MINI Cooper hatchback models was pretty much using the MINI brand to create new cars. One of them so happens to be what looks like an overinflated model of the usual batch. Called the Countryman, this MINI is what would be known as the 'car that enthusiasts of the original MINI love to hate'. But the thing is.. it works, and not just as an SUV, but also an oversized hot hatch. Released in 2011, during the age where the hype was into crossovers, and everyone was making 'em, the first generation Countryman sold... okay, not exactly as substantial as the other smaller MINIs.

Of course with size, the car's more expensive than your smaller MINI One hatchbacks and Clubman estates. But it allowed one to bring their family and friends around. And the Countryman's 2nd generation: the one we got in Horizon 4 onwards, would be a smash hit, due to various improvements.

So to improve on what's improved, MINI had their JCW badging on this one we got, so we essentially got the best trim for a sports crossover to play with this week. But it's not just any crossover. Some would say this Countryman would also be known as the quintessential MINI, which definitely is against their original code. I mean, this is the car that got MINI into racing on the desert sand, and personally it's the only way I got into MINI on the whole. Plus: like the Ford Cortina, the X-Raid All4 Countryman is one of my favorite cars in Forza, period, and I'd be sad if it was axed.

I'm sure you've noticed every week we get one quick glimpse of the car just as I announce the track. I harbor no ill will because I was beat to the punch for not having to nominate the JCW Countryman sooner. Aside from the track preview that's its main job before the big nomination, I've been teasing, getting this car hinted week after week, though not as obvious, and I know someone out there is snickering away about it. And the more I think about it, the more I feel lik-HOW DARE YOU!!

At 537 PI, the JCW Countryman is planted nice and firm into the middle range of C Class. To someone like me, this is the kind of range that, beh sure, make me take out the Singlish for just this ONE~ run and then you hear I say car with oomph macam ini gonna mean anything lor. I can see it's a middling C-class car, alright. The class I love to get my greasy palms on, thus I know what I WAS planning.

And it's also one of the lower end of its class of Sports Utility Heroes. It's funny, how 2 of my favorites in this class are already nominated, that other being the 666 PI Durango. The only rival the JCW Countryman can go up against is the new gen gigantic Defender that's just 3 PI short. It made me think when are we going to get the Ineos Grenadier form in any game.

Speaking of Sports Utility Heroes, the MINI would end up being the complete cruiserweight of the entire class. It's the Rey Mysterio of a whole roster of.. other top Attitude Era stars. Anyways, this is noted due to it carrying a teeny weeny 228 HP from BMW's range of teeny weeny inline 4 engines for their own crossovers and MINIs. When I mean teeny weeny, I mean compared to the other Sports Utility Heroes having at least 350. But in return, the weight is also teeny weeny, with a 1.6 ton load, which the others in its class would go past the 2 ton mark. All mated to an 8 speed automatic.

A former Hard-to-find in its debut game of Horizon 4, the JCW Countryman became oddly more common in Mexico, as it can be bought from the Autoshow for just 35,000 credits. Auctioneers would find said MINI on the Auction House for 13,000 as both common and cheapest. Coming from me, I guess you won't be surprised I have 4 including that of the track preview ride taking one slot. The other 3 are stock, and one's going for a ride. The untouched pair probably I can relate. Because they're sitting there.. festering the words HOW DARE YOU in their figurative mind or something.


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To keep with the fashion of ruining my future COTW nominee plans, we head to the ruins of Ek' Balam to bring out the Countryman's latent mudplugging talents through Ek' Balam Cross Country Circuit.


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Have you ever been blinded by this playful but present form of anger so much that you've crashed into yet another of Mexico's monument themed cross country circuit with a road tuned MINI while having an off-road MINI for it? Of course not, that's a very specifically SPD thing to do.


"A compact Cross Country Circuit set among the ruins of Ek' Balam, crossing over the boardwalks and splashing through passages beneath the ancient acropolis."

So, there are most definitely 2 types of cross country circuits. One caters to the wide open spaces and the freedom. The other is full of creation of using the foliage and surroundings, and this fits the latter quite well, while also not being terribly tight at all. It's an all around goody on my end.

This is easily one of my favorite Cross Country circuits arounds, alongside the airstrip we did with Brocky. So that's something to say. It can get tight, and of course I hate the dark portion we get with the final turn, but other than that, I've no complaints.


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Not so fast, Eager McBeaver. I've intended the Countryman for a road track, and thus will do an asphalt analysis first. Maybe just a quick drive from the Horizon Baja Outpost to Ek' Balam can do. In fact, I even wanted to make a nice sprint styled EventLab for the Throwback, and I should've, but HOW DARE YOU.


- Inside the Countryman to me is more of a common but familiar feeling. It's not that I've ever been to one in real life, but having been in this thing every week for 24 weeks does mean I sort of know how it's like in it. Lots of round parts, though. I know as a design choice from the original MINI ONE, but I can't say it's good design, let alone to keep it going for nearly 20 years. And what's that? Flappy pedals? These days, a lot of crossovers has these, actually.

- Launch is.. well, I don't have to say it. AWD in a lower class means you're free to push it all the way as usual. The shift I place just after 7000 RPM, but maybe earlier since these gears feel a bit long.

- So, on my way to Ek' Balam, it rained. This is the perfect chance to get to know how well it grips. To win awards for a very very common car on the roads must mean something, right? And while it might slip away a bit, the Countryman impresses by keeping that grip after that slide.

- While I know this car isn't going to compete with my top Sleeper the Corrado, I notice it's low to mid range acceleration is pretty solid. When it reaches about 120 MPH, you're going to notice you're not even on 7th, but just barely into 5th. The gears, yeah they're not made to race with.

- On my way, I've ran through the Polytunnels Drift Zone, and decided the MINI should take it. And it sure can take. It's got no power, so I couldn't even get past 100,000 points, but maybe a top of C-class Countryman can get the 3 star rating. Maybe a drift MINI is worth a shot.

- Rear locking brakes seem to be the thing for nominees, and I've known this MINI has it for.. umm, insert them 24 weeks again. But on a stock JCW Countryman, they're not only good brakes, but they don't even lock so bad. These are good brakes.

- When it comes to turning, the MINI's turn radius is tight. In fact, it's so tight, you'll lose speed going as hard as you can. Where oh where have I seen this?? Hmm.. a certain NC comes to mind.

- Upon arrival, let's put up with the car's general traits on road. Grippy, can handle bad weather. Good off-road, but that's a given. Great brakes. Opens up to speed nicely, but suffers after 120 MPH. It's a MINI, and to see it's claim as the quintessential MINI hold up for me gave me that kind of smile. Maybe the right kind of road would give it Mark of Zen, but it's time to go mess about some old ruins, maybe help me forget the feeling of HOW DARE YOU.


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Time to get a chance to go fast or go ruin Ek' Balam's structures, and may I say it's been weeks of me waiting, but nominating the MINI Countryman has been a dream come true! Wait, you meant to say it's not me who did it? No, you shouldn't have reminded me!! HOW DARE YOU!!


- Supposedly launch in any car is worse on the grass. We take that into consideration, and the MINI does this okay, actually. AWD rules once again, but on the lightweight crossover that I've been quite impressed on when we get to the tarmac earlier.

- With it's impresive performance in the wet, I have expectations for handling in general. It shows here, where it will stick even on the grass. There's a catch: no oversteer, which is the feeling I'm trying to look for when not on the road. It'll make turns a bit difficult to navigate through, but if you make use of the car's stability, you are allowed to do things like release the throttle, or gear down to alleviate this. And when you can find that sweet spot, it's just a sublime off-roading crossover experience.

- To the bumps. Now, this isn't Baja Cross Country Circuit, but there are bumpy segments, and a small jump. The Countryman's springs in general feel just a teeny weeny too hard for cross country, but I know it will do magic in rally.

- In general, the Countryman holds up.. much better than average when it comes to general off-road performance. No, I don't see the off-road stat when it comes to choosing what car to use off-road. Sometimes it's a bit obvious, others not as such. It's a feel kind of situation.

- So, even though it understeers on the grass, turning to hard won't be the solution you'll be looking out for, because you'll lose speed with a super tight angle: something we noticed in the road analysis. Don't turn too hard. You have a lot of trail to go through around this track, and making use of it is key.

- When it comes to the jumps, the car's stiff in general setup means we're going to lose some speed. If you so happen to be travelling above 75 MPH, you're going to bog down to that level after a jump, especially with the water puddle ahead of one. Speaking of the water, the Countryman can flow through like.. an oversized dolphin I guess?

- How about some track notes? Now, sometimes I find myself driving this MINI off the course to get a better line, noticeably by the first turn and the large portion before we race through the structure. Of course the key is not going to tightly, and have your inputs smooth out.

- One thing I found out about this place is how free form you should be rather than follow the racing line. It's useful, but finding out about new ways to take the track piques my interest. Take for instance the last turn. Initial attempts have me take it like any usual turn: out in out. But then I go real out, turn in and accelerate early, and let the car's power handle the rest.. and the results? Varies, but I just love to discover.

- More on this: in some portions where I should brake, I instead make use of the MINI losing speed by taking a turn tightly to lose speed instead. Combining this with downshifting, and I take turns while still with the momentum to go ahead. And with a car this safe, it's obvious that this is a car that wants you to push it.

- What's my final opinion? I'm surprised, actually. I've taken this car to the limit every week ever since I've nominated the GNX. And now, going off-road, I found limits I never knew I could reach. That's what the Countryman is for: find the limits, and thus will help you open your limits. This car's an easy first step to good cross country paces, and why stop there. Sounds like a car that'll work anywhere with me praising the double analysis.


How dare you.. how dare you make me enjoy this! Half an hour has passed, and I forgot what life is like on the outside, because I have found new life in this oversized MINI. And Ek' Balam is just a complete cheat, because it's such a fine circuit, ripe full of learning opportunities and ways to tackle it when it comes to doing hot laps.

Racing is another beast, but it's not going to matter, for I have found a combo that'll satisfy for me Mark of Zen number 11.

It might be a car strongly associated with me in terms of COTW, but the Countryman's lap actually comes in as a reflection of an experience rather than my familiarity with the car. I hardly take this thing off-roading, mainly because there's a rally raid variant of the car already. But we put that aside, and how hard have I pushed?


JCW Countryman.jpg



Pushing this sized up small boy handed to me a best of 1:17.777.

I was gunning to just get a time under 1:20, but how far under 1:20? Every second I passed, I had a want to go under one extra step. The step from 18 to 17 was a good half hour, and I'm pleasantly satisfied with the effort and the outcome. Though, I'm sure you all can beat that, but with or without issue.. that's you to judge, not me.


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Predictably, a car in middling C-class must mean a Throwback's coming your way!

I've already got this planned quite nicely when it comes to how this will look, but now the HOW DARE YOU moment would have to come to the fact that we're given a cross country circuit to play with rather than the usual asphalt. For the MINI, sure that's a given thanks to its newly awarded Mark of Zen, but I would want to figure out how to squeeze some of these guys in. This is Cross Country, and the exact suitable choices only include Rambo Lambo.

Maybe a future Throwback can handle this.. hint: my definition of a middling range C class is in the range of 533 to 567 PI. But let's go mess about Ek' Balam once again. Of course the Countryman's 1:17 time will be the basis.

To those who aren't in the know, a Throwback is the high school reunion of nominated COTW cars that serve the same purpose and general performance of this week's nominee. Obviously, this isn't to be seen competitively, and unlike Showcases, there's no full class upgrades or tables to compare. It's the stock car, and that's that. It explains why I care about having a second car at least.

Who's number 1? It's the pugilist dirt champion!
But he didn't come alone..


ALPINE A110 1600S
Nominee #11, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #3

and..

MITSUBISHI STARION ESI-R
Nominee #4, Sleeper



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Introducing the champion! A lightweight French sports classic that has a history of pounding down anything it its era of rally racing.


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And the challenger: Mitsubishi's own rally monster before the Lancer took over, and a car with sizeable levels of torque for its power band.



With the Alpine ahead 3-0, a Throwback of this range would mean the Starion gets another chance to dent this perfect record, or make it worse altogether. The NC is absent today, but the trifecta of these 3 cars would follow suit if this week's track was on the road.

This would be the first they duke it out on a Cross Country venue. What'll it be? The Alpine's handling, or the Starion's torque that will propell it ahead?


Alpine.jpg



Ahead by 3, the Alpine fights through to a best of 1:20.273...


Starion.jpg



...while the Starion pushes hard to try beat that best with it's own NEW best of 1:20.038.

Sounds like even though its quite a league ahead when it comes to the MINI's PI, the Alpine's issue is in terms of how unsuitable it is on the track. It slips the rear on the grass, can't take the bumps as well and any wrong input would mean death by oversteer. Compared to the MINI, being an older, rear happy car is what brings it down.

The Starion is a similar beast, only with a much lesser issue in being a not as old car, and having less oversteer issues. It does come with a loss of control when downshifting, but I put that act at a minimum, and that leads it to be the better car between it and the Alpine. Strangely, both these superstars find themselves miles behind the MINI, something I hope to not see in the Throwbacks to come.

Now the score's at 3-1. Any more middling C-class cars, and this contest will carry on. I wonder how the final score will look?


VOLKSWAGEN CORRADO VR6
Nominee #17, Sleeper, Mark of Zen #5



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Top Sleeper. Throwback David. The Little Veyron. Having a whole lot of names in my head represents the levels of how much of a monster this thing is however its size.


While the Corrado has proven itself time after time we have Throwbacks with it, let's take it out on unfamiliar land. Let's not dilly dally and see what kind of best run would it have.


Corrado.jpg



A titan of a middling C-class machine, the Corrado's first try on cross country sounds like a NEW best of 1:19.199. And it's about time the Corrado makes a NEW best, considering how impressive it is in any kind of Throwback it's in.

And impress it has been. It's a drive very very similar to that of the MINI. Only difference is that it's FWD, and it's not exactly as smooth too. It was the worst car when it comes to the water jump, but it was just a joy to drive. Still, it just lags behind the MINI's 1:17 because of how incompatible it is to cross country.

I'm so angry, not just because the MINI isn't my nominee, but moreso with these C-class heroes not even being able to touch that 1:17 time.

One car has a mission, and that mission is to reach that 1:17. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you..

A buildup for the vehicle that we put at the bottom, you all know who it is.. it's..



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RAMBO LAMBO!!


LAMBORGHINI LM 002
Nominee #7, Beater



All right, Rambo Lambo. There are POW cars, and their rescue depends on how close this LM 002 reaches to a low 1:17.

To finish this off, we have Rambo Lambo. Obviously the most suitable vehicle for the job, this hulking mass of luxury I have expectations to maybe not just beat the cars above. I must diminish the MINI's time, and Rambo's our only hope at this. We're really running dry for off-roading middling C-class cars, I know. There's probably not a whole lot of them after all. I see muscles, tuners, and a few oddballs. Enough talk, let's see if Rambo can survive these jungles closer to home.


LM 002.jpg



Instead of supplying a pile of body bags, Rambo Lambo fights through the darkness of war with a NEW best of 1:15.771, clearing the Countryman's challenge with 2 seconds to spare.

Yup, that's a mission complete alright. Well done, Rambo Lambo.

How it managed to be ahead of the pack is due to how much more suitable it is for this venue. Weight's high. Power's great. Obstacles are non-existant. Suspension is smooth. And it got some grip due to specially made tires. No contest at all.

You might be thinking.. such a diminished bunch this time around? Well, me saying how dare you comes to play once again, I'm afraid.

With this done, it's now time to welcome the MINI Countryman to the ranks of our packed middling C-class officially. I can make up a celebratory scene, but you're free to imagine how it'll look. I'd probably have a sledgehammer held behind me.


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I guess runs around the Festival can calm me. It's worked plenty of times. Exhibit A: have you ever seen an A-class Ford Cortina without conversions? You think I'm joking?? HOW DARE YOU!!


Oh no, this is a car I've been associated with very strongly in the game. And considering how it somehow didn't get the Throwback I envisioned, I'm going to give it another thing to do.

Like I said many times, I've planned for the JCW Countryman to get on COTW, and so it's time to take this weekly cruiserweight crossover to the Test!

The Test is very different to a Throwback or Showcase. The gist of it is that I'll be upgrading this week's nominee up to the top of A-class, build it for road with no gimmicks or specific reason, and bring it to the Horizon Festival Circuit. And the time to always reach is in the 1:07 area. Not exactly competitive, but it's the casual high point. And in most cases, I don't weigh in this to the verdict. But I will point out any interesting quirks, and of course, find out if the car can do A-class road.

Usually bumping a car up a few classes is a disaster, but me not being the nominee for the JCW Countryman is already a disaster on a more wacky level. But every week, I've always had a chance to look back at the MINI. It always had a lack of grip... which is odd! But what has been done, you ask? Just about every upgrade I can put in, and it can barely reach the top of A. The numbers look sort of like... 493 horsepower on a 2,669 lbs body, being held together by sheer will in the shape of sports tires.


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Usually it's the case of me softening certain parts to get this grip back, but oddly it never works. So, recently I've been playing with its camber and toe. Let's see how that works out.


test JCW Countryman.jpg



After plenty of toil and trouble, the Countryman's first major run around the circuit would weigh in at 1:07.500 as a best.

This is a good time for something so boxy and not exactly sporty, and most importantly satisfies the Test's quota. Adjusting the car initially to deal with its lack of rear grip has it understeer a lot. So I fixed it with a bit of know how, and while it's still a bit hard to manage, it managed something nice. It's no Corrado that somehow got under 1:07, but I can say it can work in A-class. Forza Aero might be the ticket to a few steps ahead, since the handling's definitely its weakest link.

Now it's time to stop.


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So..

What is the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman All4? It is..

HOW DARE YOU!! I'm supposed to nominate the Countryman!! I'm never going to let this go, but before we go and wage war among ourselves due to personal reasons [wink wink effing Russia wink wink], of course I'm joking. I can't hate people for things outta my control.

Seriously, it's the result of a bad diet that somehow doubles for something MINI sought to do: impress the masses, but with a significant addition of mass to their flagship design.

They called it the quintessential MINI. The more I discover the stock form, the more I'm inclined to agree. And of course when something's a Mark of Zen holder, they're always a Sleeper. I need to establish how much a Sleeper, and both the Test's decent time, and how it can shake up cars like the amazing Corrado in middling C-class Throwbacks gives me the consideration of how considerable it has been in the 24 weeks of me inserting it as a picture, not reall realizing it's a slow journey.

I know, this is all unnecessary poetic. I want to say it's a top Sleeper, and it definitely is in my books. And I can't say the same for anyone else. There's probably going to be a time someone in a Bone Shaker get their just desserts.. from a big MINI. Would the likes of Deora II and Bad To The Blade be okay to see this kind of car in a side by side action? It's something I'm going to find out in a couple weeks time!


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I know it's due to a personal sense of funny rage, but HOW DARE YOU is easily the words for this car in general, especially if you're a fan of the original Austin Mini.

Now I'll have to go back to the drawing board for another car the next time I'm getting to choose the nominee. The exposure of this car was so dang high, I should've gotten a fallback plan for when this is bound to happen.
 

Obelisk

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Update: Controller get!
IMG_20220703_150447112.jpg


Also:
I know someone out there is snickering away about it. And the more I think about it, the more I feel lik-HOW DARE YOU!!
11391304.jpg




Week 34: HOW DARE YOU (aka Mini Countryman)

Off the bat, the name reminds me of the infamous "Country Member" exchange between Winton Turnbull and Gough Whitlam. It's not necessarily appropriate to recount the punchline to that one so I'll leave that to the readers to look up if they don't already know this. But that's...not exactly a great start to this car. Or a very good start to this car, depending on your sense of humor.

1656889081858.png


As already mentioned, the Crossman is a scaled up Mini designed to be marketed as a luxury crossover. The one we're provided is the JCW variant, which promises a lot of good things, so let's see how it shakes out.

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It's quite good. The handling is composed, but with enough tolerance to handle the rough stuff. Brakes are nice and strong. Pick-up and top end are decent for a car that is essentially a brick with smoothed edges. My only gripe with this car is that I can get away with not changing out of 3rd gear at all, which is more a snub at the track's average speed than it is with the car itself.

After quite a few laps...

1656893023191.png




That took a lot. I legitimately don't understand how I didn't get flagged at the end. :odd: Forza logic, am I right?

Impressive car. No one really uses these online from what I've seen, so that just cements my verdict:
1656892517723.png


Sleeper.
 

Vic Reign93

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1:17.411 :D

Clearly @SomePlayaDude took exception to the Countryman being announced prematurely and has expressed his ‘displeasure’ on the Mini I had laying about for this test. :P

Light hearted banter aside, how is the Countryman?

Well despite the JCW treatment making it more at home on tarmac than dirt, it held together and didn’t drown at the water jump and the 228hp 2.0 turbo 4 kept it chugging along nicely.

The 4wd system is clearly biased to the front wheels and the 8 speed gearbox ratios are on the longer side as taking the whole track in 3rd gear is easily doable.

It’s got the lowest PI for its discipline at 537, it’s also the cheapest car in its discipline at 38,500CR, undercutting even the 55K Jag F-Pace S.

Lightest too at 3,653lbs, but that’s still pretty much 800lbs heavier than the next heaviest road going Mini, the 2021 JCW Works GP Cooper.

Personally, I’d shorten up the gearing greatly with 6 gears for acceleration, 7th for top speed and 8th for highway fuel mileage.

If you want a cheap Sports Utility Hero, then the Countryman is the best pick…

By a Countrymile. 😁

But if you want a Mini that’s actually Mini, spend 8,500CR less and get the OG Cooper S for 30k. :sly:

Verdict: Neutral(But do pick one up)👍
 
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I was pleasently surprised by the overall road/dirt performance of this pseudo-SUV (it's more like a chubby high car): Very composed on the road at about 220 kph (136 mph), although it really struggles to get faster than that, and on light mud grip is adequate too.

Now, on the Ek' Balam, it manages the jump landings really well on the stock suspension with little bouncing, but on the big slides it will struggle to regain grip, specially on the rear (won't oversteer though) and there is where I lose time. I didn't really posted remarkable times, but it's a fun drive all-around.

I'm thinking of building a true offroader out of it, so it's a SLEEPER- to me. On a cultural note, the MINI brand is quite popular in Mexico, but I have rarely seen one driven in anger around here.

And I have a new license plate...

Mini Countryman.jpg
 
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Obelisk, HOW DARE YOU end the week?

But I've gotta introduce the next car...

HOW DARE YOU!!

Anyways, Winter's back and it's time to round up the votes for the Countryman! We have three Sleeper votes to one Neutral vote, so the Mini Countryman is a Sleeper! Good work, Mini. Now how about losing some weight on that thing, hm?

Our car this week was brought to you by our temporary COTW showrunner over on the GT Sport side of things, and regular reader of this thread, @XSquareStickIt! He gave me the car choice this week for GTS, which was a rather spectacular display of me not tracking the cars I was picking, I almost made the entire thread have to grind up $15 mill to pick up a D-Type. I ended up going with the Mito.

His choice is much more graceful and interesting, and it's the...
1657226416171.png

2011 Mazda RX-8 R3!

Coming in at B 624, this version of the RX-8 came near the end of the car's life cycle and was a very slightly uptuned version of the RX-8 with some neat things like Bilstein shock absorbers, a Bose sound system, Recaro bucket seats, etc... The RX-8 as a whole was rather short-lived and obscure for a sports car, which is really unfortunate as I heard it was quite a nice car. And of course, we can't forget the spinning Doritos under the hood. :sly:

Our run this week will be the Copper Canyon Sprint! An appropriate venue for a car like this, I'd imagine.

And our Event Lab this week is Dorito Dizziness, a sprint starting in the Airfield, getting on the loose stuff briefly and then transferring to a sprint in and around Mulege which loops on itself. Share code is 121 208 290.

Try not to spin too hard with the doritos under the hood. And more importantly - does the RX8 deserve to be forgotten in favor of the older RX-7, or is it a worthwhile pick in its own way? Warm up your engines and let's find out.
 

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1657387930999.png


Now, I'm admittedly kinda biased towards Mazda as a whole thanks to the 2016 Mazda3 I used to drive and my current MX5 which has been mentioned here when we reviewed the NC for COTW. The RX-8 was one of my first exposures to the company's sports cars as a kid, and I thought it looked really weird, but cool, at the time. The later RX-8s aged better than the early ones, I'll admit.

1657389574982.png


Sporting a relatively modest 232 HP and weighing in at just over 3,000 pounds, the RX-8 R3 is toned down in comparison to its predecessor, the FD3S RX-7. This translates into a pretty nice cruise along the roads of Horizon Mexico, especially when you look at where that 232 HP is at in the power band. 8,500 RPM, to be specific! :eek:

Of course, thanks to the magic of tuning, you can push that out to even higher numbers. Like say...somewhere over 9000?

Let's see how it does when it's pushed to its limits along the canyon roads. Cue the NFS Carbon boss music!

1657390735415.png


It launches excellently, with engine RPMs holding near peak power until the wheels fully grip up. It also has decent mid and top end, so it could hold its own with peers right at the B 625 range.

In terms of handling, this has the same issue that SPD has mentioned of both the Countryman and the NC MX5: it has enough front grip that it could turn in too hard and scrub speed. If you're not ready for it, it can send the car sideways from how much grip there is. The brakes seem to lock up in the front first, which could be a disaster if you're trying to trailbrake with this car. Oh, and they lock up fast.

The gearbox is also spaced out quite nicely. Not long enough that you get weird gear ratios impeding performance, but not short enough that the car is begging for more room.

This ended up being one of a few times where I wished I had my G29 hooked up during testing (I primarily test on a controller) because I was actually having issues with the sweepers and the controller isn't precise enough for that. After a few tries...
1657392642808.png


It's a nice car, so let's see how it does on the EventLab.

1657392871980.png


The suspension is a bit too stiff for the dirt, but it still held up well.

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So what is the RX-8 R3?

It's a car that could've been a bit more. It didn't really impress me too much - felt more like a run of the mill FR sports car than the last gasps of the rotary era of Mazda. And I wish they'd ended the rotary on a much more spectacular note than the RX-8.

Not that it detracts anything from the RX-8 itself - it's truly a wonderful car in its own way.

Neutral.
 

Vic Reign93

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I mean with a result like that, I could just leave the review there. :lol:

But I won’t..

The RX-8 was always the tricky follow up act to the RX-7, especially with the fact the RX-8’s Renesis 1.3 2 Rotor being non turbo compared to the RX-7s sequential turbo setup.

That means that near 240hp 2 Rotor needs to be revved hard to offset the infamous lack of torque and to keep it near it’s over 9000 Rpm redline.

What it may lack in torque is offset by its very balanced handling and the fact it encourages you to keep it near or in the red on the revs.

Truthfully, my only real frustrations while driving the RX-8 was me knowing that the GTO WAS beatable, but I needed a near perfect run in the RX-8 to cancel out a 76PI deficit. :eek:

I was pushing this car much harder against a car that on paper it shouldn’t have been anywhere near, but that winning run eventually came my way. :D

So yeah, while it was stricter emission regulations that would lead to the death of the Rotary production car, Mazda has never truly given up on the Rotary and with further advancements in automotive technology, maybe, just maybe that the Rotary may still get a return to production yet. 🤞

Verdict: Sleeper 😉👍
 
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The RX-8 is a nice car and fits the brand's sporty image, but compared with its predecessor it feels a bit toned down and more "safe". I compared both cars at the Copper Canyon sprint and got 3.33.8XX for the RX-8 and 3.31.2XX for the RX-7.

The RX-8 was generally stable, with good braking and acceleration from the ever-buzzing rotary engine, but the steering was slower and the grip was lacking at the top. Still, the car does not snap suddenly, so you get a very animated drive, just not very competitive. The section of the road that separates both cars is the hairpin at 79% of the route, which I navigated smoothly with the RX-7, while the RX-8 stalled a bit.

On the road, the RX-8 is a very pleasing cruiser that you can casually drift with no issues since it's quick to center itself and the counter-steering is just right.

On a final note, the car's styling is weird, as those back suicide doors surely added complexity and weight, and the car went without a significant refresh for its 10-year run (likely due to its paltry 19,000 units sold per year on average). A new car in the styling language of the MX-5 of 2015 would have been excellent, alas, the rotary wonder is dead.

Note: Neutral

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space wadet
Sorry I missed last week's, I actually did the laps but then didn't get around to writing it.

I might be in the minority but I much prefer the first gen RX-8, which had that typical 00s era concept car styling. You can see in it the beginnings of Mazda's design language that they still use to this day. Anyway, I thought the RX8 we have is the ugly version so I never tried it in Horizon. :lol:

The RX-8 drives like a light car. Very agile and responsive front end, which can induce oversteer without being snappy. It's no Elise to be sure, but it is breath of fresh air compared to a lot of newer sports cars that tend to be on the chonky side. The Wankel engine is a modest 232bhp, combined the well tuned gear ratios, and relative lightness it feels adequate. Doesn't feel like the car lacks grunt until you're well into the 200kph range. At which point the car's sharp turn in and tendency to oversteer does start to work against it. Not that it becomes dangerous, but it is above the car's comfort zone and your confidence does take a slight knock if you push too hard.

Good thing the course for this week isn't full of sweeping high speed bends. Oh wait... :lol:

The RX-8 doesn't perform badly at all on the Copper Canyon sprint. It's plenty stable in the long bends, and even if the back ends steps out it's easy to correct. The brakes do tend to lock up, but the agile front end makes it easy to make up for it. It's not hard to drive well, it's just hard to get a perfect run. There's more than a couple long straights on the sprint, meaning you'll lose heaps of time throughout if you don't get perfect exits from the corners preceding them. A 5% worse exist might mean 2 seconds lost on the next straight. That 3:17 is a mighty impressive time from you Vic! I have to admit I cheekily used your ghost to try to improve my time. :D

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The Eventlab plays more to the Mazda's strengths. Slower on the whole, more sharp corners, can really make use of its agility.

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There's nothing truly impressive about the RX-8, but it does everything it needs to well enough, without any glaring flaws spoiling the party, and that makes it Sleeper for me, especially since it does conform fairly closely to my handling preferences. Though I do agree with Obelisk that as a send off for the Wankel engine it needed to stand out a bit more.
 

Obelisk

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Time to put the brakes on the spinning and get Week 36 in motion.

The Mazda RX-8 R3 has scored an even split between Neutral and Sleeper, making it the second car in COTW to do so after the VW Golf Mk.2.

And to kick off week 36, our car maestro this week @SomePlayaDude had a few more "HOW DARE YOU!!" quips left to leverage against me - but we now have another high tier car to look at, one that Playground Games has described as virtually timeless. It's the cover car for Forza Motorsport 6, the...
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2017 Ford GT!

The original Ford GT is a timeless car, having had quite an infamous rivalry with Ferrari during the 1960s. It was so well-regarded that it was brought back in the early 00s as a modern supercar. That 2nd verison of the GT was met with such good reception that Gran Turismo's very own Kazunori Yamauchi owned two of them and included a special GT-LM version as the cover car for Gran Turismo 4! I'm sure we all know exactly which car I'm referring to.

And now, the 3rd generation GT has stepped into the fray, looking to take Ferrari on once again in the world of motorsports and on the road.

Our test track this week is the Riviera Sprint, the track that SPD originally reserved for the Countryman (HOW DARE YOU!!).

Let's take this cover car (S1 863) on the road and see if it really lives up to its heritage or not.
 
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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 35, a week too late - Mazda RX-8 R3


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Do you know how it's like to be powered by a fidget spinner? Nobody does, but how about one of the last cases of one company's signature engine?


I was wondering if we were going to cover a rotary around here. It's bound to happen, but given we only have up to 4 of these, the chances are pretty slim.

Rather than cover the rotary engine, because I'll probably do that when the Cosmo comes in Mexico, here we have what looks to be the swan song of the RX-8: the R3. Now, I hardly ever see the RX-8 when it comes to people owning it where I live, but it's got quite a novel concept of being a uniquely designed coupe with rear seats accessed by a half door: something I only see these days in the Hyundai Veloster.

Starting off life as a 2+2 coupe, the RX-8 was meant to succeed the RX-7, and like the RC F to the IS F back in week 3, these are big shoes, but this case would be a much larger fit, coming out of the RX-7's peak popularity in culture. And if 2002 me remembers, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift was everywhere that era, and there's that one RX-7 in that movie that made headlines..

Aside the rotary engine that allows one to rev it up high, the RX-8 was a disappointment, and to everyone's eyes isn't as remarkable as the 7. The fact that it's not as fast probably added to that. So Mazda had 10 years to make the car click to the masses, and unfortunately there are many reasons it couldn't make an impact which led to it getting shut down in 2012. The R3 would be the final trim of the RX-8, and if the name's not exactly a hint for you, it would be the 3rd generation model. Funny, I don't even remember there was a 2nd generation; see how unremarkable it was?

While this would be the last RX-8, it's at least a very sought out car among tuners and rotary lovers. The car we got in Gran Turismo 7 is an R3 too, but that would be the Japan exclusive Spirit R, of course in similar fashion to the RX-7's Spirit R as the final trim of the car. So why we didn't we get the Spirit R here? I dunno. In terms of other, non Forza games, I know there's a good bunch like The Crew 2, but the Criterion made Hot Pursuit came to mind for this machine as a starter car.

One of the last ever rotary cars for the time being, the R3 RX-8 puts itself in early B class, with a PI of 624. As mentioned earlier with the Griffith, the Modern Sports Cars class is a complete mess. At least with the RX-8, it has rivals in the form of the base S2000 that's 6 PI ahead, and unusually the ND MX-5 as well that's 4 PI behind. And let's make it clear: the game says an ND MX-5 is MUCH faster than the likes of Rambo Lambo, and I can't agree with that.

Coming in this week is another car on the cheap, requiring just 27,000 credits to ber parted for your own one from the Autoshow. I sense a trend about this sort of car in the Auction House, and the prices there looks like 20,000 credits for most common and 15,000 credits for the lowest price, which means you know where to go. Having a pair, it's time to bring one out and upwards to our destination, revving high.


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To exhibit this passion of Dr. Wankel..

HAHA YES I KNEW I CAN SLIDE THIS IN!!

We push the RX-8 through Copper Canyon Sprint.


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After last week, these track previews wouldn't be the same. It may now be Horizon 5 COTW alumni now, but how dare you all make such an unwanted mental imprint for the Countryman.


"Descending into Copper Canyon, this route runs the entire length of it, following each twist and turn of the river as it snakes through the valley while the railroad crosses overhead."

Part 2 of this northern road, consisting of a pair from Ruta Norte through Copper Canyon duo is this place. And aside from Barry R being in certain spots, it's easily just a nice but also just as challenging road that harkens back to the original Horizon. I'm not sure this is a road you can just make a waypoint to get some practice in. It's not necessary due to it being a Horizon Apex event.

When it comes to being a Horizon Apex event, it's a disaster, specifically when it comes to the bridge segments that hasn't been barricaded properly. Not to mention other hazards. But we let these slide, and to me, this how I get to get ahold of some S1 performance, as both a speed and handling test in the 100 MPH range. We're notably short of performance for this kind of test, but I'm sure this Mazda can prove itself.


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The RENESIS might be a lesser rotary engine in the whole roster of rotary machines, but it doesn't mean the RX-8 isn't going to impress me.


- Inside the RX-8 is.. well, I guess it's not a remarkable place. It's your usual sports car interior. I might say something about Stryker lighting up, red seats, a digital hud, or a spine in the center, but it's just... nothing. It's also left hand drive: something I don't fancy with JDM cars.

- Launching the RX-8 isn't exactly rocket science, but the closest way to feel like a rocket is just straight up ignoring that theory and just putting your foot down. And knowing the likes of a rotary enjoying revving up high, the car's shift point I frequent to is in the mid 9000 RPM range. And verily so: you get more out of it the later you shift.

- One thing about the car is that it has quite good traction, regardless of the situation. The RX-7 it precedes is notably turbocharged, and the RX-8 isn't, and thus isn't as peppy. Notably it also has a lack of torque, but that's just your usual everyday naturally aspirated rotary trait.

- And let's say it has too much traction. Mentioned earlier, and also noted in it's cousin the NC MX-5. the car is in a position where should you bring the turning to the edge, it'll lose speed. But like the Countryman last week, it's not going to go wide somewhere. Do take note if you're going to make use of Copper Canyon's many high speed turns.

- When it comes to the braking, the car enjoys light taps, which you will frequently be doing to get down the speed to the right levels. However, some portions of the track do warrant heavy braking, and when that comes, brake properly. The car will lock up the rear, but at least it won't throw your backside to the local auto repair shop.

- To be honest, the entire presence of the car makes me feel like I'm driving one of those middling C-class machines. But it's not. I'm averaging at 120 at the speedy portions, but guess what: the JCW Countryman's notable top end is in that range, and that car's deeply satisfying to bring there. The RX-8? Nah, not so much.

- One of the best feelings this car can provide is when you let go of the throttle in mid to high revs, because it gives itself a prominent boost in turnability, if that's even a word. And to make use of this is satisfying as.. umm.. I can't cuss, right? And HOW DARE YOU doesn't fit too well in this context either.

- When it comes to the gearing, it's obviously an earlier class car so I'll cut it some slack. The shifting is fine, no noteworthy issues in losing grip engine braking, and I don't see anything much wrong with trail braking too. It's like the MINI last week: too tall for a proper racing situation. I find myself losing pace because I forget to downshift, and that's after considerable practice with the car around here.

- Early on in the track, past the up and downhill section is the track's own chicane of doom. And in my end, it's completely beatable if your car isn't made for suicide, or if you brake early enough.

- I've noted other issues with the track such as the destroyable bridge and the elevated train tracks. The issue is not their presence, rather, it would be how beneficial one would love to get the car off the road to get a best line of sorts. The car notably has pretty poor off-roading grip.

- With the RX-8, the car isn't too special in both the difficulty or the performance department. But the car's specialty is that it's planted low in the PI spectrum, meaning.. an upgrade to the top of a class means it will improve significantly, even in its own class. I'm not sure about you, but put a turbo in, and I have a feeling I'll find this RX-8 racing out there.


Initially, I wanted to have a feel for this Mazda, but I couldn't quite find that sweetspot. It feels too domestic, and slow. Even 130 MPH in this car feels a bit underwhelming. Maybe because I'm at Copper Canyon, and that's where speed and handling would bond for a good old time. This car hasn't got either. Not yet. It's another one of these canvas cars: maybe it's latent potential can be found when tuning it.

But after all this messing around, how's my best?


RX-8 R3.jpg



Looks to me I can revolve around a time of 3:22.987. And it's my only clean time, woohoo, this combo is just grreat..


I don't know. I was aiming for a 3:20, but something didn't feel right. Remember: when I tested out the Corrado, I was sick with COVID, and that car's entire experience and consistency ended up it being a top Sleeper. I can't find that joy feeling trying to push the RENESIS engine to the top. Maybe I need to go and catch COVID again? Or maybe I need to forget I didn't nominate the MINI JCW Countryman, because that's CLEARLY where all my focus has gone to. HOW D-that's why anti depressants exist, I guess.


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Back on the circuit once again, eh? I didn't like the Copper Canyon experience besmirched by a lesser car, so let's bring up.. everything!


This week, let's disturb the Horizon Circuit once again with another entry of the Test.

It might be on last week, but to recap the Test: it's to bring up a lesser car to the top of A-class, built for road without conversions (maybe aside aspiration), and let it mess around the Horizon Festival Circuit. It will always try to go for a time in the ranges of 1:07, and the main purpose of this exercise is to see if the nominee can do A-class road: the most common racing class.

While we do have an EventLab, the car's overall feel just makes me say: hey, I don't feel like it. I want to back the fact I think the RX-8 is a bonafide canvas, like the Z4 was. That car was completely not nice, and bumping it to the top of A-class changed that opinion. Let's see if that can be same to say for the RX-8. And the numbers for this rotary stand at 459 horses carrying a 2,405 lbs car, of course with sports tires on for that extra piece of grip.


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This don't seem like much power, but remember the MINI last week was just barely under 500 horses, about the same range as this Mazda. And this is a sleek sports car with much less weight. I'm not competing with a crossover, but would the RX-8 be a better car with all these parts added on?


RX8 R3 Test.jpg



The passion of doctor-okay I'm not making that joke again, but the improved RX-8 has managed a best lap of 1:07.411.

This is a satisfied quota from my end. Initial runs had it perform worse than the Countryman last week. We are comparing this car to the Countryman, and it's a very very SPD related reason.

On the whole, the car's drive felt marginally improved from the stock car. It was grippy, the traction out of corners is iffy but very manageable, and thus the car's best parts are now more in play on the road. Revving to a higher RPM would mean the acceleration is great, and I didn't even put in a turbo. I did have to fix a teeny bit of understeer, but after that: the drive's very satisfying, unlike the stock car. Regardless of the time, (yes, this is prewritten, get over it) this car can do A class road perfectly fine.


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I know there's an EventLab this week, but well, I'm sorry. I blame the JCW Countryman's current situation. HOW DARE YOU!!

So..

What is the Mazda RX-8 R3? It is..

The end of an engine's era through a somewhat interesting but overall average sports car

This wasn't a hard decision for an okay Neutral. Car's a great canvas, but didn't quite impress on the whole. It's not a Miata, which would be one of those automatic easy Sleepers. In fact, I'd go back to the NC Miata, because the RX-8 didn't have any defining great trait at all. I still wonder why the ND Miata would be rated similarly to this car..


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The incredibly dumb thing is about Forza picking Mazda cars is that we're missing some of their more quirky domestic cars. Examples include their numbered series of cars, and maybe a CX because it's the top of its class as of now.

Speaking of crossovers, do you know I got dibs on next week's car? After these anti depressants wear off, that means I am in the mood to announce something! It's finally time for, wait.. whaddaya mean I didn't check the script?

Week 34? What was in week 34?

What?! No!!

How dare you! HOW DARE YOU!!
 

Obelisk

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Fun facts about this GT: One GT in the world has a unique multi-color paint job that was specifically done for that customer and required so much work behind the scenes that he is the only person allowed to have that paint color on the GT. Also, John Cena got sued by Ford for trying to sell his. No idea how that went.

Onto more pressing matters: Forza's depiction of the GT.

The model that we're presented with, the 2017 GT, comes out of the box with a very mixed range of stats, with the highest being 8.5 (Braking) and the lowest being 3.6 (Launch). The stats in game tell us that this GT weighs in at 3,353 lbs and produces 630 HP, 539 ft-lbs of torque. So it's kind of above average stat wise but not necessarily enough to warrant notice...though, that 8.3 speed looks promising. Onto the track!

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Riviera Sprint is a nice, fast-flowing track that definitely feels fitting for a supercar like the GT.

Thoughts:
  • The GT is remarkably stable at mid to high speeds, lending itself very nicely to diving into a sweeper and sticking to the line.
  • Acceleration at speed is great, the car recovers nicely coming out of turns without too much fuss and gets right back up to speed without issue.
  • Brakes are incredibly strong. That stat doesn't lie.
  • The handling is very composed for a GT. I recall the 2nd gen GT being a bit soft and high, this thing feels more like a proper supercar.
  • Gearing is nicely set-up.
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This car was such a nice drive that I knocked out my clean run right off the bat!

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I could have done more, but I ended up losing incentive to do so. The GT is a fantastic drive, it's...just not all that exciting. It does exactly what is expected of it as a supercar and as a modern successor to the legendary GT40.

Neutral.
 
64
France
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space wadet
You can't talk about the 2017 Ford GT's looks without mentioning the huge holes in the body, separating the cabin from the rear wheel arches. Nowadays sports cars and supercars have all sorts of intakes and channels to funnel air in and around the body for cooling and aerodynamics purposes, but the GT was the first time I've seen literal chunks of body removed, at least in a road car. The rest of the car packs all the iconic elements of the original GT40, while still managing to push the design firmly into modern race car territory. One of the more successful retro inspired designs of the last few years if you ask me.

This GT was developed with the goal of creating a race car first and foremost, with little consideration for practicality, and it shows. After the initial surprise wears off, you're kind of left scratching your head as to where the boot space might be. (Spoiler: it's behind the engine, and barely fits a schoolbag.) Despite this, Ford had no issue selling out the initial production run, and it won at Le Mans in its class in 2016, so it was clearly successful on both fronts.

The track for this week's test is the Riviera sprint, one of the more scenic routes in the game, which will take you through the hills above the canyon, into the dense jungle area and all the way to the beach of Playa Azul. You won't be seeing much of the landscapes at the speeds you'll be traveling though, it's a proper high speed course. Fitting testing grounds for a supercar.

Launch is good, the big rear tyres give you plenty of traction, and once you're into second gear you won't have any trouble putting the full extent of the V6's power down. The 7 speed dual clutch gearbox is a true 7 speed, not the 6+"1 highway gear" you see on some of its competitors. 7th speed doesn't come up until around 310kph, so there's plenty of top speed too. Brakes are top notch, incredible stopping power but prone to locking if you're not careful.

Handling is the true test of the race car DNA though, where you find out if all the aerodynamics appendages are more than just for show. I'm happy to say it doesn't disappoint. The GT is incredibly stable through corners, once you place your car for a corner, the car is absolutely glued to the road. Gives you plenty of confidence to attack the high speed corners of the track. It doesn't oversteer on the limit, rather either understeers or breaks traction on all 4 wheels, so you're not likely to spin out.

My one complaint is the slight understeer on corner entry, this is a big car after all, and it did leave me wanting for a bit more front end. This isn't a problem per se, you can easily compensate in most corners, but in the successive high speed chicanes in the last part of the track you do need to be thinking a couple corners ahead to place the car well and not get caught out by the understeer.

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In a way this car feels more suited for circuit racing on a track you know well, than the street racing of Horizon where you often need a bit more agility to deal with the unexpected. So it's a Neutral in Horizon for me. That said it could be very well suited for the race tracks of the imminent Hot Wheels DLC. :D

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Now a Ford GT review can't be complete without a "vs. Ferrari" section, the first car was born to beat Ferrari after all. Luckily for us, we have a Ferrari with the exact same PI as the GT (863 vs 863). The 488 GTB, which also happens to be in the same category. It is lighter (by 45kgs) and more powerful (by 30hp, but Forza's GT is less powerful than the real world version for some reason, the real GT has 660hp same as the 488), but Forza's PI system thinks it's fair fight, so game on.

If the GT was on the "stable but understeery" side of the spectrum, the 488 is like its mirror counterpart. Great turn in and agility but at the expense of stability. It's not unstable, but it does move around a bit more. You get a lot more front end bite, but it's also up to you to manage the back end through the corners. This extra agility does make it easier to manage the fast left-right-left in the jungle, and the extra power helps it finish the whole course 1.5 seconds faster than the Ford.

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Vic Reign93

Tricky Vic
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Gonna keep it short partly due to melting in this heatwave over here(22c at 3AM is not my idea of fun, neither is near 40c later on today but I digress.).🥵

Priced at 400k, but picked one up at under 60k at auction, the Ford GT is the tricky 3rd album or 3rd movie in a trilogy for the Ford GT’s.

You had the GT40’s, then the retrotastic GT from the mid 2000’s and then this one, the FM6 cover car, which had one of the best commercials done for it. 😁



In many ways the 17’ GT keeps to what made the Ford GT an icon(Winning at Le Mans) and also branching out its own path, by dropping 2 cylinders and the supercharger for turbos.

3.5 litre Ecoboost V6, yeah it was very unlike a Ford GT, but well over 650hp (660hp), a fast shifting 7 speed gearbox and revised active aero makes it more than just a straight line hero like the previous GT. ;)

Tiny bit of understeer at higher speeds, but it’s got remarkable stopping power and traction and under the FH5 PI system it actually has some room to breath in S1.

Just don’t look at the rear too long or you’ll start seeing the green pig from Angry Birds and never be able to un-see it. :crazy:

Verdict: Sleeper(But it’s a good Neutral at its normal price.) 😉👍
 
2,051
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After a few runs, I decided to do a little Ford vs Ferrari comparison (against the 458 Speciale that has a comparable S1 865 rating). Overall, I think the Ferrari is a bit more stable under braking and the Ford can be more excitable (and will snap on sudden, hard braking) but it can be managed, and both are quite stable in the high speed corners with good exit speed.

In the end, the Ford GT beat the Ferrari 2.44.69 vs 2.45.06. I do disagree that the Ford GT lacks drama, you just have to push it beyond its limits to have great fun sliding, while the Ferrari begs you to drive it properly to get the most.

For me it's a Sleeper!

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Obelisk

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HotWheels DLC releases
Extreme E free-for-all content releases
my conflict
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But before we get into that, let's look at how the current GT stacks up. It is the third car (and second in a row) to land a Neutral-Sleeper verdict. We're getting divisive, ehehe.

And now, to a triple feature week of the B I G B O I S. Cars 1 and 2 are Autoshow and are regular feature, and #3 is optional, by the way.

Our first car this week, and the king of absolute units of Forza, is the...
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2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023!

The most unusual and most functional Mercedes Benz, the Unimog featured in FH5 is one of a series of models of tractors, lorries and trucks that are used for almost everything. Snowplow? Unimog. Military vehicle? Unimog. Farm tractor? Unimog. They're essentially the backbone of a lot of European utility fleets. Per the MB website, the U5023 (and the U4023 variant) are capable of climbing up a 45 degree slope (100% grade slope) and fording water 1.2 meters deep.

To see just how much of the Unimog's capabilities (D 103) translated to the world of Horizon, we're going to take it to the Copper Canyon Cross Country!

Our second feature was added...today, as a matter of fact! I've been looking forward to this one. It's the...
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2022 Extreme E #99 Chip Ganassi Racing GMC Hummer EV!

...No, it's not a Hummer. Let me explain, because I didn't know what Extreme E was before this week and the few minutes of research I've done have earned me a hell of a lot of respect for these guys.

Extreme E is a new FIA-sanctioned racing series focused on silhouette racing. But not just any silhouette - Extreme E uses the Spark Odyssey 21, a specially made EV just for this event. And one of the stand-out features of it is that the frame is reinforced with niobium. Per their own commentary:
"Critical to the automotive sector, niobium produces stronger, lighter and more sustainable cars with better energy efficiency. Its technologies are already widely applied in different areas, including light-weighting, safety, emissions reduction and electronics that will help lead to a sustainable sector transformation. Key applications of niobium in the Mobility sector include chassis, brakes and exhaust systems, drivetrains, batteries and EV charging stations and any number of ancillary components. Its qualities mean materials can be made lighter, stronger, more robust and more reliable – all while being more sustainable than other materials."

The venues are also of note: Extreme E's calendar finds its crews and teams in locations that are threatened by the ongoing climate change crisis. And once they're done racing there, they keep a legacy support system in place so they can help preserve these locations for the future.

So Extreme E's entire purpose, outside of racing, is to promote climate change awareness and encourage people to engage with this topic more seriously through motorsports.

Not only that, but they also aim to promote gender equality in motorsports, with each team competing in the series being required to have one male and one female driver.

I honestly have a deep respect for this particular series with what it's trying to achieve, and I sincerely hope it succeeds beyond all expectations.

Also, since there are 10 of these things in the game, all of them being virtually identical as far as I know, and all being obtainable via the seasonal rewards and activities (with the exception of the #99 being an Autoshow purchase at 700,000 credits), you can use any and all of them in the analysis.

Let's take the new electric kids on the block (A 748) around an appropriate venue: La Selva Scramble. A mix of asphalt and the nearby river, this cross country event resembles the kind of terrain that the Extreme E cars are faced with.

And finally, our bonus, optional car for the week. With the arrival of the HotWheels DLC, we've been given a whole new chunk of land to explore with all new cars. Since not everyone is going to have the DLC, this isn't mandatory for anyone. Then again, all of COTW is optional, we're just here to have fun and study cars.

Our car for this week is the starter car for the DLC, the...
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2013 HotWheels Baja Boneshaker!

The Baja Boneshaker has taken one too many boosts and launched itself from HotWheels Unleashed, finding itself crash-landing into Forza's floating HotWheels paradise at a surprising B 700. Yes, I had to triple check. It comes stock at exactly B700.

If the name wasn't already obvious, the Baja Boneshaker is a rugged offroader version of the dreaded Boneshaker. As such, we're going to shake it down at the Ice Canyon Hazard Sprint, a treacherous ice and snow offroad course with relatively little time spent on the orange track we all know and love.

Let's give these three big bois an equally large welcome at COTW and see what they're really made of.
 
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3 unrelated cars aside from purpose in one week? If we're going to get it all in one week, I'm cutting down!

At least it's taking away stress in the shape of me actually doing my testing of the GT right now, and..

..a much harder mental obstacle in the shape of a JCW Countryman. These days, I keep running into someone in my neighborhood with one and it's getting much harder and harder not to think about it.
 

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3 unrelated cars aside from purpose in one week? If we're going to get it all in one week, I'm cutting down!

At least it's taking away stress in the shape of me actually doing my testing of the GT right now, and..

..a much harder mental obstacle in the shape of a JCW Countryman. These days, I keep running into someone in my neighborhood with one and it's getting much harder and harder not to think about it.
You can always DM me to talk about the Countryman issue if it's bugging you that much. The intent behind that was a light jab at you featuring it every week during the testing, but I didn't realize it'd be messing with you that much.

As for all three cars being unrelated...yeah. In the past, whenever we've had an expansion or a truly new car become available to the masses, COTW has covered it the week it's emerged. Vic can attest to this - back in FH3, we covered the Racemo the week it was added, and we've covered DLC cars on the side during the early days of the DLCs being available. This was kind of a perfect storm coming together all at once with the Extreme Es being added for everyone today and the HW expansion coming out just two days ago.

But yeah, let's chat if you're having problems relating to the JCW. We can work something out. 👍
 
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Don't worry about the escapades between SPD and not getting to nominate Countryman. It's supposed to be all for laughs, and I'm trying to get better at handling these moments.

In fact, it has become a car I've grown endeared towards, even considering of owning one for real after it got nominated. I promised myself to get something practical and fast like a WRX, so we'll see if I do want to get a crossover, let alone a MINI.
 

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Don't worry about the escapades between SPD and not getting to nominate Countryman. It's supposed to be all for laughs, and I'm trying to get better at handling these moments.

In fact, it has become a car I've grown endeared towards, even considering of owning one for real after it got nominated. I promised myself to get something practical and fast like a WRX, so we'll see if I do want to get a crossover, let alone a MINI.
If you actually do end up with a Countryman IRL, I'd be more than happy to find and send over a COTW sticker for it.
 
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SPD Writes Car Of The Week: Week 36, an hour and a half too late - Ford GT (2017)


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So, once again, say hello again to the appropriately named Car with No Name from week 16 with the VX Viper. Just like a shooting star sighting, it's a car that serves as a periodical reminder that Ferrari never persisted to be at the top of the food chain.


Double tardy is bad for business, I say. Busy is one thing, having no motivation to get on Forza is another. But both happened, even though a new expansion has come.

Now, ever since the JCW Countryman came on COTW without MY permission (not like it's mine to begin with anyways), SPD nominees now will have to find themselves the kind of cars in my.. maybe a personal top spot in certain categories, and would like to see others opinions of. While the likes of the Miura, the DeBerti Wrangler and the Ford Cortina would eventually find themselves on this, as cars to watch from your sinister street urchin, vampiric destined rival doing the stealing of the first kiss to your future romantic interest, I would like to bring out a certain model of car that would serve as reminder that Ford is no slouch on the supercar department as they are on the general car department, and just like that certain vampire with a long description I'm not repeating, it's a car with story I've grown to know, and maybe tell future SPD offsprings about.

While the original Ford GT was on my radar, that piece of art's a high demand Hard-To-Find dirt racing meta car in Mexico, and I don't think that's going to fly in this place. So we will settle with DANGER DANGER: the 2017 Ford GT. And while the former GT was praised for it being the best example of a throwback machine, the new one has gone for a radical revisioning of the GT40 today, and to me it's quite a spectacle to look at.

To celebrate 50 years of Ford humiliating Ferrari on the stage of racing, they decided it's time to bring back the GT name they used a decade ago, and develop a modern supercar, with usual modern supercar quirks. The main difference is that this one would be powered by their Ecoboost technology. To back that puppy up, they put a dual turbocharged setup along it, which people call heresy comparing it to the supercharged GT. Not to mention the car itself has an exclusive clientele which has you sign maybe your soul just to own one, and that's if they choose you. I wonder if Yamauchi-san, known lover of the older GT, was one of them?

While it's not really a coincidence, the car debuted as soon as Forza Motorsports 6 was announced, obviously made with that game in mind. But it's popularity zoomed past outside the Forza series. To say the Ford GT as a performance icon is backed by its appearances in video games starting from Motorsports 6. I never dabbled with that, so my first taste of the GT was in... hmm, maybe it was The Crew 2. Just about any game past Motorsports 6 with licensed Fords should have this car around. And I usually find myself driving it.

The 2nd generation Ford GT sits in the center of S1 with a PI of 863. The Huracan Performante we had in week 23 has the same PI in 4, but is ahead by 11 PI this time around. And funny enough: the rival it was designated with in Motorsports 6 onwards: the Ferrari 488 GTB, has the exact same PI and class. This is a rivalry I would love to touch, but since everyone else's done it and I'm not planning a Showcase or anything.. don't get your hopes up.

In fact, would this be the car with the most special versions in Forza? Based off the wiki, there's a product promotion for Motorsports 6, a Horizon Edition in Horizon 3, another Forza Edition in Motorsports 7, then notably in Horizon 4 with the overpowered Welcome Pack version. Not to break the streak, the 2017 GT has a special version here too, known as the OPI Edition, available for Americans who purchase a certain marked OPI Los Angeles brand of nail polish in ULTA Beauty.

No, I don't have one. I would, but SPD must stay fabulous without any nail polish. I do keep myself in check with thick cherry red lipstick, and I am in the market for coral blue number 2 semi gloss lip-okay, why is this getting to you all?! Yes, I do fancy lipstick. And everyone thinks it's weird. It is, and even though my opinion hasn't changed, I never have them on public. Only I can put a small paragraph on feminine beauty products in a car review thread.

To get your hands on one such car, the Autoshow will always have these around for 400,000 credits. The Auction House's numbers look like quite a drop to 59,000 credits being the magic number that's both cheapest and most common. Then again, there are more ways to getting a 2017 GT for sure. One is through being a loyalist and having played Motorsports 6 before getting into Mexico in full fanfare. The other is through the "To The Zoom!" accolade, and that wants you to spend 2 million credits on pimping out your rides. With such access, you'd be surprised for a car I genuinely like, I only have 2. One would be the car with no name, as seen in the VX Viper's big American Showcase. I'm not exactly sure how the 2nd one came to be, but I'm using it.


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To push a car that has no distinct name, we find a road reserved for one Countryman named Riviera Sprint.


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So, what was the plan for this track's Showcase? I did plan to do all 3, believe it or not, and it would be a trio combo of Showcase, Throwback and Test, being top A-class COTW members. And it would be the biggest Showcase of all. From the likes of Pinky, the Durango, the F355, a stock Bone Shaker, the E34 M5, the green Corrado, the GNX, the Hammer, the FE C1 vette, the Supervan 3.A, the 2 G29 Z4s, the RC F, and to fill the paradox: last week's RX-8. Let's count how many cars this is.. hmm.. 14! 2 more than the Great American Bash. Okay, excluding the RX-8, it's just 1 car larger, but my point stands.

But with that said, the three magic words will have to be used once again. It does mean that's definitely coming, by the ways. Maybe if we get a lesser car on a final boss, or HotWheels Goliath?



"Breath-taking views at breakneck speeds as you hurtle down this swweping route from the Canyon (yes, there's a caps lock for some reason) to the coastline. A cold drink will be waiting for the winner at Playa Azul!"

What has a cold drink have to do with a relatively challenging sprint race down the hills to the beach? Seems random to mention it, or is it some reference I don't get.

But what I do get is a long 6 mile road that allows one to push whatever machine you desire to the edge, from speedy roads, to tight angled turns. And don't literally go off the edge. Any insurance claims for that, I don't take responsibility.

Speaking of responsibility, there's supposed to be hints of anger about how the JCW Countryman was supposed to get this road. Out of spite, I was going to pick The Colossus, but let something like the psycho killer Sesto Elemento FE take us through that, I guess. Or wait for the Volkswagen ID R to come back.

This is a test for all road cars. Speed builds love the sweeping turns, while handling builds would love it more. The extreme ends however are not catered. But the 2017 Ford GT is definitely not in those ends, unlike in Horizon 4 where it's, just like the Huracan Performante: stuck at 900 PI, which is an auto Beater in my book.


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And for my test car, it's not a disgusting case of green, but.. I mean, of course I did. On Steam, I'm known as Fabulous Scott, and this week I get the chance to back that up.


- I might be a fan of the Ford GT, but this is such an unremarkable interior. Sure, it might mix form and function quite well, but just about any supercar has this kind of mindset when designing the insides. I've already nitpicked on the unevenly circular steering wheel before, and in this car, I'm fine with it thanks to the sequential shift lights. I'm going to compare to the original GT here, and that car's interior, even though a distinct copy of the past, has much more identity, with or without shift lights.

- When launching the new GT, I guess I'll give the go ahead for you to push all the way. But what I usually do is shift early, since we do still get wheelspin. 2nd gear is relatively short because we're in a modern supercar with power. I shift past 7000 RPM, but never redline it by the center of it.

- Let's go touch on traction, and in some cases you don't want to push 100% on gas. I did say this is a good starter car on the Huracan Performante week, and it is: it won't kill you if you do want to go 100%, but go at around 60 to 70, and gradually go up.. it's satisfying.

- If handling is an issue, I doubt I wouldn't heard of it. The car can turn, and it's only terrible when it's at higher speeds. It's pretty often on this track that this happens, thus why I notice. Be wary: in the initial downhill portion, you can slip out if you mix the elevation and the grass.

- Of course it wouldn't suck! I mean, the brakes. It's got a rear wing to move the air, and the brakes themselves aren't your usual domestic brakes. They're carbon ceramic Brembos! Beautiful, beautiful Brembos.. And if you want to do any of them braking stuff like engine brake or trail brake, feel free to do so. Car's got no issue in that. You're bound to notice the braking power by certain hard turns on this track, where you can even brake a bit later and still go about your business.

- Twin turbos mean you got power all around, which means the car remains active in acceleration, all the way up to 200 MPH, where it'll start to feel bogged down. But this is something I noticed much more prominently in machines with big wings and aero packages. This is a car with an aero pack, but it's no slouch on top end.

- The thing is about the Ford is how well mannered it is, good for newbies that don't need AWD to ride fast. Cars at this level are to be expected to have this discipline, maybe except certain speed based hypercars and mad machines like the Cerbera and the Venom. I'm not going in the 488, but I assume that car's on this level of mannerisms too.

- For the track, it's all just a simple point to point, maybe with some segments one can take the racing line off the track to get a better exit on some corners. I'm not doing that with the GT: it's not made for this, and the class is just too high to make this work consistently.

- There aren't obstacles to worry about. Maybe that construction yard, but it's not on the track. Okay, it's a nice place. Just not remarkable in terms of nature or environment. Barry R is here at good places too, so that's a plus.

- Trouble places? I found a few, but the worst come in the form of the left hander with the roundabout, where Barry R has decided grass is ass and gave none of it. The slalom to Playa Azul too is notable, and the downhill segments if your grip's not in check.

- I don't have much to say for the GT in general. It's definitely got some qualities as a easy RWD fast car to get you wins, case in point to my Car with No Name that's gotten me results in S1 against Unbeatables. But none that stand out as a kind of car that's got traits or character. If not racing, I can see it as a drifter or a drag racer, but that's it. The original GT is a dirt monster however.


Like the car's drive, there's not much else to say rather than it's a fast car, so let's see what sort of fast time I can do with it.





Wait, where's the best time? I even had it prepared, the bbcode and all, like always. And 5 exact spaces.

Well, I find myself wanting more time with this combo, and decided not to post a time. Right now, it's a dirty 2:40, and I'm not going to leave it at that, even though for not it will be stuck there. I'd like some time to connect with the thing, after maining it in various games like NFS Heat and The Crew 2. Various other cars took me fancy, and that's the issue in Forza: too much choice.

Regardless of my performance, I like this combo. Then again, it's my combo. And I didn't get enough time because like I said on the top of the MINI JCW Countryman how dare you week, I'm quite busy these days in July.


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I'm going to leave it there for the Ford GT. If it was the original one, I have.. maybe more than a Test waiting. I didn't sell it short when it comes to how much I love that older GT.

So..

What is the Ford GT (2017)? It is..

The modern version of a British born, American engineered flex to Ferrari.

No notable traits mean a Neutral, but since I'm LatePlayaDude once again this week, I definitely agree with the consensus of how it's in that border position of Neutral-Sleeper. No remarkable traits, and it's not exactly tricky to drive or know it's going to be fast. But then..

The original GT exists, and that car eclipses this car in almost all ways in S1. That's where the Sleeper portion exists: there's better choices in that and other supercars, and this car's definitely no slouch. It does look like a pig, but I've already made peace with that weeks after its official debut anyways.


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All right, some music! Danger High Voltage remains to be the only song I have in playlist from Electric Six, and Gay Bar almost ended up there. Regardless, I have like 3 songs for the car alone. A Tout le Monde be one of them, the other is a remix of Crush, meant for my fiction writing when I do debut the car in GT Sport going around Laguna Seca.

The original Ford GT is a pretty strong entity in my fictional writing world that's now on hold, so I hope this sort of explains why I'm making these extra steps.
 

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I have been on the mother of all Forza benders the past two days, so let's get the ball rolling on the BIGBOIS this week!

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"That's not gonna fit! You're gonna destroy the neighborhood!" "That's what she said."

Let's start with the Unimog. When I first saw this when it was added back in FH3 or FH4 (can't remember), I wrote it off as a joke car. I mean, come on, a six ton military truck? But then I encountered the Gurkha, and y'know, those things make you reconsider. Since it's a utility vehicle, I figured I'd give it a simple task: get the 20 batteries around Playa Azul to complete the seasonal challenge. Straightforward, right?

WRONG. How do you get stuck on thin air??? How is 12,000 lbs moving at 10 mph not enough to smash a battery???????

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After a little while, I was able to get myself out of that and carry out the rest of the battery smashing. During the drive the Unimog ate some serious elevation difference and awkward angles without issue, meaning they did pay some mind to its abilities as an off-road utility vehicle. This bodes well for the Rivals run. And, having done what I needed to do task-wise, I've got some thoughts that I'll touch on in the conclusion.

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It's an AWD in D class. There's really nothing to write home about in terms of the launch itself.

However, if you normally use Manual or Manual with Clutch, do yourself a favor and switch to automatic. Your thumbs will thank you for this. 1st gear ends at 10 MPH, 2nd ends at 13, and so forth and so on. :odd:

And appropriately enough, the Unimog handles the dirt as if it were on a road. It's easy to control, easy to drive and didn't seem too perturbed by the uneven surfaces of the actual sprint. It may not have a lot of power for its size (220 HP, 660 ft-lbs of torque vs 12,000 lbs), but it has more than enough to get itself up the slope at the very start of the track which is pretty close to a 100% grade if I'm seeing right.

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Even though it doesn't have a lot to write home about in terms of speed, it's really quite a lot of fun on this track. I'm enjoying being able to just drive over everything without any kind of fuss. And ultimately, that level of no-care-given from the Unimog allowed me to carry it across the finish line in a really decent time.
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I'm going to circle back around to the Extreme E and the Baja Boneshaker in a later post, since I really want to point something out here as part of my verdict.

COTW as a whole looks at how these cars perform under the conditions outlined by the announcement post (bone stock, on a track related to the vehicle), and we base our verdicts off the feel and performance of the car. The Unimog is a 12,000 pound spanner in the works, and here's why I want to discuss this:
The Unimog, on all performance metrics, is never going to stand up in a competitive environment, even when tuned. I mean, look at how much I have to upgrade its numbers just to fit it to D500:
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(...where it's actually somewhat decent)
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What we really have going on here is a vehicle that's being subjected to a role and expectations it was never meant to really fulfill. Most cars, to be fair, weren't meant to be tossed around in the way that Horizon and COTW drivers throw them around, but the Unimog is the odd one out on that front. From the ground up, it was entirely intended as a tool to get people and objects from A to B, even if the space in between isn't that good. In some ways, it's a footnote of the automotive industry much like the Rambo Lambo is. The thing is, the Rambo Lambo has the nerve to call itself a luxury SUV without having the torque or speed to back itself up, and it doesn't really do much other than cart people around and look pretty. And that earned it its Beater rating back in week 3.

The Unimog is function and utility through and through, and its stellar off road performance and decent power did pleasantly surprise me. However, being a utility vehicle in a game about car culture (and favoring crazy racing over everyday cruising or off roading) harms it in a few ways. I can see a role for it, and it reminds me of something that happened to @Populuxe back in FH3 COTW. If that off road group is still around, I reckon they'd get a kick out of off roading the Unimog since it just goes without much hesitation.

I genuinely cannot call this thing a beater. It's also not really a sleeper, because the sheer weight of it prevents it from having a fair shot in anything past D class off roading.

I have to give it a Neutral, honestly. And to ape @ClydeYellow's new summary note format at the end of his last review:

An excellent off-roader for everyday driving and utility...
...trapped in a racing game.
 
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And I'm back for more! As of the writing of this post, I have the #44 and the #99, and I ended up being right. All of the Spark Odyssey 21s in the game are perfectly identical. I'll be using both the #44 and the #99 interchangeably throughout this review.

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And I figured, why not use the Extreme E championship in the Season to get used to this car before I run the hotlaps? Might as well test it under pressure in a couple of different ways.

The first thing I want to point out: This is an AWD EV. The acceleration is remarkably strong at lower speeds, and tapers off as it gets close to its maximum speed of 130 MPH. The acceleration being strong is especially nice on dirt, where the car surprisingly doesn't have a lot of wheelspin. It just digs in and takes off without much fuss, which is always a bonus on the dirt.

This is also benefitting from a 50-50 weight distribution and a relatively modest curb weight of 3,900 pounds. It's not as much of a porker as some of the other cars in its Car Type. Did I mention this thing makes 539 HP as well? Because it makes 539 HP. It's got some meat to it.

Interestingly enough, despite being kitted solely for offroad driving (especially extreme offroad driving), the stats for the Odyssey 21 implies its handling is only 0.2 points lower than the Miata we reviewed a few weeks ago, meaning it could theoretically hold its own on a tarmac race unlike most of its peers. And yes, this actually holds up in practice. It's positively uncanny. It feels completely neutral both on road and dirt.

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Actually, the more I rag on these things in the Championship, the more I realize that it's difficult to upset these cars enough to go into either understeer or oversteer. They are completely, truly neutral machines. And that actually works to their favor, since it means competitive runs on dirt or cross country races will be easier to contend with out of the box.

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With the changes to water slowdown (thanks to the HotWheels DLC), it's even better as the Odyssey has the torque to plow right through without any speed loss. In fact, it was even accelerating in most of the bodies of water I drove through.

Without even making it to the actual time trial, I've already found my groove with these. The Odyssey 21 has a lot of interesting little details and relatively few flaws (top speed being the only one), and it all adds up to a remarkably fun and easy to use car. So how does it do against the fiercely competitive Forza leaderboards?
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The biggest - and only - flaw of this car is that the top end isn't enough for A class. I'm sure that can be addressed in some way with Forza's tuning system, though.

All in, the Odyssey 21, regardless of team or number affiliation, is a Sleeper.

➕ Surprisingly excellent all-rounder for on and off road...
➖...that's held back by its top end performance.
 
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Interesting that you bring up tuning, Obe, because we can't do much to EVs in Gran Turismo—power can only be marginally improved with an upgraded ECU, and we can't even play with their gearing. It sharply limits their scope and potential, not to mention their abysmal tyre and "fuel" consumption rates.

What's tuning an EV like over at Mexico?