Car of the Week 228: COTY GTS Finale

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This week we are taking a look at the Alfa Romeo 4c Gr4. This weeks car is chosen by @05XR8

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

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

ALFA ROMEO (3)
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 (9)
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 (5)
Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo (N600)
Chris Holstrom Concepts 1967 Chevy Nova 2013 (N700)
Red Bull X2014 Standard 2014 (Gr.X)
Red Bull X2014 Junior 2014 (Gr.X)
Red Bull X2019 Competition (Gr.X)

HONDA (4)
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 (6)
D-Type 1954 (Gr.X)
E-Type Coupe 1961 (N300)
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 (6)
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)

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 (8)
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 S 2015 (N100)
RX-Vision GT3 Concept 2020 (Gr.3)

MCLAREN (5)
650S GT3 2015 (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 (2)
911 GT3 (997) 2008 (N400)
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 (18)
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)
86 GR 2021 (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)
 

The 991.2 911 GT3 RS is exactly what it says on the tin, and has also been well documented by others here on the thread already: a weaponised, track focused, wailing missile of a racecar with turn signals and a plate slapped onto it to let it pretend that it might actually get you home from the track without killing you, with or without the help of trees and Armco. With Gran Turismo Sport's utter joke of a classification system for road cars, nothing else can hope to be a match for it in any of the classes it can be tuned or detuned to reside in; trust me, I tried—The Corvette ZR1 and Viper ACR don't exist in this game, the R35 Nismo was a sloppy disaster, the CTR3's cornering speeds were so tragic that I once got taken round the outside of Spa's No Name by Rick's 911 in the wet, the Cayman seemingly lacks the gearing and downforce as a full–fledged racecar to compete with the 911 even when brought up to the same power and mass, and the Taycan is rubbish at anything other than short, straight line acceleration bursts. Short of bringing a LaMerda that has overstated power and understated mass to race the 911, it's quite simply untouchable around a racetrack as things stand.


And really, that could've just been the end of the review. But that would be no fun, wouldn't it? So instead of the usual review style of me blabbering on about how it drives and such, I thought I could offer a read that's a little different, and hopefully more fun: by sharing a personal story of how my perception of Porsche over the years formed and changed, and how 911 GT3s and video games factor into that.


As is well known by now, Porsche had an exclusivity deal with Electronic Arts (EA) for seventeen long years, starting at the turn of the millennium, and it's a move that I to this day still struggle to see the benefit of for anyone. It's not like any hardcore Porsche fanatic will go, "Gee, I have a real hankering for some NA flat six spinny goodness right about now, but aww the only place I can experience that is in a NFS game? Oh well, fair play and good business move by EA. I'll close iRacing and download Origin then," right? Or better yet, it's not like any toxic 10–year old playing a subpar, predatory NFS game wallriding and buying his way to victory will talk their parents into buying a Porsche for real because its "sick Cosmic NOS will pwn every1!!!", are they? Regardless, I've always disliked Porsches mainly because of this. It almost didn't matter that I never got to drive one in real life or in a semi–realistic scenario in any simulator, because you can't be in bed with a company that stinks as much as EA without some of its odour rubbing off on you. They exude that sort of elitism and haughtiness that I really dislike in a company, and yes—that's even taking into account that they're a high end car manufacturer. Why anyone would willingly and exclusively associate with EA is completely beyond me, because it's a surefire way to become hated as well.


That all being said, the widespread praise of Porsche cars in general didn't escape me even back when I was younger, more ignorant, and much more close minded. But, because I'm poor and the only way I can experience exotic cars is via video games or simulators, I could never verify for myself how true the praise was, and knowing a certain other brand who also has a prancing horse on their logo and their practices when it comes to press cars and how they try to control media, I could never bring myself to believe all that praise and hype about Porsches. After all, how can a RR car, so flawed in theory, be as good as everyone says it is?


My first time physically coming into contact with a 911 was during my short stint as a mechanic, when a 997 GT3 drove into our humble workshop for alignment issues. While I wasn't nearly experienced enough to handle anything major on such an expensive piece of machinery, however little I did interact with it left an impression as deep in my mind as the bucket seats in the car; so aggressively raked and sunken in that I didn't as much sit on the seat as much as I fell into it, complete with the ritualistic pain and misery that legitimises a pure sportscar experience. Even before starting the engine, the 997 had "spoken" to me so loudly and clearly without words, instilling in me the utmost curiosity about the machine and confidence in taking it up to speed; the door handles tilt upward and a little forward to make it easier to open as it's such a low slung car. It's such a simple feature, yet it immediately commanded my attention because of the message it sends me, the potential driver. It knows what it is. It knows the compromises you have to make to own and drive it, and it extends a gesture of courtesy in whatever ways its spartan sports car nature will allow. The sky–high redline of 9,000rpm is dead centre on the dash and high up on the 2 o'clock, right where it'd be the most prominent when you're driving it on the limit on the racetrack, letting me know it's a car that wants to have its nuts revved off.


When washing the car by hand a little later on, it's... kinda hard to describe. As my hands flowed over its curvaceous body, I could almost feel the car directing airflow over its body. You could tell that every surface, every crease, let alone every vent, is there to do a job: to make the car go faster. There aren't any nonsensical, try hard creases and cuts into its body in the name of styling, as is seemingly a federally mandated requirement for cars these past ten or so years. There aren't any vanity, fake vents and intakes to make the car look like something it's not, to fool a casual buyer into fitting an image in their head.


Maybe all that I've physically experienced with a 911 is pretty ordinary stuff. I wouldn't know, because I live in a country where cars are prohibitively expensive, the laws governing them asphyxiatingly strict, and what little car culture that exists here as a result are almost all ricers. Being hit with the blistering legitimacy of the 997 GT3 was a breath of fresh air that reignited my passion and motivated me when I was going through a very bad time in my life. If it could make me so interested in it without even starting its engine, I yearned badly to drive it for myself to get to know it more. And it's precisely that, I feel, that a lot of car manufacturers can learn from Porsche—how to "speak" to a driver without words. How it invites you in and piques your interest. The confidence in the product that you're selling. The love for the solid identity that is the product. And most importantly, how to instill trust in someone. It almost feels like a lost art to me.


When the exclusivity deal ended in 2017, racing games of all genres and platforms flocked to the Stuttgart–based brand, and Gran Turismo was no exception, with Sport marking the first time a Porsche was officially in the series, which means I finally get to try it out. I really wasn't sure what to expect when I first got into a virtual one. Was all that I had inferred from the 997 GT3 simply my inexperience pouring smoke up my butt? Are Porsches just as unconditionally spiteful and blood lustful as RUFs? Or are Porsches really as damn good as everyone says they are?


Whatever I may or may not have been expecting at the time, I remember being completely taken by surprise when driving the 991 GT3 RS for the first time. There wasn't unavoidable death awaiting me round every corner; in fact, the car almost felt understeery at speed, owing to that big wing at the back and having little weight up front. The car as a whole was freakishly stable at any speed, and its laser focus on track sensations coupled with the blistering immediacy and proportionate reaction of every input at my disposal immediately made me understand why the brand and this namesake is held in this high a regard in real world, because no other manufacturer I daresay will sell you a car that is this raw, this pure, this immediate, this tactile, this extreme, and this focused today.


In fact, driving the GT3 RS in this game made me think that this is perhaps the sort of experience I might have had, and defended as though my family's honour, if the Japanese cars of the 90s that I idolised had the market success to survive to the modern day, past the shackles of the gentlemen's agreement. That is to say, the GT3 RS at some points, made me feel things that I felt in those cars at twice their speeds, and it's that context that made me respect and appreciate the modern day 911; it's a stupid idea that passionate engineers ardently stuck with through thick and thin to make into what is genuinely a world–beater today. It's an ideological victory, one that's meant to be celebrated as a niche. And I'm glad that, if not my beloved JDM darlings, someone else at least has managed to keep a niche engineering and a shared passion alive, much less find enough financial success to continue refining and evolving it. I think the GT3 RS is the car that really "globalised" my mind; I was always a JDM fanboy before having sampled it, but after having driven it, I felt a very strange sense of... cohesion? Like the world has become smaller in my mind, as I realised that despite our cultural differences and how we tend to associate certain types of cars with each country, we as a species sometimes all just want the same thing. It gives me some faith in knowing that there's demand for a pure, thoroughbred sports car like the GT3 RS, and that it'll sell even if, or even because it was offered with a stick shift. And it really made me more eager to try cars of all origins and time periods, to see if I can't find more of the same in other brands and countries. Heck, whatever impartiality and open–mindedness I might exhibit in my writing nowadays, you can probably thank the 911 GT3s for cultivating; they helped me "grow up", in a sense.


But while the 991 GT3 RS opened my mind and earned my respect, I never really... loved it. I never really did lust after it. I never did yearn to drive it again after the initial session. I think, on a subconscious level, I just... really feared it. I've had the misfortune of driving the Yellowbird in prior GT games, and I know what these cars do. I don't care what my therapist says; the Yellowbird is real and it can hurt you. I have self–diagnosed PTSD from driving that damn thing, and I keep expecting, I keep waiting for the GT3 RS to do the same to me. Driving the GT3 RS kinda feels like being stuck in a spiteful marriage after your spouse has hurt you immensely, and they promised to be better and never repeat the same mistake again, but despite their genuine efforts and marked improvements, you've never really forgiven them in your heart, you know? You keep withholding your full trust, your true feelings, just waiting for the day they slip up however slightly just so you can use the incident to justify and vent all your pent up rage, pointing with an accusatory finger and shouting, "AH HA! THERE IT IS! I KNEW IT ALL ALONG! A LEOPARD CAN NEVER CHANGE ITS SPOTS!" And yes, I'm very much aware that this scenario speaks more of me than my partner. In the context of the GT3 RS, I keep waiting for it to snap and spin uncontrollably without warning for no reason. I keep withholding that last 2 or 3% from the car as a buffer because I'm afraid of it. I keep driving within its known limits of grip, never daring to push it to explore its limits. I'm always cognizant of the fact that it's a RR car with way too much power for anyone's good, even its own, and I always feel like the car is hiding its true tendencies from me, what with its big rear wing, rear steer systems, and gigantic tyres. I know there'll be little to no warning when it lets go, and that if it goes, it'd happen at reckless speeds with no chance of getting it back. It scares me even in the context of a simulator, and I never did manage to find that trusting relationship I want with a car with the 991. Oddly enough, that trust and playfulness I'm looking for in a playmate would have to be served up by its older sister and cousin, the 993 Carrera RS Club Sport and 981 Cayman GT4 Clubsport respectively. That is to say, while the 991 GT3 RS has earned my respect for Porsche, it's the 993 and 981 that let me see another side of Porsche that earned my affection for the brand. Those two cars never gave me that feeling that they were hiding anything from me. They felt more at ease with being themselves, not having to chase numbers like the GT3 RS. I'm the sort of person that feels more at ease with a 993 sliding all over the place than being in a rock solid 991, because I feel like I can at least see and feel the spin coming in the 993 and can therefore work with it to mitigate or manage it at moderate speeds, you know? Maybe it's not a logical thing to say, I don't know. I don't particularly care if it doesn't make sense: I've always been the weird kid in school and at work. I painted my 991 turquoise, the wheels of my Cayman metallic blue, I barely do anything more than put fake number plates and carbon parts with this game's revolutionary livery editor, I spend weeks writing long, geeky, personal reviews, and I love driving in the rain. Does that tell you anything about the sort of weird person I am and my equally weird tastes?


Maybe it's because a virtual car can't physically "talk" to me like the 997 GT3 in my workshop did, and so I thought I'd try something else a little more... talkative.


Driving the very same 991 GT3 RS in the PS4 port of Assetto Corsa however, it felt much more like what I might've expected a balls to the wall, track focused 911 to feel like. Its stiff springs, telepathically immediate throttle, and unruly steering wheel that constantly tries to wrestle itself away from your grip makes the 991 GT3 RS feel so on edge all the time, like it was just a slight crosswind, a small pebble, or simply just a slight slip of any of your limbs away from all hell breaking loose. I have simply never felt so alive and so vulnerable in a car before. So... mortal, if you will. It almost felt as intentionally unstable as a fighter jet to improve maneuverability, yet its instability never felt imprecise or random; it's there fully waiting to be harnessed to a surgical precision by a demon of a driver. It feels like a roller coaster or mechanical bull ride: it's inherently controlled, but the adrenaline and drama it shoves through your entire nervous system gives it a contrasting feel of everything going to hell, giving drivers an unparalleled sense of speed and involvement you'll be hard pressed to find in any other closed cockpit, road legal car. Hell, there's so little sound deadening in the cockpit of the car that you can clearly hear the ABS bite and release on the brakes several times a second via the tyre skidding noise jittering off and on under hard braking!


Despite how planted and predictable it is, the overly stable understeer that I had noted in Gran Turismo Sport is nowhere to be found in AC's rendition of the 991 GT3 RS; if you're boorish with your trail braking, the rear end of the GT3 RS will happily swing out, demanding smooth, precise inputs and knowing exactly where each tyre's grip limit is at all times, which unfortunately does mean that certain turns that require quick, sharp dabs of the brakes and hard turning in, such as Turns 4 and 10 of Laguna Seca, are nigh impossible to trace with any semblance of dignity. Or at least, I haven't found out how to "correctly" tackle corners like that just yet.


In fact, the whole experience was sensory overload for me, someone who has only driven family cars in real life, in Gran Turismo games, and had only just begun driving casually on AC. And yes, I'm aware that AC as a full fledged simulator will give anyone who's only played Gran Turismo games sensory overload when they first make the transition, even in a much slower, softer car. But I think that it's especially worth noting when it comes to the 991 GT3 RS, because even in the context of AC, it's one hell of a chatterbox. It's a car characterised by its rawness, its talkativeness, that adrenaline rush of feeling like everything could be lost in just a thousandth of a second if your concentration lapses. It's a car that sells itself on theatre and drama, the likes of which the simplistic sim of Gran Turismo Sport cannot even hope to mildly imitate, let alone replicate. The 991 in AC felt more like a true 911 even to me, someone with very limited experience with the brand. It gave me that communication—and the threats—that I lamented was absent in GTS, and while I'm still deathly afraid of it, and therefore can't drive anywhere near its limits, I at least felt like I "got" its appeal and character more. Just like how you probably won't understand the appeal of a Honda Fit in an e–sports focused title, I feel that, in equal measure, you can't really understand what a 911 GT3 RS is about in Gran Turismo.


It's weird how, despite me having never liked Porsches that much growing up, their cars seem to help me grow and realise things at multiple stages of my life, first with my time as a mechanic, then with Gran Turismo Sport, and now making me drive in AC more often to "graduate" from Gran Turismo. But perhaps that's to speak of how amazing their cars really are; how they're the yardsticks not only in sheer performance, but in the sensations they deliver to their drivers. That, and simply because they're around in modern day showrooms, and are now widely available in digital recreations across several platforms. It might be a bit of a stretch to say, but I think that can be metaphorical for something poetic and hopeful, like teaching me the value of being around other people, being available, being seen, to keep on keeping on doing what I do and honing my craft, be it driving or writing. That's why I spend weeks on end to write long, drawn out, geeky reviews only a handful of people read. Perhaps one day, the car that helps me "graduate" from simulations will be a Porsche as well, and if that day ever comes, you can be sure that I'll spend another few weeks writing about it.


It takes nothing short of a phenomenal car to have this sort of profound effect on me, which is to say that the 991 GT3 RS is so bloody good, it doesn't need exclusivity deals, unrealistic favourtism from arcade devs, nitrous, or silly jumps to stand out; leave that showy, flashy, kiddy stuff to Lamborghini and Ferrari, because Porsches are so much more than that. Just let it do its own thing in the real world, and you'd swear on Black Box's grave it has nitrous anyway.
 

The 991.2 911 GT3 RS is exactly what it says on the tin, and has also been well documented by others here on the thread already: a weaponised, track focused, wailing missile of a racecar with turn signals and a plate slapped onto it to let it pretend that it might actually get you home from the track without killing you, with or without the help of trees and Armco. With Gran Turismo Sport's utter joke of a classification system for road cars, nothing else can hope to be a match for it in any of the classes it can be tuned or detuned to reside in; trust me, I tried—The Corvette ZR1 and Viper ACR don't exist in this game, the R35 Nismo was a sloppy disaster, the CTR3's cornering speeds were so tragic that I once got taken round the outside of Spa's No Name by Rick's 911 in the wet, the Cayman seemingly lacks the gearing and downforce as a full–fledged racecar to compete with the 911 even when brought up to the same power and mass, and the Taycan is rubbish at anything other than short, straight line acceleration bursts. Short of bringing a LaMerda that has overstated power and understated mass to race the 911, it's quite simply untouchable around a racetrack as things stand.


And really, that could've just been the end of the review. But that would be no fun, wouldn't it? So instead of the usual review style of me blabbering on about how it drives and such, I thought I could offer a read that's a little different, and hopefully more fun: by sharing a personal story of how my perception of Porsche over the years formed and changed, and how 911 GT3s and video games factor into that.


As is well known by now, Porsche had an exclusivity deal with Electronic Arts (EA) for seventeen long years, starting at the turn of the millennium, and it's a move that I to this day still struggle to see the benefit of for anyone. It's not like any hardcore Porsche fanatic will go, "Gee, I have a real hankering for some NA flat six spinny goodness right about now, but aww the only place I can experience that is in a NFS game? Oh well, fair play and good business move by EA. I'll close iRacing and download Origin then," right? Or better yet, it's not like any toxic 10–year old playing a subpar, predatory NFS game wallriding and buying his way to victory will talk their parents into buying a Porsche for real because its "sick Cosmic NOS will pwn every1!!!", are they? Regardless, I've always disliked Porsches mainly because of this. It almost didn't matter that I never got to drive one in real life or in a semi–realistic scenario in any simulator, because you can't be in bed with a company that stinks as much as EA without some of its odour rubbing off on you. They exude that sort of elitism and haughtiness that I really dislike in a company, and yes—that's even taking into account that they're a high end car manufacturer. Why anyone would willingly and exclusively associate with EA is completely beyond me, because it's a surefire way to become hated as well.


That all being said, the widespread praise of Porsche cars in general didn't escape me even back when I was younger, more ignorant, and much more close minded. But, because I'm poor and the only way I can experience exotic cars is via video games or simulators, I could never verify for myself how true the praise was, and knowing a certain other brand who also has a prancing horse on their logo and their practices when it comes to press cars and how they try to control media, I could never bring myself to believe all that praise and hype about Porsches. After all, how can a RR car, so flawed in theory, be as good as everyone says it is?


My first time physically coming into contact with a 911 was during my short stint as a mechanic, when a 997 GT3 drove into our humble workshop for alignment issues. While I wasn't nearly experienced enough to handle anything major on such an expensive piece of machinery, however little I did interact with it left an impression as deep in my mind as the bucket seats in the car; so aggressively raked and sunken in that I didn't as much sit on the seat as much as I fell into it, complete with the ritualistic pain and misery that legitimises a pure sportscar experience. Even before starting the engine, the 997 had "spoken" to me so loudly and clearly without words, instilling in me the utmost curiosity about the machine and confidence in taking it up to speed; the door handles tilt upward and a little forward to make it easier to open as it's such a low slung car. It's such a simple feature, yet it immediately commanded my attention because of the message it sends me, the potential driver. It knows what it is. It knows the compromises you have to make to own and drive it, and it extends a gesture of courtesy in whatever ways its spartan sports car nature will allow. The sky–high redline of 9,000rpm is dead centre on the dash and high up on the 2 o'clock, right where it'd be the most prominent when you're driving it on the limit on the racetrack, letting me know it's a car that wants to have its nuts revved off.


When washing the car by hand a little later on, it's... kinda hard to describe. As my hands flowed over its curvaceous body, I could almost feel the car directing airflow over its body. You could tell that every surface, every crease, let alone every vent, is there to do a job: to make the car go faster. There aren't any nonsensical, try hard creases and cuts into its body in the name of styling, as is seemingly a federally mandated requirement for cars these past ten or so years. There aren't any vanity, fake vents and intakes to make the car look like something it's not, to fool a casual buyer into fitting an image in their head.


Maybe all that I've physically experienced with a 911 is pretty ordinary stuff. I wouldn't know, because I live in a country where cars are prohibitively expensive, the laws governing them asphyxiatingly strict, and what little car culture that exists here as a result are almost all ricers. Being hit with the blistering legitimacy of the 997 GT3 was a breath of fresh air that reignited my passion and motivated me when I was going through a very bad time in my life. If it could make me so interested in it without even starting its engine, I yearned badly to drive it for myself to get to know it more. And it's precisely that, I feel, that a lot of car manufacturers can learn from Porsche—how to "speak" to a driver without words. How it invites you in and piques your interest. The confidence in the product that you're selling. The love for the solid identity that is the product. And most importantly, how to instill trust in someone. It almost feels like a lost art to me.


When the exclusivity deal ended in 2017, racing games of all genres and platforms flocked to the Stuttgart–based brand, and Gran Turismo was no exception, with Sport marking the first time a Porsche was officially in the series, which means I finally get to try it out. I really wasn't sure what to expect when I first got into a virtual one. Was all that I had inferred from the 997 GT3 simply my inexperience pouring smoke up my butt? Are Porsches just as unconditionally spiteful and blood lustful as RUFs? Or are Porsches really as damn good as everyone says they are?


Whatever I may or may not have been expecting at the time, I remember being completely taken by surprise when driving the 991 GT3 RS for the first time. There wasn't unavoidable death awaiting me round every corner; in fact, the car almost felt understeery at speed, owing to that big wing at the back and having little weight up front. The car as a whole was freakishly stable at any speed, and its laser focus on track sensations coupled with the blistering immediacy and proportionate reaction of every input at my disposal immediately made me understand why the brand and this namesake is held in this high a regard in real world, because no other manufacturer I daresay will sell you a car that is this raw, this pure, this immediate, this tactile, this extreme, and this focused today.


In fact, driving the GT3 RS in this game made me think that this is perhaps the sort of experience I might have had, and defended as though my family's honour, if the Japanese cars of the 90s that I idolised had the market success to survive to the modern day, past the shackles of the gentlemen's agreement. That is to say, the GT3 RS at some points, made me feel things that I felt in those cars at twice their speeds, and it's that context that made me respect and appreciate the modern day 911; it's a stupid idea that passionate engineers ardently stuck with through thick and thin to make into what is genuinely a world–beater today. It's an ideological victory, one that's meant to be celebrated as a niche. And I'm glad that, if not my beloved JDM darlings, someone else at least has managed to keep a niche engineering and a shared passion alive, much less find enough financial success to continue refining and evolving it. I think the GT3 RS is the car that really "globalised" my mind; I was always a JDM fanboy before having sampled it, but after having driven it, I felt a very strange sense of... cohesion? Like the world has become smaller in my mind, as I realised that despite our cultural differences and how we tend to associate certain types of cars with each country, we as a species sometimes all just want the same thing. It gives me some faith in knowing that there's demand for a pure, thoroughbred sports car like the GT3 RS, and that it'll sell even if, or even because it was offered with a stick shift. And it really made me more eager to try cars of all origins and time periods, to see if I can't find more of the same in other brands and countries. Heck, whatever impartiality and open–mindedness I might exhibit in my writing nowadays, you can probably thank the 911 GT3s for cultivating; they helped me "grow up", in a sense.


But while the 991 GT3 RS opened my mind and earned my respect, I never really... loved it. I never really did lust after it. I never did yearn to drive it again after the initial session. I think, on a subconscious level, I just... really feared it. I've had the misfortune of driving the Yellowbird in prior GT games, and I know what these cars do. I don't care what my therapist says; the Yellowbird is real and it can hurt you. I have self–diagnosed PTSD from driving that damn thing, and I keep expecting, I keep waiting for the GT3 RS to do the same to me. Driving the GT3 RS kinda feels like being stuck in a spiteful marriage after your spouse has hurt you immensely, and they promised to be better and never repeat the same mistake again, but despite their genuine efforts and marked improvements, you've never really forgiven them in your heart, you know? You keep withholding your full trust, your true feelings, just waiting for the day they slip up however slightly just so you can use the incident to justify and vent all your pent up rage, pointing with an accusatory finger and shouting, "AH HA! THERE IT IS! I KNEW IT ALL ALONG! A LEOPARD CAN NEVER CHANGE ITS SPOTS!" And yes, I'm very much aware that this scenario speaks more of me than my partner. In the context of the GT3 RS, I keep waiting for it to snap and spin uncontrollably without warning for no reason. I keep withholding that last 2 or 3% from the car as a buffer because I'm afraid of it. I keep driving within its known limits of grip, never daring to push it to explore its limits. I'm always cognizant of the fact that it's a RR car with way too much power for anyone's good, even its own, and I always feel like the car is hiding its true tendencies from me, what with its big rear wing, rear steer systems, and gigantic tyres. I know there'll be little to no warning when it lets go, and that if it goes, it'd happen at reckless speeds with no chance of getting it back. It scares me even in the context of a simulator, and I never did manage to find that trusting relationship I want with a car with the 991. Oddly enough, that trust and playfulness I'm looking for in a playmate would have to be served up by its older sister and cousin, the 993 Carrera RS Club Sport and 981 Cayman GT4 Clubsport respectively. That is to say, while the 991 GT3 RS has earned my respect for Porsche, it's the 993 and 981 that let me see another side of Porsche that earned my affection for the brand. Those two cars never gave me that feeling that they were hiding anything from me. They felt more at ease with being themselves, not having to chase numbers like the GT3 RS. I'm the sort of person that feels more at ease with a 993 sliding all over the place than being in a rock solid 991, because I feel like I can at least see and feel the spin coming in the 993 and can therefore work with it to mitigate or manage it at moderate speeds, you know? Maybe it's not a logical thing to say, I don't know. I don't particularly care if it doesn't make sense: I've always been the weird kid in school and at work. I painted my 991 turquoise, the wheels of my Cayman metallic blue, I barely do anything more than put fake number plates and carbon parts with this game's revolutionary livery editor, I spend weeks writing long, geeky, personal reviews, and I love driving in the rain. Does that tell you anything about the sort of weird person I am and my equally weird tastes?


Maybe it's because a virtual car can't physically "talk" to me like the 997 GT3 in my workshop did, and so I thought I'd try something else a little more... talkative.


Driving the very same 991 GT3 RS in the PS4 port of Assetto Corsa however, it felt much more like what I might've expected a balls to the wall, track focused 911 to feel like. Its stiff springs, telepathically immediate throttle, and unruly steering wheel that constantly tries to wrestle itself away from your grip makes the 991 GT3 RS feel so on edge all the time, like it was just a slight crosswind, a small pebble, or simply just a slight slip of any of your limbs away from all hell breaking loose. I have simply never felt so alive and so vulnerable in a car before. So... mortal, if you will. It almost felt as intentionally unstable as a fighter jet to improve maneuverability, yet its instability never felt imprecise or random; it's there fully waiting to be harnessed to a surgical precision by a demon of a driver. It feels like a roller coaster or mechanical bull ride: it's inherently controlled, but the adrenaline and drama it shoves through your entire nervous system gives it a contrasting feel of everything going to hell, giving drivers an unparalleled sense of speed and involvement you'll be hard pressed to find in any other closed cockpit, road legal car. Hell, there's so little sound deadening in the cockpit of the car that you can clearly hear the ABS bite and release on the brakes several times a second via the tyre skidding noise jittering off and on under hard braking!


Despite how planted and predictable it is, the overly stable understeer that I had noted in Gran Turismo Sport is nowhere to be found in AC's rendition of the 991 GT3 RS; if you're boorish with your trail braking, the rear end of the GT3 RS will happily swing out, demanding smooth, precise inputs and knowing exactly where each tyre's grip limit is at all times, which unfortunately does mean that certain turns that require quick, sharp dabs of the brakes and hard turning in, such as Turns 4 and 10 of Laguna Seca, are nigh impossible to trace with any semblance of dignity. Or at least, I haven't found out how to "correctly" tackle corners like that just yet.


In fact, the whole experience was sensory overload for me, someone who has only driven family cars in real life, in Gran Turismo games, and had only just begun driving casually on AC. And yes, I'm aware that AC as a full fledged simulator will give anyone who's only played Gran Turismo games sensory overload when they first make the transition, even in a much slower, softer car. But I think that it's especially worth noting when it comes to the 991 GT3 RS, because even in the context of AC, it's one hell of a chatterbox. It's a car characterised by its rawness, its talkativeness, that adrenaline rush of feeling like everything could be lost in just a thousandth of a second if your concentration lapses. It's a car that sells itself on theatre and drama, the likes of which the simplistic sim of Gran Turismo Sport cannot even hope to mildly imitate, let alone replicate. The 991 in AC felt more like a true 911 even to me, someone with very limited experience with the brand. It gave me that communication—and the threats—that I lamented was absent in GTS, and while I'm still deathly afraid of it, and therefore can't drive anywhere near its limits, I at least felt like I "got" its appeal and character more. Just like how you probably won't understand the appeal of a Honda Fit in an e–sports focused title, I feel that, in equal measure, you can't really understand what a 911 GT3 RS is about in Gran Turismo.


It's weird how, despite me having never liked Porsches that much growing up, their cars seem to help me grow and realise things at multiple stages of my life, first with my time as a mechanic, then with Gran Turismo Sport, and now making me drive in AC more often to "graduate" from Gran Turismo. But perhaps that's to speak of how amazing their cars really are; how they're the yardsticks not only in sheer performance, but in the sensations they deliver to their drivers. That, and simply because they're around in modern day showrooms, and are now widely available in digital recreations across several platforms. It might be a bit of a stretch to say, but I think that can be metaphorical for something poetic and hopeful, like teaching me the value of being around other people, being available, being seen, to keep on keeping on doing what I do and honing my craft, be it driving or writing. That's why I spend weeks on end to write long, drawn out, geeky reviews only a handful of people read. Perhaps one day, the car that helps me "graduate" from simulations will be a Porsche as well, and if that day ever comes, you can be sure that I'll spend another few weeks writing about it.


It takes nothing short of a phenomenal car to have this sort of profound effect on me, which is to say that the 991 GT3 RS is so bloody good, it doesn't need exclusivity deals, unrealistic favourtism from arcade devs, nitrous, or silly jumps to stand out; leave that showy, flashy, kiddy stuff to Lamborghini and Ferrari, because Porsches are so much more than that. Just let it do its own thing in the real world, and you'd swear on Black Box's grave it has nitrous anyway.
Great review.

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With pit stops in this game having been recently changed in duration to now be akin to serving a life sentence, racers are now scrambling towards smaller, more efficient, and longer lasting cars in bid to minimise stopping mid–race as much as possible, almost as though we're having a retro, 1973 themed party on the racetrack; out with the big, heavy V8s, and in with the lightweight turbo four cylinders. Where powerful, heavy hitters like the Viper and Vantage used to dominate, now it's frugal pipsqueaks like the Mégane Trophy and GT86 that dictate the pace in races that necessitate pit stops, such as... oh I don't know... every FIA race in this game's history and forseeable future?


If one were to scour the list of racecars in Gran Turismo Sport, surely they would be hard pressed to find anything that's smaller and lighter, and therefore have more longevity on a racetrack, than an Alfa Romeo 4C Gr.4. At only 1,020kg (2,249lbs) before Balance of Performance applies, it's just about the same mass as an American spec 4C, which means that the puny, yet punchy 1.8L Inline–4 turbo engine only needs to output 295HP (220kW) to propel this thing through gaps in the competition. While Alfa Romeo has never been that strong a manufacturer in this game's lifespan thus far, is perhaps now the time to prove to the world what we Asians on the short end of the stick had known all along, that being how good things come in small packages?


Well... not quite. I mean, YES, good things do of course come in small packages; there can be absolutely no question about that. It's just a matter of making more people, especially pretty Singaporean women, realise this. However, I don't think the 4C is the car that best exemplifies that philosophy.

Even without Balance of Performance applied, I find the 4C to be a very odd car to drive and difficult to learn as a result. I've heard qualms about how the 4C is a very tail happy car to drive, but when I first pulled the wheel off centre in one, it felt about as tame and neutral as one can expect of a Gr.4 car. Worryingly, the aforementioned tail happiness of the 4C Gr.4 is something that isn't immediately apparent, but is very much there, waiting to rear its ugly butt out when push comes to shove. Initial turn–in is excellent, but the 4C Gr.4 really dislikes adjusting its balance mid corner. I don't quite know what it is with the car, but any attempt at shifting its weight or adjusting the steering angle mid corner just seems to upset it, either begetting understeer, oversteer, or both, making it quite challenging to trail brake for late apexes. The rear end of the car doesn't let go with any linearity or with much warning at all, feeling oddly inert and stable to a fault up to its limit, building confidence in its driver and egging them to push it harder, only to let go quickly with no warning once its limit is reached. This means that, instead of feeling when the car is about to break grip and slide, you instead have to pre–emptively correct the slide before it even happens, which requires prior knowledge of what would make the car slide, how much it'd slide, and precisely how much throttle and opposite lock to apply, which by the way is very little and a lot, respectively, shedding all form of momentum when going sideways and making the 4C Gr.4 a MR car you can't "tactically" slide like an R8 LMS or Cayman GT4.


Sure, you can keep it well within its handling envelope on the track, seeing as you're probably playing a conservative, long game when in a 4C preserving tyres and fuel, and the 4C is an extremely stable and no drama drive if you don't approach its limits, but that doesn't mean its rear end won't step out on you even then. Just like it's Gr.3 cousin, the Gr.4 4C is deathly allergic to kerbs and other road imperfections, with many seemingly innocuous rumble strips sending the featherweight, stiffly sprung car airbourne, and not just briefly either, which can break grip on the rear tyres and immediately send the car into the aforementioned slides, very quickly turning a low tempo, calculating drive into a frantic one.

This is Turn 2 of Dragon Trail: Gardens, by the way.

The 4C Gr.4 is a very situational car given all its handling quirks and... uh... features? It felt like a horrendous, sloppy (and slow) mess at the the wide open, kerb abuse mandating Dragon Trail tracks, but it absolutely came alive at narrower and twistier tracks like Brand's Hatch. Whatever the track however, the 4C Gr.4 is markedly more demanding than many of its Gr.4 competitors, differentiating itself from it's Gr.3 counterpart, which I said was easy to pick up and drive. In fact, I'd go as far as to liken the slow as hell 4C Gr.4 to the straight line missile R35 Gr.4; they're both cars that have their niches, but they both deviate so strongly from the median of handling characteristics of Gr.4 in their respective spectrum, and thus driving them well requires that you almost create a new "driving profile" for those cars in your head. It will take time not just to learn and adapt to the car, but speaking for myself personally, it's not easy to quickly switch between these "profiles" in my head when I hop from car to car for comparisons like I like to do in our weekly meets. Driving the 4C Gr.4 is a commitment moreso than simply signing a manufacturer's contract for a season of FIA for me; one that I'm not so sure is that worth it.


Yes, frugality may be the name of the game currently, but it hardly matters if, instead of burning off tyres and fuel, you burn off your brain trying to drive a difficult car. Perhaps it's because I'm not very good a driver and/or the car isn't a good fit for me, but be those as they may, I'm not entirely convinced that the 4C is actually any good in an actual, racing scenario, because the 4C fell completely flat the moment we enabled BoP in our lobby and started bringing wildcard cars into the mix. With the current BoP enabled, the 4C is the single least powerful car in all of Gr.4, while only being the fifth lightest after the four FF cars, and what it gains in the corners is laughably disproportionate to what it loses out on the straights, meaning that it will likely qualify near the back end of the grid. Once the actual race starts, the 4C will struggle to even maintain its gap to a competitor even with the full, close quarter benefits of their slipstream. And don't even think I'm being cynical and exaggerative for the hell of it when I say that, either (though yes admittedly that's half the fun of writing); I was in an underpowered, highly geared Cayman GT4 punching a hole through clean air when Vic's 4C could barely gain on me while it sat in my slipstream, which is the Gr.4 equivalent of saying that your sports car couldn't pull on a Miata in a drag race. Even with a vastly more skilled driver behind the wheel, the 4C is simply too slow in the straights to make any overtaking attempts feasible into any braking zones, making whatever cornering advantage it has a moot point when it comes time to overtake. As such, you don't race other racers in a 4C Gr.4; you race against yourself and the car to keep it on the track and planted in the right direction. You don't race other racecars in a 4C Gr.4; you run your own race and gain everything while others sit in the pits. It's an oddly isolating racecar, and seemingly the only way to get intense wheel to wheel action with it is if you run a one–make race with it... like us:



In conclusion, the Alfa 4C might be Alpha Dog due to prevailing circumstances, and perhaps even moreso at select tracks like Brand's Hatch or Toukyo Central. But while good things do come in small packages, the 4C Gr.4 suffers a fate I know too well: seemingly never a good fit, best thrown away after an initial trial session for something else less moody, more reliable, capable, and exotic, like a Mégane Trophy, 458 Gr.4, or even a Cayman GT4. And god damn how did this review get so sad and personal all of a sudden.
 
Good addition to the game. I mean, good addition to the real world automobile industry.
The difference from GT86/BRZ to GR86, is instantly felt. The GRMN version is as close to the GR86 as the older chassis will get. However, the torque and gearing of the GR86, up it's performance over the cars before.

I really don't have much more to say about the car. Used it in the debut Nations at Autopolis and again at Bathurst. Tight handling and it's smooth & stable. I'd buy a real one after driving it in the game.
 

Toyota GR 86 2021 HOT LAP Nordschleife GTS​




It's really a great, little car. Definite improvement over the older 86 models, as my Tsukuba comparison shows.

With its driven time, it is the 91st fastest car of all road legal cars. Its closest rivals are the Toyota MR2 GT-S '97 with an 08.10.169 on the 90th place and the Chevrolet Corvette C3 '69 with an 08.11.892 on the 92nd place.

Driven stock on hard sport tyres without any driving aids, except ABS. First lap in third person view, second one in cockpit view and third one in cinematic replay view. All driven laps are the same lap.

Comparison with Tsukuba rivals:



Verdict: sleeper 😎
 
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The first two generations of the Fiat 500 is well loved not only in its home market of Italy, but thanks to its consistently cute and distinctive looks, in export markets such as Japan as well. Measuring in at 3,546 x 1,626 x 1,514mm (139.6 x 64.0 x 59.6in) however, the third generation Fiat 500 is only 146mm too wide to fit into Japan's Kei–car segment, so instead of sticking a diminutive engine into a grown up car, Fiat has decided to go full Dodge Viper and stuffed a hulking 1,240cc NA unit into the meekly pleading mouse of a body, which produces... wait for it... 65 whole horsepowers.


The reason why I mentioned the Dodge Viper is slightly more than a tongue–in–cheek jab at rumours of how the Viper was held back by its parent companies, but also because the 500 evoked a sense of "how do you make so little power out of so much displacement?!", usually reserved for American muscle. But while American muscle have the torque and soundtrack to compensate mind–bogglingly horrific specific output figures, the 500... doesn't. Even though the torque curve is freakishly flat on the Fiat to its credit, the 500 produces so little of it that you barely get hints of tyre squeals on the crappiest of Comfort tyres, and you could stick your left foot on the gas pedal, open the driver side door, undo your pants and take a pee break, zip back up your pants and transition back into your normal driving position in the time it takes to get to 100km/h, which is roughly seventeen seconds. I'd give you a more exact timing if I could stay awake through the ordeal that is its 0-100km/h crawl.


The sound of the 1.2L Inline–4 not only sounds as invigorating and engaging as a primary school history teacher during the last seventeen seconds of teaching before he collects his pension, but said sound also courteously comes premixed by the utter farce of a gearbox—an automated five speed unit—to make it sound as monotonous as mechanically possible, almost indistinguishable from a CVT's drone in fact, with how long this weak ass car is geared for no discernible reason, facilitating the ease of sleep. Any engagement from the driving experience you thought you might have been able to salvage from changing cogs yourself is rendered completely unnecessary with how third and fourth are all you'll ever need for most corners—or should I say, most entire tracks—and any semblance of fuel economy is left behind on the spec sheet the moment you need to pick up speed on an uphill ramp onto an expressway in the real world, or if you've any intent at all to use the fast lane on a bustling, busy city's road, for which you'll need full throttle in the correct gear. Isn't the 500 is supposedly well suited for city driving with its small, easy–to–park size? Maybe it's because I live in the bustling metropolis that is Singapore, where everyone's a gigantic, self–entitled prick, but even my Honda Fit Hybrid cuts it really rather close in terms of acceleration and throttle response, and I really wouldn't fancy being the poor chap who has to be in something with less than half its power and of comparable mass here in "Lion City".


Italy Number plate Front and Rear decals by GabriDRIVER.​

When we raced and reviewed the 2002 Daihatsu Copen not five months ago, I genuinely thought that that was the single slowest car in the game. At the time, I was blissfully unaware of this thing. The Daihatsu Copen fits into the aforementioned Kei dimensions, while also keeping within Kei displacement limits of 660cc. Want to guess how much less power the Copen makes from almost half the displacement of the 500? 3HP. While it's true that I've also complained about the turbocharged unit in the Copen hyperventilating past 7k of 9, the 500 redlines at a diesel–like 6.4k. In addition, the Copen is not only a whopping 180kg (397lbs) lighter, but it's also stiffer sprung and also packs a five speed, controlled with a proper stick and clutch pedal, meaning it utterly destrolishes the 500 on the track as well. Oh, and have I mentioned how cute the Copen is? And how much cheaper it is? Yeah, okay, sure, the Copen doesn't have back seats, but any pretence of practicality in argument for the 500 can only come from those secretly spiteful of their in–laws or friends, or those flexible enough to toss their shopping in the back and twist to reach for them afterwards; i.e. not me.


At this point, some of you might be wondering, "but XSquare, why are you trying to squeeze the Fiat 500 into Japan's Kei Car segment and comparing it against Kei cars when the 500 is clearly not meant to fit in there?" See, thing is, the Kei car segment is the cheapest excuse, the best way I can rationalise this 23,300 Cr. costing, two–door spiteful mousetrap of a thing. I mean, what else am I going to compare against it? A comparably priced Mazda Roadster/Fiat 124 that weighs roughly the same, packing twice its power, is rear wheel drive, has better aftermarket support, and an open top? A much cheaper Honda Fit Hybrid with two more doors, a boot that doesn't require setting down the rear seats to use, much better fuel economy, better cornering and straight line performance, along with five more drink holders? Look, I don't dislike slow cars; I very much enjoy my Honda Fit, perhaps more than I should, and I ADORE the Mazda Roadster. I love racing slow, crappy econoboxes! But this thing gets out launched, out dragged, and out cornered by a freaking FWD Kei car, while costing about the same as a ND Roadster! How does one excuse this? What's the rationale for this disaster of a package? What is this car? What does it even do? Who is this for? Which rational, educated adult of sound enough mind to pass a driving test, who's responsible and sensible enough to have positioned themselves comfortably enough in society to be considering the purchase of an automobile, would buy this without a spaghetti noose round their neck? An insomniac, perhaps, because the only thing the 500 does that my does–it–all–and–more Honda Fit doesn't is put me the hell to sleep; for the first time in my fifteen months here in COTW, I was so bored during the racing that I began to text my sister during the race, and had to leave the meet early because this car was making me more sleepy than anything I've ever been prescribed, some of which were supposed to put me to sleep.


That all being said, I did spend some more time with the car after our weekly meetup, and I'm very surprised to say that the car has grown on me slightly since then. Sure, it's got nothing on anything in the straights and corners, but in its own way, at its own pace, it's actually rather fun. The steering I find is very precise and immediate, and the car is so easy to place exactly where you want even from cockpit view, owing to its excellent visibility, both of which gave me some beginner Gran Turismo licence test vibes, wherein Polyphony Digital felt the need to teach people how to use the left stick to steer the car for some reason on full throttle (oh god, is it the left stick that steers the car, or the right? I completely forgot!). I love how the interior panel piece bisecting the dash is painted body colour, meaning that you can have some really funky looking interiors while masking the exterior with decals if you wish.


Yes, the car is soft and it understeers when pushed to the ends of its suspension travel. But I think you'll still have some fun with it if you stop racing other cars with it, and just drive it on its own. Slap some Comfort Hard tyres on it, and I think it comes alive just a little bit, emphasising careful and cognizant weight transfer with its soft suspension and slim 175mm tyres. The party piece however, is the handbrake on the car, which comes in more than handy when wrestling away the understeer into a longer corner. While I've never been one to use the handbrake in this SERIOUS BUSINESS SIMULATOR, I've had a lot of fun giving the handbrake a good yank while on full–throttle into the apex of a corner, and the short wheelbase car rotates so quickly and intuitively, it really does feel like a swivel office chair when the boss isn't around. Sure, it isn't the only FWD car with a mechanical handbrake, but the 500's natural understeer necessitates and excuses the tomfoolery more than a Civic Type R for example, and its soft suspension in conjunction with FWD yanks the car straight back into understeer city the moment you let off the handbrake and get on the throttle, not to mention the brakes are almost disproportionately excellent for a car of its speed, meaning that it's almost excruciatingly safe to hoon. I do very much lament the lack of a linear, mechanical handbrake in this game however, which the car does get in real life, as I feel that the 500, or indeed, any FWD road car is greatly hampered by the game's binary, on off switch of a handbrake, though I suppose not having to worry about flat spotting the rear tyres is quite a benefit in itself. I really do appreciate how the 500 has encouraged me to explore the use of the handbrake in this game, intentional or not, and I personally think it makes for some hilarious shots when the locked up rear wheels are coupled with the ridiculous pitch and roll of this softly sprung car.

Look at this cute little thing trying so hard! Aww!

And speaking of, the 500 is a really photogenic car, as one would hope and expect of a car of its nature. I've had a lot of fun shooting it for this review, and I really love having a "normal" car in a Gran Turismo game, especially the 500, as it makes for not only a fun car to shoot on its own, but can also seamlessly blend and fade into the backdrop of a cityscape if you need something believable and unassuming to populate the background of your urban supercar shoot.


I've always lamented how the Gran Turismo series has gradually stopped including base, "lesser" models of cars in the games, like the Skyline GT-Ses, or the wagon Imprezas. I've always wondered how a normal, unassuming Civic drives in comparison to the Type Rs, how much of a compromise the Targa NSX was (because if it's any good, it might become my new guilty pleasure...), or indeed, how scary, or grandma hand holding a base 911 engineered for a well to do, everyday Joe would be to drive. Without these "normal" cars in the game, the wowing, special, limited edition performance cars almost feel... pedestrian. Purposeless. Anyone who's ever played Assetto Corsa might understand what I mean. The inclusion of the base Fiat 500 in Gran Turismo Sport then, gives better context as to what was done to the Abarth 500 and where the extra 6,200 Cr. goes, and I suspect a good chunk of it has went into doubling the power output to what the 500 should've arguably come with as standard via a turbocharger. Hell, the base 500 is so atrocious a package that it could almost make the Abarth look like good value for money! I wasn't too enthused with the Daihatsu Copen when we first ran it back in Week 129 either, but the 500 has somehow made that cheap, cheerful, and unassuming Kei car feel like an FWD Porsche Kei in comparison, and made me appreciate it a hell of a lot more. In other words, the base 500 feels like a good loser. I think anyone who's watched wrestling would know what I mean by that. By losing, it makes other competitors look good, because it is credible in its own right, and it somehow manages to feel special even in loss, which takes a bit of talent to pull off. I think the series is in more and more dire need for these "good losers", who also happen to be a lot of fun.


While I don't necessarily fancy owning one myself, I did unexpectedly have quite a bit of fun with the 500. I think the car and I started off on the wrong foot. The context of Gran Turismo Sport set us both up for that fall, I feel. Where it'd truly shine and be a hoot I think is perhaps on a tight Gymkhana course, or perhaps on a real world, relaxing drive. It's not a car built for competition. It's not a car that will give you much enjoyment if you're being too logical and factual, if you're looking too far ahead on the road, trying to get somewhere or catch someone. Instead, it's a car that emphasises the here and now. It makes me go against the common sim racing advice of "looking further down the road". Go slowly at its pace and enjoy the scenery you'd miss in other cars. Do silly things with it with your friends on a road trip. Laugh instead at how it tries its hardest and dies slowly despite that on an incline when fully loaded with your friends, and then try to synchronise rocking your bodies forward to make it go faster instead of being disappointed and frustrated with it. Enjoy the looks others give you on the road and the photos they take of you when you're in one. It's a car that accentuates and adds flavour to an occasion you create yourself instead of dominating and defining it. That's where the appeal of it lies, I think.


In an amazing stroke of luck, I chanced upon a 500 while I was driving around this past week!

I once said that Singapore's laws for cars are asphyxiatingly strict, but here we see a tasteful, subtle modification that the cops can't touch... because no one can: the owner of this particular example has removed the door handle on the driver's side, not only shedding mass, but also improving on the lateral balance of the car and reducing the rotational inertia, thereby improving on cornering speeds. It's subtle, performance oriented mods like these that separate the wannabe boy racers from the performance enthusiast, and it definitely does not say anything about the build quality and reliability of these things.
 
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2022-toyota-gr-86-base-model-112.jpg


base model on base rims


this will never not be a bit goofy looking

i took an n300 and 360hp n400 out on a few tracks against other N300s and GT4s.

At 300 its not too bad but its a car dominated by its motor in a bad way. n300 it does an ok job but its never very confident on overtakes and you can never really call on the motor in many situations.

Its obviosuly a momentum car.

A n400 its definetly tough going. You're going to get walked often. The engine makes the car too much hard work IMO.

Apart from that the chassis is ok but it feels much too 'loose' on both ends to my liking.

The front end washes with mild but not offensive understeer. Steering is good though but too much makes it wash.

The rear end is just a tad too loose. So you're driving a car that feels like it skates at both ends. I think this is how the original car handled on its "Prius tyres".

Its also not happy over kerbs where it kicks the tail out even if your whole car is on the strip.

This is not a fun car for me to drive.
 
I wish it were just RWD like the GT3 car. Other than that, I still dig the looks of it. Basically the road car with less power and stiffer suspension. Used it in FIA for a few races at different times, in the same breath, it’s better in Daily Race B events.
Had done a 3 lap Custom race at Tsukuba, with N600 cars and changed the Gr.4 tyres to SH. Grid start default P11. Finished 6th, behind GT-R ‘17(5th), Ford GT ‘17, Aventador 750-4 SV, 991 GT3 RS, and P1 Amuse S2000.
Couldn't catch the GT-R ‘17 at any point. Good thing the NISMO started further back(finished 11th).

Anyway, glad PD made this version. Looking forward to a proper Nissan GT4 racer in the future.
 
Why so much hate for the GTR Gr.4? It's one of my favourites in the dailies (at least when the circuit has some big straights anyway)!! I think it's my second most used car on my alt account.
As someone who has driven for Nissan in the Manufacturer Series exclusively for three years:

  • It's slow. The only thing it was slightly above average at in Gr.4 was its top end, and it got nerfed earlier this year so it doesn't have that any more.
  • It's 4WD. The way the BOP works in this game means it has all the drawbacks of the broken FF cars with none of the benefits. The front tyre wear is borderline impossible to manage (I've seen @OutlawQuadrnt win a no-stop at Alsace and I've seen PR1_Fire win a no-stop at the Red Bull Ring, but they're aliens) and it's almost never properly competitive in races with tyre wear as a result.
  • It's extremely long, so it doesn't have the same manoeuvrability the 4WD Lancer and WRX have in the same class.
  • The fuel rate is terrible.
  • Its gearing is also so bad it feels like it should be on a different car. You need to rev it out fully to get any pace out of it which makes it impossible to fuel save and retain any sort of pace. When you shift up, it dies.
  • Its brakes are made of cheese.
  • There's something off about the proportions of the sides. Trying to make a livery for it feels like it's the wrong shape, it's hard to get shapes or designs on the sides looking the right size.

It was good for making a switch from controller to wheel/pedals, because it's extremely stable. It's long and it's 4WD and it's basically a tank that's impossible to spin or lose control of. At lower levels where there's a wider range of abilities in a race or a more varied selection of cars people choose it might be competitive, but once you start improving your driver rating you're going to stand still while everyone else gets faster.
 
As someone who has driven for Nissan in the Manufacturer Series exclusively for three years:

  • It's slow. The only thing it was slightly above average at in Gr.4 was its top end, and it got nerfed earlier this year so it doesn't have that any more.
  • It's 4WD. The way the BOP works in this game means it has all the drawbacks of the broken FF cars with none of the benefits. The front tyre wear is borderline impossible to manage (I've seen @OutlawQuadrnt win a no-stop at Alsace and I've seen PR1_Fire win a no-stop at the Red Bull Ring, but they're aliens) and it's almost never properly competitive in races with tyre wear as a result.
  • It's extremely long, so it doesn't have the same manoeuvrability the 4WD Lancer and WRX have in the same class.
  • The fuel rate is terrible.
  • Its gearing is also so bad it feels like it should be on a different car. You need to rev it out fully to get any pace out of it which makes it impossible to fuel save and retain any sort of pace. When you shift up, it dies.
  • Its brakes are made of cheese.
  • There's something off about the proportions of the sides. Trying to make a livery for it feels like it's the wrong shape, it's hard to get shapes or designs on the sides looking the right size.

It was good for making a switch from controller to wheel/pedals, because it's extremely stable. It's long and it's 4WD and it's basically a tank that's impossible to spin or lose control of. At lower levels where there's a wider range of abilities in a race or a more varied selection of cars people choose it might be competitive, but once you start improving your driver rating you're going to stand still while everyone else gets faster.
Fair enough, that's a decent analysis after much use. To be fair, I've not used it for tyre wear / fuel use races, only sprints, and mainly at Mount Panorama where only the Genesis and Viper were faster in my hands. I've also found it fairly reliable at Fuji, Spa and St Croix. Maybe it suits my driving style, or maybe my talent limit is in those lower levels you describe (I'm mid-B rating)... Regardless, I love it and it's one of my go-to Gr.4 cars when a "power circuit" is in the mix.

 
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As someone who has driven for Nissan in the Manufacturer Series exclusively for three years:

  • It's slow. The only thing it was slightly above average at in Gr.4 was its top end, and it got nerfed earlier this year so it doesn't have that any more.
  • It's 4WD. The way the BOP works in this game means it has all the drawbacks of the broken FF cars with none of the benefits. The front tyre wear is borderline impossible to manage (I've seen @OutlawQuadrnt win a no-stop at Alsace and I've seen PR1_Fire win a no-stop at the Red Bull Ring, but they're aliens) and it's almost never properly competitive in races with tyre wear as a result.
  • It's extremely long, so it doesn't have the same manoeuvrability the 4WD Lancer and WRX have in the same class.
  • The fuel rate is terrible.
  • Its gearing is also so bad it feels like it should be on a different car. You need to rev it out fully to get any pace out of it which makes it impossible to fuel save and retain any sort of pace. When you shift up, it dies.
  • Its brakes are made of cheese.
  • There's something off about the proportions of the sides. Trying to make a livery for it feels like it's the wrong shape, it's hard to get shapes or designs on the sides looking the right size.

It was good for making a switch from controller to wheel/pedals, because it's extremely stable. It's long and it's 4WD and it's basically a tank that's impossible to spin or lose control of. At lower levels where there's a wider range of abilities in a race or a more varied selection of cars people choose it might be competitive, but once you start improving your driver rating you're going to stand still while everyone else gets faster.
I'll add my notes to this:

  • The loss of power I found it to help mitigate the understeer on exit. However, now the GT-R has no passing power even in draft.
  • GT-R dies at the end of tire wear races. Even at its strong combos (ex. Spa, Monza), the pace advantage at the start isn't enough to break away.
  • Honestly haven't had as many issues with fuel.
  • Lost count on how often I complained about the gearing. So many corners where the ideal lower gear is too short but using the higher gear bogs the car down and adds more understeer. Then you hit the limiter too quickly exiting. Monza second chicane and last section of Maggiore highlights how bad it can get.
  • Some aliens have suggested using front brake bias on the GT-R and they have a point. The car simply doesn't stop from high speed with high rear bias to where I don't use more than +3 overall.

Not saying the Gr4 GT-R is a terrible performer. It's just not an enjoyable car in the slightest.
 
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