Car of the Week 228: COTY GTS Finale

  • Thread starter Racer283
  • 3,110 comments
  • 661,515 views
When Car of the Week tested the R32 GT-R back in 2020, I found it to be a quick, but dull experience, with its heavy body and tall gearing. Two years later, we tested the R34 GT-R, and I was absolutely smitten by it. Every fault I've complained about in previous GT-Rs have been rectified in the R34; the engine is peppier and more responsive. The gearing is a lot closer and evens out the power bumps better. The car is stable, yet tail happy when provoked. The car felt light despite being heavy. It was everything one could want in a sports car.

NISMO R33GT-R 400R by mshow1215 (GTS | GT7)
Mine's R33 GT-R Magia Record
by redmist223 (GTS)

Despite having never referred to it once, that ironically is the most fitting way I could think of to introduce the R33 GT-R. Despite being born in the right period, right place, and to the right parents, the R33 GT-R's claim to fame is undone solely by being born in the wrong order, being the middle child of a triplet of trifectas. I mean, hell, Gran Turismo Sport added the R32 and R34 in Update 1.10, omitting the R33 entirely until 1.15. We at Car of the Week tested the R32 and R34 before we even bat an eye at an R33. And so this week, the questions that beg to be answered are, "is that neglect and overlooking of the R33 deserved? Does it have anything it can offer that its siblings can't?"


Certainly not in how it drives. To get an idea of what it's like driving an R33, imagine an R32, except larger, taller, heavier, but better balanced with "just" 58% of its weight up front instead of 60. The predictable result of this is that the driving sensation of the R33 feels vastly similar to that of an R32, although my lap times from Tsukuba to Bathurst both show that the R33 is heinously quicker everywhere, both on power focused and technical handling tracks. Part of that is down to the improved power to mass ratio of the R33 and its slightly more even power and torque curves, yes, but most of it is down to the suspension revisions done to the R33. Where the R32 had a bias towards hand–holding understeer when off the brakes, the R33 is much more willing to rotate mid corner... almost too much so sometimes.


Puzzlingly, the whole body of the R33 feels like it moves around a lot more when cornering, which can very quickly unsettle the rear end of the car and send it sliding out. While that can mean that it's easier to rotate the car into a corner if you know how to and do it right, it's utterly horrifying for a first timer expecting the AWD of the car and the invincible "GT-R" badges on the car to baby them. Braking for a corner in an R33 involves checking every box in a list almost as long as the one you have to go through before pressing the throttle pedal in a Veyron: make sure the car isn't too off neutral, make sure you don't steer much after you hit the brakes, make sure nobody is in range to nudge you from the rear, do NOT ever downshift into 2nd or 1st as they're instant death traps, and if the braking zone is a downhill, then well... Godzilla help you, because if any of the aforementioned factors are against you, the rear end is slipping out. You best have a comprehensive RWD skills toolbox at the ready and be prepared to read the steering wheel like a braille book once this thing goes sideways, as its rather floaty springs and heavy for its time body make no guarantees that the car can be retrieved before smashing into a wall or somebody else... assuming you don't over correct and send yourself snapping in the opposite direction.


And... that's it, really. I am at a loss for what else to say about the R33. It's a mix of everything I've already said about the R32 and R34. It's an important piece of automotive history, no doubt, as is the sheer performance capabilities of the thing. It does everything an R32 does but does it better, but there's simply no reason to bother with it in a video game that features an R34 because, drumroll, anything an R33 can do better, the R34 perfects. Oh, and there's also the small niggling fact that, if I want to drive a tail happy car, I'd go drive a much lighter, much more responsive, much better looking RX-7 or NSX.


Successful siblings or not, the R33 is simply mid.
 
When Car of the Week tested the R32 GT-R back in 2020, I found it to be a quick, but dull experience, with its heavy body and tall gearing. Two years later, we tested the R34 GT-R, and I was absolutely smitten by it. Every fault I've complained about in previous GT-Rs have been rectified in the R34; the engine is peppier and more responsive. The gearing is a lot closer and evens out the power bumps better. The car is stable, yet tail happy when provoked. The car felt light despite being heavy. It was everything one could want in a sports car.

NISMO R33GT-R 400R by mshow1215 (GTS | GT7)
Mine's R33 GT-R Magia Record
by redmist223 (GTS)

Despite having never referred to it once, that ironically is the most fitting way I could think of to introduce the R33 GT-R. Despite being born in the right period, right place, and to the right parents, the R33 GT-R's claim to fame is undone solely by being born in the wrong order, being the middle child of a triplet of trifectas. I mean, hell, Gran Turismo Sport added the R32 and R34 in Update 1.10, omitting the R33 entirely until 1.15. We at Car of the Week tested the R32 and R34 before we even bat an eye at an R33. And so this week, the questions that beg to be answered are, "is that neglect and overlooking of the R33 deserved? Does it have anything it can offer that its siblings can't?"


Certainly not in how it drives. To get an idea of what it's like driving an R33, imagine an R32, except larger, taller, heavier, but better balanced with "just" 58% of its weight up front instead of 60. The predictable result of this is that the driving sensation of the R33 feels vastly similar to that of an R32, although my lap times from Tsukuba to Bathurst both show that the R33 is heinously quicker everywhere, both on power focused and technical handling tracks. Part of that is down to the improved power to mass ratio of the R33 and its slightly more even power and torque curves, yes, but most of it is down to the suspension revisions done to the R33. Where the R32 had a bias towards hand–holding understeer when off the brakes, the R33 is much more willing to rotate mid corner... almost too much so sometimes.


Puzzlingly, the whole body of the R33 feels like it moves around a lot more when cornering, which can very quickly unsettle the rear end of the car and send it sliding out. While that can mean that it's easier to rotate the car into a corner if you know how to and do it right, it's utterly horrifying for a first timer expecting the AWD of the car and the invincible "GT-R" badges on the car to baby them. Braking for a corner in an R33 involves checking every box in a list almost as long as the one you have to go through before pressing the throttle pedal in a Veyron: make sure the car isn't too off neutral, make sure you don't steer much after you hit the brakes, make sure nobody is in range to nudge you from the rear, do NOT ever downshift into 2nd or 1st as they're instant death traps, and if the braking zone is a downhill, then well... Godzilla help you, because if any of the aforementioned factors are against you, the rear end is slipping out. You best have a comprehensive RWD skills toolbox at the ready and be prepared to read the steering wheel like a braille book once this thing goes sideways, as its rather floaty springs and heavy for its time body make no guarantees that the car can be retrieved before smashing into a wall or somebody else... assuming you don't over correct and send yourself snapping in the opposite direction.


And... that's it, really. I am at a loss for what else to say about the R33. It's a mix of everything I've already said about the R32 and R34. It's an important piece of automotive history, no doubt, as is the sheer performance capabilities of the thing. It does everything an R32 does but does it better, but there's simply no reason to bother with it in a video game that features an R34 because, drumroll, anything an R33 can do better, the R34 perfects. Oh, and there's also the small niggling fact that, if I want to drive a tail happy car, I'd go drive a much lighter, much more responsive, much better looking RX-7 or NSX.


Successful siblings or not, the R33 is simply mid.

Ride-up gräit as always yo, but bolded part is simply a big, big no. Even back then, MANY reviewers noted/noticed, that in some instances, the R32 is actually quicker/the better car (even if minimally).
 
Last edited:
Ride-up gräit as always yo, but bolded part is simply a big, big no. Even back then, MANY reviewers noted/noticed, that in some instances, the R32 is actually quicker/the better car (even if minimally).
The R33 was quicker everywhere than the R32 when I drove them, and so that's what I wrote. If you know of any other reviews/tests to that show the contrary, please do share!
 
Happy 4th of July to our American friends!

So, as Racer has already written, he'll be away for the month of July on his honeymoon! Congrats Racer! (I hope she's worth missing out an entire month of COTW action!)

ANYWAY, that leaves me, the guy who makes you scroll through the most crap on this thread, to take his place for the month of July. I've reached out to a long time friend and family member of COTW, @Obelisk , to pick the first victim of COTW under my rule watch, and boy did he have a romantic pick for us this week to start us off! What better car to celebrate love in the air than with an Alfa Romeo?! Specifically, the Alfa Romeo...

MiTo?!

Alberobello_.jpeg

Mm... y-yes, quite the romantic pick there, Obelisk. That... is why you picked it this week, isn't it?

**** everyone in the thread, we're going full italian ****box


Alright then, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. See you at 10 P.M. CST, Tuesday, I guess?
 
Ok. My video reviews? It was BARELY any quicker?
I saw that. It's puzzling to me why the R33 was barely any quicker both at Tsukuba and Nords in your hands. IRL the R33 lapped the Nords 21 seconds quicker than the R32, and you said you liked how slidey the R33 is. Why do you think it isn't any quicker in your comparisons?
 
I saw that. It's puzzling to me why the R33 was barely any quicker both at Tsukuba and Nords in your hands. IRL the R33 lapped the Nords 21 seconds quicker than the R32, and you said you liked how slidey the R33 is. Why do you think it isn't any quicker in your comparisons?
Because the cars have basically the same specs. Were both laps irl driven by same driver? Stock cars? Stock tyres? Temperature? Wet track vs. dry track? A LOT of variables to falsefy the result...
 
A common saying in the community goes, "You can't be a true petrolhead until you've owned an Alfa". By that logic then, this... thing, qualifies one into the club.


At 28,500 Credits, the Alfa Romeo MiTo is by far the cheapest modern gateway into that supposed club, but it's not exactly cheap in the grand scheme of things: it costs over 10 grand more than the much more reliable, economical, and practical Honda Fit Hybrid, so it's clearly not meant to make logical sense. As a performance–oriented proposition however, the MiTo falls completely flat on its malignant face, costing roughly the same as a much lighter, much more powerful, and somehow, also more practical Focus ST. When judged by its numbers alone, I really can't tell you what the hell the MiTo is and who exactly it is for, and you'll have to forgive me if I judge the car by numbers alone this week, because any more than that would involve me having to permanently scar my soul by looking at the grotesque automotive accident that is the MiTo's styling.


"But XSquare," I hear you interject. "I am a selfish burden to society with no concern of how others perceive me, much less any conception of the consequences of my existence upon humanity. I therefore don't care how it looks as long as I don't have to be the one looking at it from the driver's seat. Is it good to drive?" First off, unlike a G80 M3, you can't escape the ugliness of the MiTo simply by becoming one with the ugly, because there's an obnoxious amount of fake carbon fibre lining the entire top surface of the dash. Fake carbon fibre in a product that's supposed to make you a petrolhead? Why don't you try wearing a thong made out of freshly used dishwashing cloth at the Paris Fashion show?


Secondly, the way a MiTo drives is simply tragic, accident or not. It makes at least 152HP (113kW) at 5,500rpm, but I can't give you a definite answer as to how much a MiTo is supposed to make because I think the engine in my particular car exploded at past said point while being dyno tested. How else can one explain this sheer drop in both power and torque?


Exploded engine or not, 152HP is still a lot to shove through just the front wheels of any car, let alone one wearing skinny 205/45R17 tyres. Now, ask anyone who's ever had to set up a powerful FWD car for any application, and doubtlessly they'll tell you that a lot of the magic is in the differential of these inherently understeery cars. The Alfa though, defies convention by having a completely open differential, which I can only presume is in attempt to salvage some reliability from the car by removing one more component that can go wrong. I mean, I get it. Differentials are such expensive trinkets that are so prone to going wrong. It's not like they're things that get slapped onto an entry level subcompact like a Diesel Demio costing ten grand less and be expected to work just fine. So yes, there's no risk of the differential exploding mid drive and firing electrically charged sharpnel into your spouse and kids, but the tradeoff for that is that the driving experience goes very, very wrong any time you attempt to put down any power out of a turn, with the unladen inside wheel siphoning away power from the car and the passion for life from my soul. Combine the nonexistent top end of the engine with the criminally slow shifting manual cars of GTS, and with the car's inability to put down power cleanly in low gears, you wind up with a car that asks of you only one downshift for turn 1 and one upshift on the back straight per lap at Tsukuba, with the vast majority of the time spent on said lap being lugged in 3rd. It feels almost like driving an automatic gearbox on these small tracks, which are normally where small, low powered cars shine.

And that's only the beginning of the tragedy that disguises itself as the experience of driving a MiTo.


The suspension of the car is made from overcooked, expired pasta. The homemade suspension is so soft that even on the default Comfort Soft tyres, you'll be shaving off body panels with the tyres and wheels. It's a non–issue in GTS, but it's something that you'll have to immediately fix upon receipt of the car in GT7. What, you thought 28,500 Cr. car was a lot for a lukewarm hatch? You'll need to fork over 20k more on a full custom suspension to convert your purchase from coffin to car.


Despite the MiTo being quite the porker by supermini standards, weighing in at 1,145kg (2,524lbs), the car itself stops short. But because of how fluffy the springs are, simply slamming hard on the brakes deeply upsets the balance and composure of the car, to such an extent that you have to ease off the brakes almost fully to coax some neutrality back into the car before slowly feeding in steering angle at a rate comparable to Polyphony Digital feeding us content in GT7, meaning that drivers will need to brake early for corners to allow the requisite space and time for all the aforementioned shenanigans despite the car stopping well. If you force the issue and steer the car too much too quickly before it's been allowed to regain its composure, the MiTo will simply pitch and lean so much that it makes grip from all four tyres vanish from right under you as though grip is but a busted myth. The unruly lack of control and composure along with the resultant under and oversteer is so atrocious to the point that this compact, low powered car makes Maggiore feel too narrow to drive on, which is quite the feat considering that it's a track smooth and wide enough to race LMP1 cars on for gosh's sake.


Mind you, many criticised the physics engine of GTS saying it's overly stable, and that FFs are ultra numb to drive because they never bite back. The MiTo is an FF that bites back even in GTS! To give you an idea of how much speed the Fusilli springs on the MiTo squanders away each and every corner, a heavier and less powerful Peugeot RCZ effed right off into the sunrise lap 1 around Tsukuba, pulling a Vic–like gap on everybody else, including to Vic himself! So not only does the MiTo suck when being judged by its numbers, but when the numbers are in its favour, it shows us all that it sucks so much, no numbers could possibly save it.


I said it after the first race of the day at Maggiore: the MiTo is a strong contender for being Beater of the Year. But, as the day wore on and we raced the thing more and more, I started to learn how to treat the MiTo the way it wants to be treated, to accomodate for and drive around its weaknesses and pitfalls. I learned to go at its pace instead of projecting asinine things like standard onto it. I had learned to work with the mechanicals of the car, to be "mechanically sympathetic" with the car, which Nismo tells me is a must have racing driver trait. And in that state, in that zone, that "zen", as the FH5 COTW guys might prefer, I even won a race that day! The MiTo may be a troublesome thing to wrangle around a track, but its faults can definitely be worked around, unlike some other Italian cars we've had the misfortune of testing. It was so stupidly and immensely gratifying to reel in my peers because I knew which gear to be in, when to shift the car, how to make it turn, and how to keep it composed. Every thing I found out about the car and did differently to suit it, I was duly rewarded for, and that made me feel like a kid experimenting and being praised, making me want more! I wasn't ready to admit it during race day after having just said it was a strong contender for BOTY, but I was having an immense amount of fun racing the MiTo that day.

More surprising than that though, is the a very odd sense of déjà vu I felt after the high of winning the race wore off.


So to recap, it pitches, it rolls, it slides. It has two doors, no grip, a six speed stick shift, and an open differential. It's small, somewhat lightweight, it's underpowered, it needs to be in the right gear and the right revs, it demands to be treated like a dance partner instead of a tool. It costs around 25k Credits and makes no sense when judged by its numbers, and it looks best in its company's signature red. Oh, and it shares a LOT with a Fiat underneath. Why do I have a feeling I tested a car that also fits that exact description not too long ago...?


Oh, that's right, we tested the ND Mazda Roadster this January! And it was my pick! Hell, if you refer to the Roadster as a Miata, even their names sound similar!

Of course, with all the similarities between the two cars I've listed, the main difference is that the Roadster is RWD, much lighter, and less powerful. Might be a Mazda fanboy setting up the ugly Alfa to fail by racing the Roadster against the MiTo, and so I brought the Roadster to Bathurst, a track that favours outright power and top speed, to give the MiTo a sporting chance... but of course, Bathurst also happens to have one of the most treacherous, tight, and technical sections of any track in this game, and so a race here should really highlight any and all differences between the two.


And the differences were as huge as the cars were small. Come any corner that involves the brakes, and the Roadster so severely outperforms the MiTo that it could out brake and go the long way round on the outside of a corner around a MiTo. On corner exits, I've had to dodge what looked like stalled MiToes past the apexes of turns—it's that big of a difference! I've complained about how the Roadster was way too soft and dangerous a drive when we tested it, but having jumped right out of a MiTo, the Roadster felt like a racing car, and I was having a lot of trouble adapting to how much more speed the Roadster could carry through a corner, oftentimes braking and turning too early for turns. If cars had feelings and could speak, the Roadster would definitely be asking me which inexperienced vixen below my standards I've been doing lately, and why!


But of course, with such a disproportionate advantage in the corners also comes with an equally disproportionate disadvantage on the straights if the race is to be close and worth talking about. On the run up to T2, I was losing about six tenths despite having a MUCH better corner exit speed and even the MiTo's slipstream, and on Conrod Straight, almost a whole second. Safe to say I think that the MiTo would set a faster lap time at Bathurst, but can it keep in front of a rampaging Roadster at the moment the chequered flag is dropped?



At the end of the race, I can't help but to pose myself a rather disturbing question, one that I still as of now don't know if I really have an answer to: for all the similarities between the MiTo and Roadster, why is it that one of them is considered one of the best sports cars money can buy, and the other, an awful excuse for a car? I mean, yes, there's the obvious reliability issue I'm obviously in no position to comment on, the whole fake carbon fibre thing, and the fact that one of them is a convertible, but other than that, these two cars are just shockingly alike! Does being RWD excuse all the faults of a Roadster as being "fun", or somehow transform them into strengths? Is it because the Roadster can take corners far faster than the MiTo? Since when was outright speed what made a Roadster great? Is it because the Roadster looks a lot better? Might be.


I went into this week not knowing what the MiTo is and who it is for, trying to compare numbers like cost and lap times to that of comparable rivals. But after driving it hard among friends, I think I finally know what a MiTo is and who it is for: it is an FF hatchback version of a Mazda Roadster, and it is for petrolheads who love a challenge both on and off a track. You may not need to subject yourself to the abject misery and sheer shame of owning one to be a petrolhead, but you would definitely be one of the crazier ones if you did.

 
Did an 08.45.733 on the Nords with SH tyres stock with it. No driving aids except abs.

Actually quite a lot quicker, than I anticipated. Awesome city hot hatch! @XSquareStickIt: You'll love the fact, that the Miata, with its 08.49.617, was pretty much 4! seconds slower around the Nords! :dunce:

Tsukuba rivals:


Verdict: a slight sleeper to me actually.

Despised this car.
This is my review.
giphy (13).gif
 
Last edited:
Just to show that I have a love for Alfa ff cars, one of my favorite cars I ever owned was an Alfasud cloverleaf. Pretty sure this is my actual car. It was a prize car from a classic car magazine. They restored it to new with factory parts. (First mistake there). I got it 7 years later and it was an absolute rust trap, a few months after I bought it I opened the trunk and the rear light panel dropped off.
Still absolutely loved that car, faster than my friends golf 16v and the sound, the sound was amazing from the flat 4.
This Mito **** box just got me so angry I didn't even have the will to go on after 2 races. I contemplated the life choices that took me to that point in my life. Please for the love of all that is holy can we drive something with a bit of life to the engine next time out?!!?
 

Attachments

  • alfa-romeo-alfasud-ti-15-qv-1982-118.jpg
    alfa-romeo-alfasud-ti-15-qv-1982-118.jpg
    61.8 KB · Views: 14
Last edited:
Please for the love of all that is holy can we drive something with a bit of life to the engine next time out?!!?
Rick may not have been the one chosen to select the next Car of the Week, but he certainly seems like this week's winner, because this week, @Vic Reign93 has chosen the...

20220711060540.jpg


2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe as this week's car!

Vic cited something along the lines of sticking with a car under the Stellantis banner, but we all know the real reason why he chose this car is because he's a sadistic man who thrives off of seeing his peers in peril, so be sure to bring extra changes of big boy pants to the racetrack! While this car also has snake badges, I suspect this thing has way, way more bite than the MiTo. Just a gut feeling...
 
Rick may not have been the one chosen to select the next Car of the Week, but he certainly seems like this week's winner, because this week, @Vic Reign93 has chosen the...

View attachment 1171674

2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10 Coupe as this week's car!

Vic cited something along the lines of sticking with a car under the Stellantis banner, but we all know the real reason why he chose this car is because he's a sadistic man who thrives off of seeing his peers in peril, so be sure to bring extra changes of big boy pants to the racetrack! While this car also has snake badges, I suspect this thing has way, way more bite than the MiTo. Just a gut feeling...
Well this certainly fits the bill.
As we say in North America, there is no replacement for displacement!
 
A common saying in the community goes, "You can't be a true petrolhead until you've owned an Alfa". By that logic then, this... thing, qualifies one into the club.


At 28,500 Credits, the Alfa Romeo MiTo is by far the cheapest modern gateway into that supposed club, but it's not exactly cheap in the grand scheme of things: it costs over 10 grand more than the much more reliable, economical, and practical Honda Fit Hybrid, so it's clearly not meant to make logical sense. As a performance–oriented proposition however, the MiTo falls completely flat on its malignant face, costing roughly the same as a much lighter, much more powerful, and somehow, also more practical Focus ST. When judged by its numbers alone, I really can't tell you what the hell the MiTo is and who exactly it is for, and you'll have to forgive me if I judge the car by numbers alone this week, because any more than that would involve me having to permanently scar my soul by looking at the grotesque automotive accident that is the MiTo's styling.


"But XSquare," I hear you interject. "I am a selfish burden to society with no concern of how others perceive me, much less any conception of the consequences of my existence upon humanity. I therefore don't care how it looks as long as I don't have to be the one looking at it from the driver's seat. Is it good to drive?" First off, unlike a G80 M3, you can't escape the ugliness of the MiTo simply by becoming one with the ugly, because there's an obnoxious amount of fake carbon fibre lining the entire top surface of the dash. Fake carbon fibre in a product that's supposed to make you a petrolhead? Why don't you try wearing a thong made out of freshly used dishwashing cloth at the Paris Fashion show?


Secondly, the way a MiTo drives is simply tragic, accident or not. It makes at least 152HP (113kW) at 5,500rpm, but I can't give you a definite answer as to how much a MiTo is supposed to make because I think the engine in my particular car exploded at past said point while being dyno tested. How else can one explain this sheer drop in both power and torque?


Exploded engine or not, 152HP is still a lot to shove through just the front wheels of any car, let alone one wearing skinny 205/45R17 tyres. Now, ask anyone who's ever had to set up a powerful FWD car for any application, and doubtlessly they'll tell you that a lot of the magic is in the differential of these inherently understeery cars. The Alfa though, defies convention by having a completely open differential, which I can only presume is in attempt to salvage some reliability from the car by removing one more component that can go wrong. I mean, I get it. Differentials are such expensive trinkets that are so prone to going wrong. It's not like they're things that get slapped onto an entry level subcompact like a Diesel Demio costing ten grand less and be expected to work just fine. So yes, there's no risk of the differential exploding mid drive and firing electrically charged sharpnel into your spouse and kids, but the tradeoff for that is that the driving experience goes very, very wrong any time you attempt to put down any power out of a turn, with the unladen inside wheel siphoning away power from the car and the passion for life from my soul. Combine the nonexistent top end of the engine with the criminally slow shifting manual cars of GTS, and with the car's inability to put down power cleanly in low gears, you wind up with a car that asks of you only one downshift for turn 1 and one upshift on the back straight per lap at Tsukuba, with the vast majority of the time spent on said lap being lugged in 3rd. It feels almost like driving an automatic gearbox on these small tracks, which are normally where small, low powered cars shine.

And that's only the beginning of the tragedy that disguises itself as the experience of driving a MiTo.


The suspension of the car is made from overcooked, expired pasta. The homemade suspension is so soft that even on the default Comfort Soft tyres, you'll be shaving off body panels with the tyres and wheels. It's a non–issue in GTS, but it's something that you'll have to immediately fix upon receipt of the car in GT7. What, you thought 28,500 Cr. car was a lot for a lukewarm hatch? You'll need to fork over 20k more on a full custom suspension to convert your purchase from coffin to car.


Despite the MiTo being quite the porker by supermini standards, weighing in at 1,145kg (2,524lbs), the car itself stops short. But because of how fluffy the springs are, simply slamming hard on the brakes deeply upsets the balance and composure of the car, to such an extent that you have to ease off the brakes almost fully to coax some neutrality back into the car before slowly feeding in steering angle at a rate comparable to Polyphony Digital feeding us content in GT7, meaning that drivers will need to brake early for corners to allow the requisite space and time for all the aforementioned shenanigans despite the car stopping well. If you force the issue and steer the car too much too quickly before it's been allowed to regain its composure, the MiTo will simply pitch and lean so much that it makes grip from all four tyres vanish from right under you as though grip is but a busted myth. The unruly lack of control and composure along with the resultant under and oversteer is so atrocious to the point that this compact, low powered car makes Maggiore feel too narrow to drive on, which is quite the feat considering that it's a track smooth and wide enough to race LMP1 cars on for gosh's sake.


Mind you, many criticised the physics engine of GTS saying it's overly stable, and that FFs are ultra numb to drive because they never bite back. The MiTo is an FF that bites back even in GTS! To give you an idea of how much speed the Fusilli springs on the MiTo squanders away each and every corner, a heavier and less powerful Peugeot RCZ effed right off into the sunrise lap 1 around Tsukuba, pulling a Vic–like gap on everybody else, including to Vic himself! So not only does the MiTo suck when being judged by its numbers, but when the numbers are in its favour, it shows us all that it sucks so much, no numbers could possibly save it.


I said it after the first race of the day at Maggiore: the MiTo is a strong contender for being Beater of the Year. But, as the day wore on and we raced the thing more and more, I started to learn how to treat the MiTo the way it wants to be treated, to accomodate for and drive around its weaknesses and pitfalls. I learned to go at its pace instead of projecting asinine things like standard onto it. I had learned to work with the mechanicals of the car, to be "mechanically sympathetic" with the car, which Nismo tells me is a must have racing driver trait. And in that state, in that zone, that "zen", as the FH5 COTW guys might prefer, I even won a race that day! The MiTo may be a troublesome thing to wrangle around a track, but its faults can definitely be worked around, unlike some other Italian cars we've had the misfortune of testing. It was so stupidly and immensely gratifying to reel in my peers because I knew which gear to be in, when to shift the car, how to make it turn, and how to keep it composed. Every thing I found out about the car and did differently to suit it, I was duly rewarded for, and that made me feel like a kid experimenting and being praised, making me want more! I wasn't ready to admit it during race day after having just said it was a strong contender for BOTY, but I was having an immense amount of fun racing the MiTo that day.

More surprising than that though, is the a very odd sense of déjà vu I felt after the high of winning the race wore off.


So to recap, it pitches, it rolls, it slides. It has two doors, no grip, a six speed stick shift, and an open differential. It's small, somewhat lightweight, it's underpowered, it needs to be in the right gear and the right revs, it demands to be treated like a dance partner instead of a tool. It costs around 25k Credits and makes no sense when judged by its numbers, and it looks best in its company's signature red. Oh, and it shares a LOT with a Fiat underneath. Why do I have a feeling I tested a car that also fits that exact description not too long ago...?


Oh, that's right, we tested the ND Mazda Roadster this January! And it was my pick! Hell, if you refer to the Roadster as a Miata, even their names sound similar!

Of course, with all the similarities between the two cars I've listed, the main difference is that the Roadster is RWD, much lighter, and less powerful. Might be a Mazda fanboy setting up the ugly Alfa to fail by racing the Roadster against the MiTo, and so I brought the Roadster to Bathurst, a track that favours outright power and top speed, to give the MiTo a sporting chance... but of course, Bathurst also happens to have one of the most treacherous, tight, and technical sections of any track in this game, and so a race here should really highlight any and all differences between the two.


And the differences were as huge as the cars were small. Come any corner that involves the brakes, and the Roadster so severely outperforms the MiTo that it could out brake and go the long way round on the outside of a corner around a MiTo. On corner exits, I've had to dodge what looked like stalled MiToes past the apexes of turns—it's that big of a difference! I've complained about how the Roadster was way too soft and dangerous a drive when we tested it, but having jumped right out of a MiTo, the Roadster felt like a racing car, and I was having a lot of trouble adapting to how much more speed the Roadster could carry through a corner, oftentimes braking and turning too early for turns. If cars had feelings and could speak, the Roadster would definitely be asking me which inexperienced vixen below my standards I've been doing lately, and why!


But of course, with such a disproportionate advantage in the corners also comes with an equally disproportionate disadvantage on the straights if the race is to be close and worth talking about. On the run up to T2, I was losing about six tenths despite having a MUCH better corner exit speed and even the MiTo's slipstream, and on Conrod Straight, almost a whole second. Safe to say I think that the MiTo would set a faster lap time at Bathurst, but can it keep in front of a rampaging Roadster at the moment the chequered flag is dropped?



At the end of the race, I can't help but to pose myself a rather disturbing question, one that I still as of now don't know if I really have an answer to: for all the similarities between the MiTo and Roadster, why is it that one of them is considered one of the best sports cars money can buy, and the other, an awful excuse for a car? I mean, yes, there's the obvious reliability issue I'm obviously in no position to comment on, the whole fake carbon fibre thing, and the fact that one of them is a convertible, but other than that, these two cars are just shockingly alike! Does being RWD excuse all the faults of a Roadster as being "fun", or somehow transform them into strengths? Is it because the Roadster can take corners far faster than the MiTo? Since when was outright speed what made a Roadster great? Is it because the Roadster looks a lot better? Might be.


I went into this week not knowing what the MiTo is and who it is for, trying to compare numbers like cost and lap times to that of comparable rivals. But after driving it hard among friends, I think I finally know what a MiTo is and who it is for: it is an FF hatchback version of a Mazda Roadster, and it is for petrolheads who love a challenge both on and off a track. You may not need to subject yourself to the abject misery and sheer shame of owning one to be a petrolhead, but you would definitely be one of the crazier ones if you did.






Great ride-up parallelogram
 
I will see you all in August. I'm off to my honeymoon tomorrow afternoon. @XSquareStickIt will be in charge of selecting people while I'm away. I have updated the title to "Car of the Week: 194 & 195" for the two weeks I'm away. Hope you all enjoy racing and see you all in August.
Enjoy your time? ;)

200 (8).gif
 
Quick, what do Dodge, Mazda, and McLaren have in common?

"They're automobile manufacturer-"

Yeah shut up. :rolleyes:

The answer I was looking for is that all three brands have VGT cars converted down to Gr.1 specifications, which have been chosen by our tame racing Otaku, @RX8 Racer , to be the Car of the Week! That's right: this week's car is the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo Gr.1!

20220719110558.jpg

McLaren may fancy the car as the Ultimate, but we'll have sole jurisdiction as to whether it is Beater, Sleeper, or anything in between! See you on the track tomorrow!

(SRT-10 Viper review is slowly baking in the oven. It'll see light of day some day...)
 
Did a 05.36.356 on the Nords with RH tyres stock with it. No driving aids except abs. Interestingly, it is basically just as quick, as the Gr.x version. Maybe SLIGHTLY slower. One more pretty impressive Gr.1 concept. Not easy to push though.

Verdict: difficult to drive, but rather quick.
 
Last edited:
Of all the manufacturers out there making cars in the world, you'd think that McLaren, a mainstay name in Formula 1, one part of the "holy trinity", maker of arguably the best car ever made and of some of the best drivers' cars today, would be the least interested in playing pretend with a Vision Gran Turismo car. But lo and behold, the power of peacocking compels, and the McLaren VGT bowed in late 2017 right before the release of Gran Turismo Sport.


Oh, I'm sorry, the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo. (Christ...)

Things certainly look plenty exciting in the reveal trailer! The McVGT strikes an impeccable balance between fantasy and reality, with a design that is outlandish with a clear divide from the norm, but not improbable. There's of course the inboard, yet exposed brakes, but most striking to me is the driving position of the car, which has the driver prone on their stomach, which not only allows for greater and more direct visibility to the front wheels, but also allows the bodywork to have minimal frontial area to reduce drag.


I never drive in cockpit view because Gran Turismo Sport doesn't allow for Field of Vision adjustment in the cockpit, but if you were to ask me to race one car in cockpit view only, the McVGT is the car that has given me the most comfortable and natural view of all the cars I've driven in the game thus far. In fact, I would even go as far as to say the McVGT gives the Ultimate view out of any cockpit, on par with that of open wheelers! Being able to see the insides of the front tyre housings through the bare carbon slats that form the structure of the cockpit just feels so natural, just so "right", I can't describe it, and the whole cockpit is set so low to the ground, making me feel like I were truly laying on the road! I imagine if I had the car in real life, I could just trot it up an unfamiliar road at snail's pace just to really study the road surface before an all–out run. The HUD, visible as a mirrored image from the outside, is not only hugely convenient and informative, but is also such a cool touch as well! I think this is the first time a VGT has ever tickled that imaginitive 10–year–old inside me, which may or may not be the obvious point of these cars that I've become way too jaded a person to see.


Nitpicks? Of course I have some—this is a VGT car, after all. I've no idea what the point of having a track map is on the HUD. It's not like I'm consulting it to know the layout of the course as though Suzuka is a rallycross stage, am I? I could think of a few, much more useful tidbits of information I'd rather have, such as... oh I dunno, a mirror or camera, perhaps? Maybe the Ultimate VGT is too Ultimate to worry about having other non–Ultimates behind it, I dunno. I also like my endurance racers to measure fuel in litres to two decimal places, like real GT3 cars do. Hard to ascertain exactly how much fuel I'm using per lap and ration out the remainder with just a tiny bar to the right, you know?


The McLaren Ultimate VGT comes in three paint schemes: Performance, Noir de Noir, and Ulterior Future (what, not Ultimate Future?). Even if you're the creative type that wants to try their hand at decorating the heinously complex structure of the car, you'll want to choose a base colour that closely represents the design you have in mind for the car, as each base colour comes with its own corresponding driver outfit, which to my knowledge, cannot be changed. It's a really neat detail to have three seperate suit designs for the car, when most VGTs don't even bother with a rendered interior.


On the flipside of that futuristic skin of bare carbon however, the Ultimate VGT is surprisingly modern, perhaps too much so. Despite being named otherwise, the twin–turbocharged V8 unit in the Ultimate VGT sounds distinctively like the M838T engine that has been in every McLaren road car since 2010, and you'll hear the distinct whines and wheezes of a MP4-12C and a 650S when you wring out the McVGT. That means that you can still make bad and largely false jokes about how the Ultimate VGT still has the heart of a 20–year–old Nissan despite claiming to envision a future 20 years ahead. Where it differentiates itself from currently existing McLarens you can order is that the McVGT's engine not only has its displacement increased to 3,998cc, but it also has been hooked up to a hybrid KERS system, resulting in a peak combined output of a staggering 1,134HP (846kW), which us laymen can only refer to as Ultimate Power*.

*"Ultimate Power" has been nerfed to 936HP, 698kW, in the Gr.1 variant before current BoP takes its 10% cut of that.


The way the hybrid system works in practice is a little convoluted. The electric motors only kick in to propel the car from 3rd gear onwards and only past a certain point in the throttle pedal's travel, and the batteries that power them appear to be rather low in capacity relative to the output of the motors. I say this because the car will completely exhaust a full charge in a single acceleration burst from 3rd to mid 5th. That might sound underwhelming, until you put into context that you just went from 160km/h to 255km/h in just over four seconds (that's 99 to 158mph) on a full charge! The KERS system of course harvests energy on braking, but for some odd reason I can't at all fathom, the batteries not only charge up slowly under braking, but they also seem to charge just as quickly as when off the brakes and on partial throttle, and I don't hear the engine revving higher to both propel the car and charge the batteries simultaneously as one would in a Honda Fit Hybrid, for example. Because of this rather inefficient regen, it's rare to even have half a full charge out of any corner on most circuits we ran, with the outstanding exception being Interlagos—through the twisty and convoluted infield of Interlagos with successive 1st and 2nd gear corners where the car can't stretch its legs, the ICE ends up charging the batteries to full, thereby squandering away charge under braking when the batteries are topped out. It really is a shame that when the car's overall power output was dropped for Gr.1, both the motors and ICE had their power cut by the same percentage, instead of leaving the ICE on full strength and having a much less aggressive setup on the motors to let it preserve its charge more and avoid wasting any regen. That would certainly help it feel more consistent to drive as well.

I say that because, to drive, the McVGT might well be the ultimate disaster.


Usually, my complaints about how a car drives start from when I'm afforded control of it. I mean, how else does one write an opinion piece if he has not experienced it himself, right? As if to answer that rhetorical question however, the McVGT understeered into and smacked the pit wall on the run out of Interlagos' pit lane under Auto Drive as my first experience with the car during race day.. If that's not a surefire sign that I'm in for a torrid time, then I don't know what is. For some context, even the FF Nissan GT-R LM Nismo cleanly avoids the grass that leads to said wall under the same conditions. Admittedly, upon further testing, this wall smacking is far from a 100% occurrence, but I've managed to replicate it nonetheless to get my screenshot proof just by exiting and re–entering the session a few times. Also, you know what they say about first impressions, and this is my first impression of the car.


Despite being puzzlingly listed as an MR in the game, the McVGT has been explicitly stated in its car description to have electric motors that drive the front wheels, making it similar in drivetrain layout to existing LMP1 cars such as the Toyota TS050 and Porsche 919. What this results in is that upon power application, the front wheels can easily become overwhelmed trying to put down all that torque of the electric motors, resulting in the car "locking up" and refusing to turn not unlike the sensation you get when locking up when braking without ABS, only this time on throttle instead of the brakes. As previously mentioned, the electric motors only engage past a certain point in the throttle pedal's travel, meaning that at one moment, you'll only have a fraction of the ICE's power as it's charging the batteries while propelling the car, and the very next moment, you're smacked in the face with the full ICE power plus the shove of the electric motors, resulting in understeer so severe and sudden that even Auto Drive can't deal with. As you can tell, this makes planning a smooth, neat, gradual line out of a corner completely impossible, and you'll find yourself lifting a few times in the acceleration zones out of a corner to mitigate the sudden, explosive understeer that comes with that abrupt jump in power. It really is quite crass. Even FF hatchbacks can trace a neater and more consistent line out of corners.


To get to that point where the motors would cause problems however, would involve braking for a corner and surviving the turn–in, which is quite a tall order even without all the blood rushing to your head from all the longitudinal g forces and the prone driving position. The Ultimate VGT with Ultimate Power also comes with the stopping power to match, granted, but to achieve those stupendously short stopping distances, the ABS in the car spares nothing in the friction circle to let the car turn when using the default (and strongest) ABS setting, with the front tyres chirping loudly under full braking even on a level, dry road. Turn the wheel of the car in this state, and the front end understandably understeers, but what you will NOT expect is the rear end violently swinging out, causing the front end of the car to continue its straight trajectory, but now with very unwelcome and unusable yaw angle that will most likely cause the car to torpedo into the inside wall of a turn and kill its driver lest he can Chaos Control out of the car mid drive, because I don't know if airbags are enough to preserve your life in a frontial crash when the momentum of your body from the neck down compresses upon said neck and you end up French kissing glowing red hot angle grinders that are the brake discs inside the cockpit with you. So yes, under trail braking, the front end understeers and the rear end oversteers, and I don't know about you, but I much prefer to have the complete opposite of that in a car.


The spicy rear end I believe is caused by McLaren's signature brake vectoring, wherein the car applies a little more braking force to the inside wheels when turning to help the car rotate. In the MP4/12 Formula 1 car that pioneered this idea, the feature was activated via a second brake pedal controlled by the driver, and in the road cars that have had the system since, they were at least advertised and had rather mild effects, so you could prepare for it if you even noticed it. In the Ultimate? Same pedal, no mention of it anywhere, and it causes near instant death. You found out about it only by oversteering under braking and damn near killing yourself. Not very user friendly, methinks, but I don't suppose an Ultimate needs to explain themselves to us peasants. Even after the initial shock of damn near killing myself, I find myself forced to brake gradually and only in a straight line, and then almost completely letting off the brake pedal before daring to input any steering angle. It makes me drive the car so gingerly and corner so slowly that I once got taken round the outside by Vic's 919 at Spa's Paul Frère! Say what you want about the insane speed of the man, but being taken round the outside is still a new low for me, and the McVGT is the one that took that cherry of humiliation for me. Maybe if there were an option to adjust the severity of the brake vectoring, it could be useful, but as it is currently, it's just daft and downright dangerous.


Due to the car's horrendous inconsistency with its braking and power delivery, coupled with the usual shenanigans of following high downforce cars in a downforce reliant car yourself, all combine to mean that precisely placing the car, which regularly exceeds 300km/h even on modestly sized circuits, is the ultimate crapshoot I suspect even the Ultimate life form would struggle with. I'm no Shadow the Hedgehog, so I end up having to leave football fields worth of buffer zones in braking and turning in anticipation for the car's inconsistency, which not only meant that I never dared to even find the car's limits, let alone stay near them even in a race, but it also adds yet another layer of danger to the experience, as my peers wouldn't know when I'd brake and turn, because I didn't know when my car will stop and turn. Just ask Rick, whom I wiped out twice on race day, once by braking way earlier than he expected for Suzuka's Casio Triangle, and when I nudged him wide at Spa's No Name. I wasn't sure if I even made contact in the latter incident, and so I asked him if I nudged him, to which he replies, "I have no idea lol". THAT'S how bloody inconsistent and unwieldy the car is—we don't even know if the car itself is sending itself off the track, or if someone else pushed us! The driving experience of the McVGT is so taxing that it screws with the internal stopwatch in my head, and I often cross the Start/Finish line thinking, "are we not done?!" Races always felt twice as long as I've come expect, even in something that laps tracks in half the time as the machinery I'm usually driving.



After just two races, I begged for Balance of Performance to be enabled so I could bring something else just to prove a point: the Mazda LM55 VGT Gr.1. The driver sits upright in it. It's got an engine without turbos or hybrid systems. That engine is hooked up to a gearbox. Gearbox sends power to the wheels, which have traditional brakes attached to them. And it utterly destroyed the "Ultimates" around Dragon Trail: Seaside. And yes, our COTW resident Stig, Vic, was in one such "Ultimate" as well.

(I mean yes he was held up my other competitors, but if you've ever partaken in a race with us, you'll know how big a deal winning a race against Vic is, so just let me have my moment, okay?!)


Let's be clear: with Balance of Performance applied, the LM55 isn't really much faster than the Ultimate, if at all. It most likely doesn't have the fuel economy of the McLaren either. But it is just so much easier to drive! At least the Mazda gives me the option of running out of fuel instead of killing me way before I've used a tenth of the tank! The Mazda behaves exactly as I intuit it, and I was at ease the whole race. I wasn't leaving acres of buffer room waiting for the car to betray me. I wasn't worried about it changing between its tens of personalities mid race on me, It was much more consistent, its limits came gradually and with ample buildup and warning, allowing me to stay near or at the limits from lights to flag. It proves that having 600HP going through 4 wheels doesn't have to be scary. And that comes from a company that has a 120HP FR Roadster as its sportiest product. What excuse has McLaren to be utterly destroyed by a Mazda on a track? What is the point of all those gimmicks like brake vectoring and hybrid systems if conventional engineering can perform just as well, if not better?


After that Ultimate humiliation, I can't help but to wonder what exactly is the point of VGT cars. With real cars that handle terribly in the game, one could at least make the excuse of, "well the simplistic simcade physics of Gran Turismo Sport likely can't replicate all the complex systems at work in the real car," or that "the default suspension alignment really do these cars a disservice," and I truly believe in those statements, because I've cited those reasons to explain why certain cars just drove like coffins on wheels. But with a VGT, especially one from late 2017 like the McLaren, it has no excuse to drive as terribly as it does, because Gran Turismo Sport is the only medium in which it exists. It needs only to perform and impress here, and nowhere else, and it conversely has nothing to fall back on as an excuse or saving grace if it sucks. Polyphony Digital didn't have to adapt, scan, or measure anything to replicate in the game—because it was built from the ground up FOR this game! And so the only reason I can think of as to why the McVGT handles as terribly as it does in this game is that it handles this way by design. It was the creators' intent that this thing handles as snappy, inconsistent, and counterintuitive as it is. And I just can't bloody figure out why a company would willingly besmirch their good name like that in an exercise to proclaim themselves to be the Ultimate. For many other car manufacturers, I might understand the need. But from McLaren of all companies? I just don't get it.


The McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo may not be the "Ultimate VGT", but it may well end up as the ultimate beater of 2022 here in Car of the Week.
 
Playing with BOTH TT's!!!


Hey hey people! This last week, we have been graced with the presence of a world famous brand, known for its shock and awe type of performance, and former world record holder for fastest production car. Here, in the world of Gran Turismo, that can be taken to new heights... or can it???

The McLaren VGT Gr.1 edition, can fortunately be found in both GTSport and GT7... "fortunately" depending on whom you ask of course. ;) So I took it upon myself to try and resurrect an old fan favourite here in COTW land, "Playing with TT's". TT's of course stands for Time Trials, so get your minds and your tongues of that proverbial gutter that both seem to be in!!!

In GTSport, the same car seems way more visceral in its laydown of power. The kind of HOLY ****, hang on!!! impression you could expect from the "Ultimate" version of any brand, let alone McLaren of all brands. I personally was rather impressed with its handling, especially around Suzuka... however braking and turning accuracy has to be pin point, otherwise you're done. Trust me, I know that feeling, cause I lived it lol.



In GT7 however, the very same car seems more refined... if I dare use that word to describe it. It's still powerful and wickedly fast, but in just that much more control. And of course, control leads to better lap times... not by much, but you don't need much to win, do you?




In both games, I would give them a Neutral status... because a McLaren just can't be a Beater. You might not be able to handle her the way you want to, but I dare you not to smile trying!

Cheers
 
It's the last week of my rule here at COTW, and I still haven't gotten used to running the show yet! I definitely didn't forget to pick a winner and ask them for a pick, you hear?!

And so, this week's car is chosen by me, and it's the...

Peugeot RCZ Gr.3 Road Car!

Palais Garnier from Avenue de l'Opéra_.jpeg

With its engine slung after the cockpit and now driving its rear wheels with more than triple the power of a road going RCZ, not much of this homologation monstrosity is left that can really be called an "RCZ". But is that a good thing or not? Find out by joining our lobby this Tuesday, 10 P.M. CST!
 
Hey hey people!

If you want to get some extra action in this week, invite yourselves to the "Playing with Both TT's" event...

Take this week's car to Dragon Trail Gardens on both GTSport and GT7. Slap on Sports Soft tyres, default setup for everything else, and record your times with a picture or video.

Let's see who can get closest to the secret numbers for both games... The winner will receive a month's supply of special internet cookies!!!

Cheers
 
Back