Car of the Week: Week 97 Ford GT '17

Discussion in 'Gran Turismo Sport' started by Racer283, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

    Messages:
    436
    Hmm, let's see... 8am NZ time would be... 4AM SINGAPORE TIME! Hoo boy, am I about to become a knockoff Vic with a quarter maybe of his talent? Is the secret behind his speed somehow tied to his lack of sleep? Do the gods of Eurobeat only play at 4 in the morning?

    I think it'd be wiser if I just took down the names and time zones of those who'd be interested in a Saturday (well, Sunday more like) race, and plan a time from there. Does the Beat qualify as "particularly exciting" to anyone? Now taking nam- I mean, applications!

    While I'm grateful for your permission to restart the Saturday races, Racer, that wasn't my intention. I just keep thinking the Beat CAN'T be that bad, and I'm suspecting the extra fuel load and Sport tyres to be the main cause for why it was so awful to race with at the meet. I just need ONE person to start a "race" with, so I can run the car on 24 litres of fuel and Comfort tyres to better assess it before I write any more in my review (you need to start a lobby race for initial fuel load settings to apply). I'm particularly looking to rerun the Tsukuba and wet Tokyo race (well there goes that one participant...) to see how the car feels and handles.
     
    Alex p. likes this.
  2. Drex124

    Drex124

    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    United States
    Pretty sure we ended up doing the wet race on comfort soft tires, and those just made it slide all the time instead of some of the time. Granted the rain might have had something to do with that... If you're running the races around the same time a Tuesday's, or earlier, I'd be up for testing your theory.
     
  3. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

    Messages:
    436
    The Sport tyres were one thing, but the fuel load is another. I THINK that the fuel tank in the Beat is actually behind the cockpit, judging by it's fuel filler cap location. That's 76 extra litres of fuel weighing almost 59kg at the back of a MR car with a wheelbase of 2,280mm and weighing only 790kg. That's disastrous, and could explain why the Beat was so slidey on corner entry.

    Of course, it's just a theory at this point. I'd love to see if that were actually the case, hence why I'm asking for a second session with the Beat. Thanks for your interest Drex! Same time as Tuesday's race works for me.
     
  4. TonyJZX

    TonyJZX

    Messages:
    3,379
    According to google specs the Beat has a 24 litre tank... that would be less than 20kg?

    I would like to compare to the S660. Now the thing is a 1996 car compared to a 2016 car... I feel like maybe MR type cars are exacerbated by lesser weight???

    If you have a 1996 NSX then you get more stability due to the weight? Even with the same weight distribution???

    Cue the Toyota MR2?

    Now cum to 2016 where you have the S660 and it has ABS, TC, STABILITY, Brake force distribution and every active trick that Honda can muster given its the present day...

    I think for me since I've only used the Beat and s660 in the Sunday Cup and they are very low speed and the responses are very dulled and you can catch everything given that they only have like 64kW... I didnt have an issue with the Beat or the s660. They drove in a very predictable manner.
     
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  5. Nismonath5

    Nismonath5

    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    New Zealand
    1 litre is 1 kilo, so its a pretty easy conversion to make. :D
     
  6. TonyJZX

    TonyJZX

    Messages:
    3,379

    It not. I used to think like you in that 1 litre of water = 1 kg. That's what we were taught in science class.

    BUt google says:

    710 to 775 gram
    Density range of petrol is 710 to 775 gram/ litre at 15 degree celcius. Thus weight of 1 litre of petrol at 15 degree celcius varies from 710 to 775 grams.

    So 75% of 24 lt = 18kg

    What caught me off is people thinking this Kei car has a 75 litre tank.

    A typical 6.0 litre V8 has a 75 litre tank. A Toyota Yaris whatever is like 35 litres.

    24 litres is the smallest Ive heard of but the car is only 600cc etc.

    In that regard I dont think gasoline being used up in a car would mean that much weight shift. If a typical medium sized car has 60 litres then really its only about 45kg and in a car that is typically 1,500kg or about 3,400lb etc. then that wouldnt affect the handling. I heard GT Sport does account for that.
     
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  7. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

    Messages:
    436
    This, plus EVERY CAR has 100 litres of fuel compressed into it as though they were all GT3 cars. I got my figures from a very quick Google search, which told me a litre of gasoline is about 0.7kg. I haven't taken temperature into account, but suffice it to say this much extra mass at the back of a short wheelbase MR car would kill it, and hence why I wanted to test it with 24 litres.

    I think the laps remaining estimate for the Maggiore Central race this past Tuesday was like, 284 laps.
     
    Alex p. likes this.
  8. RobboGTAddict

    RobboGTAddict

    Messages:
    133
    Enjoy the modest handful that is the Honda Beat.


     
  9. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

    Messages:
    436
    With Metallica's Low Man's Lyric running through my head non stop in near complete darkness, I was having extreme trouble sleeping. I'm still beating myself up for crashing my NSX last week. And in the black of night, my phone buzzed. Against better judgment, I fumbled about in the dark on the bedside tabletop for my phone. Once I had it in my grasp, I had to unlock it with my left hand, seeing as there's still a stiff cast over my right thumb from crashing my NSX last week.

    My eyes struggle to adjust to the brightness of the phone in the complete darkness. Through a squint, I read:

    "Attention, dear COTW members, this week's car has been chosen by MidfieldMaven. In KIND CONSIDERATION for the senior citizens wrapped in casts and bandages, we are slowing things down with the...

    *drumroll*

    The 1991 Honda Beat!


    First race will be at Tsukuba Circuit, 8th of July, noon sharp JST. Latecomers will be shot on arrival, and no-showers will be hunted down and savagely Beaten. And then shot."

    Verdict: Beater. And with that, I returned to the task at hand of sleeping. Don't you just love it when your job does itself for you?

    *********************************************
    Still, I'd take any excuse to revisit Japan, even in the sweltering summer heat. I ran into Esther the editor in the airport when I touched down, though she's not attached to me this week. I offered her a ride to Tsukuba in the Beat, since it's only about 2 hours away by car. She declined, saying she was in a rush. Something about having to prepare for and orient a newcomer to COTW? (I hope the newbie reads the fine print...) I brought up the fact that taxis in Toukyo are horrifically expensive, but she insisted on her choice, regardless, saying she was really in a rush. She hurriedly left after handing me the keys to the Beat.

    Did this woman seriously insinuate to me that she could Beat me there via cab?

    Similarly to my GT500 NSX, getting into the groove of the Beat involves folding oneself up like an accordion. Unlike the NSX however, the engine note as I started it up simply doesn't strike a chord with me. It sounded very flat and uninspired. Of course, this being a Kei car, engine notes or power was never going to be its forte. Rather, I'm expecting it to dance around corners and mountain passes, given its diminutive dimensions and light weight. Still, on public roads, that's not something that the sound of mind would try, so the crescendo of this symphony would have to wait till we get to a racetrack.

    *quickly hides a cheat sheet of musical terminology as I puke from my own bad puns onto some poor chap's Nissan Note parked next to my Beat.*

    On an entry ramp onto an expressway, I decided to get a bit early and cheeky with testing the car. I dropped it down to second and floored it, and my entire life flashed before my eyes: the first time I bled, being bullied in school, every failed relationship I blamed myself for, doubting my educational choice in engineering, finding my cat in the wild, the day she became family, every embarrassing moment my half baked Japanese caused me to say something rude, learning to be a better racing driver and then quitting racing, having met the good folk here at COTW...

    After my entire life flashed before my eyes, I glanced over at the instrumentation panel of the Beat. In the time it took my entire life to flash before my eyes, I've picked up 50rpm and 2km/h more. I became secretly glad that Esther declined the ride with me to Tsukuba, because this thing would probably be rolling back downhill by now if I had a passenger with me. Just as that thought had crossed my mind, a rental diesel Demio signaled and passed me on an uphill onto the expressway, and I died a little on the inside.

    It takes a about 16 agonising, life choice regretting seconds, three of its five forward gears it has, and almost all 9,000rpm its E07A engine will do for the Beat to reach the Japanese highway speed limit of 100km/h from a standstill, perhaps due to my... stability inclined body. And all the time before you hit the speed limit in the Beat is the scariest experience you'll have within speed limits on public roads, as everything is passing you by, and you're only hoping and praying they actually see your 1,175mm tall Beat with headlights mounted not even halfway up the body. Each time a large vehicle passed me, the air shoved aside by their large bodies would swoosh over and push my Beat slightly off course, and I'd have to steer against that lateral push. Once they pass however, the area of low pressure behind these large vehicles would immediately suck the Beat back in, requiring quick corrections to steer away from them, just to maintain a straight line.

    Never thought the day would come where I actually use the "Art Trucks" set of Scapes scenes, but lo and behold, here we are.

    Life isn't better once you actually get to the speed limit, though. Being a 5 speed with short ratios, 100km/h is turning about 5500rpm on the engine in 5th, and the drone in the small and cheap car with not much insulation is almost akin to driving an uninspired race car at apex speeds all the time. Even if no one can legally pass you, it doesn't mean someone won't try. In fact, there goes the tree hugger in a Honda Fit hybrid that's been tailgating me for the past minute. He probably thinks I'm not giving him as big a slipstream as he wants.

    "Moshi-moshi? Is this the traffic police? Yes, I have video evidence of someone going over the speed- YES MOSHI MOSHI, I SAID-! NO, I'M NOT SELF REPORTING. THAT'S JUST MY CAR!"

    Yes, this thing gets gapped at any speed by Fits and Demios (Demioses? Demii?) at any speed, at any rpm. You would think that driving a 2 door, mid engined, brightly coloured sports car powered exclusively by the most explosive of dinosaur juices would instantly make you the sexiest man on the expressway, but the Beat is probably the exception that proves the rule: it's like unsheathing a Katana only to find out the only thing sticking out the Tsuka is a toothpick. And then attempting seppuku with it regardless.

    That said, the 656cc inline 3 banger in the Honda Beat absolutely sings once you spend some time with it and get to know it. I think I had an epiphany about an hour into the drive, as I began to understand more and more what the engine was communicating to me. Something along the lines of, "How could this happen to me? I've made my mistakes. Got nowhere to run. The night goes on as I'm fading away. I'm sick of this life. I just want to scream, 'How could this happen to me?'"

    And yes, Esther did make it to Tsukuba before I did.

    Ahh, but what was I saying earlier? That the crescendo of the symphony was going to have to wait for the track? Judging by its disappointing performance on the public roads, it might not just be the crescendo that has to wait for the track, but rather, the entire concert. Tsukuba is a suffocatingly short and narrow track for most cars, and the men in suits over at the FIA would probably suffer a stroke just looking at it. However, as I exited the pits in the diminutive Beat, the track felt wider in the Beat than most tracks feel in a GT3 car. I think 6 to 7 Beats could easily fit side by side on the home straight. With slow cars often encouraging closely fought racing, I began to get a little excited, and also admittedly a little bit nervous, imagining how this week's racing would go in the Beat.

    And then I took a corner at speed at Tsukuba, and my mind was B L O W N. As inadequate as words feel to me when it comes to describing the circuit driving experience of the Beat, I think the first words I shouted in the cabin are the best way for words to roughly represent what I felt when I took the first corner of Tsukuba at speed:



    "WHAT THE FLIP*IS THIS SHEET*?!"

    Editor's note: *expletives substituted.

    I spun out immediately due to the Beat's lethal combination of short wheelbase, rear midship layout, soft suspension, and what felt like a completely open differential under braking (Editor's note: Ted from Technical points out the Beat does have a rear "diff", but is set very mild). It became immediately clear to everyone in the meet that this week's theme isn't so much "Beater or Sleeper?", but moreso a matter of survival. The races were a carnival game with the goal of keeping the thing from spinning out like a top, with bonus points for actually holding it on a racing line.

    WHOOPS!

    Because of the car's layout and setup, it's almost entirely impossible to trail brake into turns, as I found myself braking in a straight line, then almost completely letting off the brakes before turning, and this was even with a rather aggressive front brake bias at -3, which caused the front tyres to audibly cook under braking even with ABS. In fact, for the corners with deeper apexes, I've even had to give it quite a bit of gas to get weight over the rear before turning the wheel to rotate into the corner, just to prevent the rears from swinging out. The meager 63HP/PS it's so close it doesn't even matter on offer was never at risk of spinning the wheels from excessive power, meaning that, for as scarily tail happy as the car is to drive, power oversteer was never a factor, which made for a very bizarre experience. The gas pedal is essentially a "weight over the rear tyres" pedal, and the brakes, the opposite. Cornering the Beat at racing speeds really did feel like balancing on a tightrope, and you're less of a driver as you are an acrobat. It really was that precarious and delicate an affair.

    Watch How This Singaporean Millennial makes S$5,000/mth Staying At Home! "Well you see, I collect a penny from this retired racing driver every time he cusses and swears in a Honda Beat..."

    I'll admit, the instinct of trail braking is a hard one to break, especially under pressure in a race, which causes me to default back to instincts to trail brake on several occasions, which is a death sentence in the Beat. The Beat demands its own specific style of driving from its driver, and is therefore a steep test in how fast someone can adapt and learn, which feels like an underlying theme of COTW races. I'm... not very good at that. I need a lot of time to learn a car and track and commit it to memory for any one race, and I blame our country's education system for making me this way. *cough* Where was I? Right, the Beat.

    It's a crying shame that the Beat's contemporary rivals, the Suzuki Cappuccino and Maz-, oh, sorry, the Autozam AZ-1, aren't available for us to test. The only other Kei cars we had on hand are its younger sibling, the S660, and the Daihatsu Copen, a personal favourite of mine. When we raced at Sardegna C, I decided to hop into an S660 to see how it stacks up to the Beat, since I have fresh experience with modern, beater, try hard Hondas around this track.

    Déjà vu, I just been to this hellhole before. Higher on the Beat, and I know it's my time to goo~

    Yes, the 2015 S660 is 24 years younger than the 1991 Beat. However, on paper, the S660 produces the same 63BHP as per Kei car regulations, but weighs 70kg (155lbs) more at 830kg (1830lbs). 70kg is a notable difference even in a full sized car with more power on tap, so you can imagine how devastating 70 kilos must be when you have only 63 ponies to shove it around with. Whatever advantages a silly active wing might provide a car at Kei speeds are even neutralised, since this particular model's active wing isn't working for some reason. The only advantages the S660 has over the Beat on paper is one more forward gear, a MUCH stiffer chassis, some "clever" wizardry like brake vectoring (I detest driver aids with a passion), and unbelievably chunky tyres for a Kei car: 165mm sections up front and 195mm at the rear. For some context, the 165 sections up front of the S660 is the same width as the rears of the Beat. The 195mm rear tyres on the S660 are wider than non turbo variants of the FC RX-7s, a full size FR sports car. Crazy, I know!


    Shockingly (to me anyway, maybe I'm stupid), the S660 completely destrolished any and all Beats on track. It was something ludicrous like 8 tenths of a second faster than a Beat per corner, and just at the end of the first lap, I was three seconds ahead of the pack on a sub 1:20 short track! In spite of 70 extra kilos, it pulls bus lengths on the Beat at launch just with an extra forward gear, which makes me wonder if the difference really is simply down to gearing, or if Honda understates the power of the S660, a practice Japanese manufacturers are all too familiar with. Most shockingly to me, it actually behaves like a normal sized MR car on corner entry and exit, which is where most of the time difference comes from as the Beat struggles to hold its rear end in check every corner entry. Unlike a normal sized car with wizardry and tricks however, the S660 is still light, being a Kei car, meaning the driving experience isn't marred by excessive mass.

    What came as a truly pleasant surprise to me is just how well behaved the S660 is: I would never have known it had brake vectoring if I didn't read it up after the drive, which is my very unscientific benchmark for a good driver aid: It's subtle, it never gets in the way, and it (presumably) makes you faster. Not only did the driving experience feel pure, but it had none of the violent tendencies and lazy character of the Beat; it was calm, composed, communicating, and predictable, yet lively, from corner entry to exit, up to, at, and past its limits. The NC1 "NSX" wishes it could be this good.

    Only complaint I have about the S660 is its rather... gun sights like rear view.

    Given the apocalyptic mess that is the Beat's driving characteristics, I was led to think that its behaviour is just the natural result of stuffing an engine aft the cabin within Kei car dimensions, and I hesitate to criticise the Beat for its horrific driving characteristics because of that. And while we didn't have the rear mid engined AZ-1 on hand to compare the Beat against that day, I drove one *ahem* several years ago *cough cough*, and recall it being similarly messy and tail happy as well, which furthers my opinion that rear mid engine Kei cars are all cute, expensive coffins. But, 24 years later, the S660 showed me that those faults can be more than overcome; cars can thrive in spite of, or even because of those limitations. We all know what a try hard Honda feels like to drive when stretched out into a full sized "super"car, don't we...?

    One bad apple.

    One bad apple.
    So, in conclusion, the S660 is well and truly is a better car than the Beat in every regard, so if you're looking to buy a Honda kei car, it's not even a choice at this point. In fact, the S660 provides a far better drive than most full size sports cars, so much so that it spoils me on what I can expect and want from a corner in a car. It makes Mazda Roadsters feel like understeery porkers. I know the task at hand was to review the Beat, but the S660 is truly a show stealer, just from that one race I did with it. I can't stop talking about it. It's all the more amazing when you think that the S660 can be yours for just-

    *sneaks a peek at the brochure I'm spewing from under the table*

    wait, what

    WAIT, WHAT?

    The S660 costs HOW MUCH?!

    ALMOST TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS?!

    FOR A KEI CAR?

    ARE YOU FLIPPING KIDDING ME?

    So, uhm, for those unaware, the whole point of a Kei car is that they're supposed to be cheap modes of personal transportation, that doesn't immediately make you a fool for being on two wheels instead of four. They're cheaper to insure, have lower taxes, and, yes, they're supposed to be cheaper to buy, as well, than a full sized car. It's a very local Japanese law, tax, and regulation thing, so that's why they're rarely ever exported. So can anyone PLEASE tell me what the flip is a Kei car doing with a sub 20k USD price tag?! For that kind of money, I could buy a generously specced Demio with more power, comfortably seat 4 adults, AND have change left over! Heck, I could get a Honda Fit HYBRID for MUCH less!

    Never thought I'd ever have to soil my hands handling that turd in yellow again.

    I'm not entirely sure on this matter, but the quick fact sheets I'm given by the office list the cars' prices as they were sold brand new, converted into today's USD without adjusting for inflation. Therefore, it's only fair that I compare the Beat and S660's prices with cars from around their time periods.

    Eunos Roadster NA Special Package (NA) 1989: 17,000
    Nissan Silvia K's Dia Selection (S13) 1990: 22,500
    Honda Beat 1991: 13,800

    Daihatsu Copen 2002: 15,000
    Suzuki Swift Sport 2007: 16,300

    Honda Fit Hybrid (GK) 2014: 16,800
    Mazda Roadster S (ND) 2014: 24,950
    Mazda Demio XD L Package (DJ) 2015: 19,500
    Honda S660 2015: 19,800

    Italics: Kei

    From this, you can see that the Beat actually fits the Kei car description of being cheaper to buy than a full size car, even if "full size" is a Japanese bathtub sized Roadster in this case. The S660 may be cheaper than a ND Roadster (...and admittedly drives better than it), but it still costs more than faster, more practical Fits and Demios.

    So um... the S660 really is that good. But it's also really that expensive. If you're looking to buy a Honda Kei car, my advice would be: don't.

    Given the S660's dominance over the Beat, I reluctantly went whimpering back into the Beat. You ever won something so badly that it makes you feel bad? (Editor's note: he came second in the race behind Vic in a Beat. Ted from Technical says he "overcooked" a few corners?) However, prolonged exposure to the Beat eventually proved lethal to me.

    It started off innocently enough, with me suggesting a race in the rain in Toukyo. Now, when I said this, I had the C1 loop in mind, as its short configuration with relatively gentle corners throughout make racing low powered cars there an excellent test of skill, as cars of the Beat's ilk need brake only for about two corners. The lack of braking zones on the track mean that any slight mess up will greatly impact lap times, as you'll be carrying that mistake for almost half a lap before you next have to brake.

    Maybe it's my fault for not specifying the C1 loop, because someone then said that they wanted the long, wet, and dark version of Toukyo, and Nismo, who was heading proceedings at the time, simply shrugged and went along with it. We somehow wound up in a part of Toukyo I don't recognise, characterised by a home straight that could probably make a 1000HP GT-R see its top speed.

    And we in here in Beats.

    It seemed like a popular vote, so maybe I'm the out of touch old man.

    "And now we die. From either boredom or snap oversteer" - XSquareStickIt, 8th July 2020, 12:10pm SGT.






    Not only did I die, but I also ruined Rob's race as well. I'm sorry.

    While I died in the chicane of lap 1, I actually think I got off easy, as the surviving racers had to endure the 2-ish km straight four times, with a car that will do only 167km/h (~103.8mph)... slipstream assisted. Without slip, you might get a peek at 166 on the speedo. The Beat is gear limited to about a 172km/h (~106.9mph) on a downhill not found in Toukyo.

    The rest of the race photos:


    The Beat can almost fit entirely onto the rumble strips of Maggiore!



    Rob has his Beat painted in a really eye catching shade of green! Kinda reminds me of the S2000's Lime Green Metallic.


    Sunsets at Maggiore are so pretty!


    No pressure, new person!




    Enkei SC03: The (Apparent) Official Wheel for Old Men Racing.

    Beater...?
    Or sleeper?

    Mom, there's a bunch of scary looking Beaters following me!

    Proof positive that a racing livery makes your car faster.

    With a plate that literally says "Kyotou" on it how can I POSSIBLY lose this race in Kyotou?

    Man, remember when everyone was alive before they weren't?

    With cars so weak, slipstream was barely an advantage!

    Vic, under pressure from the new member? Who IS this person?!

    The amount of MOTUL liveries is too damn high!

    Two wide through the chicane of wet death?!


    Gran Turismo Sport: We allow only vector images because they can be stretched or shrunk without quality loss.
    Also Gran Turismo Sport:




    I really liked Nismo's Hot Wheels Honda Beat. It suits the toy like appearance of the Beat SO well!

    We decided to bump up the Beat's power to a whopping 98HP for the last race! What is that, 149HP per litre, and no forced induction in sight! S2000, WHAT2000?

    Powerrrrrr!

    *********************************************​

    So why did I crash out so badly? I think it's important to review what went wrong not only to prevent the same thing from happening again, but also to offer an explanation to the poor chap who owns the Beat I totaled on the side of a Japanese expressway. Of course, as with any incident in one's life, it's impossible to know exactly what happened since you only know what's in your hands. That said, I think my deck is pretty stacked, and it's time to d-d-d-d-d-discuss.

    Dusting off some ancient records in my off time recuperating from my injuries, I found out that the Beat comes stock with tyres that are the closest to what our distributors label as "Comfort Mediums". It begs the question though: which whippersnapper nincompoop intern fitted our Beats with Sport Hard tyres? Who the hell even makes 13 and 14 inch, 155 and 165 Sport tyres? And where did these interns source these tyres from?

    The extra grip really upsets the car and breaks the entire driving characteristics of it, exaggerating the weight transfer when fully stomping on the brakes, and cornering. On Comfort tyres, the ride is a lot more smoother, and weight transfer is a lot more transitional, instead of being like an on-off switch, and the car becomes a lot more communicative. And believe you me when I tell you this car stops. As though weighing in at a mere 760kg kerb wasn't enough, the good folk over at Suzuka, Mie have fitted discs at all four corners of the Beat. I'm not saying having discs at all four corners is a bad thing, per se. It's just that it's part of an unfortunate, and rather hilarious recipe in this very bizarre instance. In conjunction with the uprated Sport tyres, stomping on the brakes in the Beat really does feel like you've smashed the car straight into a barn. I'm very surprised the airbags don't deploy every time it happens. I can't even downshift fast enough in this manual car to keep up with how fast this thing expels speed.

    The tiniest discs I've ever seen, but discs nonetheless... hidden behind steel Kei truck wheels.

    I'm convinced that either the owner of this Beat is a complete idiot, or whoever set the car up is. Sitting in the minuscule boot hanging entirely aft the rear axle is a 76 litre fuel tank, supplementing the car's stock 24 litre tank for a total combined fuel capacity of 100ℓ, as if this were some GT3 spec race car. 76ℓ of fuel also comes with 76ℓ worth of mass, weighing about 59kg. It's a notable difference even in full sized cars with more power, where the extra mass contributes to a small percentage of the vehicle's mass, but in a Kei car weighing a 760kg kerb? It's devastating enough on its own, but then to hang that out the rear of the car with a short and unstable wheelbase of 2,280mm (90")? That turns this tiny Kei car a swinging wrecking ball just waiting to kill someone. I should've known something was horrendously amiss the first time I spun at Tsukuba, but I have very little experience with Keis, let alone mid-engine ones.

    To clarify, the S660 as tested was also on Sport Hard tyres carrying 100ℓ of fuel at the start, and it performed admirably despite that.

    From a thumb to an entire arm and a neck brace. And in something with only 64PS. I'm not sure which would hurt more: toiling away at the keyboard with only one hand, or being late for a review and have it compound and snowball into the following weeks. Or to give a half baked, inaccurate review.

    But I am alive. And walking. And I'm writing to request another track reservation, for another meet. The moment these casts come off, I'm driving a Beat again. Relatively new member to COTW and all, I'm given the green light to run the show for a Sunday, and this time, I'm going to run the car as it was meant to be ran from the factory. I'm hereby cordially inviting all the interns to kindly F-off. May I suggest that every intern be held in Boston Crabs for the entire duration of the retest to ensure they do not interfere? Perhaps being held upside down might improve the blood flow to their brains, assuming they aren't already brain dead.



    I reran the Tsukuba and Toukyo races with Drex and Nat. Unfortunately, even with an appropriately sized tank, there was no curing the tail happiness of the Beat. Yes, the reduced fuel load from before did help, but only a minuscule amount; not nearly enough for me to not immediately tire of the car after just a few laps of Tsukuba.



    I'll admit, on Comfort Medium tyres, the diminutive Beat is finally free enough to show some attitude, which contributed to the difficulty in the drive. Power oversteer is finally a very, very slight factor when giving the car full throttle mid corner, as you'll just about hear the rear tyres start to squeak a little like timid mice on power. It's just enough to unsettle the car a bit and make you second guess your steering input.

    Miss, this entry ramp is ONE LANE ONLY!

    Esther my tyres are cold!

    On Comfort Mediums, the car is unexpectedly nervous to drive, as understeer also rears its ugly head and slots itself into the equation mid corner, adding to yet another thing to juggle as you walk that tightrope of balancing the Beat. Driving this car requires very sensitive and quick steering hands to catch inevitable slides, and I still find that the Beat has way too much body roll and pitch even on appropriate tyres, contributing to the slides and difficulty in catching them.

    XSquare "Quick and Sensitive Fingers" StickIt!

    Also, weirdly, the Beat has very noticible LOD drops when not the target car in the replay. Pausing the replay and then walking over, you can see the interior is... well... melted.

    Even though I came dead last in all three races, I did at least achieve my personal goal that Sunday, which was to not crash the Beat (too hard), and that feels like a bigger achievement to me, personally. I'm just sick of driving this cutesey coffin. I have made every excuse for it and tried everything I could with it, but it still drives horrible, with zero power on tap. This thing makes a turbo MR2 feel like a rock solid racing car with how loose it is. Truly I believe that the only reason the MR2 is the butt of snap oversteer jokes is because the Beat was never meant for export outside Japan. That, or because the Beat killed off every would be memer it housed. The decal on the side shouldn't say "BEAT Midship Amusement". It should say, "BEATER Midship Coffin".

    "Wait, did you do two or three races Sunday?"

    We reran two races, and then ran a new one. At the Nürburgring 24h layout. At night. No, it wasn't my idea.

    Even on 24ℓ of fuel, we had enough for 6 laps of the ~25.4km (~15.8mi) track, the vast majority of which was spent full throttle. A standing start of the combined circuit took Nat, the winner, 13 minutes and 12 seconds to complete. Isn't COTW simply the peak of exhilaration?!






    *********************************************​

    Over the course of this review, it might sound like I really hate the Beat. But the truth is, I don't. I can't hate this thing. Who can? It's just fun to point and laugh it. It has that sort of unique, "look at me, I'm a cartoon character!" charm to it, that makes it impossible to smile and laugh every time you see one on the road, and it's a charm I daresay is entirely unique to the Kei segment. The Beat has every right to shout about its own technological achievements, somehow squeezing a MR layout and a soft top convertible package into Kei dimensions. It stands out in its Kei circle as being one of the very few to stick with a NA engine, and somehow squeezes the limit of Kei car power from its Kei size limited engine in spite of that. It is also the last car approved by Honda Soichiro before his passing in 1991.

    The Beat can shout about all that, but it doesn't. Instead, it is a small, cheerful, hardworking, and honest car that doesn't it ask for much from you in return, and it's impossible to dislike a car like that. Sure, it doesn't have much in the way of practically or performance. Its terrifying in the wrong conditions handling, coupled with sharply declining Kei incentives in Japan, makes it very difficult for me to recommend the Beat to anyone. But, I imagine a young adult just getting their first car would be thrilled just having the liberty and power to go where they please, topless. And I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that some have stuck with this "beginner's car" for their whole adult lives because it's good enough. Good enough to fit their everyday needs. Good enough to have adventures and journeys in. Good enough to pass down to their kids when they are qualified to drive.

    In fact, over the course of this week, I went from not knowing what to say or expect, being flabbergasted by its handling when I first drove it, and then eventually coming around to like it more and more as we went from race to race. Yes, it's slow. Yes, it drives horrible. But, oddly enough, it's precisely because it's slow and drives horrible that I think it provided for some excellent racing among COTW. So much so I even want to suggest that we come up with a new award when we do Car of the Year: The Car That Provided The Best Racing. I think the Beat has a strong shot at being able to get that award, with the Cayman being a close contender for being the total opposite: fast and predictable.
    However, even if I like the Beat, I simply could not see myself owning a one, even as a second car. It just doesn't make much, if any, sense to me, and I'm fully aware of the irony of a sports car enthusiast talking about sensibility in ownership. It's just... do you really feel alive and enthralled pushing a 64PS car around a mountain pass? Do you really want a car that will kill you without warning if you put too thick a binder in the boot, or if it as much drizzles, even at pedestrian speeds? A first gen Viper would want to kill you less than the Beat if you're duly sensible in it. If you're buying a Kei car for its lower entry cost and cheaper running costs, there are several other Kei cars that are either more practical that can seat four, or are just as sporty but have their engines sensibly in front. If you truly want a sporty experience, I would wholly recommend saving up a few thousand dollars more and get yourself a Mazda Roadster, new or old, which is not only way more forgiving and faster, but is more easily serviceable with an abundance of parts, and I daresay will teach you more about driving fast than a Beat. Or, just get a Cappuccino.


    At the end of the day, I say that the Beat doesn't make any sense to me because the very concept of a MR Kei car is just oxymoronic, in my opinion. Kei cars are supposed to be cheaper cars to buy and run, yet MR Keis are only suited for people with enough money and real estate to buy a second car. MR cars are supposed to be the ideal track car layout, yet MR Keis are nothing but a nightmare to drive even at 5 tenths. They're products that compromise on safety, practicality, and cost for not much sportiness. Yes, the S660 proves that MR sportiness can be stuffed into Kei dimensions and make for a drive that spoils me on driving dynamics as much as full sized cars spoil me with power and practicality, but for a price higher than that of a full sized car? Even someone like me has to pause and ponder if it's worth all the sacrifice and hassle.

    With all that said, the only, ONLY kind of people I can recommend the Beat to are Honda fanatics, or people in charge of a Honda museum. For those people, the Beat is a must-have item in their collection, being the F40 equivalent of Honda. Anyone else should probably steer clear away from it, hopefully with no inertia drift or snap oversteer.

    *********************************************

    Here are unlisted, unedited videos of all 6 races we did on "Tuesday", and the 3 on "Saturday", as supporting document for the Beat's 0-100 times, how god awful it handles, and the deltas of the S660. Given how others did a lot better than me, I guess the conclusion that I don't mesh with it is a fair one to draw. It has to be said though, Kei cars are so tiny and easy to place, I actually did this week's races all in cockpit view. It just felt most right to me.

    Maggiore Centre
    Tsukuba
    Sardegna C (embedded above)
    Kyotou
    Toukyo East
    Blue Moon Bay B II
    Tsukuba 2
    Toukyo East 2
    Nürburgring 24h

    *********************************************

    Editor's Note: What is with this group and murderous Hondas?
     
  10. Natalie_GT

    Natalie_GT

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Argentina
    @XSquareStickIt very fun read, 10/10 effort! It was very fun to do this sort of stuff! Can't wait for tomorrow :cheers:.

    ...maybe I should do my own reviews? I don't see a rule saying I can't... :idea:
     
  11. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood

    Messages:
    2,475
    Location:
    United States
    Damn, this week’s Beat fest might be one of the best COTW entries I’ve ever seen. It’s a great car and I’m glad it’s appreciated so much in this thread.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Racer283

    Racer283

    Messages:
    457
    Location:
    United States
    Feel free to write a review when you get a chance or when feel like it. Everyone is encourage to write one but they don't have to if they don't feel like it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  13. XSquareStickIt

    XSquareStickIt

    Messages:
    436
    Oh my god that zebra stripe pattern on the side mirrors to mirror :lol: the pattern on the seats!

    @Natalie_GT Please do write a review! The only thing I like more about complaining about cars is reading other reviews! :tup:
     
    Alex p. likes this.
  14. Natalie_GT

    Natalie_GT

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Argentina
    Will do for the next car ;):tup:
     
    Alex p. likes this.
  15. Racer283

    Racer283

    Messages:
    457
    Location:
    United States
    This car is quite famous among the Need For Speed Universe as it was a feature car in Most Wanted. Though we don't get the GTR version we get the base model of the M3. This week we get to test the famous BMW M3 Coupe '03 E46. This weeks car was chosen by @sirjim73

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Alex p.

    Alex p.

    Messages:
    5,556
    Location:
    Germany
    My M3 review:

    GTS Nordschleife hot lap STOCK BMW M3 E46 '03: 07.53.696
    Finally in GT again. Great car. Awesome looks, good sound, fast and good handling. I would characterize its handling as rather light, drifty and a little bit indirect actually. The brakes seem to be rather weak too. I guess I am a tiny bit disappointed even. Did the car still do an impressive time, considering its specs? Yes, absolutely.

    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.




    Is this not a picture of the CSL model?

    What beauty lmao.

    tenor (9).gif

    Honestly, how long to take, to do this write-up? Probably longer, than my top 100 series...Jeez...:tup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  17. sirjim73

    sirjim73

    Messages:
    1,883
    Location:
    England
    A waste of modelling time? Or the most wanted BMW in GT Sport? I look forward to finding out :D
     
  18. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood

    Messages:
    2,475
    Location:
    United States
    Hey, gotta build off of those extreme early 90s aesthetics.
     
    XSquareStickIt likes this.
  19. Natalie_GT

    Natalie_GT

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Argentina
    Oh, yes... BMW M3. I know what livery I'll be turning up with... :lol:

    Edit: It's a cursed livery I made myself, hehe. See you people later tonight :cheers:.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  20. Vic Reign93

    Vic Reign93 Premium

    Messages:
    2,447
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Well so much for not slipping behind on reviews again eh Vic? :rolleyes:

    Quick side note first for @XSquareStickIt I definitely liked the reviews as it was a good throwback to COTW reviews of the past. :tup:

    Of course we’re not expecting you to bust out every review in that style, but every now and then it certainly adds a little extra shine to normal proceedings. :p

    Okay, let’s get started.

    The RE Amemiya tuned FD RX-7.

    REA is well known for tuning Rotarys, but also running 3 Rotor RX-7s in the GT300 Class for JGTC/Super GT.

    This RX-7 was tuned with mountain roads and usable performance in mind.

    Usable performance you say? like torque? :p

    Yes actually.

    While the engine is more powerful at around 365hp, the 1.3 2 Rotor is not far removed from its factory counterpart with only turbo boost being the biggest change.

    But that boost has also been set up for more mid range torque so rather counterintuitively, buzzing the limiter wasn’t the fastest way to go with this car. :)

    Turns you normally do in 2nd gear I was doing in 3rd and it didn’t bog down or feel gutless in doing so.

    The rear was lively, but I can work with it and it was good fun to throw around and remind myself what I used to do on GT6 with these guys. :cool:

    Biggest difference between this car and the stock RX-7 when tuning? Downforce.

    For 100k it’s got a more capable base than the standard RX-7, but it’s 60k more than said RX-7.

    Worth it?

    Yeah it’s worth it. ;)

    Verdict: Sleeper :tup:

    Next up is the 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO, a heavily amped up and homologated version of the 308.

    Built for the Group B Circuit Series, 272 GTO’s were built with the last one being gifted to Niki Lauda, with Keke Rosberg also getting one.

    Packing a 2.9 litre twin turbo V8 which kicked out just under 400hp and 366ft-lbs of torque, it hauled the 1,160kg GTO to a claimed top speed of over 300kph.

    Handling is a classic turbo Italian case, initial understeer and then a dab of oversteer when the engine gets into the boost threshold and really starts making boost. :)

    Brakes could’ve done with a bit more bite to them and the price is on the steep side at 1.85 million.

    But compared to another slightly less expensive Fezza we tested, this one felt right at home.

    (Oh don’t worry, that car’s turn will be soon.:mischievous:)

    Sadly, Group B (Both Rally and Circuit) was cancelled before the 288 GT0 had a chance to race, but all wasn’t lost, many lessons they learnt from the race ready 288 GTO Evoluzione were carried over to the follow up act.

    That follow up act being the Ferrari F40. :bowdown:

    As for the GTO name for Ferrari? It was last seen on the 599 GTO and it was a slap in the face for the GTO moniker.

    250 GTO: Raced and was very sucsessful.
    288 GTO: Was gonna race before the series got cancelled.
    599 GTO: Was never gonna be raced and was just essentially a pumped up 599.

    The O in GTO stands for Omologato (Homologated in Italian) and homolgated the 599 GTO was not. :rolleyes:

    That being said it wasn’t terrible, it just had no right to be called a GTO.

    Small rant aside, the 288 GTO is certainly worth picking up, IF you have deep enough pockets for it. ;)

    Verdict: Sleeper :):tup:

    The next duo(!) is a familiar pairing, a tale as old as time, Red Vs Blue.

    For Football, It’s Liverpool V Chelsea
    For V8 Supercars, It’s Holden V Ford Aus
    For GT/Le Mans, It’s Ferrari V Ford

    And for Rallying, It’s the Diamonds V Stars, Mitsubishi V Subaru.

    But interestingly, it’s not rally cars where these two are dunking it out, it’s Gr4 race cars.

    Representing the Boxer squad is the WRX Gr4 and representing the DSM crew is the Evo X Gr4.

    Both pack 2 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engines, both have 4wd, both weigh under 3000lbs and like all Gr4 cars, cost 350K each.

    The Evo has the edge in power and the WRX has a slight weight advantage, but the biggest difference is in the gearboxes.

    The WRX gets 6 cogs to play with and the Evo only has 5 cogs to play with, which can play against it in certain situations.

    On the subject of sound, the Boxer has that distinct Boxer burble to it so it gets a point there too.

    The Evo felt more eager through the turns in comparison to the WRX, but the driving experience was not far from the same, both had grip for days and both understeer when you push too hard.

    It’s always an issue trying to split these two up, one offers up more power, slightly better turn in, but has one less cog to use.

    The other brings a nice sound, less weight and 6 cogs to use.

    Honestly, you could pick one by simply blindfolding yourself and throwing a dart at a picture of these two cars to decide the winner.

    Just don’t turn your wall into a second hand dartboard. :lol:

    Verdicts: Neutral(Sleeper to the one you prefer.;))

    On to the 3rd Gr4 car we drove and yet another case of a race car not having a road car equivalent in game.

    Enter the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

    With a 380hp 3.8 Flat 6 in the middle, a few handling parts taken from the 911 GT3 and some slick tyres, the Cayman GT4 CS is ready to carve out its own legacy for Porsche.

    You’ll notice that compared to other Gr4’s that the gearing is quite long and only on the longer straights will hit 6th gear in it, but it’s offset by a Porsche trademark, handling.

    You definitely get a confidence boost once you discover it’s limits and as was demonstrated on race night, it leads to some rather bold overtakes as noted by @XSquareStickIt in his write up. :sly:

    It sets out the limits in all aspects and encourages you to stay near them, it’s both regulating you so you don’t go over the edge, but motivates you to stand near it to get the best out of it. :)

    And like the two previous Gr4’s, same 350k price tag too.

    Another fine machine from Stuttgart’s finest. :tup:

    Verdict: Sleeper :):tup:

    For the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, i’m actually gonna leave a link to my GT6 review of it as much of what I said there applies here too.
    https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/threads/beater-or-sleeper-gt6-car-of-the-week-thread.295599/page-217

    Obvious thing to add was the better sounds on GTS of course. :p

    Plus in that same review group, I touch upon the closest race finish in COTW’s history, the EG Civics at Bathurst and is worthy of your time to see from the perspective of @Nismonath5 ;)

    R32 Verdict: Sleeper :tup:

    Remember that line about a certain Ferrari’s turn coming soon? :p

    It’s the turn of the Ferrari LaFerrari.

    So LaFerrari, the Italian third of the Hypercar Holy Trinity and the most powerful of the three to boot at just over 950hp from a 6.3 litre V12 with hybrid KERS. :eek:

    With such power and much F1 derived tech on board you would think it would be like the second coming of your preferred deity to drive. :p

    The (virtual) reality is however completely different.

    Let’s start with the brakes, they do not have anywhere near the bite they should have, with it being most noticeable at Monza where I had to use the tower on the left side of the track as my braking point. :crazy:

    Stopping is one thing, getting going again also has it’s issues, chief among which was the rather soft suspension.

    While it can help with putting power down, it also lifts the front up, which takes weight off the front tyres and in turn causes understeer.

    The combination of the brakes, suspension and PD’s insistence on Road cars having no tyres more grippy than Sports Hards stock made LaFerrari feel heavy and soft, despite rather damning evidence to the contrary. :odd:

    That evidence being what SquareStick mentioned regarding LaFerrari’s weight.

    IRL weight? 1,585kgs
    GTS weight? 1,255kgs :eek:

    So it’s pretty much 1/3rd of a ton LIGHTER than it should be and it’s handling like already mentioned?! :ouch:

    Only good points in stock form are it’s nice sound and looks nice when dressed up like a Maserati MC12.

    Keeping it stock? Don’t buy it.
    Not keeping it stock? For the love of your preferred deity, find a good tune for it. ;)

    Verdict: Beater :tdown:

    Before the Fezza, we had a car with a normal ICE setup, LaFerrari added a hybrid system to it and now we have a car that yeets out the engine and gets moar batteries and motors. :p

    It’s from Audi and it is it’s E-Tron VGT, not the hybrid Gr1 version. ;)

    With over 800hp from 3 electric motors, it’s got the top end potential to match its gut wrenching acceleration which is the norm for high performance electric cars.

    With a design taking heavy inspiration from the IMSA GTO class Audi 90 and a kerbweight of 1,450kgs, it’s got the violence to match the silence. :lol:

    Handling is tricky at first, it tends to respond better through slow turns by staying partially on throttle.

    Another plus is because of the single gear setup, you can go pretty fast backwards too. :p

    Compared to its Gr1 clone in stock form, I’d argue it’s more composed and more setup, as the gearing on the Gr1 version is not set up decently.

    It’s 6th gear is too long in relation to 5th gear, plus it makes 7th gear as about as useful as a chocolate tea kettle. :D

    While the Gr1’s hybrid setup gives it a higher total output (over 1200hp iirc:drool:) and is lighter than the E-Tron by a few hundred kgs, the hybrid deployment always lights up the front tyres and makes low speed turning tricky, I found that out to my cost at Spa. :ouch:

    So in this case I’d take the stock E-Tron over the stock Gr1, the sound of silence beats the sound of spinning out. :p

    Verdict: Sleeper :tup:

    On the subject of VGT’s some were converted into Gr3 or Gr1 cars and the next car is from the former class.

    The Gr3 Peugeot Vision GT Race Car.

    To get it homologated for Gr3 racing, the VGT has had to have some of its bite taken out of it.

    To start, they removed the front driveshaft to make it rear drive only, it’s 3.2 Turbo V6 has lost over well 300hp through restrictions and it’s put on nearly 1000lbs of weight. :crazy:

    While that sounds major, it’s now kicking out 540hp and weighs 1250kgs.

    Just shows you how much of an animal the normal VGT is. :bowdown:

    On longer tracks like Tokyo, it’s got the pace over other Gr3’s, but it’s lacking everywhere else to them.

    It felt stiff and understeery through longer turns and could do with more response at the front, but on the whole it just didn’t feel like a solid stock setup.

    It is a long straight monster for Gr3, but not much else.

    Verdict: Beater :tdown:

    Back to hybrids for the next one and it’s from Honda.

    Why not start out by purchasing the Honda Fi-

    “Shoots out P.A system”

    Nope, we are NOT going through that again. :sly:

    It’s the other Honda hybrid, the NSX. ;)

    As follow up acts go they are many cars that had to follow up to their iconic successors.

    The Ferrari F50 to the F40
    The Nissan GT-R to the R34 Skyline
    And the Toyota A90 Supra to the Mk4 Supra to name a few.

    But so does the new NSX against the old NSX and like the others, it’s got some big shoes to fill.

    The old NSX was arguably the original daily driver super car, a car that offers remarkable performance for its power, but doesn’t compromise everyday usability.

    With input from one of F1’s greats in the form of 3 time champion (and creator of the most taken out of context quote in motorsports) Ayrton Senna, A mid mounted V6 and rear drive, The old NSX is still sought after even today.

    The New NSX brings hybrid tech to help with performance and usability, but I fear the balance has been skewered towards daily usability than performance.

    For starters, with crash standards being stricter and the hybrid motors and batteries being used, the new NSX weighs nearly 1.8 tons. :odd:

    For comparison, the heaviest the Old NSX ever got was 1,435kgs and the lightest was 1,230kgs.

    The New NSX does offset this with much more power, a 3.5 Twin turbo V6 with hybrid assist helps chuck out 580hp and hybrid assisted 4wd helps launch it to low to mid 3 second 0-60 sprints.

    Where it falls down is the handling because as previously mentioned, it’s near 1.8 tons and the suspension is on the softer side, which can unsettle the car when getting a move on.

    The 9 speed automatic deserves a mention, it’s essentially a 7 speed with 2 overdrive gears for highway fuel saving(Or actual usage if given enough power.;)) and it’s means the gears come thick and fast.

    I understand where Honda/Acura were coming from when building the NSX, but it’s a little too biased towards daily driving than performance.

    If they were to bring out a Type R version of the new NSX here’s what I’d do.

    • Cut some weight out and add power (obviously) :p
    • Scale back the hybrid system in size and focus it on performance over fuel saving.(further weight loss and fill torque gap.)
    •Fine tune the gearing and add one of the overdrives to the normal 7 and leave 9th for highway driving only.
    • And lastly, give it a subtle(ish) aero package to improve its handling and tighten up the suspension a little. :tup:

    So on the whole, it’s a decent car, it just hasn’t been able to fill the shoes of its older brother. :indiff:

    Verdict: Beater :tdown:

    (Small editing note, This all WASN'T done in one sitting, I’m not that crazy.) :lol:

    Anyways it’s time to split.. the rear window. :p

    Yep, it’s the one year special version of the C2 Chevy Corvette. :tup:

    The first thing you notice is the aforementioned Split window at the back, exclusive to the 1963 model year and how it gels with the rather timeless lines of the body. :drool:

    1963 was also the first year you could option in the RPO Z06 package, which included stiffer springs, larger front anti rollbar, uprated braking system and a (later optional) huge fuel tank which almost doubled its capacity from 76 litres to 138 litres. :eek:

    The only engine for the Z06 package was a 5.4 small block V8 which funnily enough, makes 360hp, just like the one in game.

    A split window C2 with a Z06 package + big fuel tank? surely that’s gotta be rare combo.

    It was.. And still is.

    In 1963 over 21 thousand Vettes were built, but less than 200 had the Z06 package, but of those 199 cars, only 78 had the big fuel tank option, but combine all that with the split window coupe and you have 1 of 50 examples of the rarest production Corvettes ever built. :drool:

    How much you ask? one was up for auction earlier this year with estimated values of $500K to $600K :eek:

    So how it’s to drive in game?

    Well one thing that wasn’t added to Z06 package was a limited slip diff as one tyre fires were a common sight. :D

    As Square noted in his write up, “traction distribution” was a unique issue, by lighting up the inside tyre and then putting weight on it, it causes it to bite and twist the car in the direction you’re turning.

    The gearing usually tends to be short on classic muscle cars, but not with the C2, doing up to and over 130mph no worries.

    The open diff is the thing that stands out the most as a quirk to the C2, but once you figured out how to adapt to it, it was a good fun car to drive. :)

    Just get a limited slip diff installed if you plan to race it a bit more seriously.:p

    Verdict: Sleeper :):tup:

    Next on the list is one I selected for us to run and one that Square wanted to, but couldn’t. :sly:

    The 1990 Mazda RX-7 GT-X.

    I started this wall of words with a tuned version of this cars successor, but now we see how the Buzz Box stacks up without aftermarket accessories.

    And in a nutshell, if you like going through turns whilst looking through the side windows then the RX-7 is for you. :D

    Despite a modest 203hp from a turbocharged 1.3 2 rotor, the 1,250kgs of weight means it’s still capable of getting it and yourself into trouble very easily.

    The tail steps out through most corners due to relatively soft springs, skinny tyres and a limited slip diff, it’s not twitchy to the point of being undrivable, but you gotta be aware of its eager tail. :)

    It’s rather inexpensive at just under 25k so providing it stays that price for GT7(don’t see them ditching it) and we start with 30k like GT6(but not with the forced first car :ouch:), I can see it making the shortlist for my first GT7 car. :D

    Plus you’re not exactly short of custom designs for it either, IMSA, Anime, other racing games and GT Race Mod remakes are just some of the designs for it i’ve seen.

    In summary, get one, but just be ready for its at the limit handling. :p

    Verdict: Sleeper ;):tup:

    From cheap and nostalgic, to exotic and expensive.

    The bare carbon beauty from Italy, with a German heart and Italian rubber at all corners.

    The track only Pagani Zonda R. :drool:

    The thing more jaw dropping than it’s bare carbon fibre body is it’s 1.8 million price tag. :scared:

    Packing a 6.0 AMG V12 in the middle, it kicks out nearly 750hp while the race spec frame and large carbon fibre usage brings the weight down to 1,070kgs. :eek:

    With a 6 speed paddle sequential gearbox, slick tyres and a barely restricted exhaust, it becomes a 200 mph orchestra. ;)

    But while it’s not as volatile sounding as it is in reality, it certainly is as rapid as it is in reality.

    Handling is a mixed bag, at higher speeds it’s fine, low speeds aren’t too bad either with care taken on throttle input, but in mid speed turns it’s in the aerodynamic grey area.

    Aerodynamic grey area you ask? :confused:

    Yep, fast enough to not get through the turn on mechanical grip alone, but not fast enough for aerodynamic grip to really assist you.

    Another mark against it is of course the GrX classification limiting its use in career mode, just like another track only exotic, the Mclaren P1 GTR.

    Basically it’s a 200+ mph carbon trophy for yourself to enjoy and show off. :lol:

    Don’t buy one if you’re looking for a career mode money maker, buy one if you love collecting and driving them. ;)

    Verdict: Neutral

    Finally I wrap up this whole thing with a double Honda Bowtie. :D

    Both are mid engined, rear wheel drive, ones a Kei car, the other ones a GT500 race version of Honda’s first super car.

    They are the Honda Beat and the Honda NSX GT500.

    The Beat is the B in the ABC of Kei cars, the A being the Mazda Act Z and the C being the Suzuki Cappuccino, but each one has unique difference.

    The Mazda being the only one with Gullwing doors, The Suzuki being the only front engined one of the three and the Beat being the only non turbo Kei car of the 3.

    Packing a 656cc I3 which is making the Kei car class limit of 63hp, which is sent to the back via a 5 speed manual gearbox.

    The NSX has a 3.5 non turbo V6 which in race trim makes 510hp which compared to its rivals of the time, was 2 cylinders short and 1 litre of displacement less. :crazy:

    Power is sent to the rear via a 6 speed sequential gearbox.

    While it might seem under powered compared to some modern GT3 cars and GT1 cars of a few years ago, GT500 class cars are more than capable of running rings round the lot of them. :odd:

    Here’s a post from 2006 from UltimateCarPage which talked about the difference between a FIA GT MC12, the Super GT MC12 and the then current Super GT racers which i’ve shorted down for relevance sake.

    Team Goh Maserati Progress

    There is a similarly interesting comparison to be made between the Super GT spec car being shaken down for Team Goh on the long circuit and the FIA GT spec car when it tested on the same track configuration.

    The FIA car with Pirelli rubber and the narrower wing set a best of 1:30.9, while the Team Goh-run Super GT spec. car, on Bridgestone rubber, set a best time an astonishing 2.8 seconds faster.

    That's a telling difference, but it is unlikely to be enough for the big Maserati to trouble the factory backed Nissan, Honda and Lexus cars in GT500.

    Kazumichi Goh had set the team a target of being a full 5 seconds faster than the FIA spec car if they were to take the fight to their Japanese competition, and there is still work to be done in order to close the gap.

    The first Suzuka test with the Goh car saw that point of view very firmly endorsed, Seiji Ara posting a best effort of 1:55 in the Maserati, which compares unfavourably to the best posted by a team running one of the Nissan Fairlady Z GT500 racers - with a 1:52.4.

    Perhaps more ominously still, sources suggest that a new spec. Honda NSX has posted a lap in an astonishing 1:51.6. Putting that in perspective it matches the pole time set by the Team Goh Audi R8 at the Suzuka 1000kms in 2001!

    The pace of improvement in the GT500 cars is remarkable: the leading cars are now 2-3 seconds per lap faster than 4-5 years ago.

    Suzuka Test - Unofficial; Best Lap Times (22/23 February)
    23 NISMO Z 1:52.34
    22 AUTECH Z 1:52.72
    8 ARTA NSX 1:52.79
    12 IMPUL Z 1:53.05
    66 Supra 1:53.35
    1 CERUMO SC 1:53.51
    350 NISMO Test Car(Z) 1:53.62
    100 RAYBRIG NSX 1:53.78
    430 TRD Test Car(SC) 1:54.35
    6 Mobil 1 SC 1:54.57
    51 MC12 1:55.03
    32 EPSON NSX 1:55.66
    25 Supra 1:55.69

    So yeah, while the NSX looks like an NSX, it’s essentially a silhouette racer with a focus on high speed cornering. :bowdown:

    The NSX only tried to bite at low speed turns, but other than that it was blast to drive. :tup:

    The Beat is also a blast to drive, but it also bites a lot harder too. :p

    As you brake into a turn, the second you come off the brakes the front tyres hook up and the tail steps out rather easily.

    It caught most drivers out because short wheelbase midship cars tend to be pint sized trouble makers, but they usually pack at least 150-200hp, not 63hp. :lol:

    The Beat also brought in a new COTW member in the form of @Natalie_GT who as far as first impressions go, she certainly made an entrance. :D

    Quick out the gate, clean, but close battling as the showdown in Tokyo clearly showed and to top it off, she was the one who made the call for the rain and darkness to fall on that Tokyo race. :mischievous:

    A racer after my own slightly sadist ways. :lol::tup:

    The Beat may lack power and top speed.. and some stability, but it makes up for it by being cheap, energetic and a laugh to drive fast. :p

    Verdicts: Sleeper :tup:

    So.. yeah, how to condense 3 1/2 months of cars into one very long write up. :crazy:

    I really need to stop procrastinating when it comes to this. :dunce:
     
  21. sirjim73

    sirjim73

    Messages:
    1,883
    Location:
    England
    I remember when you used to be able to fit more than 2 posts in a page on this thread... :p

    Some seriously good reading around these parts lately :bowdown:. But dont make any other plans for the day once you start reading... :sly:
     
  22. Nismonath5

    Nismonath5

    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    New Zealand
    The Honda Beat!!
    Beat that!

    I'm sorry guys. I made a hotwheels livery for it solely to play the "Beat That" pun, but nobody picked up on it in the meet. That's why I had to explain it plain and simple just now. :p

    Anyways, the Beat!

    I tried really hard to like it. I love the small but punchy cars, the ones that put a smile on your dial without dyno-shredding power or F1 based tech. But the Beat just didn't do it for me. I tried the wheel, I tried the DS4, but no matter what I just couldn't get a handle on it, it was hard to control and I found myself in the wall more often than not.

    Even after the meet, I tried my darndest to master it's unique characteristics. I must have done 50+ laps, but ultimately I just deduced that the Beat had me beat. It's dirt cheap, so it's got that going for it. But I don't think I'll be beating any rivals in it anytime soon.

    The Beat is a beater. :tdown:
     
  23. Abyss1

    Abyss1

    Messages:
    55
    I won’t lie 98% of the time when I play this game it’s only to drive M3s

    as a former E36 M3 owner the first 3 gens kicked so much ass
     
  24. TonyJZX

    TonyJZX

    Messages:
    3,379
    I'm a bit ambivalent about the e46 in GT Sport. I'd say its a great lapping car as long as you keep it away from the extreme ends of its handling envelope.

    I found the front end to be accurate until you get to the very end or you're in to fast and there's a weird weight shift.

    I didnt find it had enough power for n300/400 simply because it feels like a small n/a motor tuned with everything up top, which is what it is.

    So you'll be in a fast corner like on a long Ring sweepers... you'll get nothing untoward with the rear end until it hits upper mid revs then you'll get the tail out.

    So for a lap car its fine but when you're dicing with say the GT4 crowd then you're overdriving the car to keep up.

    It is what it is. Its only a 3.2 litre n/a straight six so there's that. Its still about 7'30" on the Ring N400 max weight loss so its doable but you'll be ringing out its neck so to speak.

    We kind of need the E36 now to complete the set.
     
  25. Natalie_GT

    Natalie_GT

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Argentina
    So much fun tonight. My video of all the races has just uploaded and I've taken the photos I need.

    All I need now is to write the review! :O



    ...and to sleep. :grumpy:
     
  26. TonyJZX

    TonyJZX

    Messages:
    3,379
    I drove the E92 just to compare. N400 440hp 1,400kg and the car is very different.

    The car weighs a fair bit more and it feels it in a good and bad way. Its much more stable much less agile and the handling is just more predictable. The steering heavy precise but doesnt do much bad. Tail wont break with this level of hp.

    However its much less exciting to drive and the car seems to absorb whatever little horsepower the car has, You will need to drive it hard to keep up with GT4s. It feels almost a bit 4wd like a Subaru.

    Weird thing is I had to buy both of these cars. The game never gave me these cars in over 1,000 dwg spins.
     
    XSquareStickIt and sirjim73 like this.
  27. Racer283

    Racer283

    Messages:
    457
    Location:
    United States
    We are 5 weeks away from the 100 week Special. Hopefully between now and then you can pick up the Ford MK. IV or the Ferrari 330 P4. It's your choice of buying both or racing one or the other. I'm hoping for some great Ford v. Ferrari action.
     
  28. Nismonath5

    Nismonath5

    Messages:
    2,045
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Oooooooh, that was close!!

    I have 11 million credits, and I JUST ABOUT went and splashed out on one of the 10 million dollar cars. :eek:
    Cheers for the reminder!!!!
     
    Natalie_GT and Vic Reign93 like this.
  29. Vic Reign93

    Vic Reign93 Premium

    Messages:
    2,447
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I took care of that concern a few months ago, my pick is just been binding it’s time. :p

    Hopefully I’ll have the BMW written up before the end of the week. :tup:
     
  30. Natalie_GT

    Natalie_GT

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Argentina
    As a newer member of the COTW Gran Turismo Association of Drivers, I was eagerly awaiting my next invitation to another video shoot of car reviews. I sat in my apartment in Tokyo, shifting through Discord message galore as I drank some coffee at night. I love doing this, why wouldn't you? Sitting at home is one of the best feelings ever! Yeah... anyway. Some messages got in my inbox, about the upcoming review, and I knew I had to be there. I was told by the production team that the car I would be driving for the event was delivered and awaiting me at my vacation house that I own, in the Gunma region. Excited, I got in my Atenza, for a comfortable drive up there, and went out in the late night.

    20200715042930.jpg

    There was not a lot of traffic, since it was now almost midnight. It took a while from my apartment to get on the Shutoko Expressway, and I knew it'd be quicker by taking the alternative roads to the main city streets. I passed a DS3 as I thought what kind of car the team would give us for this review; would it be a continuation of the kei car thing? A Copen, perhaps? Or simply another Honda? Maybe a modern NSX or a concept car directly from them? Only when I got there would I know.

    20200715042938.jpg

    With it now being actually midnight, as indicated by my dash clock, the highway was almost empty. Save for "those people"...
    A Hachi-roku and a NA Eunos Roadster passed me at high speed, racing each other down the wide lanes of highway. I decided I could play with them for a while; with a full tank of gas, I'd have enough to get to Gunma and have some fun on the way.

    20200715042954.jpg

    The Atenza surely was a big, well-equipped, diesel-engined sedan, but a highway race is all about power and gear ratios. This is no base-model Atenza, being the XD L Package, it had some of the sporty Mazda DNA buried deep within it's low RPM limit. Going down onto the C1, I took the NA on the outside of a fast right hander, and then the Hachi-roku on the straight-away, but they weren't giving up. The 4-banger coupés signaled by a light flash that we were playing now, and stuck to my tail, but I started to pull away; 69 (nice) extra horsepowers over them are no joke on the Expressway.

    20200715043006.jpg

    We took a stop at the Daikoku parking area to rest. We exchanged some kind words and the two drivers showed me around their cars; they were completely clean and unmolested. They told me they don't want to be some big Shutoko runners like the 1000hp Skylines and Supras, but rather casual enthusiasts of speed, and were impressed with the Atenza I drove. They asked me a lot about it, and were clearly interested, but sadly I had to go if I wanted to make it to Gunma, so we said goodbye to each other. They told me that they drive there every Monday night though, so we'd hopefully see each other again.

    20200715043017.jpg

    I pulled off the Daikoku PA and back onto the Shutoko, tuning onto the morning radio coverage by the multiple stations of Tokyo. The Atenza's stereo happily played the introductory music of the radio through it's stereo speakers, without disturbing me completely from the driving ordeal.

    20200715043024.jpg

    The radio went into some coverage of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus, and went again onto the recommendations of how to combat the problem and protect yourself from it. Good thing I had a helmet on, otherwise I'd probably be dead by now. /s? Maybe? Who knows. I drive with my windows up, anyway. I got to the Gunma tollbooth and paid the price to go through; and it was surprisingly empty, save for a customized RX-7 FD who was just in front of me.

    20200715043033.jpg

    The FD followed me up to Gunma, and eventually up to the ever-popular Mount Haruna. Yeah, that mountain. The Initial D touge. Takumi Fujiwara meme inserted here. Deja Vu inserted here. Haha funny! I turned off the radio to enjoy some sick 80s music as I made my way up the mountain to my house. The FD pulled into a parking spot a bit later, together with other JDM legends that were tuned as well.

    20200715043041.jpg

    Almost night-time now, and I pulled into a side road off the mountain, to finally get to my house. The garage and door were open, and the lights were on. My heart sank and I thought I'd been robbed, but happily, I saw the production team's Mazda Demio. Ah, that hatchback... and I spied a blue, two door, sports coupé with a Red Bull livery inside the garage. I parked my car and they introduced me to the car, and I couldn´t believe it.

    20200715043050.jpg

    An E46 M3, completely unmolested! Save for the livery, which looked familiar... too familiar. I liked it, but it looked like the livery was not suitable for the car. I told them to wait as I googled another car... an Audi A4 DTM.

    ...same livery.

    ...why is it on a BMW?

    ...sigh. Funny. The production team laughed off my poker face and walked me around the car. The 6-cylinder engine was untuned, so was everything else; the suspension was stock, the gearbox was still the same and only the rims had been swapped to go with the livery. I was handed the keys and fired up the Bavarian legend; with the B... B40? No? What's the engine code again?

    ...had to google that too, since nobody really knew. S54B30. I can see the 30 standing for 3.0, 3 litres. But S54? The :censored: is that for? Bunch of gibberish and numbers built to satisfy usual German OCD. Anyway, the engine roared to life. The legendary high-revving Inline-6 was as lively as if it were just drove from the dealership, as the production team told me it was completely rebuilt from scratch to provide the best driving experience possible. And for that, I have to give props. We drove down the mountain on a small road trip to the Tokyo airport, to meet up with the other folks. We passed a white Trueno AE86 blasting eurobeat that was going up the mountain, and we both laughed. That guy has not changed... not even in 2020.

    20200715043100.jpg

    At the airport, we all shook hands and exchanged some "Nice to see you again"´s before boarding the planes with our cars as well. We sat down and went off to Croatia, and then driving to the Dragon Trail resort. I had been here a lot of times before in person, and it never ceases to amaze; the scenary and views from the resort are breath taking, and it's amazing how this whole area has it's two very own racetracks! We were briefed by the production team on the video shoot procedures, and they added that some of the higher-up's friends had actually delivered some Japanese and European sports cars from around the same era and class for us to throw around the racetracks as well, and to compare them to the M3, to round out the review with our thoughts in the most complete manner possible. However, for the first race, we all went out in our own M3's, to get acclimatized to the main car.

    After the short qualifying session, we took our places in the starting grid and the flag was dropped. The M3's launch was good, probably highly boosted by the Sport Medium-rated tires. Not a lot of wheelspin, but enough for traction control to be able to improve the launch by some margin. Us being professional racing drivers (on paper), were racey and excited to try out the German engineering masterpiece, so heralded for it's circuit performance.

    20200715043208.jpg
    Three wide? Never a good idea. But hey. Makes for some good photography!

    While we were all getting used to the car, I pushed it to the limit as much as I felt comfortable with, quickly finding out the characteristic traits of it's handling mannerisms. And I can very much say, that the M3 is as much of a driver's car as it is usually revered for. The German coupé has tons of usable grip while entering a corner, and will hold your hand unless you are massively overspeeding into it, where it begins to understeer noticeably.

    20200715043215.jpg

    Speaking of understeer, when it does happen, say; by slightly overspeeding into a corner, or getting on the gas too early at speed, the M3 communicates it to you gradually instead of suddenly becoming a brick on soap, giving you plenty of time to correct your steering and accelerator inputs. This was very obvious on the last and first corners of the Gardens layout of the Dragon Trail resort racetrack, as I almost understeered into the guardrail of the last corner on the qualifying lap. I was able to correct it thanks to this trait, but just barely; and I doubt the production team would've liked me to wreck the E46 before the first race even started.

    20200715043222.jpg
    Goin' driftn'? I don't blame you.

    The gear ratios lended themselves well to the continuous corners of the Gardens track layout. You could clear a lot of them in 3rd gear without issue, as the S5...4...B30 (hah, I remember! Barely... dumb name...) has plenty of grunt at high RPM and it is very responsive and lively. It reminded me a lot of the Beat from last week; a well-made NA engine that had a linear power line without external assistance like turbochargers and superchargers and 10,000 computers controlling the cylinder count. Except the M3 has actual power output :lol:.

    We finished the race off and the production team looked at the scheduled trip list. The list said that after our session at the Gardens, we would go to Sardegna, then Australia, then back to Croatia to race at the Dragon Trail Seaside layout.

    ...needless to say, everyone thought the production team had smoked a good one, and lost all common sense. We phoned them and said "hey, we're changing the schedule... you know... for conveniency. You know what that is, right? You don't? Eh, whatever." before hanging up and moving to the Seaside layout of the course. After watching how the M3 performed at the limit, I was one of the multiple drivers to ask to have a go in a different car, and I got the keys to a loaner Toyota Supra Turbo. Yeah, JZA80. Yes, bro, it's a Supra.

    After the obligatory qualifying and formation lap, we were sent on our way on another grid start. Off the bat, the Supra felt like it had a better launch than the M3, with more traction, and on the run to the first corner, I was neck and neck with the BMWs.

    20200715043308.jpg

    Come the corners, and here's where I got to see what stuff this japanese GT car was made of when it was time to get cracking. To set the record straight, the Supra, unlike the M3, is not a sports car. It's a GT car with sports car credentials given to it by people that think it could beat a Porsche 911 GT3 (trust me, it won't), GT standing for Grand Touring, or as the japanese say it, Gran Turismo (ha, nice reference). Basically, it's a comfy cruiser that won't break your back over some bumps, but has power and handling to satisfy those that want a sporty experience. And for that, the Supra put up a very good fight.

    The Supra felt to me as if the japanese took apart an M3, redesigned it, gave it a big ol' wang and a turbocharger, and let it off the rails, because it handled quite exactly the same. Well... not quite. It did have the stability and power that the E46 provided, but I didn't feel as confident in the Supra; it would understeer more than I expected around the long, fast esses that make the Seaside layout famous among drivers, on the 90° corner at the bottom right part of the track, and through the last corner, making me have to brake more than I expected. This is what happens when you develop your car to do everything instead of focusing on one thing and doing that one thing very well; you end up not being good at anything.

    20200715043317.jpg

    With this stability and understeer, though, came an improvement; the Supra never got wheelspin out of a slow corner like the E46 did. Maybe that big wing is indeed helping it, or maybe it's just simple suspension design and tire grip. Either way, it could also keep up with the modern Evo X that our fellow driver, Vic, was piloting, so I guess it still holds up as a sporty car to this day. The gearing was also a bit flimsy, as the power really dropped for a bit while shifting gears, courtesy of the turbochargers not spooling constantly and the upshifts dropping the Supra's famous 2JZ engine out of it's own powerband. This is another win for the M3 in my eyes, as it's starkly contrasting NA B5-ah whatever engine is always revving and always happy, always giving you it's fullest. The 2JZ felt a bit... dull, and quiet, to me at least.

    I kinda binned it into the bus stop chicane, though, but nothing too major. Some dings to the right side of the front bumper and the mirror fell off. Good thing there were no big accidents, now, otherwise we'd have some major issues with the editors having to cut out so much of the footage... eh... yeah :nervous:.

    After we completed our little ordeal, we got back on our way in our big trip around the world to do some car reviews (seriously, whoever has the budget for this show must be the pharaoh of Egypt because their budget is :censored: infinite). Next stop, was Sardegna, in Italy. The windmills along the countryside, along with the smell of clean and fresh air hit us with an indiscribable sensation. Having been to Italy before, I can say that it feels very natural to simply be there, let alone drive on it's roads. We were put in the B layout of the road track, the one that cuts to the left after the second corner, taking it's drivers on a pretty cool and short challenge of fast bends combined with sweeping up and downhill corners before connecting with the tricky left-right final corner of the A layout, and onto the main straight.

    I once more got in the M3, wanting to see how it would react along this circuit. Come race start, I turned on the traction control to get a better launch, and quickly off once we got going. Sardegna as a track is very good for racing, as it's tight, compact and packed with exciting corners, as I've said before. We had a massive accident on the fast left hand corner, and we ended up binning a few M3s, mine included. The front bumper was toast on mine, and fellow driver Square's BMW went onto a big spin, with his left fenders and door getting banged up after I hit him in the confusion. However, we were still able to push the cars hard since they were mostly okay mechanically.

    20200715043233.jpg
    Deja Vu! I just been in this plaaace befooore~

    In a confused maneouver, Square tapped me in the rear (don't get your mind in the gutters, please...) and threw me into a slide as I clumsily tried to pull off to the side to let him by, but he tried to pass at the same time. Here is when the M3 really resonated BMW's mantra with me... "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Even with these grippy tires, I was able to hold the drift and keep the Bimmer out of the wall, as I quickly regained my composure and made myself look like a drift god.

    Oversteer in this car is very controllable if you are a decent driver. You don't have to be a professional, just... decent. The M3 also oversteers gradually, never snapping you out or into a dorifto, just like how it understeers gradually. The Bavarians really know how to make a balanced car, don't they?

    20200715043240.jpg

    On the last laps, myself and another driver, Rick, had a good battle until I was barely able to pass on the last chicane. Props to him for the good race, as it was a lot of fun! I was unable to catch up with 3rd place, who went to Racer, but driving the M3 to the limit around the banked corners of Sardegna is something you have to experience for yourself; it's genuinely great.

    For our next trip, we flew on our luxury COTW airlines to the land of Australia, setting up camp on Mount Panorama. The legendary race track is feared and revered by drivers all over the world; it's tight, with almost no runoff area on most of the corners, with barely enough room for two cars to go side by side. Fellow driver Square picked a loaner R34 GT-R for the race, another japanese GT machine. I could almost hear a voice yelling "The R is the legendary symbol of invincibility!", as he rocketed on the start past most of the M3s, courtesy of it's AWD system.

    20200715043249.jpg

    I was in second place, right behind the leader; before he went off track on one of the only corners with outside runoff area, right at the peak of the mountain. On the downhill, Vic quickly caught up to my rear, as I unsettled the E46 onto the final corner before the long straight-aways that are symbols of POOOOWEEEER! Again, thanks to the M3's great handling characteristics, I was able to hold the drift like the professional D1 driver that I am(not), and held onto my pole position, before binning it onto the quick left-right hander afterwards.

    20200715043256.jpg
    Nothing better than a RWD 340-ish BHP coupé going sideways.

    While I personally don't hold the mountain of Panorama of Australia in high regard on my track list, I can respect the challenge it brings to the table, and the M3 rose to said challenge very well. There is nothing I haven't covered already; other than the braking, which, with it's high performance discs and rotor pads, is entirely up to snuff with the high speeds you can achieve. ABS is standard on the M3, which helps make it accessible to a lot of drivers; I guess that is part of the appeal, too. It's a global sports car. Anyone can drive it fast as long as they have common sense and some talent.

    Our final trip took us back to Japan, to be more precise, Tokyo! Once more, the COTW producers were somehow able to get a thumbs-up from the japanese government to close off a section of the Shutoko Expressway, this time during the day. For this upcoming race, I swapped cars again, to what most claim to be the first japanese supercar; the Honda NSX-R.

    It shares a lot of key strengths with the Bavarian sports car; a high-revving, well made NA engine that goes up to the moon with it's sound and power output, and it's agile through the corners, paired with an excellent gear ratio. I have said it before in person, but never in a review, but I think the NSX-R is one of the best driver's cars in the world.

    20200715043328.jpg
    The COTW photographers are damn good at their job.

    The NSX-R has more of a limit than the M3, or so I've found. It launches much better, even without the M3's traction control, as it's mid-engine layout gives the rear wheels more weight and grip from a standstill. No wonder it could win a quarter-mile drag race against a Ferrari 348 back when it was first shown on TV. It's also even more agile, as it's lighter by almost 300kg, but it's handling characteristics actually make it a bit harder to drive than the E46, in my opinion. You cannot be as rough with the NSX-R as you can the M3; you must be more gentle or the rear-biased weight distribution of the Honda will bite you around long sweeping corners, and it gets quite tricky to get the hang of it.

    However, I feel like the NSX-R is a japanese sports car that can put up quite a good fight against the E46 M3, even with almost 60hp less. As Colin Chapman said, "simplify and add lightness". It always, always, just works.

    20200715043337.jpg

    In the race, I was pressured by Vic, who was driving the wheels off another German sports car; the famed Widowmaker, the 930 911 Turbo. We were going at it hard, with some wall taps, hard braking and incredibly daring steering, but I was able to pull away in the end, while Square in an FD RX-7 caught up with him shortly after at the end of the final lap.

    20200715043344.jpg

    After the race was over, we made a drive to check the state of the guardrails; which were luckily in still good condition. We still packed up fast, and got out of Tokyo as fast as we could :rolleyes:, no ruined guardrails over here, folks! We took a long drive to the Suzuka Circuit, in the Mie Prefecture. Myself and Square came to an agreement before we went out on track to change cars, and I got to drive the FameD FD Spirit R Type A RX-7.

    Sadly, the pictures were lost when the production team passed them to my personal USB drive. But I can still have words for a comparison, eh? Lucky us. Anyway, the flag was waved for the last time, and we set off. There were very few M3s in this race; with almost everyone taking another car to round out their comparisons; Racer took a 911 GT3, and Vic took an Impreza Version VI. The FD held it's own against almost everything except the Porsche, lacking in the top end compared to the German supercar.

    However, comparing it to the M3, which is what we are here to do, the FD is more than a worthy competitor. As a widely known and renowned sports car, the FD has the handling and power to go up toe to toe with the German engineering masterpiece. It's got grip a-plenty and a high-revving rotary twin turbo engine, giving it power while weighing about the same as the NSX-R I drove previously. The turn-in and corner exit are signature for an FR powerhouse, and I got a lot of the same vibes from the FD as I did from the M3.

    Unlike the Supra, which was a heavy, understeering blob only comparable on power and corner exit, the FD and the M3 can swing punches all day long without breaking a sweat. I found it the car that could be closest to the E46 out of the ones I drove.

    And now that I am finally home, and had some good sleep, the verdict.

    Is the M3 E46 a sleeper or a beater? Is that even a question?

    Sleeper. No doubt.


    *Power: The E46 has power-a-plenty, with it's 6 cylinder engine pushing out 356bhp at the top of it's high 7000RPM redline. Since it's naturally aspirated, it's power curve is linear and gradual, you can feel how it gains and loses engine speed smoothly, Nothing ever upsets this. It's enchanting, and it's satisfies the most primal desire: more sound equals more fast. And oh boy, it does have some sound.

    *Handling: The M3 E46 has plenty of this. It's agile like a car that weighs 300kg less, surprisingly so. It almost never runs out of grip unless you want it to, and when it does, it's gradual and smoothly, just like it's engine. The wonder of German engineering lets you feel the understeer or the oversteer even before it happens, as if asking "are you sure about it? You are? Oh, okay, have at it", and lets you work with it as you please as if it were a feature instead of a negative. When you oversteer, it's easy to hold, and a pleasure to do so. You can look like a driving god just by putting Comfort Hard tires on an M3 and going out for some drifting. It's marvelous.

    *Accessibility: And finally, accessibility. The M3 is expensive, but there's a price to pay for excellence. 84,000 Cr. will get you one of the best driver's cars in the world. Compared to the japanese competitors, the Supra is priced at 45,000 Cr., the NSX-R is priced at 97,000 Cr., and the RX-7 Spirit R is priced at 40,000 Cr.

    I would say that the price point is more than worth it. The E46 is something that has to be driven to be believed and it is very easy to get accustomed to it; any kind of driver with common sense and a touch of ability can drive the M3 like if they were a professional racing driver. I guess that's why German businessmen love it; they can be pretend Grand Prix drivers within traffic jams :lol:.

     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020