Car of the Week 228: COTY GTS Finale

  • Thread starter Racer283
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This week we are testing another Honda but it takes on a modern version of Kei car. This week we are taking a look at the Honda S660. This weeks car is chosen by @Alex p.

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Just a little comparison with its obvious rival:



Verdict: leaning towards sleeper. It handles quite nicely.


A current list of all not yet used cars for COTW:

ABARTH (1)
1500 Biposto Bertone B.A.T 1 1952 (N100)

ALFA ROMEO (4)
4C Gr.4 (Gr.4)
4C Launch Edition 2014 (N200)
Giulia TZ2 Carrozzata da Zagato CN.AR750106 1965 (Gr.X)
MiTo 1.4 T Sport 2009 (N200)

Alpine (3)
Vision Gran Turismo 2017 (Gr.1)
Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
Vision Gran Turismo Race Mode (Gr.X)

ASTON MARTIN (5)
DB3S CN.1 1953 (Gr.X)
DB11 2016 (N600)
DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
Vantage Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Vulcan 2016 (N800)

AUDI (10)
R8 4.2 FSI R Tronic 2007 (N400)
R8 LMS Audi Team Sport WRT 2015 (Gr.3)
R18 TDI Audi Team Sport Joest 2011 (Gr.1)
R18 TDI Le Mans 2011 (Gr.1)
R18 e-tron 2016 (Gr.1)
Sport quattro S1 Pikes Peak 1987 (Gr.B)
TT Coupe 3.2 quattro 2003 (N200)
TT Cup 2016 (Gr.4)
TTS Coupe 2014 (N300)
Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.1)

BMW (7)
M4 Coupe 2014 (N400)
M4 Safety Car (Gr.X)
M6 GT3 Walkenhorst Motorsport 2016 (Gr.3)
M6 GT3 M Power Livery 2016 (Gr.3)
Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
Z4 GT3 2011 (Gr.3)
Z8 2001 (N400)

BUGATTI (3)
Veyron Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Vision Gran Turismo Gr.1 (Gr.1)
Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

CHEVROLET (2)
Camaro SS 2016 (N500)
Corvette Stingray Race Concept (C2) 1959 (Gr.X)

CITROËN (1)
GT by Citroen Gr.4 (Gr.4)

DODGE (9)
Charger SRT Hellcat Safety Car (N700)
SRT Tomahawk VGT Gr.1 (Gr.1)
SRT Tomahawk VGT Racing (Gr.X)
SRT Tomahawk VGT Street (Gr.X)
SRT Tomahawk VGT Technology (Gr.X)
Superbee 1970 (N300)
Viper Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Viper SRT10 Coupe 2006 (N500)
Viper SRT GT3-R 2015 (Gr.3)

FERRARI (5)
250 GT Berlinetta passo corto CN.2521 1961 (N300)
250 GTO CN.3729GT 1962 (Gr.X)
458 Italia 2009 (N600)
458 Italia GT3 2013 (Gr.3)
Dino 246GT 1971 (N200)

FIAT (2)
500 F 1968 (N100)
500 1.2 8v Lounge SS 2008 (N100)

FORD (7)
Focus Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
GT 2006 (N600)
GT LM Spec II Test Car (Gr.3)
Mustang Gr.3 Road Car (N500)
Mustang Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
Mustang GT Premium Fastback 2015 (N400)
Mustang Mach 1 1971 (N300)

GRAN TURISMO (6)
Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo (N600)
Chris Holstrom Concepts 1967 Chevy Nova 2013 (N700)
Racing Kart 125 Shifter (Gr.X)
Red Bull X2014 Standard 2014 (Gr.X)
Red Bull X2014 Junior 2014 (Gr.X)
Red Bull X2019 Competition (Gr.X)

HONDA (5)
NSX Concept-GT Raybrig 2016 (Gr.2)
NSX Gr.3 (Gr.3)
NSX Gr.4 (Gr.4)
S800 1966 (N100)
Sports Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

HYUNDAI (4)
Genesis Gr.3 (Gr.3)
Genesis Gr.4 (Gr.4)
N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.1)
N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

INFINITI (1)
Concept Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

JAGUAR (7)
D-Type 1954 (Gr.X)
E-Type Coupe 1961 (N300)
F-Type Gr.3 (Gr.3)
F-Type Gr.4 (Gr.4)
XJ13 1966 (Gr.X)
XJR-9 1988 (Gr.1)
Vision Gran Turismo Coupe (Gr.X)

KTM (1)
X-BOW R 2012 (N300)

LAMBORGHINI (7)
Aventador LP700-4 2011 (N700)
Aventador LP750-4 Superveloce 2015 (N800)
Countach LP400 1974 (N400)
Huracan Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Huracan LP610-4 2015 (N600)
Miura P400 Bertone Prototype CN.0706 1967 (N400)
Veneno 2014 (N800)

LANCIA (1)
Stratos 1973 (N200)

LEXUS (4)
LC500 2017 (N500)
LF-LC GT Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
RC F au Tom's 2016 (Gr.2)
RC F Gr.4 (Gr.4)

MAZDA (9)
Atenza Gr.3 Road Car (N500)
Atenza Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Atenza Sedan XD L Package 2015 (N200)
Demio XD Touring 2015 (N100)
LM55 Vision Gran Turismo Gr.1 (Gr.1)
LM55 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
Roadster Touring Car (N200)
Roadster S 2015 (N100)
RX-Vision GT3 Concept 2020 (Gr.3)

MCLAREN (7)
650S Gr.4 (Gr.4)
650S GT3 2015 (Gr.3)
F1 GTR BMW Kokusai Kaihatsu UK Racing 1995 (Gr.3)
MP4-12c 2010 (N600)
P1 GTR 2016 (Gr.X)
Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo Gr.1 (Gr.1)
Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

MERCEDES-BENZ (7)
A45 AMG 4MATIC 2013 (N400)
AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ (Gr.X)
AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ Color Variation (Gr.X)
AMG Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
AMG Vision Gran Turismo LH Edition (Gr.X)
AMG Vision Gran Turismo Racing Series (Gr.X)
Sauber C9 1989 (Gr.1)

MINI (2)
Cooper S 2005 (N200)
Clubman Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

MITSUBISHI (4)
Lancer Evolution IV GSR 1996 (N300)
Lancer Evolution Final Edition Gr.3 (Gr.3)
Lancer Evolution Final Edition Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
Lancer Evolution Final Edition Gr.B Road Car (N500)

NISSAN (11)
Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
Fairlady Z Version S 2007 (N300)
GT-R Gr.4 (Gr.4)
GT-R Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
GT-R Motul Autech 2016 (Gr.2)
GT-R Premium Edition 2017 (N600)
GT-R Safety Car (Gr.X)
GT-R Xanavi Nismo (Gr.2)
R92CP 1992 (Gr.1)
Skyline GT-R V-spec (R33) 1997 (N300)
Skyline GT-R V-spec II Nür (R34) 2002 (N300)

PEUGEOT (9)
208 GTI by Peugeot Sport 2014 (N200)
908 HDI FAP Team Peugeot Total 2010 (Gr.1)
RCZ Gr.3 (Gr.3)
RCZ Gr.3 Road Car (N500)
RCZ Gr.4 (Gr.4)
RCZ Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
L500R Hybrid Vision Gran Turismo 2017 (Gr.X)
L750R Hybrid Vision Gran Turismo 2017 (Gr.1)
Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)

PORSCHE (3)
911 GT3 (997) 2008 (N400)
911 GT3 RS 2016 (N600)
962C 1988 (Gr.1)

RENAULT SPORT (4)
Clio RS 220 EDC Trophy 2015 (N200)
Clio RS 220 EDC Trophy 2016 (N200)
Megane RS Trophy 2011 Safety Car (N300)
R.S.01 GT3 2016 (Gr.3)

SHELBY (1)
Cobra Daytona Coupe 1964 (Gr.X)

SUBARU (6)
BRZ S 2015 (N200)
BRZ Falken Tire/Turn 14 Distribution 2017 (Gr.X)
Impreza Coupe WRX Type R STi Version VI 1999 (N300)
WRX Gr.3 (Gr.3)
WRX Gr.B (Gr.B)
WRX STI Type S 2014 (N300)

TESLA (1)
Model S Signature Performance 2012 (Gr.X)

TOYOTA (17)
86 Gr.4 (Gr.4)
86 Gr.B Rally Car (Gr.B)
86 GRMN 2016 (N200)
86 GT 2015 (N200)
86 GT Limited 2016 (N200)
Corolla Levin 3door 1600GT APEX (AE86) 1983 (N100)
Crown Athlete G Safety Car (N300)
FT-1 (Gr.X)
FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo Gr.3 (Gr.3)
GR Supra Racing Concept (Gr.3)
GR Supra RZ 2020 (N400)
S-FR 2015 (N100)
Sprinter Trueno 3door 1600GT APEX (AE86) 1983 (N100)
TS030 Hybrid 2012 (Gr.1)
TS050 Hybrid Toyota Gazoo Racing 2016 (Gr.1)
Tundra TRD Pro 2019 (N400)

VOLKSWAGEN (7)
1200 1966 (N100)
Scirocco Gr.4 (Gr.4)
Golf VII GTI 2014 (N200)
GTI Roadster Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
GTI Supersport Vision Gran Turismo (Gr.X)
GTI Vision Gran Turismo Gr.3 (Gr.3)
Samba Bus Type 2 (T1) 1962 (N100)

ZAGATO (1)
IsoRivolta Vision GT 2017 (Gr.X)
 
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Cars are the stuff of dreams. Not only is the automotive industry a filthy rich affair, but so are the multi billion dollar industries that seek to emulate that experience for the common folk, what with a multitude of racing simulators across different platforms, and no shortage of wheels and peripherals to take that experience even further. Heck, reviewing cars is a dream job in and of itself, which is an experience I've personally sought to emulate for about the past thirteen months, though I don't really think I'm very professional with how I write, seeing as I tend to write more for myself than others, and thus my reviews tend to be long, drawn out, geeky crap no one can possibly be interested in reading. I also don't have to subtly advertise for manufacturers or fondle their testicles for them to provide me cars to review, nor do I have a realistic fear of souring working relationships with them. I think I've come to slowly realise that that's the selling point of something that isn't paid for: I get to be more of myself, try new things, and be as brash or cringey as I like to be without worrying about publishers, manufacturer relationships, and so on.

I have to admit, though, that reviewing cars in GT Sport is a little... disconcerting, sometimes. Dissatisfying. Like I'm missing a huge portion of what a car can convey to a driver and its owner. All we do is to take it around a desolate racetrack and run the crap out of them, which is yet another dream scenario, yes, but one that's also so selective, and in the grand scheme of things, almost pointless. After all, how much of even a sports car's lifetime is spent on a track? Even if you track it weekly, chances are, the vast majority of the time, it's bringing you places, sitting on your driveway, or even causing you grief. I feel like to judge a car based solely on how it performs on a track is a bit like falling in love with a rock star or AV actress, because I'm choosing to like or dislike a car based solely on an unrealistic scenario. Yes, it's a rock star, wow! But how is it to live with when it's not on stage, being a rock star? Will it make me pull my hair out? Will it be horrifically unreliable? Will it bankrupt me? Will it break my spine just for the hell of it? Does it have a fetish for sticking my head in a ditch? Wringing the crap out of cars is a lot of fun, and it's a huge factor in deciding if a performance oriented car is good or not. But I can't help but to wonder if I'm putting too much emphasis on something that's trivial and unattainable to most people, myself included. After all, that's the only metric I have in the game to assess cars. Maybe I'd really have loved some of the cars I wrote off in the past thirteen months if they had more of a chance to "talk" to me in person, to coexist with me. To show me all their quirks and features. Maybe then I'd come to understand them more, and find their shortcomings on the track more understandable. Hell, maybe I'd utterly despise an FD RX-7 if I ever got the chance to live with it. After all, a car is more than just on-track performance. If it can make you smile on the street, doing otherwise boring chores, then is that not just as valid an asset as being exhilarating to drive on a track, if not more?

I guess, in essence, what I'm trying to say is, what's a car like if I were to wake from this dream?


Hey, I figure, if I'm trying to make something of writing about cars, why not start my career in a Honda Fit Hybrid?

Now, before I get started singing praises for the car or ripping it a new one, there are a few things I need to mention: The first is that this is a 2019MY Fit Hybrid, and the Fit Hybrid that's represented in Gran Turismo Sport is a 2014. As such, there are some minor differences between the cars, which I'll get to later. Secondly, this is only a rental. I've no idea how badly it's been ragged on by the previous driver, or how meticulously babied it has been, and thus I don't know if the faults I note are a result of prior abuse. Third, my car seems to have the centre screen, which controls the nav and audio, replaced with a local aftermarket system, so I can't comment on how well the original JDM spec screen works, or how the speakers in this car sound like someone trying to give an eulogy in Minnie Mouse's voice through five plastic gas masks. Fourth, this appears to be a bone stock, basic as base model with zero options. I mean, for the love of all that can be considered dear and holy, I don't even get proper wheels on my car, instead having to make do with those hateful steel pieces, so don't ask me how well Honda SENSING or the rotating passenger seat works. And lastly, I really don't have much experience driving in the real world, so I can't really tell you how it compares to other sensible, realistic cars, and thus can't tell you how it stacks up against its competition, both from a sane and practical standpoint and a crazed performance standpoint. In essence, I'm just here to talk about my personal experience with the car.

So basically, there's a lot I don't know. Which is probably why it feels like nothing's really changed with this review. You still with me? Good.


The first thing about the Honda Fit Hybrid that catches the eyes of crazy people like us is its lean kerb mass: Electric vehicles are all sinfully heavy monstrosities, and you'd be forgiven if you thought that some of that would rub off onto a hybrid car, but at 1,080kg (2.381lbs), it's only 10 kilos (22lbs) heavier than a pure ICE Fit with the same engine displacement. Weighing in at less than the final Exige, the Honda Fit Hybrid barely even exists on the road among other sedans and "sports" cars, let alone SUVs and crossovers or whatever sub segment in a sub segment they'll come up with next. The featherweight mass of the car coupled with its well judged and easy-to-use power steering make the Fit come to hand and fit like a glove the moment you ease it out of a parking lot, filling the driver with confidence and trust with how intuitive and no frills, no strings attached it is to maneuver, and as with any hatchback, parking and reversing this car is as straightforward and easy as it gets. Even within a parking lot, the Fit already feels as if it were a 1/61 TOMICA toy car than an actual 1.1 ton car capable of killing somebody if mishandled.


But, don't let its diminutive size lull you into a premature conclusion that it's a spitefully slow econobox with a torturous and cramped interior; the Fit punches above its mass — almost literally — with a combined max output of 110+29.5=139.5PS (81+22=103kW) from its 1.5L Inline Four Petrol Engine and Electric Motor respectively, both of which hooked up at different ends to a 7 speed DCT to ensure a more than peppy punch — in an econobox! And if that's somehow not enough for you, the Hybrid variants can be specced with AWD if you're enough of a moron to squander away its two most outstanding strengths: it's featherweight mass and JC08 37.2km/ℓ fuel economy. And no, I'm not converting that into MPG for you; you Americans and Britons can go fight amongst yourselves to finally agree on how much a "gallon" is while the world moves on and live their lives with metric, 402.3m at a time.

But, surely a small and lightweight car has to be cramped on the inside? Maybe if you're Caucasian, sure, but the Fit is a perfect fit for us Asians, even the bulkiest and most unwieldy of us: e.g. me. I weigh 120kg and am about 175cm tall (265lbs, 5′ 7″), and I can even sit behind myself with more than a fist between my knees and the driver seat.


The Fit's 363ℓ boot may sound lacking in comparison to those of SUVs and even sedans, but it wastes little space with its mostly cuboid layout, and even a child could load and unload it with the tailgate opening at only about 600mm (2ft) off the ground (as measured by me, take with an unhealthy grain of salt), though they might struggle to get the tailgate closed if you do entrust your nine year olds with your mountain bikes, seeing as there's no power tailgate option to go along with your fancy UV shielding tint and "sporty" spoiler if you do choose to outfit your Fit with those to even out its 61/39 F/R weight distribution. Its large tailgate is cavernous enough to swallow folding wheelchairs, most of which will stow upright even without setting down the rear seats if you're willing to sacrifice most of your rear visibility, though even small golf bags will require some finessing to fit if you insist on keeping the rear seats up. Go get a 911 if golfing is your thing.


Beneath that almost flat boot floor, you get a small concealed cubby hole, and this is where the Hybrid and AWD versions of the car compromise on in comparison to the pure ICE cars, which have the largest under floor cubby holes because those don't have to accommodate battery packs, driveshafts and rear differentials. In fact, with the AWD car, you don't even get a under floor cubby hole; further proof that you really do have to be a moron to spec it if you don't absolutely need it. The Hybrid has a comparatively smaller cubby hole, but it's nonetheless very useful to stow away a cloth, bottles of disinfectant, some biscuits for a long journey, or even a tyre plug kit, because no Asian variant of the Fit gets a spare tyre to my knowledge. Or you could instead use that space to hide some adult video DVDs from your spouses and kids. I'm not judging.

Look at what the AWD Fit owners are losing out on!

To give such generous boot storage, the Fit's petrol tank is actually situated right under the front seats, instead of being at the rear like most family cars. This allows the rear seats to be set lower to the cabin floor, letting them fold flat and flush with the boot floor for some truly obscene swallowing capabilities (I need to get my mind out of the gutter after taking that photo above). Most Fits, regardless of being Hybrid, pure ICE, FF, or AWD, come (goddamnit) only with a 40ℓ tank, though the base Hybrid car — a.k.a. the one I have — only has a 32ℓ tank, for... reasons, I guess? Even then, with my very obnoxiously heavy body and a very unscientific mix of passengers spanning city driving, start stop jam creeping, and smooth highway cruising, I've always managed to attain well above 23km/ℓ on 95 RON gas, resulting in a range just north of 700km (435mi) before I've to refuel. Heck, because the fuel tank is so far away from the fuel cap in the rear, there might be about eight litres of pipe between the nozzle and the tank itself, because the fuel gauge doesn't start to dip until somewhere past 200km each drive, and even more if you fill it to the cap. Now, my phone constantly needs to be charged while I'm on the job, and I'm horrendously allergic to the inhumane heat of Singapore, which means that the car is always charging my phone and the air con is always working very hard. If you've no such needs and allergies while weighing half of what I do like a healthy adult should, you ought to get way better mileage than me even without much trying. If we were to extrapolate my 23km/ℓ onto a 40ℓ tank, that's easily 920km (572mi) of range right there, and why wouldn't you get a car with the 40ℓ tank? I can't seem to find where that 8ℓ of space goes in my car, aside from spiting me for being poor.

And now, for a joke that's so multi-cultured I'm sure only ONE person reading this will get it: "Jiayou shi te kudasai"

And don't think for a moment that it skimps on safety to bring you an easy-to-place exterior and roomy interior either, because it attained a five star NCAP rating in 2015. The Fit feels like a car that somehow, truly compromises on nothing while somehow being able to fit ample amounts of everything. Driving it has made me really question what exactly the hell other carmakers are doing with the space in their cars. "Why can't all cars be as good a package as this?", I wonder all the time in my Fit. If you've heard Gordon Murray talk about the minuscule T.50 Hyper GT car, he states that "I think car design is packaging. I really do. I'm not talking styling; I'm talking actual design of the car. You know, 20 years in Formula 1 teaches you how to shrink wrap." It might be a hell of a stretch to say this, but I truly think the Fit is the econobox version of that. But you don't have to take my unprofessional word to be convinced that the Fit is a one size fits all car to suit every need of the common folk; all you need to do is to take away its excellent visibility, a big chunk of its fuel efficiency, jack it up a bit, make it a tad bit bigger on the outside and somehow smaller on the inside, and give it nonsensical plastic fenders for the Fit to pass off as an omnipresent eyesore of an "SUV". I really think you'd need to be mentally challenged, drunk, high, and with a fresh blunt force trauma to your head to buy a Vezel, a "car" that's based on the Fit, but worse in every measurable aspect.


*cough* sorry, that rant had been pent up in me for a very long time.

It's light. It's powerful. It's extremely economical. It's roomy. It's safe. And it has yet to give me any me any trouble thus far aside from speeding tickets and a blown front right position light. With prices starting at ¥1.74 million for the base Hybrid model (about 15,895USD at the time of writing), it's cheap to buy and even cheaper to run. Is the Fit the perfect car for the common folk and crazed enthusiasts alike?

...maybe not so much for the latter. In fact, even the former might find some problems with it.


While on paper, the Fit is seemingly the perfect car with unbelievable bang for your buck, this is unfortunately still the real world, and compromise has to exist somewhere in a cheap product. Just like an Evo, what you gain in performance pyros for your pound, you lose in equal measure in the interior. While the fit is good, the finish of it... not so much. There isn't a single surface in the interior of the Fit that feels any more expensive, premium, or engineered than it needs to be simply to function and nothing else. Every surface that isn't interacted with when driving is hollow, noisy plastic that you can drum out Master of Puppets on, most of which will bend with even moderate force applied. Even that metallic looking chunk on the steering wheel that seems lifted straight out of a 200k USD NC1 "nsx" is barely coated, hollow plastic.


The only closing storage compartment is the glovebox on the passenger side, which means that if, say, you're renting a Fit to be a glorified taxi driver, you've nowhere to keep your fat stacks of cash to cater to the clowns that still choose to transact with cash post-2020, aside from literally having to reach in between their legs, resisting the urge to gouge out their reproductive organs in the process. There's only one option for non fabric seats in the car, so the vast majority of Fits will be fitted with cloth covered seats, which means that customers drenched in sweat, rain, or both will effectively put an end to your stint for hours until it dries, and pets and drunkards are all the more disconcerting to have on board. And, this might be a very recent problem even my 2019MY car couldn't have been engineered to deal with, but cloth seats are a pain in the butt to disinfect, as even spray based disinfectants leave a rather unpleasant, damp feeling in the fabric surfaces. Also, if your kids are aspiring to be the world's next Rob Van Dam, best tie them up and chuck them in the boot, because these seats don't feel like they've much structure to them at all, transmitting each kick with the tactility and precision the rack and pinion electric steering could only dream of possessing.


The only good thing I can say about the interior is how it's absolutely flooded with cup/ bottle holders: two in the transmission tunnel, one bottle holder in each door, two under the centre console positioned perfectly for a drink to block off your power outlet, and one more on the driver's side in the perfect position to block an air con vent. Understandable, seeing as you'll probably convert four bottles of water into four bottles of pee before having to stop at a petrol station with the ridiculous range this car gets with just a 32ℓ fuel tank.


Speaking of air con vents, it doesn't have any in the rear. As previously mentioned, Singapore is a horrifically, inhumanely hot country all year round, and I've had more than a few customers request that I turn up the air con more because they're hot in the rear seats. What this results in is that the front occupants have to freeze for the rear occupants to be comfortable, and the air con has to work harder and make more noise to please everybody while increasing the risk of the windows fogging up at night with the temperature differential, requiring the use of the demisters, both of which will make more than a dent on your excellent fuel economy. And while on the subject of noise, the Fit feels barely insulated as a whole. You really do need to be picky with which tyres to fit on your Fit, because the wrong ones will make conversation completely impossible at highway speeds, where the omnipresent drone of the road noise becomes nothing less than a savage, constant roar to quell any attempts at communication on anything but the most freshly paved of asphalt — a rarity here in Singapore, given how often our roads are torn up and repaved, and thus don't have much effort put into them. I don't even bother with music or podcasts when driving in the Fit, not because the engine note is a holy orchestra (it isn't), but because the road noise completely drowns out any audio you play on the expressways anyway, not unless you want to pump up the volume loud enough to tangibly rock every thin plastic surface in the car.


The suspension of the car... works, I guess? The Fit is a small car after all, so it's inevitable that it'd get tossed around by road imperfections and become a medieval torture device on the cobblestone driveways of condominiums rich people pay to suffer through in their DB11s. The car transmits the ebb and flow of every single grain of asphalt with shocking clarity into the cabin, so much so you can feel every iota of imperfection as vibrations in the cabin floor and steering wheel, which I suppose is a nice substitute for actual steering feel in this video gamey electric rack and pinion setup, which offers feel barely better than what my entry level Logitech G29 can manage on a simcade that is Gran Turismo Sport. The rears are awful Torsion Beams, and aside from being crashy, they give a very odd, disconcerting sensation over certain bumps if you go over them at the right angle and speed: I feel the rear of the car... sways around sometimes. It almost feels like the wheels have camber pulled and pushed into them over bumps, creating some yaw angle in the rear while the fronts stay straight and true, resulting in a sensation that feels like the car is trying to sift poop from your intestines onto the cloth seats, and that's felt at sane, sensible speeds from the driver's seat in the front! I can't imagine what that must feel like as a rear occupant. I'm not sure how the De Dion rear axle feels like in the AWD variants of the car, but if they're any better than this awful setup, the De Dions by themselves constitute the aforementioned "absolute need" for an AWD as far as I'm concerned.


Okay, but as the Evo proves, crazed enthusiasts will happily put up with a plastic prison if the performance is good enough, right? Yeeeeeah, about that...

One would think that any road car that makes it through the 6 months of work PD goes through to fit a car into the barren car list of an e-sports focused title like Gran Turismo Sport would be exhilarating to drive, or be historically significant. Something like a 911 or a Roadster, perhaps, or even the aforementioned Evo. While the Fit seems to fit the bill with its impressive power to mass ratio, everything else about the car dynamically falls flatter than its boot floor. First of all, the car doesn't even have a permanent tachometer, and can we please just agree that any car that doesn't have a tach front, centre, and large should automatically be disqualified from consideration for being sporty? In the Fit, you actually have to go digging for the tachometer in the display to the right of the speedometer, and even then, I suspect even Stephen Wiltshire would have a hard time discerning how much revs the engine is doing at any given instant just from a quick glance at THIS:


And it's not like the dash is starved for space, either; there's a huge circle in the middle of the speedometer that's just black and unused. You'd think they could've made a digital speedo in that space and used what's now the speedo as a tach. Somehow I get the feeling that whoever did the stellar job of packaging the mechanical bits of the car weren't in charge of the dash, because there's so much wasted space in the centre I could almost stick a whole post-it note there without obscuring anything.


While I've already ragged on the cloth seats earlier (aha, get it?), they're awful not only for your average driver, but they're even worse still for the enthusiast; the seats in this car feel to be engineered entirely for safety, cost effectiveness, and being an easy fit for most shapes and sizes of people, with no regard for actual support. The headrests are steadfast in preventing whiplash in the event of a collision, and thus jut out obtrusively against your head, meaning I can't ever lean back on the headrests and relax at red lights. On long driving stints, head, neck, and shoulder aches are not a rarity; they're to be expected. During hard cornering, you best hold onto dear life and clamp your butt cheeks HARD on however much of the cloth seat you can fit in between, because the only thing that seems mildly interested in keeping you in place is the seatbelt, and as such, your body will let go way before even the crappiest of economy tyres.


Okay, sure, the seats are easy to swap out. The throttle response, mapping, and pedal placement, not so much I suspect. While the Fit on paper punches above its mass as previously mentioned, in practice, it'd struggle to even overtake my lingering regrets and persistent fantasies about my high school sweetheart. You would think that the free breathing engine coupled with the lightning immediacy of an electric motor would give throttle response better than those of an S2000 or an EK9, but in reality, that couldn't be further from the truth. I swear to god the freaking throttle mapping changes with speed, making you travel farther and farther down the pedal for the same amount of power, while increasing the resistance to pedal travel with speed as well, making it that much more a strenuous chore to squeeze a downshift out of the car. Due to the whack throttle mapping, varying resistance, and stereotypical reluctance to downshift in every AT car, I often end up sandbagging the fast lane or shoot out like a misfit whom puberty had just found when I attempt to pass someone at an expressway. You could do your taxes in the time it takes the car to finally cave in and begrudgingly give you a downshift and power, with a side of plasticky whining from the transversely mounted Inline 4. All this reluctance, and I don't even engage Eco Mode in my daily drives! Eco Mode really doesn't feel like it does anything other than screw with your throttle mapping even further, because I don't really notice an increase in my fuel economy when I just stab the throttle harder for the power I need. Sport Mode isn't very good for city driving, because it ensures that the ICE never turns off, and it'd hold onto a gear long after it's needed, like how I held onto my ex sweetheart long after she got her birthday gift from me. And just like my ex, the Fit can adopt multiple personalities at once: it can engage both Eco Mode and Sport Mode... simultaneously. I don't even.


Happily however, you can better request for power with manual shifting via paddle shifters in the Fit, as they are available as standard... for the "S" grades of them, with no other grade even getting the option for paddles. The S grade, by the way, isn't even the grade represented in Gran Turismo Sport, meaning that the Fit in the game doesn't have paddle shifters either, despite its in-game description literally cockteasing you by mentioning them. I don't suppose it's a big deal to your average buyer, but when all Hybrid Vezels come with them no questions asked, it really does call into question why the car the Vezel is based on doesn't have that luxury. Besides, if you're a try-hard enthusiast whose dad drives a Citroën Berlingo that actually has paddle shifters... it really, really, really stings to not have them on your "sporty" car.


While the throttle pedal is a mess to operate, the touch controls of the centre console is another level of infuriating altogether. If you've waded through the cesspool that is my Taycan "review", you'd know I have a burning, passionate hatred towards touch controls in a car, which is only solidified further in the Fit. The long and short of it is that, to operate a touch control, you have to take your eyes off the road for an extended period of time to visually locate the control you want, when, with a physical button or dial, you could easily feel for them and get instant, tactile feedback when you've done the thing you wanted to do, all without once taking your eyes off the road. I almost feel like someone at Honda knows that touchscreens in a car are stupid, but are pressured by upper management to include them because of part sharing or having to look hip and trendy or something. I mean, one doesn't even have to look far to find evidence of this: the important buttons, like the Park, Sport, Power, Folding Mirrors, Window Switches, Traction Control, and Hazard buttons are all physical buttons, and as such they become so intuitive they become second nature after a few weeks with the car, yet the air con, radio, demisters, and nav systems are all touch screens or surfaces. I never feel it safe to operate them on the move even to this day, and even when at a standstill, I often touch something with my stray ring finger when trying to fangle something with my middle finger, resulting in cultivating a habit of literally flipping my poor rear view mirror the bird every time I want to operate the air con. Also, for some dog poop reason, the entire touch surface almost seems to magnetise dust to it, and on such a glossy, black surface, the dust becomes just as painfully obvious as the actual controls.


Indulge me for a second more on this rant, okay? If someone at Honda truly believed that touch surfaces are the best way to control something, why wouldn't the shift lever be touch controlled, instead of being a physical stalk? Why wouldn't they make the steering wheel a touch surface that requires you to draw circles along the wheel instead of turning it to steer the car? Because it's stupid! My time with the Fit has fueled my burning hatred for touch controls in a car so much, I think I might hate them more than pure EVs that attempt to pass off as sports cars.


...but that's also partially because my time with the Fit has mellowed me out on my opinion on EVs in general. In fact, my time with the Fit makes me wish EVs would replace ICE cars as the mode of transport for the common folk. Outside of Sport mode, the Fit moves off from a standstill up to 15km/h using only the electric motor, with the ICE kicking in thereafter unless you happen to be Mother Teresa reincarnated into a ballerina of a water strider with your footwork. As I spend more time with my Fit, the more of a game it becomes to me as to how long I can go without engaging the ICE, because there is a lot going on under the hood of the Fit Hybrid, and you'll sometimes catch it sleeping, making it trip over itself. I think most of us as drivers, especially those who have spent most of their time in manuals, have a habit of "rolling into" the throttle and brake pedal to drive smoothly. However, the Fit hates this, because it seems to think you can't make up your mind as to how much power you want, and it will always throw a hissy fit in protest while begrudgingly giving you the power you request late, especially around the magical tip over point around 15km/h, which is annoyingly the speed that I take most speed humps at, making them that much more a literal pain in the butt than they already are. If you lift off just as the ICE engages, engine braking will jerk the car for a few cycles before the gearbox comes to its senses and gives you smooth, gentle regen braking in lieu of engine braking. The car as a whole likes consistency and gentleness, and as with any non learning machine, requires you to learn in its stead about its ins and outs. But, if you can learn how to accommodate its programming, it can be a truly smooth drive, the likes of which no one from the passenger seats can reasonably lay any complaints against. However, because it requires such deliberately smooth (and slow) inputs, it's almost like an emotional mirror, for the better or worse. I find that if I'm ticked off or flustered when behind the wheel, the drivetrain of the Fit tends to beat me up for it, and it's perhaps a good sign I need to take a break, step out, stretch, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. But of course, that's an experience very specific to me; if you've toenails made of Osmium, the Fit might not be a good fit for you.


At a standstill with charge, the engine is completely shut off, resulting in some peaceful and much needed silence from all the noise the Fit doesn't insulate from you on the move. When moving off, the power is delightfully instant and linear. Experience this enough, and you take it for granted, almost forgetting what an ICE feels and sounds like at idle until it's forced to come online to recharge the batteries. That's when, for the first time in my life, I loathed that feeling of a pure ICE powering my car. When you do run out of electric juice, the car isn't programmed to anticipate the occasion, and thus for about half a second, you get a sudden, neck snapping retarding force as the gearbox seemingly tries to engage an engine that hasn't even started, almost as if it's using your wheel speeds to jump start the engine instead of the starter motors, and needless to say, it's a horrible experience, and one that you've no way of preparing for or anticipating unless you literally keep one eye glued to the powertrain display at all times, which is dangerous and stupid. When the engine comes on to recharge the batteries, attempting to move off gives you yet another set of throttle mapping and response to learn and deal with, and in comparison to even the puny 29HP from the electric motor, the 108HP ICE from its barely awake 2,000rpm charging speed is simply woeful when having to split whatever power it sputters out near idle to propel the car and charge its batteries. At speed however, the car is seamlessly smooth at all times, with shifts from the 7 speed DCT being appreciably quick, and the drive loss being masked by the electric motor ensuring power output to the wheels isn't disrupted. So unnoticeable at speed are the transitions from hybrid power, pure EV power, and the ICE multi tasking that even I as the driver don't notice them unless I look at the display, and just like any other car, the Hybrid Fit likes highway cruising the most, as that ensures it always has ample charge in its batteries, unlike with city start stop driving.


I feel like I've been drinking cheap, supermarket beer all this time with internal combustion engines. I know exactly what I'm looking for in a beer. I know which brands I like and which I don't, and I'd be more than glad to tell the world about it. But, finally experiencing electric power in the Fit is almost like I had my first bottle of smooth Whiskey, and from then on my world is forever changed, and I can't ever find that same admiration I had for supermarket beers, even the best of them. Electric power is quite literally in another class of its own, the likes of which no econobox engine and gearbox pairing can possibly hope to compete with, no matter how advanced technology becomes.


With all these complications tied to one pedal, the throttle pedal in the Fit honestly feels nothing more like a mild, gentle suggestion for what the car should do, instead of an absolute command like what enthusiasts want in a sporty car. It's only when I drove a Hybrid that combined two worlds while letting me experience the pros and cons of both did I find myself surprisingly preferring electric power to internal combustion, because if it means everyone can have this smoothness, this quietness, this linearity, and this precision that no econobox engine and gearbox can give, I'm all for electric power. Of course, I still don't think pure EVs are good for sports cars, but driving the Fit has made me really curious and excited about the Honda e of all things.


Thankfully, the brake pedal is still pretty straightforward mechanically, and doesn't suffer any odd mapping issue like the throttle pedal. The only slight complaint I have against it is that it's positioned juuuust a tad too high off the floor for my liking, and annoyingly for a car that's more electrical than mechanical, the only way to adjust the pedal height seems to be with nuts and pliers, which I'm not willing to risk in a rental (translation: I'm lazy and have no skill). Now, with running shoes and right foot braking, the brake pedal is in the perfect position, don't get me wrong. But when I'm off the clock and in sandals, I do like to drive barefoot because I'M AN ENTHUSIAST and I like that feeling of BEING ONE WITH MY CAR!!! That's when I like to left toe brake, because I feel it's safer with lessened reaction time in the off chance things come to that, and my left foot not doing anything just feels weird and lonely, okay?! I have to set up my left sandal just so to support my heel just so my toe can reach the brake pedal, because the brake pedal feels a bit pushed out to lessen the time taken for a right foot to transition from the accelerator to the brake pedal, and thus there's an expectation that the foot is lifted when it happens. When you want to left foot brake though, your left foot is always resting on the brake pedal itself, and it's just not built with the ergonomic consideration of supporting a foot that's resting on the floor. I know most people don't left foot brake, and that all cars come with top mounted pedals. It's just... after you've owned a G29 for 6 years, it's really hard to understand why top mounted pedals are the norm.


How is it to drive at ten tenths, then? Well, I can't really tell you that from real life experience, because nowhere in Singapore can you legally go over 90km/h, and you'd be hard pressed to find a desolate stretch of road to test the cornering prowess of a car without another car or police camera waiting around the corner in the second most densely populated country... *ah-hem* in the world. And so I can only do what I usually do, which is to flog the car around in Gran Turismo Sport and tell you what it feels like from there.


As mentioned earlier, the Fit in Gran Turismo Sport is a 2014 Hybrid model. Puzzlingly for a car that is in the barren car roster of Gran Turismo Sport seemingly only as a marketing exercise, the Fit in this game appears to be the "L" grade in FF configuration, just one step down from the sportiest "S", which means it has unwelcome buttons on the steering wheel, plasmacluster ion air filtration, LED headlights, Honda SENSING safety things... zzz... o-oh, hello, what was I doing? Oh, was I writing a car review? That's weird, I've never fallen asleep writing before.


Aside from this, the 2014 Fit has slightly different bumpers, lights, and less colours to choose from. Sadly, this generation of Fits as a whole is my least favourite stylistically, being way too over designed with complicated lines, creases, angles, and meaningless aggression, all while having the gall to drop the single most manliest colour in all of recorded human history, Iris Red Pearl, from the colour list. I at least prefer my 2019 car to the 2014, because the 2014 has obnoxious angular vents on both the front and rear bumpers, all of which are fake. As if fake vents and intakes aren't offensive enough on their own, they feel like they're there to make the Fit fit into the design language of the NC1 "nsx", and that's a car that I would be better off not envisioning any more than I need to. Yes, my car has fake vents in the front as well, but if you don't like them, you can at least spec fog lights to make them disappear completely. My car is coated with the subtly beautiful Midnight Bluebeam, which is a new colour offered on Fits 2015-2020. It's an extremely dark shade of blue, with sparkly, multicoloured flakes visible only in the strongest of neutral lighting, and impossible for my phone's camera to photograph. Luckily, B3 Dark Flakes S in the game replicates not only the hue, but the sparkles in the real car almost perfectly, though it does seem to be a lot shinier than my car (maybe I ought to wash and polish mine more). Most importantly I think, the 2014 Fit has sliiiightly worse fuel economy than the facelifted 2015 models — not that it'd matter much in this game I suspect, seeing as the game estimates I had enough fuel for almost 15 laps of Nürburgring 24h flat out (no idea how much fuel the game dumps into all cars by default, probably 100ℓ). And trust me when I say that you're not going to sit through 15 laps of even Horse Thief Mile in this thing.


As you can probably already tell from the lack of people writing about it, the Fit is pretty bland to drive at ten tenths. There isn't much more to the experience aside from pointing it in a direction and stabbing the throttle pedal completely through, because on even the slightest of uphills, the Fit will struggle to do any more than to hold onto its current speed, even with charge in the batteries. If you've played racing sims for any length of time, it would have long since become a habit that you steer the car tighter towards the inside when initially putting power down past the apex of a turn, anticipating the understeer that grows when the car picks up speed. In the Fit, that's completely nonexistent, because there's no speed and no power, so oftentimes you can actually carry more speed into a turn than any other car, seeing as you can take a wider line on exit with no penalty. Just like it behaves on public roads, the Fit on the track offers a very basic, easy to maneuver driving experience well suited for beginners to learn the ins and outs of driving with. The most it will ask of you as a driver is when you overspeed into a corner and the car pushes wide with understeer, and even then, there isn't much else to it other than backing off the throttle and waiting for grip to return, which doesn't take very long with the car's lightness and excellent brakes. I guess the A Pillars in the car are just in the right position to block your line of sight to many right turn apexes, such as Tsukuba Turn 1. Turn your head a little when the time comes, I guess. Couldn't be that hard, right?


One thing that remains a highlight even when translated over to the digital realm is, of course, its featherweight mass. At the aforementioned 1,080kg, unchanged from the 2019MY car I have, the Fit is a properly agile car to toss around in corners. It'd take the crappiest of Comfort tyres and the most challenging of corners down Brock's Skyline for the Fit's front mass bias to translate into understeer, even with meager 185 sections at all four corners. The suspension setup is surprisingly taut, allowing very little body movement even under hard driving, while being stiff enough to appreciate even Sports tyres unlike most cheap cars in the game. Unlike in real life, the Torsion Beams in the rear don't seem to present any noticeable problems in the game, nor are the abysmal seats and pedal mapping any issue. Plus, in the game, you can even manually shift the Fit with the power of your mind! So athletic and zippy is the digital Fit that it makes a comparable Mazda of all things feel like a cumbersome sack of riders and horses to haul around in comparison.



When driving yet another rental, a turbo diesel 6MT Demio for the race at Miyabi this week, I was getting outgunned on the straights and corners... well, "corner", I suppose is more accurate, seeing as you only need to brake once in the entire sub 1 minute lap in these lightweight compacts. In the above embedded video, after a good launch in the Mazda, I was constantly getting swamped and swatted away by the mob of angry Fits, all the way up to a sharp tipping over point in lap 4 where the Fits all ran out of battery power, allowing my dirty diesel car to catch back up to them. However, even in this state, the Fits still proved to be fighting fit, as there's no taking away their cornering advantage, and they still do regen some charge on Turn 4, allowing them to harass my Demio up to most of the home straight. I specifically chose to bring out a wildcard car (a wildcar...? Anyone...? No?) on a track like Miyabi, because I think it brings out most clearly the inherent shortcoming of any Hybrid car, especially one that's set up for generic street use and not tailored for a specific track like Le Mans.


At only 108HP from a 1.5L however, the Fit's power output is so tragic without its electric juice that, if I could adequately describe it with words, I could instead write the next Violet Evergarden or Clannad storylines instead of wasting weeks of my life writing this review for free. The 1.5L pure ICE Fits, such as the sportiest RS, only make about 8HP less than the combined output of the Hybrid cars, while weighing 10kg less. The big difference here is that a pure ICE car will always have that power and always weigh less, so if you're looking for a track weapon in the compact car class, it's paramount to take into consideration what circuit you're running on, and for how long; the Hybrid cars will arguably be faster for a (very) short sprint, but for anything else? Go with a pure ICE.


The eagerness of its lightness will surprise many for the first few corners, but after that, the novelty wears off quick, and there's nothing else even remotely exciting about its driving dynamics to help pad out the experience. While its driving dynamics do quickly get stale, the fact that it was even capable of putting a smile on my face for the first five minutes of hard driving is commendable in its own right. Not to mention, it nonetheless provided us with some of the most heated, nail biter, down to the wire racing in our weekly meetups.



All this for a car that does all the daily, boring crap so exceedingly well, while being more reliable than some paperweights, make the Fit a hell of a bit of kit that I would heartily recommend to anyone without any hesitation.

I can't argue that the Fit is about one of the most boring cars you can drive in this game. I can't romanticise the car, saying how its so full of character, soul, or misunderstood quirks. I don't love it in the way I do an FD RX-7 or NA NSX, but I'd sooner forget my phone at home than my car key, even if I'm not planning to drive. It's a reliable tool that never asks for anything in return for its servitude aside from sips of fuel and routine servicing. It's a tool that has become a part of my body, my being, my mindset. And that I think is something that's too easy to take for granted and be blissfully ungrateful for until the day when I lose it, just like the pen that has seen me through a decade of education, written down my answers to my most important exams, and even been lent to my sweethearts before. In the same way, this Fit has opened up so many doors for me, personally and professionally, physically and emotionally. I've eaten meals in it, I've slept in it. I spend almost all my waking hours in it. I've transported patients and nurses to and from hospitals in these hateful times. I've met so many energetic furbabies and their proud parents because of my job. My job has allowed me to explore and get to know better my home country of Singapore, while giving me the perfect excuse to give you guys a peek at this beautiful country. If I can't make it on time for our Wednesday afternoon races, most likely I'm still driving around in it, being baked alive. I've managed to help haul my friends and family around in times of need, circumventing the need for gross public transport in times of COVID, and has allowed me to sneak out of the house for psychotherapy sessions unbeknownst to them.

Don't mind the awkward pose; the surface of the car is hot enough to sublimate eggs.

As irrational and out of place in a review as it may be, the only way I know of to express my gratitude for such a tool- no, such a car, is to tell the whole world all I know about it and my experiences with it, topped with an unhealthy amount of cheese and cringe. Its name, the "Fit", can simultaneously be the perfect description of the car or a misnomer, and its petite silhouette tends to lead people into thinking the latter until they load up the car and sit in it, only to realise how wrong they were about the car. In a similar way, I think I have been lulled into thinking that this unassuming Fit wouldn't do much for me, someone who thinks he's so critical, picky, philosophical, and irreversibly spoiled by video games and delusions of grandeur. Yet, slowly but surely, this "little" Honda has stirred my soul so deeply that I really did need to pause and take a deep, deep look into myself and the car to realise it, and it's only when I was allowed to choose it for Car of the Week could I have convinced myself to take this pause and reflect. In other words, in my own, weird way that I don't quite understand yet myself, I feel the need to proclaim publicly, "I love it". That, and thank you everyone for the past thirteen months of close, clean racing, and most importantly, the warm acceptance I've enjoyed as well.


I don't usually give "Beater or Sleeper" verdicts in my reviews, because I think cars fall into a lot more categories than just those two can fit (plus, I'm not even sure what the heck Beater or Sleeper is actually supposed to mean. Surely it means more than just "good" and "bad"?). For the Fit however, I think I'll bestow both titles of Beater and Sleeper onto it, as it's a car you can beat on as a daily, yet will pleasantly surprise many both on the public roads and on a track. In fact, I think a Fit of some generation in some trim with some subtle mods has just driven itself into my dream garage, for when I don't want any attention, I don't want any hassle, I don't want to refuel, and I just want to get into a car that just quietly and assuredly works every time to fit most needs while still being receptive to being hustled through bends. And, you know what? Midnight Bluebeam is the perfect colour for that as well.

 
This weeks car reminds me of an animated show on Nickelodeon which was a modern take of the classic Speed Racer TV show. The front end of this car made me think of the Mach 6 from the show but really this car is the creation of the Italian brand Zagato. Zagato had designed a bunch of amazing cars for different car companies in Europe such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and few others. This week we are taking a look at the Zagato IsoRivolta Zagato VGT. This weeks car is chosen by @AgentBlackDog

zagato-isorivolta-vision-gran-turismo-concept_100630331_l.jpg
 
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Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a very important public service announcement: don't waste a million of your credits on the Zagato Isowhatever TGV.

RUF tunes Porsches, but also builds cars from the ground up using body in whites. That qualifies them as a manufacturer of their own cars with unique VINs. RE Amemiya may "just" be a tuner, but even they do more than slap on a wild body kit and laugh all the way to the bank. Hell, if you're familiar with their more elaborate works, you'd hesitate to call the tuned end result by the same name as the car on which it's based. Also, they've won GT300 in 2006. The hell does Zagato do?

If I hadn't Wikipedia-ed it prior to writing this, I'd have sworn "coachbuilding" meant building buses, because that's what the Issoreviling feels like to drive. It may pack 559HP (417kW) and weigh 1,150kg (2,535lbs), which are very impressive numbers, but knowing Italian automakers, that's probably its dry mass. The long wheelbase of the car, much like a bus, makes it understeer on every corner entry, and if you turn the wheel too hard, regardless of whether you have power applied or not, it invites the rear end to swing out without warning... like a bus. But unlike a bus, the Issorevolting absolutely despises kerbs and other road imperfections, which will make it do 180° spins with the ferocity and immediacy of my mind when I think of all the other things my million credits could've gone to instead of this.

The in-game description mentions how Zagato has a history of marrying Italian styling with American power, but the car in question has a freaking Nissan engine in it. No, not even a Datsun, not even an Infiniti; a Nissan engine, plain and simple. I thought Vision Gran Turismo cars are supposed to be just that: a vision. A fantasy. How in the hell does compromise exist in a vision?! Maybe the folks who designed this are blind, because as one might expect from a company that only does exterior body panels for cars, styling is the only thing they sell themselves on, yet the "sensual" Italian styling just looks like a tasteless Hot Wheels car blown up to 1:1 scale. And just like a Hot Wheels toy car, the interior is as empty as the promise of American power, except it isn't a Hot Wheels toy car; it's a "car" made from the ground up for the PS4 generation of games that still doesn't have an interior. I know Zagato only builds exteriors and not interiors nor mechanicals, but come on! Why the hell are they in this game again? Why are they considered a manufacturer? Why would anyone pay a million credits for this crap? You could've bought a Viper. A Huracán. An R35 GT-R. Hell, you could've bought ALL of them and still have more than half a mill of change left over to buy condolences cards for the fool who spent his own hard earned credits on this, because even the Daily Workout Reward roulette wheel knows giving anyone this thing for free is going too far.

So horrible was the car that, even when we dedicated an entire afternoon of racing to it, hardly anyone wanted to drive it. Only Racer stalwartly stuck to that rubbish car, when quite literally everyone else looked for alternatives to it. If you want American power, go with a Corvette. Italian styling? A Ferrari. If you want both, you need a tight slap across your face. If you want to be smart, though, just buy literally any Gr.3 car, which cost a mere fraction of what this does, and is much more relevant, while being much, much nicer to drive. Some of them are even really pretty to look at! In particular, the Renault Sport R.S. 01 similarly uses a Nissan engine (the R35's, in fact), places it in the middle, and only makes you deal with the oversteering half of the problems the Zagato presents. If you're looking for a much easier drive and/or a long wheelbase, sexy car, the RX-Vision GT3 has you completely covered like a coachbuilt body, providing you with some of the most sensational driving experiences you'll find in road and race cars alike, while nonchalantly outrunning the Issoretarded as a casual hobby. Oh, is it not fair to compare a racing car on slicks to a road car? Yeah, well, we ran the race cars on sports tyres and they still destroyed the Zagato. Also, can you find the reverse lights and license plates for the Zagato? You know what else a road car needs? A FREAKING INTERIOR.

This week has entirely been a waste of time and money. Now, back to writing a review of the brilliant S660, which I'll take over this hunk of junk.
 
I do not own a Zagato myself, so I spent the session looking for something that could keep up while being around the Zagato’s power and weight. The GTI Supersport was an understeery mess, while the Lancer Gr.B Road Car handled well, but just didn’t have the speed to keep up at Tokyo East even with max power and min weight.

The Epson NSX (with power at 109%) absolutely destroyed the Zagato at Brands Hatch by about 4 seconds per lap, to the point that Vic politely asked me to run something else. The Renault RS01 GT3 kept Vic’s Zagato honest at Brands, but was a total mess at Suzuka.

The less said about the Veyron Gr.4, the better. And the Peugeot VGT Gr.3 completely dumped the Zagato at Laguna Seca despite being slightly heavier and making slightly less power than the Zagato when set to 100% power/weight.

It’s not a good sign for the Car of the Week when the lobby quickly descends into a free-for-all, bring whatever fits into the power/weight limits.
 
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In defence of the Zagato, My lack of driving it was partly down to handicapping my self for Bop reasons. :P

It is a nice car to drive and one of the quicker ‘tamer’ VGT’s out there (others being the Alpine VGT’s, Nissan VGT etc.), but I couldn’t help but notice something when doing some quick research.

In game, it’s got a 4.5 litre V8 making 559hp, but according to a Top Gear article which came out shortly before the car debuted in game, it had a twin turbo 6.2 Chevy V8 making pretty much 1000hp. :odd:

So had it being dialed back or was it always gonna be the 4.5 V8?

In any case, I’d spend 1 million on it again if/when it comes to GT7. ;)

The Infiniti VGT however..

Well the less I’d say the better, but don’t buy it if you’re leaving it bone stock, you’ll hate yourself for it. :ouch:

BMW VGT was quite nice too. 👍

Zagato Verdict: Sleeper 👍
Infiniti Verdict: Beater 👎
BMW Verdict: Sleeper 👍
 
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The Honda S660 is a pure driver's car.


Let's be honest here, you aren't buying this Kei car for the reduced tax in Japan; at nearly 2 million Yen base (about 18,150 USD at the time of writing), you aren't saving much money even with a JC08 fuel economy of 21.2km/ℓ. And if you actually bought the only model that deserves your money, i.e. the 6 speed manual, you're going to want to keep this 658cc turbocharged three cylinder near it's 8,000rpm redline anyway, like any good Honda. You sure aren't buying this thing for practicality, either, because the view out the front of this thing feels like wearing a helmet two sizes too big for your head, the view out the back will trigger complex PTSD of staring down the sight of a rifle for some, the boot looks to be custom made to fit a tiny Ukulele and nothing more, and you get a grand total of ONE drink holder in the cramped cabin of the car. You sure as hell aren't buying this for the speed; a base model Honda Fit Hybrid with seven more drink holders would make the S660 feel like an S60 around Tsukuba, a tight, technical track often used to test low powered cars. And unlike a Porsche or a Ferrari, you can't even buy this thing just for the street cred of owning an expensive, exotic sports car either, because no potential life partner is going to take a look at someone driving an MR car with a 2,285mm (90in) wheelbase and think to themselves, "yes, I do think this person will give me the sense of security and stability I need in a relationship! Let's make babies together right this instant!"


The only, only reason you buy an S660 because it is --BLEEP--ing brilliant to drive.

Tony described the handling characteristics of the RX500 from Week 133 as such: "The handling is wonderful. It feels like it has no vices. The steering is perfect, it has all the good bits of an MR design with no downsides. When it breaks it does so gently and you can mitigate it." I think he either misspelled "S660", or just hadn't driven one yet, because the way he described the RX500 sums up my thoughts on the S660 perfectly. After having driven a Honda Beat, I was utterly convinced that there is no way, no way in hell a MR Kei car would be something that's even safe to drive, let alone fun. Yet, not only is the S660 superbly planted in any situation, but it will also outrun even the most expertly driven of Beats despite having the same power on paper and weighing more. This car... I can't even describe it. I don't claim to even understand it. But it is flipping magic both in the things it can do and the way it can make you feel.


With a 45:55 weight distribution, this rear mid engined car is shockingly balanced. The front end slices into the apex of a corner without any ambiguity or hesitation, and the rear end never threatens any shenanigans. Despite this, the rear end of the car can be wonderfully cooperative with rotating the car if you do decide to be boorish with your engine braking and steering inputs, while always being within an arm's reach of returning to the straight and narrow — almost literally. I legitimately have no idea how Honda engineers have managed to imbue a short wheelbase MR car with such confidence inspiring, intuitive handling. I know it has 195 section tyres in the rear. I know it has McPherson Struts all four corners. I know it has astounding chassis rigidity. I know it has some brake vectoring thing. I know it's supposed to have some flip up spoiler that doesn't work in the game. But even considering all this, it's still hard to wrap my head around this little package of what can only be described as magic. The edges of the car are so close to you as a driver, they feel as intuitive and easy to understand as a tool right at your fingertips. This car is so easy to place, so fun to pry and burrow through small gaps in traffic with, it's almost like a motorcycle, and it encourages almost the same recklessness as one as well. It's such a toy, this thing.


The engine, despite losing out on the traditional purity of being Naturally Aspirated like Honda's best sports cars, is nonetheless a treat to experience and operate. Sure, the sound is muffled a bit, but it makes peak torque of 104 N⋅m (76.7lbf⋅ft) at lazy 2,500rpm while making drivers work it hard for its peak power of 63HP (47kW) at 7,000rpm, resulting in an engine that, unlike the high revving NA engines of Honda's bygone era, is a peach to operate in city commutes, while still abiding by the good parts of tradition by loving to be kept near its redline on the track. As with any Kei car, the S660 is very much a "momentum car", not just because it has no power and therefore emphasises minimising braking and preserving speed through corners via making use of millimetres of the track that seemingly didn't exist for other larger cars, but also because how you can almost use the speed to help the rear end rotate into and out of corners without much worry of it breaking away from you. To this end, Honda has helpfully fitted a large, centre mounted godsend of a digital speedometer, to help you monitor every sacred km/h you can hang onto for each corner better than any analogue speedo could. The tachometer however, is a little weird in the car. It starts flashing at 7,000rpm, which is as aforementioned, where the engine makes peak power, but that's also a whole thousand revs below the redline of the car, meaning it'd take some conscious effort to get used to and becoming very intimately familiar with the exact note of the car's 8,000rpm scream if you don't want to keep your eyes glued to the tach to leverage the much needed mechanical advantage of a lower gear. In Sport Mode, the tach glows all red to signify aggression and power, but it just feels at an odd clash with my favourite body colour of the car, Premium Beach Blue Pearl, an extra cost option on the already costlier α trim of the car, which lets you spec very welcome leather seats in the car seemingly designed to complement said paintjob, while providing much needed breaking up of the otherwise drab black interior.


Being the top of the line α trim, the S660 in this game also comes with carbon fibre accents on the steering wheel, dash, and door cards. Must-spec contrasting metallic silver and black wheels, along with any paint scheme involving hue, are also on the list of reasons why the costlier α trim is the only one worth getting, because the β spec of the car is only available with Premium Star White Pearl, Premium Mystic Night Pearl, and Admiral Grey Metallic, only the last of which isn't an extra cost option. What a ripoff for a car that needs to stand out in bright colours. For the Honda geeks out there, Carnival Yellow II is perhaps the colour of choice, a direct reference to the hue offered on the Beat some 20 years ago. In fact, I kinda wish Honda went full 90s NSX with the colour options on the S660, because I don't think an Estoril Turquoise Pearl II or a Newer Imola Orange Pearl would look amiss on this car, especially with the contrasting black cloth top just like the NA NSXes. Perhaps even a Championship White...?


Unfortunately, the cloth top cannot be repainted or have decals applied on them, unlike that of the Beat's, which means Modulo replicas aren't possible in this game, which is a crying shame. Also, while I'm nitpicking, the windshield glass of the car feels almost... too clear? Too transparent? If you race this thing with the sun in the sky, it looks so bright outside it's almost as if the entire world outside your tiny car is being set ablaze. It's such a shame, because Kei cars usually have excellent visibility and are such a joy to race in cockpit view. But not only is the S660 difficult to see out of in this game, but what little you do manage to see only serves to sear your retinas anyway.

Honda Beat cockpit view (Screenshot, not photo mode. No edits):


Honda S660 cockpit view (Screenshot, not photo mode. No edits):


Aside from small nitpicks like the tach, the ripoff options that should've been standard, livery editor shortcomings, and oddly enough, the windshield of all things, I really don't have anything bad to say about the S660. It's magic. I mean, sure, it's so slow a Honda Fit would outrun it. But it's such a tightly knit, rewarding drive, the likes of which makes an ND Roadster feel like an overweight, sloppy pig in comparison. If the low power output is off putting to you, Option will twincharge the 658cc engine to produce over 200PS, for the sort of crazed person who wants to test the limits of magic. If I had ¥3.2 Million (21,168 USD at the time of writing, ouch) too much in my bank and a 895 x 1215 x 1020 mm gap in my garage that already has my weekday needs catered to, I would buy the swansong version of this car, the Modulo X Version Z, in 0.660 of a heartBeat. And why wouldn't you? With Honda announcing that they're ceasing production of yet another one of their sensational drivers' cars, this time with a dark future of electric cars looming over the horizon, this really might be the last time Honda makes a true drivers' car, and it's highly unlikely the Kei car will have a future hell bent on big, heavy electric cars whose only selling point is their 0-100 sprint times. Forget the kidney grille M4, ignore the twitchy, tail happy Supra, and get one of these. Let Modulo or Option loose on it if you have to. Just snap one up while you can, for the love of all that can be considered dear and holy, because the S660 is nothing else but a pure drivers' car that needs to be celebrated and remembered.

 
The Honda S660 is a pure driver's car.


Let's be honest here, you aren't buying this Kei car for the reduced tax in Japan; at nearly 2 million Yen base (about 18,150 USD at the time of writing), you aren't saving much money even with a JC08 fuel economy of 21.2km/ℓ. And if you actually bought the only model that deserves your money, i.e. the 6 speed manual, you're going to want to keep this 658cc turbocharged three cylinder near it's 8,000rpm redline anyway, like any good Honda. You sure aren't buying this thing for practicality, either, because the view out the front of this thing feels like wearing a helmet two sizes too big for your head, the view out the back will trigger complex PTSD of staring down the sight of a rifle for some, the boot looks to be custom made to fit a tiny Ukulele and nothing more, and you get a grand total of ONE drink holder in the cramped cabin of the car. You sure as hell aren't buying this for the speed; a base model Honda Fit Hybrid with seven more drink holders would make the S660 feel like an S60 around Tsukuba, a tight, technical track often used to test low powered cars. And unlike a Porsche or a Ferrari, you can't even buy this thing just for the street cred of owning an expensive, exotic sports car either, because no potential life partner is going to take a look at someone driving an MR car with a 2,285mm (90in) wheelbase and think to themselves, "yes, I do think this person will give me the sense of security and stability I need in a relationship! Let's make babies together right this instant!"


The only, only reason you buy an S660 because it is --BLEEP--ing brilliant to drive.

Tony described the handling characteristics of the RX500 from Week 133 as such: "The handling is wonderful. It feels like it has no vices. The steering is perfect, it has all the good bits of an MR design with no downsides. When it breaks it does so gently and you can mitigate it." I think he either misspelled "S660", or just hadn't driven one yet, because the way he described the RX500 sums up my thoughts on the S660 perfectly. After having driven a Honda Beat, I was utterly convinced that there is no way, no way in hell a MR Kei car would be something that's even safe to drive, let alone fun. Yet, not only is the S660 superbly planted in any situation, but it will also outrun even the most expertly driven of Beats despite having the same power on paper and weighing more. This car... I can't even describe it. I don't claim to even understand it. But it is flipping magic both in the things it can do and the way it can make you feel.


With a 45:55 weight distribution, this rear mid engined car is shockingly balanced. The front end slices into the apex of a corner without any ambiguity or hesitation, and the rear end never threatens any shenanigans. Despite this, the rear end of the car can be wonderfully cooperative with rotating the car if you do decide to be boorish with your engine braking and steering inputs, while always being within an arm's reach of returning to the straight and narrow — almost literally. I legitimately have no idea how Honda engineers have managed to imbue a short wheelbase MR car with such confidence inspiring, intuitive handling. I know it has 195 section tyres in the rear. I know it has McPherson Struts all four corners. I know it has astounding chassis rigidity. I know it has some brake vectoring thing. I know it's supposed to have some flip up spoiler that doesn't work in the game. But even considering all this, it's still hard to wrap my head around this little package of what can only be described as magic. The edges of the car are so close to you as a driver, they feel as intuitive and easy to understand as a tool right at your fingertips. This car is so easy to place, so fun to pry and burrow through small gaps in traffic with, it's almost like a motorcycle, and it encourages almost the same recklessness as one as well. It's such a toy, this thing.


The engine, despite losing out on the traditional purity of being Naturally Aspirated like Honda's best sports cars, is nonetheless a treat to experience and operate. Sure, the sound is muffled a bit, but it makes peak torque of 104 N⋅m (76.7lbf⋅ft) at lazy 2,500rpm while making drivers work it hard for its peak power of 63HP (47kW) at 7,000rpm, resulting in an engine that, unlike the high revving NA engines of Honda's bygone era, is a peach to operate in city commutes, while still abiding by the good parts of tradition by loving to be kept near its redline on the track. As with any Kei car, the S660 is very much a "momentum car", not just because it has no power and therefore emphasises minimising braking and preserving speed through corners via making use of millimetres of the track that seemingly didn't exist for other larger cars, but also because how you can almost use the speed to help the rear end rotate into and out of corners without much worry of it breaking away from you. To this end, Honda has helpfully fitted a large, centre mounted godsend of a digital speedometer, to help you monitor every sacred km/h you can hang onto for each corner better than any analogue speedo could. The tachometer however, is a little weird in the car. It starts flashing at 7,000rpm, which is as aforementioned, where the engine makes peak power, but that's also a whole thousand revs below the redline of the car, meaning it'd take some conscious effort to get used to and becoming very intimately familiar with the exact note of the car's 8,000rpm scream if you don't want to keep your eyes glued to the tach to leverage the much needed mechanical advantage of a lower gear. In Sport Mode, the tach glows all red to signify aggression and power, but it just feels at an odd clash with my favourite body colour of the car, Premium Beach Blue Pearl, an extra cost option on the already costlier α trim of the car, which lets you spec very welcome leather seats in the car seemingly designed to complement said paintjob, while providing much needed breaking up of the otherwise drab black interior.


Being the top of the line α trim, the S660 in this game also comes with carbon fibre accents on the steering wheel, dash, and door cards. Must-spec contrasting metallic silver and black wheels, along with any paint scheme involving hue, are also on the list of reasons why the costlier α trim is the only one worth getting, because the β spec of the car is only available with Premium Star White Pearl, Premium Mystic Night Pearl, and Admiral Grey Metallic, only the last of which isn't an extra cost option. What a ripoff for a car that needs to stand out in bright colours. For the Honda geeks out there, Carnival Yellow II is perhaps the colour of choice, a direct reference to the hue offered on the Beat some 20 years ago. In fact, I kinda wish Honda went full 90s NSX with the colour options on the S660, because I don't think an Estoril Turquoise Pearl II or a Newer Imola Orange Pearl would look amiss on this car, especially with the contrasting black cloth top just like the NA NSXes. Perhaps even a Championship White...?


Unfortunately, the cloth top cannot be repainted or have decals applied on them, unlike that of the Beat's, which means Modulo replicas aren't possible in this game, which is a crying shame. Also, while I'm nitpicking, the windshield glass of the car feels almost... too clear? Too transparent? If you race this thing with the sun in the sky, it looks so bright outside it's almost as if the entire world outside your tiny car is being set ablaze. It's such a shame, because Kei cars usually have excellent visibility and are such a joy to race in cockpit view. But not only is the S660 difficult to see out of in this game, but what little you do manage to see only serves to sear your retinas anyway.

Honda Beat cockpit view (Screenshot, not photo mode. No edits):


Honda S660 cockpit view (Screenshot, not photo mode. No edits):


Aside from small nitpicks like the tach, the ripoff options that should've been standard, livery editor shortcomings, and oddly enough, the windshield of all things, I really don't have anything bad to say about the S660. It's magic. I mean, sure, it's so slow a Honda Fit would outrun it. But it's such a tightly knit, rewarding drive, the likes of which makes an ND Roadster feel like an overweight, sloppy pig in comparison. If the low power output is off putting to you, Option will twincharge the 658cc engine to produce over 200PS, for the sort of crazed person who wants to test the limits of magic. If I had ¥3.2 Million (21,168 USD at the time of writing, ouch) too much in my bank and a 895 x 1215 x 1020 mm gap in my garage that already has my weekday needs catered to, I would buy the swansong version of this car, the Modulo X Version Z, in 0.660 of a heartBeat. And why wouldn't you? With Honda announcing that they're ceasing production of yet another one of their sensational drivers' cars, this time with a dark future of electric cars looming over the horizon, this really might be the last time Honda makes a true drivers' car, and it's highly unlikely the Kei car will have a future hell bent on big, heavy electric cars whose only selling point is their 0-100 sprint times. Forget the kidney grille M4, ignore the twitchy, tail happy Supra, and get one of these. Let Modulo or Option loose on it if you have to. Just snap one up while you can, for the love of all that can be considered dear and holy, because the S660 is nothing else but a pure drivers' car that needs to be celebrated and remembered.


It's funny to me, how you can actually rave about a Kei car. But I am mister supercar lover though...so makes sense for me to be all like "eh"
 
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It's funny to me, how you can actually rave about a Kei car. But I am mister supercar lover though...so makes sense for me to be all like "eh"

Uh... wasn't it you who chose the S660?

I'm the exact opposite actually. I love cars that are full of character and handle well. Bonus points if they're affordable and realistic. I'm much more indifferent to supercars. I think most of them don't translate well over to GT Sport... most of them feel like understeery messes that needs too long a distance to slow down for a turn. I really disliked some of the most expensive cars we've tested, like the LaF, NC1 "nsx", 2017 Ford GT, the 330 P4 vs Mark IV, and all the VGTs. I speak from my heart when I say that I'd much rather a Honda Fit than any of the above. Of course, there are exceptions like the McLaren F1, the SLR, and the 993 that I wound up liking, but those are rare.

Plus, driving sensations and character never get outdated. Supercars pushing insane numbers will be made irrelevant the moment a competitor does better than it, the moment it gets a successor, or even when there's a "special edition" of them made. I really, really wish I could afford a Modulo S660. I think it's one of the most important cars in the modern era. Not only is it a Japanese unicorn hardly exported, but as I said, I don't think the Kei segment will survive the electrification of the automotive industry. It really might be the last "pure driver's car" Honda produces, in vein of the S2000, Integra R, and the NSX.
 
Uh... wasn't it you who chose the S660?

I'm the exact opposite actually. I love cars that are full of character and handle well. Bonus points if they're affordable and realistic. I'm much more indifferent to supercars. I think most of them don't translate well over to GT Sport... most of them feel like understeery messes that needs too long a distance to slow down for a turn. I really disliked some of the most expensive cars we've tested, like the LaF, NC1 "nsx", 2017 Ford GT, the 330 P4 vs Mark IV, and all the VGTs. I speak from my heart when I say that I'd much rather a Honda Fit than any of the above. Of course, there are exceptions like the McLaren F1, the SLR, and the 993 that I wound up liking, but those are rare.

Plus, driving sensations and character never get outdated. Supercars pushing insane numbers will be made irrelevant the moment a competitor does better than it, the moment it gets a successor, or even when there's a "special edition" of them made. I really, really wish I could afford a Modulo S660. I think it's one of the most important cars in the modern era. Not only is it a Japanese unicorn hardly exported, but as I said, I don't think the Kei segment will survive the electrification of the automotive industry. It really might be the last "pure driver's car" Honda produces, in vein of the S2000, Integra R, and the NSX.

I get your point mate. :) I chose the S660, because I like choosing cars, which I know won't be taken by anyone else anyway. They need some lovin' too. ;)
 
Just did a two lap Ring race w/ Gr.2 pro drivers.

1st lap. sighting and dicing thru traffic - 6'35"

2nd lap. little bit of dicing to win - 6'15"

This car gives me a headache. Overall I find the handling ok, not as bad as people say, slightly jittery not that accurate steering, TCS0 and I'm short shifting so as not to bounce of the VTEC where the power really kicks in... yo.

Good HSG tune I think and final gear of 330km/h is a bit low.

This car is probably a good sub 6'00" if you iron out all my mistakes and had a clear run. But geez, at the speed Nurburgring is a blur. The only way I can get thru it is to have a few beers before I start so I'm relaxed. The Corey Clifford method.

Overall the car feels nervous. I much prefer the 08 NSX version or better yet, the much more stable AU Lexus RCF 2016.

I also found the engine power to be a bit of a mystery. Its there but it feels like its way too high up in the 7,000 - 8,000 rpm line.

When I need a bit of mid range hump to overtake around corners it feels like there's no mid range, no lows, just highs. There seems to be a lull in performance from say 150-250Km/h?

Yeah I dont like this one. Would never buy it. I'm using a free DWG one. Maybe I'm driving it wrong. If you keep it on the boil at 7,000 then maybe its good for you. But then I'm roasting tyres there. I need to lie down after that race.

VWq1I2H.jpg
 
Having adopted DTM rules wholesale in 2014, Super GT's premier class of GT500 has turned from exciting clashes of different ideologies and methodologies from the best of Japan's top three manufacturers into a one-make race with only different drivers, tyres, and body shapes. Under the barely recogniseable bodies of the Nissan and Toyota's flagship performance cars are all the same turbocharged Inline 4s sending power to the rear. It doesn't even take leaving the paddock to ascertain this: an R35 GT-R would make the exact same startup and engine noises as an RC F, and if you lined them up on a standing start with traction control engaged, they'd all similarly bog. At this point, you might as well be watching a Mazda Roadster Cup. There's no dirty air to destroy the racing there, and you can even walk into a showroom and buy a car that largely resembles what you're seeing on screen, instead of just the top three automotive giants of Japan duking it out in a hollow condom measuring contest.


Hidden somewhere in the middle of that drab chaos of GT500 however, lurks a car that, while singing the same turbocharged Inline 4 tune, has its heart in a different place. Replacing the HSV-10 as Honda's representative in GT500, the NSX Concept-GT is not only a mid-engined car in a category that stipulates that only FR cars may compete, but it's also hybrid assisted too! As the name and model year of the car may have already given away, the NSX Concept-GT was fielded even before the road going car's design was even finalised, much less put up for sale to the general public, bending yet another rule of GT500 which states that the racing cars must be based on a production version the public can buy. With the NSX's many special exceptions to the rules, about a third of the field in GT500 breaks the rules of GT500. God GT500 is stupid. Just go watch GT300- *cough* oh sorry, we're here to review a car, not the category it's in. It's just really difficult to divorce criticism against a car from the category it's built to race in, you know? Especially when said category is simply a thinly veiled one make race with different body styles.


As far back as GT500's inception in the Japan Grand Touring Car (JGTC) days back in the mid nineties, NSXes were subject to mass, aerodynamic, and air intake restrictions unique to them just for being mid-engined, and that tradition continues with the NC1. Immediately obvious is the mass of the NC1 when compared to its contemporaries; at 1,049kg (2,313lbs), it's 29 kilos (64lbs) heavier than the rest of the field set to 1,020kg (2,249lbs). Also, happily for the programmers over at Polyphony Digital I suspect, the car we have in Gran Turismo Sport, the #100 RAYBRIG car driven by Izawa Takuya and Yamamoto Naoki, made do without the hybrid system due to supplier shortage, leaving propulsion of the silhouette car solely to the mandated 2 Litre Inline 4 producing 603HP (450kW) and 614.9N⋅m (452.1lbf⋅ft) from high octane racing fuel. And so what we end up with is a GT500 car that is, when all is said and done, only slightly different from its competition in that it's mid-engined, but weighs 29 kilos more. Is slinging the engine behind the cockpit worth the extra mass of a small child in said cockpit, though?


Not if you're serious about winning a race, no. Even with its original specifications unmolested by Balance of Performance currently, the 2016 NSX has never been top dog in Gr.2, shared with the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and the au TOM'S RC F of the same year, also with their specifications untouched currently. Gr.2 races are just a shortened way of saying, "bring the 2016 RC F or GT-R, whichever one you have the better looking livery for", with nary a NSX to be seen in either qualifying leaderboards or in the actual races. Why is that, though?


In actuality, I find that the NSX doesn't lag very far behind its FR competition in a hot lap scenario. We're talking like maybe a tenth or two of a second per two minute lap or so, even in my very unprofessional hands. What really dooms the NSX I think is the fact that online races involving Gr.2 always has accelerated tyre wear and fuel use, which makes its extra 29 kilos sting exponentially more when it comes to race longevity in addition to not having the hot lap pace of its FR competition. Perhaps it's because MR racing cars are all horrendously represented in this game (see: the 458 GT3 and Huracán GT3), but I find the NSX Concept-GT to be overly crippled relative to the other two cars in Gr.2. It should at least have equal hot lap pace with the FR cars, if not better in exchange for a hit in longevity, right? That's how the vastly more varied Gr.3 cars seem to be balanced, at least. While the viability of individual race cars tend to vary in this game with changing BoP, history thus far has shown us that Gr.2 is seemingly centred around these 2016 GT500 machines, and the NC1 has always had this mass handicap relative to its FR brethren, with no sign of bucking the trend in the foreseeable future according to my murky crystal ball.


Granted, I'm not very good with these high downforce racing cars, and so I think you might want to take my subjective opinions on the car with a grain of salt, or seek out a second opinion. I personally find it a little difficult to put weight over the front tyres. Initial turn in is good, as with any MR car, but I do struggle to get it to bite into deeper apexes, and corner exits can be a similarly hairy affair, especially out of tight hairpins such as that of Suzuka's, due to the Inline 4 having to make 300HP per litre of displacement, which can only be achieved by turbocharging the nuts off the engine up to an asphyxiating 3.5 Bar (50.7psi) (according to an uncited Wikipedia claim...) — which the game's HUD can't even properly display — resulting in a fiendishly peaky and moody engine whose personality can flip on you in an instant like a switch. Its mind boggling aero may let it clear 130R flat out on even worn tyres, but it destroys racing more often than not, and its suspension has to be set up stiff as bricks to withstand the competition-crushing downforce, meaning the car will skip and slide like a fish out of water on anything but the flattest, prettiest and neatest of paved racetracks. In fact, even the wide open, fictitious racetracks of Gran Turismo Sport, seemingly built to facilitate racing across varying classes of cars, make the GT500 cars feel precariously out of their comfort zones, a predicament that seems to hit the NSX harder because the MR car is already markedly more twitchy than its peers to begin with. Tracks like Dragon Trail and Maggiore for example, where the rumble strips are as much a part of the track as the paved asphalt, will greatly upset and unsettle the NSX. To keep it pointing in the direction the driver intends to head towards then, requires unreal reaction times that can only be provided by steering feedback telepathy, the fidelity of which is completely beyond my 6 year old Logitech G29's and/or the game. That's my racing driver excuse, anyway. It utterly baffles me how everyone else is making these things go round a racetrack without incident, much less having a race, because I never know what the hell the front tyres are doing or going through. If the car isn't turning as much as I need it to, does it need more speed for more downforce? Should I be backing off the throttle to let the front end bite like a normal car? Are my wheels even in contact with the road or in the air? How and when do I transition with trail braking into a corner? I genuinely have no idea until the tyres let go and they scream bloody murder, which happens all too quickly with little to no warning or buildup. And if a rear wheel dips over grass or the kitty litter, the chassis of the car will very quickly match the rotational speeds of its engine as well.


Again, it's very difficult to divorce criticism against the RAYBRIG NSX from the category that mandates it so tightly. A lot of what I said about the RAYBRIG NSX Concept-GT applies to the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and au TOM'S RC F as well. As a racing car in such a drab category then, the only measure of whether it is good or bad is simply down to whether it's competitive or not, and it simply isn't. There are endless videos and streams of top tier Gr.2 races devoid of the NSX in the 3 year and counting lifespan of the category to attest to that, nor does it have the iconic looks, intoxicating howl, and blistering authenticity of its 2008 Epson counterpart to compensate for being utterly useless. Unfortunately for the NC1 GT500 NSX, where it resembles the road car strongly is that it simply isn't any good on a racetrack, seemingly destined to play second fiddle to the GT-R, and no amount of tasteless flared fenders, tacky aero bits, or fancy Itasha liveries can hide that fact.
 

The direct successor to the company's reemergence into to supercar market, the MP4-12C, is logically called the 650S. I don't suppose "MP5-13D" or whatever other fax machine catalog part number has quite the same ring to it. The "new" car shares 75% of its parts from the old, and is therefore still a 2 door, rear mid engined supercar with a 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 sending power to the rear via a 7 speed DCT, with a "entry level" version of it called the 625, a convertible version, and a "LT" version of it, called the 675. Situated below it is the "entry-er level" McLaren, the 570S: a 2 door, rear mid engined supercar with a 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 sending power to the rear via a 7 speed DCT, with a "entry-est level" version of it called the 540, a convertible version, and a "LT" version of it, called the 600. Above the 650 is the P1: a 2 door, rear mid engined supercar with a 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 sending power to the rear via a 7 speed DCT, a track-only, non road legal version of it called the P1 GTR, a road legal version of the non road legal version of the road legal version of the car converted by an independent, aftermarket specialist, denoted with adding extra numbers to its name.


The specific car in question for this week however, is the 650S Gr.4 (the green car in the photo above), a fictional car in a fictional category based on a real category in a real driving simulator that seemingly has more arcade fans than sims. As an entry level racing category, Gr.4 cars are faster than the road legal versions of the cars, acting as a mid-ground between the road cars and the full fledged racing machines. As such, the non road legal, race prepped car produces only about 58% of the road car's power, while weighing more with the current BoP applied. The 650S Gr.4 borrows more than heavily from the 650S GT3, a real car in a real category slotted into a fictional category in this game, with pretty much a copy-and-paste interior from the GT3 car. But not the exterior, though; because while you only get one livery for the GT3 car and eighteen coats of paint with no livery to choose from on the road car, the Gr.4 car bridges that gap with six colours of one livery to choose from.

a-are you still with me...? Quick, where's my picture with the cute anime girl on it?!


So yeah, as you can probably tell, McLaren cars confuse the ever loving bebuddha out of me. Competition against the established Italian brands in the exotic supercar scene is much needed in my opinion, but I never really "got" what they're supposed to be about beyond competition existing simply for the sake of existing. They haven't the graceful appearances or the soulful songstress capabilities of a Ferrari, nor do they have the balls to the wall attitude, in-your-face attention grabbing presence of a Lamborghini. They've always struck me as a "we're just here to go around this track faster than anyone else" kind of manufacturer, which is roboticism I more readily associate with the Germans than the British. I guess the fragility of their cars gives them some flavour? Thankfully, I don't much have to try to figure out what's what this week, because the 650S we're putting on the track today is a racing car. So, is it the fastest thing in like, EVARGH?


Haha, of course not. It's Gr.4 post-2020. If you aren't in a loathsome FF in a Gr.4 race, you're obviously not in it to win it. However, when put in its RWD and MR company, the 650S is certainly... "rather brisk", I believe is the British way of terming it. While I didn't get to spend as much time with everyone during this week's meet, I did at least manage to sneak in my personal favourite, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, and the formidable NSX Gr.4, a favourite in Gr.4 racing prior the BoP changes that made FFs overpowered. Even in the slipstream of the 650Ss (650S'? 650Ses...? AAAAHHH), I was barely able to do any more than simply keep up with the McLarens, which was a bit of a surprise in the Honda, given that it's also a fictional car built from the ground up to be a Gr.4 car, also arbitrarily blessed with seven gears like the McLaren, in contrast to the maladjusted Porsche with gears long enough to make the far fetched claim that it's the single best car in Gr.4 ever and anyone who disagrees needs to be shot on sight.

(Also, the NSX Gr.4 should've been this week's Car of the Week...)

To drive however, it's a little... blah. One might expect a rear mid engined racing car to possess the sharpest of turn ins and perhaps a bit of a cheeky rear end, but the 650S Gr.4 feels like it has the wheelbase of a 675LT with how... *ah-hem* overly stable it is. To illustrate, the 650S Gr.4 is one of the very, very few RWD cars in the game where I'm forced to set the brake bias towards the rear, just to get it to roughly imitate how a MR racing car should rotate into the apex of a turn. This problem I think is down to the downforce imbalance of the car, having too much in the rear relative to the front, because I think the understeer becomes more prominent at speed, such as at Kyotou. Even at lower speed corners however, the front end just feels numb and the tyres don't feel like they've much bite to them, in contrast to the aforementioned NSX and Cayman, lively and lovely at any speed. Also, the M838T engine, despite being heavily detuned from the road car, annoyingly retains its torque curve pixel for pixel instead of becoming flatter with an variable air/fuel restrictor, meaning that this turbo 3.8L V8 is all mid range shove and nothing else anywhere else. I personally find the best result shifting just before 8,000rpm, or about a whole thousand revs before its Honda-shaming 9,000rpm redline, which is just before halfway into the rev counter of the game's HUD. Yes, that means it bogs on standing starts as well.


Capable for sure, especially in the right hands. It's just no fun at all to drive, nor is it the fastest thing ever. The latter is usually easy to forgive in a car, but a McLaren? A racing car McLaren? That's like saying your perfume's only shortcoming is that it doesn't smell nice. At this point, what even is the point?
 
The strange thing about the 650S Gr.4 is that it has a higher redline of 8500 rpm (1000 more than its GT3 counterpart) but the ideal shifts points are roughly the same.

For the Gr.4 car, the optimum shift point from 1st to 2nd is at 8150 rpm with optimum shift points dropping as you shift up down to 7750 rpm from 6th to 7th.

For the GT3 car, its optimum shift point is 7800 rpm, 300 rpm more than its own redline of 7500 rpm.

So the Gr.4 version should be short-shifted around where the bar fills past the current gear number, but the GT3 car should be redlined before shifting.

Source: GT Engine
 
The strange thing about the 650S Gr.4 is that it has a higher redline of 8500 rpm (1000 more than its GT3 counterpart) but the ideal shifts points are roughly the same.

For the Gr.4 car, the optimum shift point from 1st to 2nd is at 8150 rpm with optimum shift points dropping as you shift up down to 7750 rpm from 6th to 7th.

For the GT3 car, its optimum shift point is 7800 rpm, 300 rpm more than its own redline of 7500 rpm.

So the Gr.4 version should be short-shifted around where the bar fills past the current gear number, but the GT3 car should be redlined before shifting.

Source: GT Engine

This is one hell of a resource I never knew about! Thanks for sharing!
 
Mazda has always made some great entry level race cars which has made for some exciting races. So far this year in the IMSA Mazda Cup, there have been some amazing finishes with cars being within seconds of each other and creating some great photo finishes. We are in luck this week as we are testing out the Mazda Roadster Touring Car. This weeks car is chosen by @Pickle_Rick74

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I've said this before. I quite like the Mazda touring car. It should never have been an N200 and it should have had its own race series in leagues etc.

There's a bit of joy and fun in the way you can fling it into corners and take down Gr.4 opponents., There's nothing much wrong with it except for the lack of power.
 
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