GT4 Car Reviews Site

Discussion in 'Gran Turismo 4' started by Matej, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    Gran Turismo 4 Car Reviews Site
    by Matej

    [​IMG]

    Encouraged by continuos work on my GT3 Car Reviews Site, I decided to expand the business to Gran Turismo 4. However, as the range of cars there is much detailed my orientation will be primarily pointed to underrated cars, those that never manage to get behind the spotlight, even though they own some remarkable qualities. Of course, several popular cars may also receive some of my attention, but the thread focuses primarily on hidden gems.

    The reviews are split into three groups:

    1.) Solitaire

    Single car gets tested. Beneath each car symbols are listed that summarize pros (+) and cons (-) of the car. They may not cover all the facts, so to get an overall impression, the whole review should be read. In order to effectively use posts of the thread, all cars are divided into packs. A linked pack contains three cars. Cars matched together in one pack have no relations to each other, they get randomly mixed as I write reviews.

    2.) Multis

    Minimum of two cars compete across various disciplines. These reviews feature more comprehensive content, various photos and Technical Specifications list for each car.

    3.) Others

    Different kind of reviews using unusual approach.

    General Rules:

    * Simulation mode was used for testing and reviewing.
    * All used cars receive oiling and washing. Chassis refresh gets applied only if strictly specified.
    * Tires used for testing are either Normal (N2), Sports Medium (S2) or Racing Hard (R2), depending on the power, nature of the car and events where one may take it out for competing. However, different combinations are possible if required for additional experience.
    * All testings are committed with driving assist turned off (TCS & ASM = 0).
    * If a car is available in used car dealership, the My Price tag will replace Price. That was the price of the car at the day of the purchase. In addition, the mileage of the car will be listed.

    Post comments and have fun ! :)

    The Reviews:

    Solitaire

    Name: Pack A
    Cars: Spoon Fit Race Car '03 - Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R '03 - Volkswagen Lupo 1.4 '02

    Name: Pack B
    Cars: Citroen Xantia 3.0i V6 Exclusive '00 - Nissan Primera 2.0 Te '90 - Fiat 500L '69

    Name: Pack C
    Cars: Seat Ibiza Cupra '04 - Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C2) Race Car '63 - Peugeot 206cc '01

    Name: Pack D
    Cars: Honda NSX-R Prototype LM Race Car '02 - Ford Taurus SHO '98 - Mazda 6 MPS '05

    Name: Pack E
    Cars: Pontiac Vibe GT '03 - Toyota au Cerumo Supra (JGTC) '01 - Daihatsu Sirion CX 4WD '98

    Name: Pack F
    Cars: Audi A2 1.4 '02 - Nissan mm-R Cup Car '01 - Renault Megane 2.0 IDE Coupe '00

    Name: Pack G
    Cars: Nissan Cube X '98 - Volkswagen Bora V6 4MOTION '01 - Mercedes-Benz A 160 AMG '98

    Name: Pack H
    Cars: Lexus GS300 '91 - Honda Insight '99 - Peugeot 406 3.0 V6 Coupe '98


    Multis


    Others

     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  2. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    [​IMG]
    Car: Spoon Fit Race Car '03
    Status: New
    Price: 50,000 Cr.
    Engine: --
    Power: 126 hp @ -- rpm
    Torque: -- Nm @ -- rpm
    Drive train: FF
    Aspiration: NA
    Weight: 990 kg​

    The Fit is not just another silly project built as a result of additional spare time. No, this carefully adapted race car served to compete in various endurance events of Japan, fairly successfully, I would say. Owing to the vast number of Polyphony’s breathtaking, endless endurance events, you could replicate this achievement by directly participating in one of those, but unfortunately, the Fit’s power isn’t really suitable to cope against programmed AI grids found in such events.

    Very disappointing, especially given that the Fit offers some amusing advantages that would easily embarrass every other FF car of this level of power. Rejected to serve under any family rules, the chassis was built to expose responsiveness and stability to the surface. I feel the car wants to cooperate and I like that. Understeer is common, but in many situations simple release of the acceleration pedal would bring the Fit back to its path. While coming out of a corner with acceleration fully depressed that method should be combined with progressive throttle dosage as the car likes to widen its line stubbornly. Nevertheless, when a car features such rigid chassis like the Fit does, it remains to be competitive even when natural tendencies imply something else.

    The engine likes to rev high and the gearbox can be fully adjusted – great learning combo for beginners who often switch events while progressing through the career mode. Surprisingly, the default, adjustable racing kit features damper and camber figures only and it is not possible to replace the kit with aftermarket parts either. Hm, very interesting. Not really favorable, but definitely interesting.

    In general, there are number of elements that improve the usually dull experience of the FF cars. If you could ignore its overall utility in the endurance hall, the Fit shall put smile on your face. After all, who could possibly wear poker face with that amount of oddity in play ?

    Verdict:
    + Engaging FF car with Spoon signature.
    - No endurance events to compete in.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R '03
    Status: New
    Price: 28,500 Cr.
    Engine: Boxer6 DOHC, 2999 ccm
    Power: 246 hp @ 6600 rpm
    Torque: 303.79 Nm @ 4200 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: 4WD
    Weight: 1460 kg​

    Regardless of how attractive it may look, the fourth generation Legacy can hardly impress buyers since we all graduated on their paradigm back in the days of the original GT installments, so it gets hard not to be indifferent to model change. The only way to make it stand out is by offering something new where details mean more than pure power and weight figures. First we received the B4 Blitzen and now we have the 3.0 R that doesn’t stand out visually as much as it does mechanically.
    What separates the 3.0 R from other Legacy of that generation is the 3.0 litre naturally aspirated boxer engine. Power is not important as the soundtrack is. I was very pleased to hear frisky, boxer sound without traditional whistling of turbocharged models that commonly appears on high revs. This is the first time in the GT series that the Legacy comes packed with NA unit and the result is truly impressive.

    The problem is that the new-generation turbocharged Legacy models are so well built (just compare torque distribution) that the 3.0 R doesn’t really have an advantage in field of power and response at low revs compared to the boost-assisted brothers, 2.0 GT and 2.0 GT Spec B, so the biggest virtue of the car lies in audio department. Enough for me.

    Handling characteristics are well known; the car could never keep up with an Impreza, but it is well constructed to beat everything below that level. Understeer on corner entries may significantly widen your path, so stay inside the drivetrain’s potential. The lineup also features 20 kilos heavier Touring Wagon model, but I didn’t notice any changes in behavior, so it is probably here to fill the slots. Traditional problem with Subaru, but if Polyphony could add some other interesting models, like Vivio or Alcyone SVX, that wouldn’t be necessary.

    Verdict:
    + New boxer sound !
    - Still no match for turbo models.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Volkswagen Lupo 1.4 '02
    Status: New, Prize
    Price: 15,490 Cr.
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1390 ccm
    Power: 98 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 126.41 Nm @ 4400 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: FF
    Weight: 933 kg​

    As claimed by a Croatian car magazine, by launching the Lupo, VW announced they won’t build a successor in this class anymore. It was a reasonable decision back then, given that the European market wasn’t really anxious for micro class cars. The Lupo is as economical and valuable as its big brother Polo, yet it offers significantly less space for passengers to spread their legs. Therefore, buying one isn’t really a rational decision. Even so, VW today owns a car in that class. Interesting.

    The GT4 brings us two curiosities: the GTI and the 1.4 FSI. The latter model was the first VW’s car ever to feature FSI (Fuel Stratified Injection) technology, so I can understand why it is featured in the game. The power however, is not high enough to allow the Lupo to keep up with AI bots of the amateur events, so progressing through the career with this car may be more difficult than the dealer’s sheet suggests. More vigor can be gained by installing the Close ratio gearbox. Hmph, so much about FSI acronym…

    Nevertheless, the most respectable virtue lies in handling department. The Lupo handles its short undercarriage better than you would expect. By releasing the acceleration pedal in the right moment, the rear axle smoothly comes out, allowing the car to take tighter line on its way out of a corner. The car also successfully combats understeer when the weight of the car shifts off the front axle, which can sometimes result in tendency to grab inwards, particularly at lower speeds. Again, it all occurs smoothly, without sudden grip loss at either end, usually reserved for cars with short wheelbase. Well done VW, not all FF cars can be that maneuverable and neutral to amateurs.

    That brings me to the main problem. Why should you buy the 1.4 model since the slightly more expensive and visually attractive GTI (with two heavily pumped Cup brothers) offers everything we mentioned above (often even more) ? Those who are still interested may acquire gratis model by completing B licence tests and see if they like it enough to switch over to the GTI.

    Verdict:
    + Fun way to test qualities of the 'new' FSI engine.
    - Why shouldn’t you buy the GTI model instead ?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
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  3. Harsk100

    Harsk100

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    Can I do it, too?
     
  4. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    If you have driven one the cars above, you can post your own thoughts and facts about it. You could also emphasize what I have missed or what you think is wrong. You can post your own review of a car if you want. Constructive discussion of any kind is always welcome.
     
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  5. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    [​IMG]
    Car: Citroën Xantia 3.0i V6 Exclusive '00
    Status: New
    Price: 30,370 Cr.
    Engine: V6 DOHC, 2946 ccm
    Power: 194 hp @ 5500 rpm
    Torque: 266.55 Nm @ 4000 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: FF
    Weight: 1496 kg​

    Notwithstanding the presence of the young C family members, the Xantia still persistently denies to leave the dealership and retire for good. One may say that such obsolete design could never enjoy privilege of residing among new cars, but that is how Citroen managed to negotiate their place in the game. Still, such determination may become fruitless if you don’t find a person willing to spend 30 grand on this pointy example of Citroen’s wealthy legacy. I would, and here is the reason why.

    The main virtue of the car is the hydraulic system known as Hydractive 2, which adjusts ride quality by reading various driving parameters like steering angle, brake pressure or general body movement. I’m not sure how the system should work in the game (or whether Polyphony modeled it at all), but the Xantia goes over bumps and around corners as any other heavy FF car with slightly stiffer suspension settings. So, nothing new here. One difference though, makes the Xantia slightly more enjoyable to drive than other similar cars.

    Its pointy nose acts as if the car was equipped with an LSD and adjusted to firmer setting. In translation, the Xantia widely goes around corners. In order to be more agile, more braking is required prior cornering. In return, the understeer is not as perceivable, so the overall drive is more enjoyable and often even surprising. Even so, the Xantia is a car adjusted to be comfortable to their owners, so don’t get mad if better lap results remain unachievable.

    The 3.0 litre engine is a common unit on other French cars, such as Peugeot 406 or Clio V6, both of which are included in the game. Here it is mated to a 4-speed gearbox. Wide gear alignment is not very suitable for racing, neither the engine is very vigor below high rpm range, so some upgrades are recommended. I would suggest Close-ratio box and a decent flywheel. That will make the Xantia very fast on straights.

    All in all, more experienced players willing to try something else could perceive the Xantia as enjoyable car, primarily because it offers a tolerable way of listening the stories of its legacy. However, make sure you buy it after you clear the career mode, otherwise the purchase may not be that pleasant.

    Verdict:
    + Among the last memorable Citroens - in Gran Turismo !
    - Expensive, not very suitable for racing.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Nissan Primera 2.0 Te '90
    Status: Used
    My Price: 7,993 Cr. @ 63114,1 km
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1998 ccm
    Power: 147 hp @ 6400 rpm
    Torque: 186.19 Nm @ 4800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: FF
    Weight: 1210 kg​

    According to the various web sources, the Primera had two goals; one was to stand along against the most recognized European saloon models, and the other to contribute to the Nissan’s 901 policy to build the best handling cars in the world by 1990. I’m not sure if any of these ambitious goals were achieved given the characteristics of the Primera 2.0 Te as found in Gran Turismo 4.

    Traditional understeer issues here are well endorsed by small amount of lift-off oversteer. Usually I discourage using oversteer to trim cornering capabilities of a FF car because in very rare occasions the car’s front end would have enough grip to push the car onwards. The motion on the Primera also occurs abruptly, so gently steering and brake inputs are required. On sports tires and with default power the problem is not that troublesome, but once you increase its abilities in those fields it becomes a disturbance that requires to be removed. Until then, it may be used to your advantage as long as understeer doesn’t show up, but don’t forget that when a car feels light on approach to a corner, it tends to disrupt the precision of cornering.

    The understeer usually takes effect on temporate basis once you release brakes after turn-in, but it may also appear once you switch back to accelerating, at greater degree. In addition, the body suffers from suspension oscillation during hard cornering, which is something amateurs won’t be fond of. Those oscillations also make hard to estimate whether the car is running on stiffer or softer initial suspension settings, so when adjusting spring ratios it may become hard to find the comfortable setup.

    The 2.0 engine is a good unit (probably the best element of the car) with fine gear alignment and it could become even better if you back it up with a decent flywheel. Some gears are wider than others, but in most cases power won’t be that important - the Primera is fast enough to complete the easiest challenges anyway. Will it allure many buyers or not is a topic for some other day…

    … or not. I’m done with this one.

    Verdict:
    + Polyphony did something to make it stand out... even if poorly.
    - Upside down handling and prozaic design are factors we don't need.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Fiat 500L '69
    Status: Used
    My Price: 6,502 Cr. @ 69901,4 km
    Engine: L2 OHV, 449,5 ccm
    Power: 17 hp @ 4400 rpm
    Torque: 30.37 Nm @ 2200 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: RR
    Weight: 530 kg​

    Did you know that I own a toy car of the Fiat 500 F ? Toy cars should be a common element of any cupboard if you consider yourself to be an automotive enthusiast, even if little one. Aside from routing one’s attention to your hobby, toy cars can also be used for playing on a carpet or similar surface. Manually operated toy cars are in more advantageous position since their acceleration, braking and cornering abilities can be altered by the person operating them. Such complete freedom is the virtue of toy cars. Now, the one in the game may provide the same, but that won’t happen on places where you would want it.

    Let’s start with the short summary of available models. Gran Turismo 4 features three units: the F (1965), the L (1969) and the R (1972). Do we need more ? Hardly.

    All three models can be found in used car dealership. Prices of each are not as high as you would presume, but they are quite rare, so make sure you have enough money if one of them appears on the list. I stumbled across the L model first, which is why the review is based on that particular model.
    There are some important distinctions that separate the three. While mechanically almost identical to the F model, the additional chrome bar of the L is what separates these two models visually. The R model carries different manufacturer logo as well as the bigger engine, built by Abarth. The last model is also statistically the fastest of the three, even though it has the worst power-to-weight ratio. Color schemes are also different depending on the model, so inspect all three of them carefully.

    In regard to handling abilities, some traits will be noticed once you start dealing with power upgrades (did you really think I would test it under stock figures ? ). To begin with, the L’s is not loaded with much weight, so naturally, the weight transfer doesn’t affect the car as much. That allows tires to steal all the attention to their own work. When they have enough grip, the car can corner enormously fast. If you keep the front axle in order all the time, the rear end occasionally comes out to play.
    Unfortunately, given the nature of the game’s handling physics and the layout of available circuits, you will likely spend more time accelerating and going from one corner to another in stable form than playing around with RR abilities. The only exceptions are gravel and snow circuits where the car does all sorts of crazy activities at lower speeds. In fact, if you want to utilize the L to the maximum level possible, those are places where you should race it. Those are places where you can experience the freedom of a toy car driving on a carpet.

    One more thing; Fully Customizable Gearbox is an important part that you should install prior heading to a race. While on mini tracks the stock may be enough, on circuits with short and beyond short straightways that won’t work. Beware not to stretch them too much though. The engine already lacks in torque field, so the engine’s potential can be tarnished even more if you’re not careful. Usually several testings will need to be made in order to find the ideal setting for the track.

    Verdict:
    + Fun on specific surfaces guaranteed.
    - Why is there no one-make event dedicated to it ?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  6. RetroDriver

    RetroDriver

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    Fun topic...I always found myself being overtaken by 500's on GT2 because of the speed they could carry through corners. I do enjoy making and reading reviews of cars, I'll be checking this thread regularly and perhaps even having a little go myself...
     
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  7. Parnelli Bone

    Parnelli Bone Premium

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    I've always wanted to write up the Legacy B4 and a couple others on this page, have never done it, though. Fun to read some other people's impressions for sure. :)
     
  8. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    Interesting, I found the 500 at the maximum level to be quite slow due to lag that comes after installing turbo kits. I do praise the body modifications you can apply on the car though. The white one with red stripes reminds on Abarth historic units. It even gets authentic tapes over its headlights !!

    Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it. :)
     
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  9. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    [​IMG]
    Car: Seat Ibiza Cupra '04
    Status: New
    Price: 24,980 Cr.
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1781 ccm
    Power: 180 hp @ 5800 rpm
    Torque: 244.99 Nm @ 2000 rpm
    Aspiration: Turbo
    Drive train: FF
    Weight: 1177 kg​

    Ever since Volkswagen gained complete control over Seat and Skoda, the European market has become crowded with cars that offer German qualities for more reasonable price. People welcomed the policy with big applause, so naturally, it was only a matter of time before some spicier models would appear on the roads.

    Like with all Seat cars, the Cupra’s qualities should be valued through a financial structure. Within the demanded price of 24 grand, The Cupra is the cheapest European hot hatch within that level of power. It is also the only turbocharged car in the group, which brings a significant advantage on straightaways, once the power becomes the tool for competing.

    The Cupra doesn’t bring anything new to the handling department of FF hot hatches, but neither it should. Again, it is all about the price. What we get is an adequate amount of response and adequate amount of grabbing when pulling away from sharp corners with the fully depressed accelerator. You may notice that other, more expensive rivals of this class have issues with inner wheel spin. Such problem doesn’t exist on the Cupra.
    Some could complain about the lack of sixth speed, but I found this irrelevant, given that the gearbox is well optimized for using the power of the engine and I never found myself in situation to use another gear.

    Everything what happens on the Cupra is acceptable, nothing more or less should be wished for. In very rare situations the car’s rear end would become light during hard braking from high speeds, but not light enough to disturb your cornering line in a way that would cause panic reactions. The understeer on corners sets some limitations beyond which the Cupra can’t run, but those are necessary to remind you how better, more expensive alternatives do exist.

    But people who want more won’t look at the Cupra anyway, the Type-R models of Honda is ultimately what they want. The rest of us should be satisfied with it. After all, it hasn’t appeared in the series until now, so it does deserve a warm welcome.

    Verdict:
    + Cheap novelty to the hot hatch class.
    - Noisy engine.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (C2) Race Car '63
    Status: Prize
    Price: --
    Engine: V8 OHV, 5817 ccm
    Power: 608 hp @ -- rpm
    Torque: -- Nm @ -- rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: FR
    Weight: 1168 kg​

    Quality sound coulisse is often deemed as prerequisite for enjoyable racing game experience. In Gran Turismo 4, this is of big importance to racing cars whose drivers are generally more assiduous when it comes to accumulating mileage on their tachometers. They may want to spend several thousand miles driving it, so decent audio background is mandatory if you want to avoid any further objections.

    The racing Z06 of the C2 generation does a good job in this field. After a series of buzzing noises from V8-powered racing machines, the Z06 (C2) is a delightful change to my ears. But there is never time to relax with the Z06 (C2) as the lack of downforce limits its cornering abilities, so you’ll likely need a lot of skills to keep up with the modern LM machines. Actually, that triggers the main problem of our game; you can buy plenty of cars, but not all of them will have an event to participate in or a decent set of rivals to compete against. The Z06 (C2) lies in this category of cars.

    I should also mention that life of the rear tires is quite short, so the Z06 (C2) is a not good contender for endurance events either. Even on Racing - Hard (R2) tires, the car can hardly complete two laps around Nurburgring or several laps around any other track. Different suspension settings and driving approach may balance the axles to a degree, but not enough for the car to remain competitive on longer races.

    The handling gives more priority to understeer than anything else, but if you’re careful with braking and throttle inputs, it is possible to clear corners in almost neutral fashion. At lower speeds, the car can be throttlesteered, but given that the motion occurs leisurely at first, you are required to step on the acceleration pedal slightly earlier than usual. Once the rear tires begin to skid, do not forget to countersteer gently. The slide is often very big and fast (as opposed to its initiative), so you may spin out of control if not too careful.
    You may enjoy it, but it is better to avoid this kind of exhibitions considering the sensitiveness of the rear tire life.

    At the end of my tour with the Z06 (C2), I was satisfied. Nice soundtrack from the exhaust pipes is definitely the main virtue of the car, but more can be found just by driving around and dealing with this muscle experience at increased pace. Rivals are hard to find, but the closest one seems to be the ’69 GT40 Race Car. Although more agile on corners, this machine is characterized by longer stopping distances and tougher handling traits at higher speeds, so you do have some space for overtaking. Call your friend and prepare yourself for 2P battle mode. The vintage race is about to begin !

    Verdict:
    + Lovely soundtrack.
    - Poor tire life.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Peugeot 206cc '01
    Status: New
    Price: 26,520 Cr.
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1997 ccm
    Power: 134 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 190.11 Nm @ 4100 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drive train: FF
    Weight: 1190 kg​

    The newest French toy, the Peugeot 206 RC, has dramatically changed the odds between modern hot hatches. What once popular S16 models could provide is now in hands of these frisky machines that offer brutal amount of power and level of competitiveness. In such position the S16-badged models have no longer attention required to demonstrate their skills or the power needed to cope with the trend, but they still may be useful to players who like to compete on lower ranks. One model that may be particularly interesting is the CC.

    Along with the SLK of Mercedes-Benz, the 206 CC was the first modern car to feature retractable hardtop. The difference is that, while the SLK could generally be considered as a pioneer of this technology (it went on sale few years earlier), its high price and premium status repelled certain buyers who wanted nothing but a fancy convertible for evening cruise around the coast. The CC appeared to cover the hole and the success was ensured; over 300 thousand units were sold, a result greatly contributing to overall spread of this valuable technology.

    Now, in Gran Turismo 4 cars like the CC have their place. The latest programming technology incorporated in the game allows convertibles to be driven with retracted roof, not in all circumstances, as when you race with full AI pack, but good enough to make convertible fans happy. The CC pushes things even further by keeping its visual integrity even on full-grid races (the hardtop is always visually blended with the rest of the body), not allowing the fans to curse ugliness of black (or beige) textile roofs.

    The CC features 2.0 litre engine from the 206 S16 (infra: S16). This means you are given another chance to play around with its elastic power and torque distribution. Gears are well aligned and vital exiting can be executed even when the power falls a bit below recommended border of 5000 rpm. Overall, the gears on the CC are bit wider in comparison with the S16, but this doesn’t affect overall speed between the two at all.

    The CC does not only inherits the S16’s engine specifications, but it also goes towards handling departments. On corners, it grabs inwards when acceleration is released, coping against understeer extremely well when the opposite is being done. This trait is present and well known on the S16 too. Some could complain about that inadequate balance in gripping when accelerating and decelerating, but that can be fixed by altering spring and damper values in case you happen not to be fond of it.

    So, are this two cars identical ? There are some details suggesting that this isn’t really true. When you stomp on the throttle pedal while the car is standing still, steering to one direction simultaneously, the inner wheel spin occurs, not allowing the car to circle around its pivot point as aggressively as the S16 does. The suspension also suffers from slight oscillations when the car is pulling away from a corner, mostly on the rear outside end. This all proves that convertibles still can’t match structural rigidity of coupe bodies, but those are details, so if you don’t pay attention, it won’t bother you.

    All in all, the CC is as potent as the S16, so you can swap one with the other in case you feel you should drive different 206 model; their laps are completely identical, after all. The problem is that many people won’t do it because it doesn’t feel logical. The S16 is an used car (meaning it is much more affordable), slightly lighter (psychological influence) and in color department more generous. True, common sense should prevail here, but if you like to spend your time in photo sessions as much as on usual racing, you should consider the CC. This car managed to merge the best from both worlds while simultaneously settling what convertible fans always wanted, and now they were given. Anything else I need to add ?

    Verdict:
    + Interesting substitute for the 206 S16.
    - Mechanically not as refined as the 206 S16.
     
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  10. RetroDriver

    RetroDriver

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    Location:
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    Interesting comments on the Z06, as I've always found it a really nice car to drive; stable, especially under braking, with virtually no locking even with the harshest braking. True, it would be a struggle to drive it competitively against cars of modern LM standards, which could push the car over the raggedy edge, but is that really the point of this car?
     
  11. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    I've never experienced brake locking in this game, so I'm not sure if that could ever happen on the Z06 (even though it should). What I do experience is understeer, especially under braking, meaning the car could never become unstable anyway.
    To be honest, I'm not sure what is the point of many cars Polyphony incorporated, given that they don't have nor rivals nor specific event to compete in. The XR8 Race Car is another good example - you can buy it, but there won't be much races to compete in. I'm sure that lots of players want to bring more benefits from such cars, roaming alone in time trial mods is not enough.

    I appreciate your short overview on my review. If you (or anyone else) have more comments, just bring them to me! :)
     
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  12. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    [​IMG]
    Car: Honda NSX-R Prototype LM Race Car '02
    Status: Prize
    Price: --
    Engine: V6, 3500 ccm
    Power: 512 hp @ -- rpm
    Torque: -- Nm @ -- rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: MR
    Weight: 1120 kg​

    The idea to pay tribute to popular red-painted squad of NSX models that were used to bring Honda's nameplate into pages of Le Mans books, was accomplished by using this newly designed machine known as the NSX-R Prototype LM. This car enjoys quite big popularity in its road-going variant, but today the racing version is the one we're processing. The NSX-R LM closely follows outlines of the two turbocharged NSX competitors that participated in 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans (number 46 and 47). Complete livery, some true to life sponsors and almost authentic wheels are details Polyphony used to sweeten the body of the second-generation NSX, used as a base for this project. Instead of unscrupulously playing around with those authentic, important elements, they should have licensed one of those two models; this improvisation brought nothing but open space for flaws to peep and ruin experience the car could (and should) offer.

    Was it the prototype badge that initially eliminated possible competitiveness of the car or just simple class matching that naturally causes compromises it is hard to say. Whatever the truth is, the NSX-R LM delivers nothing but average cornering abilities. Being fast in this car requires extensive tuning and knowledge of how MR cocktail issues can be reduced. Plastic feedback of a toy car combined with the lack of downforce certainly won't help solving the matter. Neither will severe handling choreography of the two axles - your throttle inputs basically decide whether understeer or oversteer will dominate on corners. They both act strongly and often appear one after another dangerously. I recall Initial LSD value to be of huge importance to oversteer reduction.

    The gearbox is another element that can cause explosive reactions on your side. Shifting sequences are very long, they further reduce already relative acceleration of the car. You could stretch those gears to reduce need for shifting, but because the engine's power chart is extremely spiky, this will produce negative result. Among all the problems we have mentioned, the last one is really worrying because it can't be solved by any orthodox methods, you need to live with it. Just wait until it starts messing around with weight transfer while cornering. Such disruption in balance is the last thing this car needs.

    To be honest, the NSX-R LM is not worth of your time, especially since GT500 NSX models offer identical lap times without as much handling problems. One would expect the NSX-R LM to sound differently, but nope - disappointment in noisy and tedious manner is what we got instead.

    Verdict:
    + Visually desirable model that you would like to own.
    - What kind of goodies can you possibly expect from a 'prototype' ?



    [​IMG]
    Car: Ford Taurus SHO '98
    Status: Used
    My Price: 13,755 Cr. @ 44957,4 km
    Engine: V8 DOHC, 3391 ccm
    Power: 234 hp @ 6100 rpm
    Torque: 311.63 Nm @ 4800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 1509 kg​

    Prominent sound coulisse and interesting disnatch of the organic body concept should have been a great entrance-ticket to the world of modern American auto-industry. True, that is far from standard set by popular muscle cars of ancient times, but those days are no longer important, we have to look into future and build cars that satisfy modern safety and economic regulations, correct?

    The question is whether the SHO can change that paradigm of American auto-industry that still stands as one of the most attractive feature in driving video games? Well, FF drivetrain obviously won't invoke any rapture among fans, but frankly, the drivetrain isn't as problematic as what derives from it and the way it is being derived. Very uncomfortable weight distribution (66% on front) isn't really compatible with sterile GT4 handling pattern. That tenacious understeer blended with poor turning radius will discompose even the most skillful tuners around. Actually, the only way of dealing with the car is to be patient when accelerating and learn to release throttle on corners as frequent as possible. Surprisingly, that is what keeps the car on track more effectively than any kind of suspension tuning.

    Yes, I believe the SHO is one of the worst FF cars in the game. I'm not sure how it handles in other GT games, but in this one where understeer dominates - it is terrible. Let's just say that the Alfa Romeo 166 with lower power-to-weight ratio is on completely different level the SHO could only dream of.

    I clearly doubt regular GT players will have enough patience to subdue the SHO. It could only interest older generation of workaholic fathers who would like to find out how their best-selling model acts in high-performance cloak the SHO offers. Hm, I'm afraid they will get nostalgic for good, old times of muscle cars...

    Verdict:
    + Ravishing exhaust sounds from all muffler tips.
    - Disastrous handling abilities; body colors.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Mazda 6 MPS '05
    Status: Prize
    Price: -- Cr.
    Engine: --
    Power: 278 hp @ -- rpm
    Torque: -- Nm @ -- rpm
    Aspiration: Turbo
    Drive train: 4WD
    Weight: 1500 kg​

    Do you remember how we used to play around with Mazdaspeed models, hoping that would appease our lust for better and stronger Mazdas? Those models were visually unique, but neither of them offered impressive step in performance over their base model. Luckily, things have changed since the introduction of the Mazdaspeed Protege (also included in the game); power significantly overwhelmed range of power on base models - this was no longer car for observing. After MX-5 version, which followed the same principles, we got the Mazda 6 MPS. This car delivers more than 270 hp and 4WD system, rarity on Mazda models. Honestly, you weren't expecting this, correct?

    There is something unusual about the looks of the front face. Lack of true identity is immanent, the sports 5-door model (included in the game) is visually more appealing and altogether, more complete. Apart from twin exhaust and corpulent rear end, there are no indicators that we are dealing with high-performance model. Clearly, discretion on the MPS6 contrasts with flashy presence of older Mazdaspeed works. Competitive statistic can compensate for the fact, but only until you test its abilities on the road.

    Even though it features 4WD, the MPS6 won't be able to surpass usual Impreza or Evolution models; you'll be doing miraculous thing if you manage to keep up with them in first place. The chassis is indeed heavy, but the bigger problem is motion of such when the weight starts to move around. Harder suspension setup is necessary to eliminate changes in front end grip upon releasing or applying throttle - something that can confuse the driver and disrupt his cornering line. I have to say that the most expensive suspension kit is going to be the best option for this matter as the other two kits with their soft nature won't solve anything.
    Touching acceleration pedal often delivers small and fierce packages of understeer - the car will be sent outwards a moment before it returns to its original line. Very difficult to tolerate at times. It has been said that the MPS6 features Mazda's Active Torque Split device, which transfers up to 50% of torque to rear wheels, but this isn't something you can feel in this game. I suppose you'll be doing the car a favor if you install the VCD device and set all the torque to rear, given the handling we described.

    Soundtrack of the engine is good enough, you can feel how it roars, but more volume wouldn't hurt anyone. The 6-speed gearbox is well accustomized to suffer sports rhythm of driving, no complaints here. Actually, the engine is fine unit, the handling is what should worry you and if you can do something on it by altering suspension values - good. Otherwise, Legacy lineup may steal all the limelight one would want from high-performance family car.

    Anyway, this was a good project, but Mazda still needs to learn a lot in this field before it could challenge veterans of this class.

    ... by the way, I found preposterous that 4WD car, not deemed in the game as one, cannot enter 4WD event. That is all, have a nice day!

    Verdict:
    + Promising Mazdaspeed model with 4WD badge.
    - Should have stayed in production a bit longer.
     
    Lubeify100 likes this.
  13. All Your Base

    All Your Base

    Messages:
    1,647
    Location:
    North Korea
    I would like you to review the Pescarolo Sport C60/Peugeot Race Car '03 and the Toyota Au Cerumo Supra (JGTC) '01. They are both criminally underrated and overshadowed by it's younger brothers, the 2004 Pescarolo and the Woodone Supra, respectively.
     
  14. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    Can you provide the reasons why they are underrated? I understand other Supra models are inferior over the Woodone model due to power difference, but Pescarolo models should be identical.

    I can start preparations for the Cerumo, but I'll need some more evidence for the Pescarolo twin case.

    In the meantime, I invite others to join this discussion and reply what they think about Supra (JGTC) lineup in this game.
     
    RetroDriver and All Your Base like this.
  15. All Your Base

    All Your Base

    Messages:
    1,647
    Location:
    North Korea
    Even though the '03 is far less popular than the '04, I feel like the '03 is just as good, if not slightly better than the '04. I feel like the '03 has slightly better handling and cornering than the '04, it has more torque, and it has better tire and fuel life. Meanwhile, the '04 has significantly more top speed, it is naturally aspirated (even though it can be fitted with a turbo, and 6 more horsepower.

    Here is the complete list of differences from the '03 to the '04 (note '03 is on the left, '04 is on the right):
    Engine: Peugeot V6 vs Judd V10
    Displacement: 3200cc vs 4900cc
    Aspiration: Turbo vs N/A
    Power: 840 HP vs 846 HP
    Torque: 776.89 vs 706.22
    Top Speed: 210 MPH vs 240 MPH
     
    RetroDriver and Matej like this.
  16. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    [​IMG]
    Car: Pontiac Vibe GT '03
    Status: New
    Price: 21,120 Cr.
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1796 ccm
    Power: 180 hp @ 7600 rpm
    Torque: 176.39 Nm @ 6800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 1273 kg​

    Crossover versions of small MPVs are often appreciated by people who aren’t wealthy enough to withstand qualities of real SUV machines, yet they occasionally travel across muddy surfaces paved with pebbles and other unwanted objects that could damage suspension of an ordinary car. Increased ground clearance, plastic additions on the exterior and metal protection for undercarriage often distinguish basic crossover from their base variant. One would think that such visually engaging cars are suitable for traveling over rough roads, but because they often lay on low-profile tires, without 4WD system to support either of them, they aren't really capable of any serious (often even mediocre) off-road activities. Demanding price is another factor that usually concludes discussion of purchasing such vehicle.

    Surprisingly, neither of these things can stop adventurers who often use free weekends to travel to cottage in middle of nowhere to pay a visit to their parents and light up some barbecue. For those people, crossovers mean more than than any other daily commuter they could use for such task. We are going to see if such philosophy can be of any use in GT4.

    Some people will notice how the Vibe GT isn't a crossover, but there are many indicators, particularly those of European standards, demanding that I should treat it as one, so... I have no other choice. Pontiac Vibe GT - sports crossover!

    The sports character was ensured owing to Toyota's 2ZZ-GE engine, which delivers 180 ponies to your disposal. This engine powered various Toyota models, some of which are included in the game and quite familiar to fans of the series. Its duty in the Vibe is obviously to provide some grease to family members traveling to the cottage. One could think that such power is not really staggering, but don't forget how majority of gasoline-powered minivans often barely offer more than 140 hp in their most expensive trim level. The Vibe's engine is supported by 6-speed gearbox, which allows the car to accelerate fairly well. Even better acceleration can be gained by installing decent flywheel and aftermarket Close gearbox - two parts that will effectively use spiky nature of this engine. Be careful though, because the engine aims for the high revs, the car may experience wheel-spin when pulling away from sharp corners or accelerating on slippery surface. Common problem for many Honda's Type-R models can now be identified on this commuter as well. Nothing surprising, Toyota's VVTL-i technology was always regarded as good counter-measure against Honda's VTEC family. Exhaust soundtrack is good enough, better than I expected.

    Unfortunately, this is the point where all our bets on its sports characteristics may result in vain. The Vibe GT wasn't produced to compete on racing circuits, at least that isn't something you can feel when playing with it on corners. The suspension work is very sleepy and soft, which is why the Vibe struggles to clear corners in a way cars of this power-to-weight ratio should. Understeer and sluggish movements are the products of your effort to set some competitive laps and beat your opponents easily. Very skillful hands are required to drive this car somehow fast. Even after applying Increase Rigidity option, Weight Reduction Lvl.1 and Semi-racing suspension kit, understeer still remained to be the main problem upon accelerating along with unusual behavior of the chassis. Improvements of the upgrades were highly visible, but not in a pleasing way.

    A car that pretends to be an off-road vehicle should never be used for off-road activities. Even though our Vibe is visually well incorporated into breathtaking surroundings of the Grand Canyon rally circuit, its abilities certainly aren't, that civilized configuration is not going to win any of these rally competitions. Wheel-spin and understeer are your parents' main foes in these conditions.

    For some reason, the game also features Vibe's twin Voltz S, badged as Toyota. This car offers less power, less body color, 4-speed, quite wide gearbox and the same handling capabilities. The last one may be deceptive though; it does feel a bit more responsive and sports ready, but that can seem due to big power difference. The Vibe is certainly better because for around 5 thousand credits more you can buy a model that offers enough power to easily clear few rookie events that your children want to see cleared. And enough pep to cheer fathers who, one day, may finally acquire SUV of their dreams.

    Verdict:
    + Cross concept is always visually appealing...
    - ...but that is all there is to it.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Toyota au Cerumo Supra (JGTC) '01*
    Status: New
    Price: 1,350,000 Cr.
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1998 ccm
    Power: 463 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 637.41 Nm @ 4500 rpm
    Aspiration: Turbo
    Drivetrain: FR
    Weight: 1100 kg

    *the review requested by @All Your Base


    Driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Hinori Takeuchi, the Cerumo won 2001 JGTC season. It must have been a difficult battle, with two following teams being in tie two points below the Cerumo. I was recently told how the newest JGTC machine featured in GT4, Woodone Tom's Supra, is trying to steal all the limelight of previous JGTC champions, so today we are going to find out what can be done to convince players not to forget about previous achievements.

    However, before I proceed with Cerumo VS Woodone comparison, I'm going to face the Cerumo against older JGTC machine, the Castrol Tom's Supra '00.

    Cerumo '01 VS Castrol '00

    The Castrol suffers from mild understeer on both corner entries and exits. Upon accelerating, understeer is being delivered in temporal package which disappears once the weight stops moving around the car. Nothing unusual in this game, but it can be annoying if you don't know how to cure it via suspension tuning. Sudden acceleration release on mid and high-speed corners may also invoke certain amount of understeer. In general, caution is required on corners.

    The Cerumo inherits the same characteristics, albeit with one big improvement; upon going out of a corner, there is more diligence to cope against cornering forces and bring the car out without taking risk to collide with outer wall, which would often happen with the Castrol on High-Speed Ring. In other words, the Cerumo's cornering is tighter, those lines are going to increase your speed on the way out. That understeer during deceleration is not that sensible either and it seems major improvements for the 2001 season have been made on aerodynamics too, given how the Cerumo is always 2 per 3 kph faster than the Castrol.

    One could think how these two cars are completely identical due to copy-pasted hp and kg values, but once you carefully test each, you'll find out how the Cerumo is quite faster than the Castrol; On very first lap I had no problems beating Castrol's time for half second, while every additional lap would shave another mini-amount of my lap. Blast!

    Cerumo '01 VS Woodone '03

    Now we are discussing improvements that don't hesitate to affect both visual and even audio sensors of yours. The Woodone introduces new body, new exhaust sound (which I find more enjoyable) and different power delivery; with around 490 ponies, the Woodone is very close to what GT500 standard prescribes. Torque has been reduced a bit, but I never tested acceleration of both cars, so I can't tell if this would make any difference. Engineers obviously found a way to increase potential of newest JGTC competitors - we are not talking about 8 to 10 kph difference on straights over the Cerumo. And because the cornering potential has remained the same, the Woodone is definitely faster than the Cerumo. You can somehow keep up on corners, but once you reach speedy section, the Woodone will slowly, but dangerously run away from the Cerumo. I almost managed to download entire second of the Cerumo's time.

    Surprisingly, at one point I felt that you need to spend more time braking or decelerating with the Woodone than with the Cerumo. Since this isn't side effect of the additional speed, I went to Hong Kong to see where the problem lies. And then I realized: The Cerumo owns better turn-in on sharp corners and even more grip on rear end when trying to pull away from sharp corner. That doesn't mean the Woodone is bad, but it requires different driving style to tackle sharp corners. Entering a corner while brakes are applied is recommended as that will increase its speed trough corners. The Cerumo can use its brake sooner and then allow its turn-in ability to enter corner as sharp as possible.

    The latest generation of JGTC Supra machines was obviously built for comfortable, speedy driving where understeer is well concealed, allowing driver to increase turn-in potential by himself. Still, once your opponent perceive this, the Cerumo won't have any chances.

    In other words, on the Woodone you're are encouraged to work on better turn-ins while the Cerumo will requires methods for reducing understeer.

    To conclude, newer JGTC machines will always have the edge over older ones, even if manufacturer values do not imply such possibility. However, once people start comparing JGTC versions of the same year, the overall visual impression will probably determine level of popularity one model will get in comparison with others. This could be the answer to question regarding popularity of the Cerumo model; unusual solutions on headlights and taillights are probably annulling potentially interesting livery the car provides to please your eyes.

    Verdict:
    + Noticeable orange traces will successfully mark the winner on the grid.
    - Some '01 JGTC Supra models have more attractive exterior.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Daihatsu Sirion CX 4WD '98
    Status: Used
    My Price: 5,915 Cr. @ 49972,7 km
    Engine: L3 DOHC, 989 ccm
    Power: 59 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 94.07 Nm @ 3600 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: 4WD
    Weight: 890 kg​

    As a manufacturer specialized in producing micro cars, Daihatsu never experienced significant inflow of income or taste of competing alongside 'big boys'. This naturally affects loyal fan base that worship qualities and virtues of Daihatsu gamma; in Gran Turismo, players could not care less whether the Sirion CX appears in the dealership or not – they will ignore it anyway. I still found it to be an interesting car because it offers some curiosities beneath that peculiar body and modest appearance.

    As an affordable choice to start with, the CX can be used to clear small number of amateur events our career mode is paved with. This only works in theory though, as our CX is overly underpowered to carry out such task. The 1.0 liter engine delivers 59 visitors to your doorstep, which is more than enough for city conditions, but here in virtual world of Gran Turismo it is quite useless. Even chaps at Sunday Cup will laugh at you as you try to overcome them while they're desperately getting away. Slim chances could be given to you in Lightweight Kei event, but since our Sirion is a compact car, that idea should only satisfy recycle bin. Not that it would be overly competitive anyway, average Kei car is superior over the CX. To sum up, unless you have serious stash of cash in your bedroom to raise its potential, the Sirion will drastically reduce speed of your career progress.

    However, some occupation can be found among people who like to compare specs of similar cars in the class. Our Sirion is therefore, the only 4WD car in this compact class. This will rarely be of any benefit in normal circumstances, but it can be crucial element when situation implies racing on dirt/snow surfaces or with power upgrades. That being said, if you don't plan on racing that much, stick with FF version of the CX. It is 50 kilos lighter and thus slightly faster as long as additional power doesn't require usage of another pair of wheels.

    The 1.0 liter engine is a naturally aspirated unit which can be upgraded with either NA or Turbo kits. This could be helpful on rally events where response of an engine must be very high and lag at low revs minimized. As you know, the top model X4 proffers nothing but Turbo upgrades and even if you upgrade the CX with Turbo kits, power-torque chart will be more friendlier over the X4's. Interesting.

    In handling department though, the CX is prone to either disappointment or sensation, depending on your initial expectations. Even though the CX is surprisingly light for a 4WD compact car, there are too many elements that can unlikely work as effectively outside usual city conditions. Narrow tires and weak chassis for instance, are definitely the most important factors you'll have to work on. Unfortunately, while it is possible to increase chassis capabilities with different suspension tuning or roll-cage upgrade, the same cannot be said for the tires; because you can't change tire size on your car, you'll have to be extremely careful when cornering at high speeds, as the CX will become very disobedient if you tend to reveal even the slightest side of your aggressive plans.

    With that said, cornering on tarmac surfaces is decent, but way below what cars of this size could do if they had sports trim level. As we already said, tires are to blame, front units will simply slide away if you load amount of force on them they can't tolerate. Wide track and long wheelbase help in keeping the car stable, but you won't appreciate this until you face against Alto Works or any other Kei car with 4WD badge and narrow tires. On dirt and snow surfaces, if the car is not sliding around, understeer will reduce your turn-ins and overall cornering speed. The CX is not a good rally car, but it would probably have more advantage over other FF models of this class.

    Stock gearbox is fine, it works well even with power upgrades. Close gearbox delivers top speed of around 130 kph, so try to stay away from it unless you're racing under very specific conditions. Even with power upgrades, the engine seems to be very modest in expressing its agility, so make sure you install all those flywheels and engine response upgrades to help it do the job.

    To conclude, I don't see many points for buying one of the CX models. The X4 is cheap enough to be used as a starter car as well, so why would you want to spend more money and patience bottles than necessary? The CX may please fans who like to play with diverse tuning abilities or interesting color shades. Other than that, it will remain mostly in the background of what GT's hatch policy can really offer.

    Verdict:
    + Lots of options to entertain loyal fan base.
    - Out of place; general image.
     
    Ayepocalypse and RetroDriver like this.
  17. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    [​IMG]
    Car: Audi A2 1.4 '02
    Status: New
    Price: 22,400 Cr.
    Engine: L4 --, 1390 ccm
    Power: 73 hp @ 5000 rpm
    Torque: 126.02 Nm @ 3800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 920 kg

    Meet the A2, Audi’s answer to city class invitation. Although Audi ingeniously prepared the product for a party, not experiencing any difficulties during the development (the same cannot be said for its rival Mercedes-Benz A160), indifference among the crowd couldn't be avoided. High price, demanding maintenance of the aluminum chassis and by some sources, assiduity among certain buyers to refuse to acknowledge the manufacturer as a city class contender eventually concluded placing appropriate nails in A2's coffin. That wasn't really pleasing though, because the A2 was a very sophisticated product, both on fuel and space very efficient. To make it worse, neither of these things can be used to your advantage in a video game like GT4, so don't get surprised if at one point the A2 reveals itself as a quite senseless car, even though in reality - it isn't.

    The main problem of the car in the game, apart from its price, is the engine. The A2's moving ability was ensured by the 1.4 liter naturally aspirated engine, delivering no more than 75 coins to your piggy bank. Very modest donation, I would say, and quite unscrupulous one at that, considering how we already spent a lot for the car that isn't competitive enough in first place to clear those few beginner events without relying on additional upgrades. Yes, from a financial aspect, the A2 is a demanding car, but that is what you get when pushing premium manufacturers into places where they don't belong. There is no doubt that players expecting quick progress with the car will quickly demolish their piggy bank, the A2 and a GT4 disc that is responsible for making all this possible. To hell with everything!

    However, positive side of this engine is that features very sweet, almost linear power distribution from medium to high rpm range. This is actually very appreciated because the stock gearbox is widely adjusted, so our engine must ensure you won't lose power at certain moments and thus, have to switch over to manual transmission. The one thing this construction really demands is the power. Hence, why I was disappointed not to see Polyphony introducing 1.6 FSI engine (it produces around 109 hp), introduced during year 2002. They should have waited for it as that would be an ideal basement for a car of this weight and identity, something that could be a great counter-measure against its overall peaceful image. I verified it myself; using NA parts to bring overall power to that level revealed just enough peppiness the chassis would love to feed. Stock gearbox can support power upgrades sufficiently while the Close one (speed limited to 150 kph) should be used for default power only.

    As for the handling, in stock configuration it follows the path it needs the follow as long as you respect potential of the tires, so I don’t have any objections on this. Steering is quick and above the level you would expect on usual city cars. Yeah, another factor that works towards sports driving characteristics. Good, but I wish the engine followed that premise more closely. We pretty much said everything above, but repeating won't hurt; there is just not enough grease connecting sequences between corners (and often on corners). Upgrading the car to around 100 hp using NA components combined with response drivetrain parts will fully utilize potential of the A2. Of course, you can always install turbo kits and enjoy really big increase in power, but the handling will require suspension upgrades to reduce inability of the body to keep up with all that aggression. I wouldn't recommend it though, you will lose that beautiful power-torque chart of the base engine.

    And that is it, the A2 that tried to act on battlefield without adequate weapons. Well, Polyphony is mostly responsible for this, I can already imagine how interesting the A2 would have been if it came with better engine. If you think that isn't possible, just glance at 1.6 FSI S-line model that features wheels from Audi RS4, sports suspension and other visually appealing elements... a car that can easily persuade anyone to adapt new identity and use it to bring groundbreaking news in this class. Something that real life counterpart never managed to achieve. Unfortunately.

    Verdict:
    + Novelty to Audi fans.
    - Under-powered and expensive novelty, that is.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Nissan mm-R Cup Car '01
    Status: Prize
    Price: Complete March Brothers event
    Engine: --
    Power: 147 hp @ -- rpm
    Torque: -- Nm @ -- rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 672 kg​


    The mm-R is a cup car based on Nissan mm.e concept car that appeared at 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, announcing arrival of the third generation March. Although this fact shouldn't cause anything but indifferent posture on your side, it may explain two or three things once we start wondering why is the mm-R blessed with such poor cornering abilities.

    Understeer is the main problem of this car. It takes effect every time you stomp on the the acceleration pedal, even if delicately. Is it possible to avoid understeer when running away from corner apex?

    The answer is surprisingly - negative. Decent cornering can be experienced only by lifting the foot off the throttle and letting the car glide through a corner without causing any longitudinal forces to act on the car. Very slow way of clearing a corner and thus, not really helpful.

    Another thing; if I hadn't checked the specification sheet, I would have never anticipated it, but our mm-R is excessively light, more so than usual cars built to match cup standards. Naturally, this affects grip on the front axle when accelerating. Taking into account what we said regarding its handling bias, prepare to meet wealthy portions of wheelspin. Actually, you can't really use that light chassis anywhere other than on long straightaways. After all, general speed is very good and it may become even better once you tweak those gears; if anything, the mm-R delivers Fully Custom. gearbox and even Brake Balance Controller, something other cup cars don't. Gee, what a relief...

    I was also disappointed by realizing how the game doesn't feature one-make event dedicated to this car; instead, you have to race against other, road-going March models to unlock this cup edition. Okaaay... but what should I do with the mm-R then?

    Let's try with some examples:

    Should I challenge my best friend in 2P Battle mode?
    Should I organize mm-R LAN party?
    Should I use mm-Rs for time attack challenges?

    The first option is good if you want to lose your friend. The third option is okay, but frankly, you could do it with any car, even one that can actually be useful on corners. That leaves us the second option. That one seems interesting, but even if you find few volunteers, you'll have to persuade them to run on stickiest Racing compound in order to partly compensate for the poor and often annoying cornering abilities. Sorry, but that is what happens when you form a cup car using concept car as a template and apply chassis that acts as it wasn't supported by any type of suspension system whatsoever.

    To people competing in latest GT games featuring online option: if you want to build somehow decent March Cup, buy several base March models and tune them to match decent cup regulations. It worked well in GT4 with the March 12C, so I don't see a reason why it wouldn't work with premium 160SR model in GT5/6.

    I was really hoping we could get a decent substitute for the March Turbo, but it seems we aren't that lucky. Wait, hold on... is it really possible to replace the legendary Turbo model?

    Verdict:
    + Cool! Light and powerful March...
    - ... until you enter a corner. So much about the replacement.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Renault Megane 2.0 IDE Coupe '00
    Status: Used
    My Price: 17,289 Cr. @ 29229,8 km
    Engine: L4 SOHC, 1998 ccm
    Power: 138 hp @ 5500 rpm
    Torque: 199.91 Nm @ 4250 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 1135 kg​


    Steadfastness of the Megane Coupe (infra: MC) is barely being preserved by the success of relatively famous Megane Maxi, F2 Kit car that won European Rally Championship and FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup in 1999. Is this achievement strong enough to keep the road-going MC alive?

    To be honest - do not worry about this at all. Our MC owns virtues to rely on its own.

    Let's start with some basics first. The acronym IDE stands for Injection Directe Essence, minor technology that Renault introduced for the MC and Megane Convertible in 1999. Allegedly, the engine was developed by Renault Sport and it took them 2 years to finish it. Well, it was damn worth it. The engine replaced the older 2.0 16V unit, loosing 10 ponies, but in return delivering friendlier torque distribution and more punch overall (185 Nm to 200). That is why our MC is proud of being very lively on most important parts of the rev zone. Journalists also praised this liveliness for its cooperativeness in city conditions. Over here, the engine works not only in city conditions, but can also be useful in racing scenarios. We'll get to that in a minute.

    The gearbox is quite short, it tops around 200 kph already, but it somehow satisfies power delivery of the engine. Top speed of the car in real life is around 215 kph, so I have to admit Polyphony modeled this one pedantically. Close gearbox can help you unleash maximum potential, but be careful on high-speed circuits, top speed reduces significantly. Once you start dealing with power upgrades though, the FC gearbox is going to become the best option.

    Now it is about time to speak about those 'racing scenarios'. There is no doubt that French car manufacturers produce the very best hot-hatches for European (and even all other) consumers, something that gets to be verified once again on the MC. Unlike other FF cars in the game, the MC diligently strives to make understeering more comfortable and enjoyable experience. And it does it successfully. The front axle is not prone to losing grip when sudden load change starts affecting grip on the front end. This allows you to use lively steering of the car to change directions more aggressively, without worrying whether the car will temporarily slide away from designated cornering line or not.

    To put it differently, imagine that you want to adjust toe settings of a car to 'out' direction (or '+' by GT4 standards). The result you would get is very close to what the MC exhibits. This handling virtue is most notable on medium and high-speed corners or on S-line bends, but it can also be sensed on certain sharp corners too. Overall cornering is fun and unstressed as you rarely have to pay attention to understeer. Even when it does appear and ruin your cornering line, next set of corners will give you infinite opportunities to suppress inner disturbance caused by understeer and return to monitoring fruits of its peculiar character.

    But we aren't done yet! Further potential can be disclosed on slow-paced corners where exit speed is very important for overall lap times. Tsukuba Circuit is one of those tracks and the MC can turn it into another source of entertainment, greatly cheering drivers who criticize the track for its allegedly boring layout. Because torque is nicely distributed, the car picks decent acceleration regardless of the speed engine is revving at. By stomping on the acceleration pedal at the right moment, the axle will pull the car out of a corner with decent momentum, notwithstanding protests and screams from direction where front tires are mounted. No lose of grip or wheelspin, the axle keeps hugging the road like a diligent train without any negative feedback trying to achieve otherwise. This 'corner-tearing' proved to be very amusing tactic of clearing several tracks as fast as possible and I spent many laps concentrating to execute such maneuvers whenever it was possible. What a fun car!

    Generally, the car stoically withstands all the pain cornering forces usually enforce on FF cars, something you wouldn't expect from this car at first. Renault did a great job on tuning the handling of this, appearance-wise, relatively sleepy car, just as you would expect from the manufacturer. Among all other FF cars in the game, the MC is one of those that really tries to be different, and I appreciate it for that.

    Before we conclude this review with loud and deserved applause, I should point out that you should be careful when dealing with upgrades of any kind because there is a good risk of losing virtues we mentioned and thus, turning the car into another average FF car. Emphasize should be placed on gearbox and engine response, if possible, leave power and suspension upgrades as close as stock as possible. There are some cars that should never be abducted from their original state and the MC is one of them.

    Oh, and... if you have a friend willing to drive the 206 S16, I would urge you to arrange head-to-head battle as soon as possible. Not only ideal candidates for close competition, these two also posses distinctive elements that recognize them as an eye openers for people who always thought that FF cars couldn't be delightful drives.

    Verdict:
    + Small details that make a FF car an enjoyable ride.
    - Nothing worth to mention, really.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015
  18. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    Touring Business


    We are briefly going to examine potential of making a decent touring challenge in Gran Turismo 4. People have mostly forsaken old-generation GT games, but some ideas can still be used for Time Attack or 2P Mode challenges, in case people are still interested in those near all these modern online competitions. Although Gran Turismo 2 still remains to be a reference point in touring domain that hardly any other game in the series can overmatch, it is worth mentioning how realistic drivetrain differences and adding precise amount of weight ballast in GT4 can be of big help in making an authentic touring car.

    Cars were tested in Arcade Mode on Racing-Hard tires (R2) without any driving assist. Pictures were taken from the IGCD.net webpage. Cars were divided into two groups, based on their overall performance:


    Group A (tested on Midfield Raceway Reverse)

    [​IMG]
    Car: Mazda Mazda6 Touring Car '02
    Power: 305 hp
    Weight: 1070 kg
    Drivetrain: AWD
    Lap: ~ 1'18

    Very neutral cornering for AWD standards even though benefits of AWD are not going to be perceptible unless you race on low-grip tires. Disturbance can occur at mid-corner sections if you roughly start playing with throttle or brake pedals, otherwise it remains to follow its path as it was on rails. I wish body livery was just as good as the tire brand it advertises.


    [​IMG]
    Car: BMW 320i Touring Car '03
    Power: 257 hp
    Weight: 1140 kg
    Drivetrain: FR
    Lap: ~ 1'19

    The only 'real' touring car in the group. Like you would expect from BMW, the car is blessed with almost perfect weight distribution. This allows for agility, which consequently can be used to take tighter cornering lines. Therefore, the 320i is going to be faster than the Mazda6 on medium and high-speed corners because you don't have to slow down as much. Outside these conditions, the 320i will suffer because the engine is not very powerful, affecting overall speed and acceleration.

    I'm also going to mention how the car likes to understeer on approach to a corner, which I find disturbing because on cars with good weight distribution you're supposed to step on the acceleration pedal much sooner - something that can't be done on this car that easily.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Honda Integra Type R Touring Car '02
    Power: 306 hp
    Weight: 1050 kg
    Drivetrain: FF
    Lap: ~ 1'20

    Just like many other FF cars in this game, maximum cornering potential can be exploited only if you keep your fingers away from throttle pedal. Due otherwise and the Integra starts to understeer. You really have to clear major part of a corner by keeping the engine 'unloaded' and applying acceleration as late as possible. That consequently puts the Integra out of the 'game' even though in terms of speed is on par with the Mazda6. When coming out of corners, learn to use higher gears to avoid wheelspin. Very effective method on this car.

    I believe this car is trying to replicate a BTCC car, if I'm not mistaken. You also get to choose three colors to paint your replays. Nice!


    Summary:

    The Integra is going to be useful on circuits where high speed can cover for the loss on corners. Fuji pack, High-Speed Ring and Sarthe duo are tracks that come to mind. Forget about endurance events against the two, the Integra's tires won't last very long. The only car that may have the edge over others in these tire-life conditions is the 320i, though you still have to be cautious as the speed of the Mazda6 is not going to leave many places for mistakes.

    Polyphony did a good job in balancing these three cars, but for the balance to become perfect you'll need to involve your own fingers. I would recommend reducing power on the Mazda6 (cca -10 to 15 hp) and increasing it on the Integra (cca +20 hp). The weight on the Integra should also be reduced (cca -50 kg). All this can be done in Arcade mode precisely. That way you can get an interesting compilation in case someone decides to run touring challenge using these three cars.

    Of course, you can make your own adjustments based on real touring specifications.


    Group B (tested on Grand Valley East)

    [​IMG]
    Car: Mitsubishi FTO Super Touring Car '97
    Power: 423 hp
    Weight: 980 kg
    Drivetrain: AWD
    Lap: ~ 1'02.3

    In terms of velocity, the FTO is the fastest machine here. On corners - not really. The rear axle tends to become loose when brakes are applied, causing insecure corner entries. That slide is never productive particularly because it encourages front end to skid a moment after and send the entire car out of course. Forget about outmaneuvering others on corner entries, opportunities on this car have to used elsewhere.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Subaru Impreza Super Touring Car '01
    Power: 415 hp
    Weight: 1030 kg
    Drivetrain: AWD
    Lap: ~ 1'02.0

    Surprisingly rigid construction allows for stable approach on corner entries. This is actually the main factor that separates the Impreza from the FTO - corner-entry stability. Mid-cornering potential seems to be identical albeit front end of the Impreza is sometimes more immune to sudden disturbance on the front grip. The Impreza is more enjoyable to drive because everything is transparent and there aren't any nearby 'challenges' lurking around that surprise a driver in annoying way. Few kph units on speedy sections had to be taken away, but that is the price for being more stable on corners - I suppose.


    [​IMG]
    Car: Toyota Altezza Touring Car '01
    Power: 301 hp
    Weight: 1000 kg
    Drivetrain: FR
    Lap: ~ 1'03.9

    Superb stopping power, capable chassis and no quirks in handling department - that is how one should advertise the Altezza. The car is confident on corners and can keep up with the two with ease. On places where speed is everything things are different, though. Significant lack of power over the other two is drastically going to reduce lap times, even if the speedy section is very short. Better chances you may have on endurance events, but not on all tracks. Increase in power is necessary.


    Summary:

    This trio doesn't require much involvement from 'outside' parties as the previous one. Just increase power on the Altezza (cca +30 to 50 hp) and you should get very good tools to plan your racing strategically.


    -------------------------

    Okay, but what about your own cars? In Simulation mode you can buy a car and use GT Wing and Weight Ballast to create some decent touring car... or at least something that looks like one. Here is an idea, based on presumption that I would like to build a touring car using BCT-T regulations:

    FF Class
    270 hp
    1150 kg

    Megane 2.0 16V '03
    307 XSi
    147 2.0 TwinSpark
    Primera 20V '01
    Accord Euro-R '02
    Mazda Protege '02
    Focus ST170
    Civic Type-R (EP)
    Integra Type-R (DC5)
    Clio Sport 2.0 16V
    etc.

    Wide range of cars can be found in this class. Honda naturally dominates with interesting number of chassis types, but other manufacturers won't be embarrassed either - there are some appealing choices. Basically, either saloon or hot-hatch body can be used. Rigidity of each of the constructions varies, not to mention that wheelbase length can make a difference on corners, even if little one.

    On some cars you can install - get this - turbo kits to make them turbocharged touring cars. That is another change you can make. Although this goes against the rules it can make interesting diversity among the class because you face more torque and acceleration punch against quick response and freedom from turbo-lag. I compared two cars using that pattern, difference can be felt.

    You can also permit smaller engine units (1.8 liter cars, for instance) or those big V6 ones (406 Coupe, Alfa Romeo 156, etc.). Many cars using engines other than 2.0 liter actually had success in touring domain, so the game itself shouldn't stop you from using them just because specific engine level was not featured in it. Just make sure to carefully inspect their minimum weight because some of those might be initially too heavy to drop down to 1150 kg.


    FR Class
    250 hp
    1200 kg

    BMW 120i
    Lexus IS200 (160 hp model)

    Sadly, only two cars would be eligible under normal circumstances - this one and that one. Their cornering potential is insane so make sure to lower their power even more than I suggested. People desperate to add some diversity should try Silvia Spec-S Aero or one of the 1.8 liter (NB) MX-5s. Yes, they don't belong here AT ALL, but different chassis could make them attractive choices if you don't mind going that far into preposterous.


    AWD Class
    270 hp
    1210 kg

    Audi S3 '02

    Why not, it meets most of the requirements to be treated as a touring contender. Besides, sometimes it is best to move away from realism and deal with things in your own way. Stock weight of this car required minimum weight to be increased a bit, but in return you can add more power if needed. Traction of AWD cars is not going to be useful if you race on high-performance tires, but understeer should be lessened in mid-corner sections or during the weight transfer.


    Recommended upgrades:

    You can play with upgrades a lot, there are number of possibilities. Still, there are some upgrades you shouldn't miss in order to create as accurate touring car as possible.

    GT Wing is very important, it allows you to alter front and rear downforce. You should certainly apply all three Weight Reduction levels and, only afterwards, increase Weight ballast to match one of the rules above. The ballast should be kept in the middle (0) position. Roll Cage (30,000 Cr.) should be installed along with Racing-Hard (R2) tires. The Fully Customizable Gearbox should be another major upgrade, and it wouldn't hurt to fit 1-Way LSD and Semi-Racing suspension kit either. Everything else is on your disposal. Reserve around 250,000 - 300,000 credits to make a good touring car.

    However, be careful with power upgrades on cars which default power is 170 or below. Those will often require the most productive power upgrades to make them reach power levels stated above. Therefore, when dealing with upgrades that offer big step in power increase or upgrades that cannot be uninstalled (Port-Polish and Engine Balancing), there is a risk of getting either too much or too less power. Carefully examine how many ponies you get from each upgrade.

    And that is all. Have fun! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2015
    Harsk100 likes this.
  19. Cowboy

    Cowboy Premium

    Messages:
    5,533
    Location:
    United States
    Very interesting thread. Keep up the great reviews :tup:
     
    Matej likes this.
  20. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    [​IMG]
    Car: Nissan Cube X '98
    Status: Used
    My Price: 9,216 Cr. @ 32534,2 km
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1274 ccm
    Power: 80 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 78.11 Nm @ 4000 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 970 kg

    So... this is the first generation Cube. Known as Z10. With appropriate X in the nomenclature. Cute. Many of you probably don’t know anything about this car or haven’t driven it yet. Today I’m going to show you why they should. Or shouldn't.

    In 2002, the Z10 generation was succeeded by the Z11 generation, which followed cubism philosophy more accurately. This new pattern eventually influenced subsequent Z12 generation that finally managed to collect some awards and recognition. The Z10 generation wasn’t that popular though. Although it managed to burn itself in more than 400 thousand copies before the Z11 generation entered the field (after 10 months Nissan sold 100 thousand units, breaking the 1982 March’s record), its philosophy somehow went below the radar. That body design is not really far from typical minivan construction of Kei minivan sub-class, so we'll see if there are areas where our Z10 (infra: Cube) can score some points and compensate for the treason of cubism apostles.

    The Cube borrows wheelbase and engine from the second generation Nissan March (K11). That means that the 1.3 liter engine powering almost unknown March G# can be found inside the Cube too. Interesting virtue of this engine is its size, which promises decent power upgrades and several ways of tuning it. Here is what we get on the Cube by applying different upgrades of the same price range:

    NA Stage Lvl.2 (130 Hp, 165 Nm) – smooth and abundant torque delivery across the entire RPM range, peak at medium range. Power spiky, located on high-rpm range;
    Turbo Lvl.2 (153 Hp, 178 Nm) – torque active from mid to high-RPM range, peak at high range. Power even more spikier;
    Supercharger (113 Hp, 194 Nm) - smooth torque delivery from low to mid-RPM range, peak at low range. Smooth power delivery from medium-high to high RPM range.

    Of course, you can further continue to pressure dealers until they bend and let you raise power close or over 200 Hp, but I'm not interested in such increase today. What we want is to bring down Kei cars with something different and that can be done with the third option above already. Although you get the smallest amount of power, ability to control the throttle with ease is very encouraging and behavior of the engine transparent. With Supercharger upgrade no wheelspin issues will ever surprise you. Unlike other upgrades above, this one makes the car really lively. I wish some Kei cars could get the Supercharger, it makes the drive much smoother.

    As for the handling, I tested my car using the parts listed below. The car had 122 Hp and 201 Nm on 970 kg.

    Semi-racing Exhaust;
    Racing chip;
    Supercharger;
    Sports suspension kit (140-140, 2-2, 1.0-0.0);
    Close Gearbox;
    Triple-Plate Clutch;
    Racing Flywheel;
    1.5-Way LSD.

    I have to say that in spite of all the weight the Cube has to tow around, it was more comfortable to drive than minivan sub-class of the Kei class. The 'comfortable' in this case is related to effect the weight transfer has on cornering. Because the wheelbase is significantly longer, understeer when the weight moves off the front tires is greatly repressed. On corners the tuned Cube was as fast as tuned Alto Works, Move and similar companions. Mind you, I did not use any Weight Reductions!

    You can drive the Cube without any suspension upgrade, but the tenacity to grip the road will vary then; usually from decent to impressive, depending on the corner and your entry style. Gently steering helps a lot in this situations, and it becomes useful even with the kit upgrade.

    Speed on straight sections was very good, although I recommend installing Fully Customizable 'Box to bring the Cube to the top; the stock gears are fine, but one or two gears won't land where they should. The Close 'Box with its top speed of 128 kph is recommendable only if you're racing the Cube in its stock form or on small tracks. Whatever gearbox you buy make sure it allows the engine to use that torque when going out of sharp, slow-paced corners. Trust me, it can be very useful...

    And that is all I have to say. Go ahead and buy one if you would like to challenge certain Kei members. Very instructive experience is all you'll get.

    Verdict:
    + Free of class regulations, the Cube brings some innovations to Kei car opponents;
    - Decent AWD system wouldn't hurt. Neither would a bit of reputation.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Volkswagen Bora V6 4MOTION '01
    Status: New
    Price: 38,910 Cr.
    Engine: V6 SOHC, 2791 ccm
    Power: 201 hp @ 6200 rpm
    Torque: 198.90 Nm @ 3200 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: 4WD
    Weight: 1540 kg​


    The Bora is a Golf with expanded boot space, nothing more or less you can expect behind the curtain of this saloon. It serves as an alternative to a Golf for people who prioritize practically over everything else. Our model is powered by a 2.8 VR6 engine, the most powerful option for that car. It also delivers all that power via 4motion AWD system. Good, but how competitive this car really is, giving its civilian nature?

    Surely, we shouldn't use terms such as 'spectacular', 'striking' or 'flawless' unless they are aiming for the irony. The Bora is not going to impress anyone, mostly because it doesn't offer anything that could leave visible marks on the scene. The moderately powerful engine is usually repressed by amount of weight the body has to carry around, while the 4MOTION system is adjusted to work outside sports ideas and exhibitions (I hope nobody thinks of evening it with undercarriage of the Golf R32). Overall, nothing that can't be penetrated by any other AWD car of this level of performance numbers. So, what is the point, who would drive the Bora anyway? And WHY?

    Well, how about we face the Bora against two GTI Golf models, the Mk4 and Mk5?

    Aha, now we're going somewhere, now we're putting this car to good use. This test seems reasonable, particularly because the car features AWD, as opposed to the two that traditionally come with one active axle.

    The comparison between the Golf IV and the Bora was carried on Midfield Raceway Reverse and I have to admit, the Golf IV strove against the Bora for some time. It would often catch up on medium-speed corners where surplus of weight affects overall cornering potential. Still, because Midfield is a high-speed track, the Bora had the overall edge here. The Bora was capable of taking much tighter turns, especially with closed throttle, presumably because all four tires worked together to take care of all that torque. The Golf IV wasn't up to the task, it felt really slow on straights and too soft on corners. Nothing surprising, the GTI Mk4 was never a true GTI, but a simple trim level. I mean, what kind of GTI would be available with several different engines? I'm glad it got creamed like this, honestly.

    However, the Golf V was a completely different opponent, completely different level of challenge. Even though power-to-weight ratio is not that different, the Golf V had no trouble running away from the Bora on high-speed sections. The only real drawback would appear on corner exits, the Golf's chassis tends to be nervous at times and there is a good indicator coming from the outside front tire that any more power would cause loss of traction. Nevertheless, the Golf V had enough grip and additions such as AWD were not required. Although both cars can use tight cornering lines, the Golf V never loses lateral grip in mid-sections as often as the Bora. Stiffer chassis also allows for quicker recovery in case anything bad happens. In other words, this is a 'real' Golf GTI, a true performance car by which fabricated civilian models have no place to be.

    If you want to bring the Bora to the top, you'll have to seek for opportunities where lack of grip would endanger the FF models. But there is not point considering how we have the Golf R32 to do the same job.


    Verdict:
    + It can replace certain GTI models...
    - ... but not all of them. Boring visuals and commuter image are discouraging too.



    [​IMG]
    Car: Mercedes-Benz A 160 AMG '98
    Status: Used
    My Price: 48,510 Cr. @ 58626,4 km
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1598 ccm
    Power: 153 hp @ 5250 rpm
    Torque: 211.09 Nm @ 4000 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 1115 kg​


    * Based on the base A 160 Avantgarde. But you didn't hear that from me, okay?
    Oh, and... price of the base model was 16,510 credits. Parts for which the price was raised are listed below.


    We could pretend that the A160 model found in GT4 is the creme de la creme of the entire W168 generation. In such position, it is likely possible that AMG version of such model would have significant amount of extra power and few other performance-wise support upgrades. Of course, we have to be careful because this is still a city car and as such it must not be too expensive or carry amount of power that would exceed potential of this class. With this thoughts in mind, I tried to build an AMG performance edition from the base A160 model.

    For the purpose of reducing overall costs of the build AMG engineers decided to raise potential of the engine by applying a small turbocharger. Naturally, the engineers had to balance certain parts of the engine and fine-tune the electronics within the engine. Different exhaust system also satisfied new air-flow system. With all this upgrades AMG managed to deliver more than 150 ponies on owners disposal. Although this may not seem as very big improvement, this amount of power perfectly suits the class the car resides in. Delivery of power and torque remained almost identical, allowing citizens to use the car for daily purpose without a sweat. AMG also installed new clutch system to help us operate the power more easily.

    Visually, the car hasn't changed a lot. Apart from the 'Avantgarde' trim level, you get AMG wheels (Bridgestone 005, your welcome!), stitch on steering wheel and bucket seats and AMG badges on dashboard. Good! My example came in Moonlight Silver, although both white and black tone can be ordered.

    Let's return to performance again. The increase in power required slight changes on undercarriage. Diligent AMG engineers spent a lot of time tweaking spring ratios to make the car useful on corners should anyone test its sports abilities. This new tune was further backed with special 1-way LSD to ensure no wheelspin would ever cause drivers to bleed from worries.

    Journalists were impressed. Although they criticized lack of power on low and mid-rpm range field and touchy steering, they praised smooth power delivery on high-rpm range and fun handling. Indeed, the A160 AMG is very enjoyable on corners. On high-speed ones you can release throttle by few micro steps, which causes car to turn towards inside, much in a way a car with 4-wheel steering would do. Apply throttle aggressively while tackling sharper, slow-paced curves and the A160 AMG pulls inwards with no loss of grip while doing so. The most enjoyable moments can be experienced on tracks where you can clear corners using only the techniques I described.

    The A160 AMG may not be the fastest city car around, but it can be the most enjoyable if you accept its handling pattern. You can use it to clear all those amateur races in a challenging manner and learn to appreciate interesting construction the car was built on.

    Parts list:
    Sports Muffler;
    Racing Chip;
    Engine Balancing;
    Turbo Stage 1;
    Semi-racing suspension kit (5.0-6.0, 120-120, 2-3, 0.6-0.6);
    Single-Plate Clutch;
    1-Way LSD;
    Bridgestone 005 Wheels.
    AMG Oil


    Verdict:
    + Playing with this toy brings nothing but joy.
    - Ah... let's return to reality - this is not AMG. And it is still expensive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  21. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    German Trio

    Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG '00
    VS
    Audi S4 '03
    VS
    BMW M3 '04​

    We managed to oppose three German manufacturers of premium rank to a skirmish battle. Although the C32 AMG is not available in Gran Turismo 4, we can still replicate once popular comparison by using the CLK 55 AMG. Let's commence the battle!


    Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG '00

    HISTORY
    The CLK 55 AMG lives off the presence in Gran Turismo 3 where it was first introduced back in year 2000. Because the car combined visuals of the W210 E-Class and construction of the W202 C-Class, you could say that such decision merged very best of Mercedes-Benz models we had in GT2. Unfortunately, its handling in GT3 failed to deliver joy of driving a high-powered rear-drive car, mainly due to unpredictable understeer and lack of valuable feedback from the chassis.


    WHAT IS NEW?
    Polyphony updated body color list with two or three new additions and better sound exhaust. Seemingly modest, but actually more than I would expect. Shockingly, the car is now even more expensive than it used to be in GT3 - price of around 150,000 credits almost doubles and triples the amount required for the new M3 and the S4, respectively.

    CLK55.JPG
    Here you go, one of the new colors. Do you like it?

    ENGINE
    It seems that a copy of the popular 'No Replacement for Displacement' slogan can be found engraved beneath the hood of the CLK 55 as well. Wealthy amount of torque and decent range from which sufficient power can be used is what highlights this big engine. If we focus on the chart only, both M3 and S4 are going to be embarrassed by its smooth run.

    The 5-speed gearbox that comes with the car is widely set, but given the torque it has to support it is easy to understand why. It does its job well and doesn't need to be replaced by aftermarket units. To achieve the best result try to keep the rev pointer above 4500 rpm and below 6000 rpm. The new exhaust sound is actually not that good and it seems that aftermarket units aren't much better either.


    HANDLING
    Driving on N2 tires is going to place very big burden on your chest, expect lots of tire spinning and screeching. Really, the engine produces so much torque that it becomes very demanding to put all that power to ground. Coming out in 2nd gear helps a lot, but without good throttle modulation you won't be able to fly away from corner without burning the rubber. I would expect some sort of a gratitude from all that torque in a way of power-oversteer on corners where such method can reduce understeer, but the chassis is unresponsive and indifferent to this activity. Precious seconds will melt by the time you succeed in taking the grip off the rear tires. Default LSD settings is also to blame, it seems to be 'locked' to a very high degree. This is good for initiating oversteer on high-speed corners, but on tighter tracks it gets in the way. I recommend installing the F.C. LSD and altering the values from scratch.

    In spite of everything I have said, there is something I liked about the car - on Grand Valley Speedway there are many corners where for good average speed you can simply open-close-open the throttle rapidly. While doing so the CLK won't understeer, at best it will pull you inwards. Good, a slight change from usual FR characteristics in this game, but still not enough to make the car 'ueber' fun.

    German_Trio.JPG
    The CLK leading the pack. Not for too long.


    Audi S4 '03

    HISTORY
    The B6 S4 model success the widely known S4 B5 that used to be panache of Audi's dealership in GT series before it was replaced by the 2001 RS4 model in GT4. That was an interesting performance-oriented machine with quiet temper that would occasionally forsake its abilities in the background for the sake of the stunning color choices that came along with the body. Post-2000 S and RS models have changed the approach to customers, so we can expect very new ideas from the new contender.


    WHAT IS NEW?
    The new B6 S4 significantly raises the competition bar. It allowed the newly assembled 4.2 liter V8 machine (at that time, at least) to tuck in and jolt the exhaust pipes with its vibration, which is quite a change from the previous 2.7 liter turbocharged unit. Increase in power is apparent, albeit is the weight. I wonder what kind of effect this overall increase will leave on its cornering potential. Nevertheless, all this changes allowed the S4 to challenge the M3.


    ENGINE
    Very valuable unit, according to information found on the Internet. It sounds wonderful and operates fairly well. Although it may not be as 'torqueish' as the 5.5 liter unit from the CLK AMG, the 6-speed gearbox reduces possible inferiority to acceptable level. All gears work well enough, no need to replace the gearbox.

    2003_S4.JPG
    We're so far away from Autobahn...

    HANDLING
    I was caught under impression that the suspension is too soft to support body of this weight. Too much grabbing towards the inside with brakes applied, flows of anxiety in your head when the rear comes out and understeer that appears every time you step on the acceleration pedal. Basically, you have to close the throttle every time you want to take tighter cornering line, otherwise cornering line won't be spectacularly tight.

    On S2 tires though, the car seems to be more confident and the Quattro system takes better care of that understeer. The chassis may begin to tremble, something that usually appears if there is no adequate damping force beneath the body. Simple semi-racing suspension kit should help here.

    Generally, I'm satisfied with the car's smooth gripping power, albeit you'll have to invest into suspension and weight reductions to make it really competitive.


    BMW M3 '04

    HISTORY
    The history of M3 performance cars started back in 1985 with the E30 model. Designated to serve as a benchmark for future generations of automobile enthusiasts, it still remains to be a sought item in the world of Gran Turismo. The E36 generation would have been a true hit if Polyphony had introduced it in GT2, but sadly, certain licensing issues related to EA's domination on the video game market prevented the dream from coming true. The same situation continued in GT3. Therefore, GT4 is the first game in the series to offer M-badged models. After three games of waiting, we finally get to testify their overwhelming performance on track.

    M3_front.JPG
    Complete cliche, I know. But the concrete mini sewer is cool.

    WHAT IS NEW?
    Everything is new. Total of six M models, four of which are M3, are doing their best to compensate for the damage done over the years. The base M3 is going to be less popular due to presence of more potent CSL and road-going GTR models, but it eulogizes itself using interesting body colors as an argument. Because we like beautiful things I say - good enough.


    ENGINE
    The S54 unit is a high-rev engine mated to a sporty 6-speed gearbox in order to meet needs of circuit-oriented pace of driving. It may not be strong in displacement or torque domains as the other two rivals, but it is light and most importantly, vital enough to be used in racing conditions without any additional upgrades. What I didn't like is how sometimes you have to enter the redline zone and hit 8500 rpm to help those gears land better. That is why replacing the gearbox with the Close one may not be such a bad idea after all.

    M3_back.JPG
    Rumble strips, here I come!

    HANDLING
    Supremacy of the M3 models is unquestionable, but in video games where handling physics is compromised to a degree even that supremacy may become dubious. With that being said, important characteristics of the M3 have been greatly repressed in GT4. Driving on N2 tires, however, brings some of the joy to our table, which is why recommending the M3 is passable as long as you stay on low-grip tires.

    On slow corners releasing the throttle causes the M3 to progressively disengage the rear tires, allowing for a slide. You can often continue the motion by stomping on the throttle pedal and progressively controlling the steering wheel. The S-corner that uses the first tunnel on the Grand valley Speedway as its part is a perfect place to test this ability. On high-speed corners this won't be possible, the front axle will simply skid, keeping the car stable (and prone to understeer at mid-sections). Although generally quick, steering is sometimes too 'light' when going over high-speed sections, causing instability if limited angle is used to navigate the car. Well, nothing too dramatic.

    When driving on S2 tires, releasing the throttle on the apex of a corner will rotate the car towards inside, allowing you to accelerate sooner - good addition that threatens the CLK. Sadly, drifting is no longer possible, the front axle is now even more prone to skidding when wild weight transfer is applied. Another thing I couldn't appreciate is intensity-wise rapid burst of understeer that appears and quickly disappears every time you apply the throttle. Again, nothing too dramatic once you get used to it, but because this is a common issue on most other FR cars in this game, it makes the M3 a bit 'ordinary' and monotonous to drive.


    CONCLUSION
    The CLK slightly improved since the last time I drove it in Gran Turismo 3, I actually enjoyed driving it around on certain occasions. Though it is not a car I would use too often since the 'brick' effect that applies to numerous cars in this game highly affects the CLK. I'm not sure how to cure that problem either.

    The V8 sound on the S4 is good and hardly monotonous, it will serve you well over the long run. The cornering itself is fun as long as you keep your ego within undercarriage potential. True sporty character can be unlocked after you have upgraded the suspension. That may be a bit disappointing, but you should know that RS models are much more ponderous and harder to drive overall.

    The M3 didn't appeal to me. Yes, it is agile, very fast and excellent for taking out lap times, but the driving itself is very predictable and linear. Playing around ensures happiness only if certain conditions are meet. Not good, but the M3 is least responsible for this situation.

    Technical Specifications

    Code:
    Car: Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG '00 --- Audi S4 '03 --- BMW M3 '04
    Status: New --- New --- New
    Price: 147,770 --- 55,430 --- 74,560
    
    Engine: V8 SOHC, 5439 ccm --- V8 DOHC, 4163 ccm --- L6 DOHC, 3246 ccm
    Power: 347 HP @ 5500 rpm --- 341 HP @ 7000 rpm --- 339 HP @ 7900 rpm
    Torque: 509.50 Nm @ 3000-4300 rpm --- 409.93 Nm @ 3500 rpm --- 364,46 Nm @ 4900 rpm
    Aspiration: NA --- NA --- NA
    
    Drivetrain: FR --- 4WD --- FR
    Weight: 1620 kg --- 1660 kg --- 1570 kg
    Wheelbase: 2690 mm --- 2651 mm --- 2731 mm
    Tires: 225/40 R 17, 245/40 R 17 --- 235/40 R 18, 235/40 R 18 --- 225/45 R 18, 255/40 R 18
    
    0-400m: 0'14.284 --- 0'13.992 --- 0'13.663
    0-1000m: 0'25.210 --- 0'25.311 --- 0'24.580
    Top Speed (kph): 287.08 --- 275.90 --- 288.62
    Elasticity (0-130 in 2nd gear)*: 182,9 m --- 215 m --- 202 m
    Braking (kph: 200 > 60): 98.6 m --- 83.1 m --- 102.1 m
    Gearbox Work (kph): 71-121-190-269, redline: ~305 --- 55-103-147-191-236, redline: 277 --- 61-105-161-221-272, redline: ~312
    
    Tsukuba Lap (S2): 1'03.888 --- 1'04.383 --- 1'02.304
    Nurburgring Sector 2 (S2): 1'59.873 --- 1'59.934 --- 1'57.399
    Grand Valley Speedway Lap (N2): 2'21.204 --- 2'21.357 --- 2'16.112
    Gymkhana**: 0'53.6 --- 0'51.1 --- 0'53.0
    
    Tire Life (G.V.S. on S2): 10 laps --- 9 laps --- 12 laps
    Fuel Consumption (G.V.S. after 90 km): 31/80 --- 30/80 --- 34/80
    ____________________________________
    * Gearbox was altered on all three cars.
    ** Path I made using the Gymkhana course in the game. Timing was manually recorded.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  22. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    President's Run

    Nissan Skyline Sedan 350 GT-8 '02
    VS
    Lexus GS300 Vertex Edition '00​


    What would a president of a big company opt for in case his associates advised him to choose an affordable Japanese saloon worthy of going around town on a daily basis? Well, the president would certainly be interested in something with image and great dose of elegance. But what about sports-oriented driving? Very peculiar president, let's see what the associates managed to find. Surrounded by body guards, I went out there to carry out the test myself.


    Nissan Skyline Sedan 350 GT-8 '02

    HISTORY
    Nissan made some very big changes in development of the Skyline lineup of cars when they launched the 11th generation (V35) models. The GT-R nameplate got separated and received its own line, while the Skyline remained focused on luxury-oriented public. This division caused disappearance of an important characteristic that had been identifying Skyline models until that moment - L6 range of engines.


    WHAT IS NEW?
    Several old GTS models aside, we haven't driven properly powered RWD Skyline since the original days of legendary Gran Turismo 2. The V35 generation brought the concept back to life by introducing high-powered sedan and coupe model. Although they both nail towards comfort more than anything, almost perfect weight balance and some curiosities beneath each should provide enough material for us to spend some time with them. The sedan is known for coming with wicked sequential 8-speed gearbox, while the coupe model is simply beautiful. Because this was the first generation to be sold in USA, some models in GT4 are labeled as Infiniti.

    GT-8_Clubman.JPG
    Sequential 8-speed gearbox... Wow. Just wow.

    ENGINE
    The L6 RB series is no longer optional - for the V35 Skyline generation everything has been replaced with VQ-series V6 units, of which the VQ35DE is the one powering top models GT-8 and its coupe brother G35 Coupe (labeled in the game as Infiniti). Because it is made of aluminum and positioned towards the center of the car, it positively affects handling, which is going to be discussed soon.

    However, the real gem of this car is the sequential Extroid CVT gearbox that brings no more or less than eight gears for you to play with. Shifting occurs rapidly and smoothly without any speed loses during the process, traditionally reserved for conventional manual 'boxes. Short overall ratio of the gearbox combined with bunch of gears easily allows you to always circle around the car's peak power zone. If there is a car in the game that can use full potential of its engine, the GT-8 certainly is one.

    There are amusing parts too - if you drive with automatic transmission, the game will never let the car shift into 8th gear, even if conditions are perfect. And once you return to setup menu to check the gearbox chart, you'll notice how charts are often all messed up and out of order. Hilarious! Furthermore, if you replace the gearbox with aftermarket units, you will lose the quick sequential nature. Finally, the fully alterable aftermarket gearbox doesn't allow you to alter the 8th gear, leaving you to deal with the rest. Yeah, for some reason the game doesn't recognize that 8th gear properly in certain circumstances.

    Wait, I forgot something! If you leave the car at rest, it will slowly start accelerating until it hits 15 kph, keeping itself in motion. The result is the same if reverse gear is engaged, though the speed will stop at 26 kph. Ha, now you know that even handbrake in this game can be useful.

    Would you like an advice? Keep the stock gearbox, driving is so much better with it around.

    GT-8_Drift.JPG
    Some dori-dori activities...the perfect car for the task.

    HANDLING
    I spent great deal of my time with these cars on N2 tires as I wanted to see if any of them could adapt to flashy policy of drifting world. Not expecting anything, I jumped into the GT-8 and after few corners remained stunned - the GT-8 proved to be a great drifting machine.

    Light engine doesn't pressure the front axle too much, which is why in most circumstances is the rear axle one that takes the initiative on corner entries. Once the rear end comes out controlling drift with throttle is easy, much comfortable than on 330i BMW, for instance. Good thing is that you can easily stick with grip driving if drifting is not your beat. It would be a pity to miss it though, as I haven't experienced such smooth RWD cars for a long time. Level of understeer is moderate.

    The only minus goes to the steering. It is sensitive and not very precise, which is a combination that doesn't work well on a heavy car that is trying to balance sports and luxury abilities in one. This contributes to loss of control if consecutive lock-to-lock maneuvers are being used, so be careful.

    On S2 tires throttle-oversteer is no longer there, but you can still tighten cornering line by releasing the throttle on corner entry. Understeer is more perceivable on exits, but the important thing is that the car still remains to be navigable, making the sports-oriented driving possible and fun.



    Lexus GS300 Vertex Edition '00

    HISTORY
    The luxury mid-size class first appeared in the original Gran Turismo under surveillance of Mark II and Chaser brothers, both owned by Toyota. Next installment in the series brought range of Aristo models and several oppositions from other manufacturers, but neither of those proved to be a real threat to still popular and present machine that introduced the class - the Chaser.

    GS300_Fuji.JPG
    Run at Fuji. What exact layout - I won't tell you. VIP secret.

    WHAT IS NEW?
    Apparently, the inclusion of the Vertex model is the only novelty to dedicated GT players. This special model features larger tires and aerodynamic parts on the body. Apart from barely noticeable price difference between the regular and Vertex GS300 model, every other technical data is identical.


    ENGINE
    The good news - the GS300 is powered by Toyota's 2JZ-GTE engine, backbone and raison d'etre of the notorious Supra RZ. The bad news - potential of the engine had to be reduced to a more comfortable level, for a reason nobody can really explain.

    Really, even though initial stats suggest the same amount of grease as on the Supra RZ, purchasing the car will reveal more civilized numbers. In addition, the engine itself is required to drag around more pounds and be conducted by the widely set 4-speed automatic gearbox. The gearbox certainly isn't a bad choice, given the car's smooth power-band and wealth of torque. You may even embrace it once you realize how effective it is in supporting the car to accelerate in higher gears.

    As on the Supra RZ, the engine is keen on upgrading itself as much as possible. The sound is restrained at first, but certain exhaust tips can make a miracle.
    GS300_NewYork.JPG
    ♪ New York, New York - New Yoooork....Ooouuuaa...Ehhh...

    HANDLING
    The electronic angel prohibiting any sideways activities made the GS300 indifferent to sports oriented driving. The civilized behavior of the engine is partly responsible for this, although the main culprit is hidden beneath the body. If you manage to catch the rear axle off guard, it may start to slide somehow, but the manner in which the action is going to happen is very dull. You really need to know the elevation on corners to learn when to use possible opportunities. Needles to say, I spent almost none of my time drifting on the longest Motegi circuit.

    Better tires (S2) improved its cornering abilities, but also encouraged understeer to appear more frequently (it was already very noticeable on corner entries if N2 tires were used). Still, the level of comfort that comes within the car is the main reason why the GS300 isn't as agile and juvenile as the GT-8. On numerous occasions it was possible to eliminate understeer and clear corners neutrally, yet I couldn't fight against body's tendency to roll towards the outside. Drivers who want more should definitely install suspension package or take a look at Tom's Chaser machine.

    Before we write the GS300 off, I should mention that Gymkhana results surprised me, the GS300 proved to be more effective at griping the road at lower speed. This affected low-speed turning ability and I'm sure that is the quality GS300 used to keep up with GT-8 at Motegi where corners aren't that technical and engine power of the car can be used more effectively.

    Saloon_Duel.JPG
    Vertex lost its spoiler. Part of the presidential campaign, you know...

    CONCLUSION
    The GS300 decided to remain faithful to the associates daily surrounding the president and its prime task it is supposed to carry out - comfortable and quiet cruising from point A to point B. That is why it won't be overly interested in sports driving or drifting. Of course, that potential can be unleashed by dealing with aftermarket parts, but since we're covering the review from one particular viewpoint, I can't assign him better grade if it couldn't manage to please that viewpoint. It is also significantly more expensive than the GT-8; I would advise you to search the used dealership and find the 1991 GS300 model as you can get almost identical abilities for less than 20,000 credits already...

    The GT-8 is far more superior when it comes to overall fun factor. The sequential gearbox is without doubts top notch while the chassis itself is ready to be on disposal when you decide to tackle corners aggressively. Although it may not be visually the most charming saloon around or as prominent as certain German saloons, it will give you amusing experience you won't forget that quickly. Approved by Matej. And the president.


    Technical Specifications

    Code:
    Car: Nissan Skyline Sedan 350 GT-8 '02 --- Lexus GS300 Vertex Edition '00
    Status: New --- New
    Price: $36,600 --- $45,500
    
    Engine: V6 DOHC, 3498 ccm --- L6 DOHC, 2997 ccm
    Power: 267 HP @ 6000 rpm --- 286 HP @ 5600 rpm
    Torque: 352.70 Nm @ 4000 rpm --- 468.73 Nm @ 3600 rpm
    Aspiration: NA --- Turbo
    
    Drivetrain: FR --- FR
    Weight: 1550 kg --- 1680 kg
    Wheelbase: 2850 mm --- 2799 mm
    Tires: 215/55 R 17, 215/55 R 17 --- 235/45 R 17, 235/45 R 17
    
    0-400m: 0'14.240 --- 0'14.260
    0-1000m: 0'25.762 --- 0'25.807
    Top Speed (kph): 252.04 --- 267.62
    Elasticity (0-100 in 2nd gear): 105,6 m --- 115,5 m
    Braking (kph: 200 > 60): 131.1 m --- 131.6 m
    
    Motegi Road Course Lap (N2): 2'22.695 --- 2'23.042
    Infineon Raceway Sports Course Lap (S2): 1'48.144 --- 1'50.097
    Gymkhana*: 0'57.4 --- 0'56.5 
    ____________________________________
    * Path I made using the Gymkhana course in the game. Timing was manually recorded.
     
    JASON_ROCKS1998 likes this.
  23. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    Big SUV Comparison!


    Flourishing segment of SUV vehicles is slowly stepping out of usual routines by offering various variations to satisfy diverse groups of customers. Sports, recreational, simply attractive... there are SUVs for everyone. Our GT4 brought five of them (plus a 4WD truck), so I went to Grand Canyon to see how they tackle off-road duties. That is actually a very intriguing question of this class; are they just being trendy life-style machines with no real use outside regular pavement?



    Audi Pikes Peak quattro '03


    Have you performed up-close inspection of this beast? The bad-ass SUV Pike Peak is a living example that real estates don't necessarily have to appear in static shape. Plus, you can use it on public roads and intimidate citizens trying to stop you from rudely progressing through traffic jams. Dominance is ensured, no doubts about that...

    Judging by the performance values of weight and power the Pikes Peak is by far the best Q7 you'll ever get to drive in real world. But is it the best choice for off-road assignments too? Sure it is! By using light materials to build the chassis and sophisticated air suspension, Audi brought some very competitive concept to our hands.

    Chassis is really strong, it is hardly possible to feel negative effects of weight transfer as you go around corners. If you would want to compare the Pikes Peak with the Stormer, it would appear as if one of them was built with a racing roll cage installed to suppress all that motion huge mass produces. With no noticeable leaning or diving, the Pikes's body remains steady and responsive as it can be with all that weight around. Very good!

    Stormer.JPG
    Environmental activist spying on the Stormer.
    However, braking is not that good and I had trouble turning the car with fully locked steering and throttle applied. I may call it 'understeer', but in reality the front axle does not have enough torque to take the initiative and steer the car towards inside. LSD is obviously not available by default as I experienced annoying inner wheel-spin when going out of corners in 1st gear. If you start using 2nd gear the car won't pull as vigorously due to wider ratio of higher gears. Very troublesome combination, make sure you stop by tuning shop.

    Overall, the car is potentially the fastest in the group, but it needs some basic upgrades to truly reduce stress of going around rally courses.


    Land Rover Range Stormer Concept '04

    I really wanted to build my own replica of the 5.0 Supercharged V8 Range Rover (L322), so I went shopping and bought some nice parts that increased overall power to 492 horsepower. With slightly higher torque, that is about what you would get in real life too. Unlike the Pikes Peak, this machine goes even further in terms of overall weight; with 2,5 tons of vanity, it posses enough force to launch environmental activists 'out of range'. Hm, no wonders why nobody cares about reliability. But sure it can show off on dirt...

    Precisely, the Stormer can pull some tricks here and there. Yes, it is very heavy and quite difficult to drive; due to soft suspension (that allows the weight to go from one side of the car to another with very little resistance) the car tends to roll, making cornering with applied throttle difficult if any of the the axles loses grip.

    However, if you learn to keep the weight in place, little diligence while steering with the wheel is all you'll need to have to keep average cornering speeds. Brakes are fantastic and the car proved to be better at pulling inwards than the Pikes Peak. The gearbox is also fine, I could spend most of my time driving in 2nd and 3rd gear without having to worry about the rest. The 2nd gear uses all of the available torque with ease, I didn't notice any negative side-effects at all.

    One basic weight reduction and aftermarket suspension kit will do miracle in matching the Pikes Peak in lap times.


    Dodge Ram 1500 LARAMIE Hemi Quad Cab '04

    What should we say about the truck by which side even full-size SUVs such as the Pikes Peak look smaller and more vulnerable than a grain of sand. Frankly, the Battering Ram is a really long menace that would do more service for local army forces than for drivers inhaling dust from dirt courses. For some reason that didn't stop it from hammering a SUV or two on our test.

    Naturally, it is difficult to navigate around narrow courses due to its rear tail that often goes wild when throttle is wide open. Usually I praise this FR characteristic on smaller, compact-made cars, but this... The motion occurs suddenly with no real opportunities to control the slide through corners. I won't complain too much though, on this track it is hard to pull any tricks even with smaller cars.

    Another problem is related to the body once again - the truck tends to roll, more excessively so than the Stormer. Either front or rear end will come out, depending on how you undertake those corners. It was actually amusing to load the ghost run of the Stormer and try to catch up with it. Competition between two massive vehicles, each with its own quirks, merits and load of clumsiness...

    Ah, yes - you may have noticed the power increase. Well, I heard about that SRT model that seem to be equipped with V10 engine from Dodge Viper. Displacement, have mercy! 'Time to fit some upgrades', I shouted. By the way, the gearbox is really good. Shifting is fast enough, not to mention that in both 1st and 2nd gear we have plenty of torque to run away when needed. I did notice, however, that the ratio between the two gears is set in such way that I would often doubt whether to downshift on tighter corners to 1st or keep it in 2nd. Well, it is a small price to pay.

    Ram.JPG
    What is the magic word, kid?

    Infiniti FX45 Concept '04

    The figure known as FX45 caught my attention. The engineers managed to find a way to keep the car higher above the ground without affecting its sports presence. Of course, there are factors trying to downgrade its position; terrible exhaust sound and chassis prone to heavy understeer when driven over tarmac surfaces comes to mind. Luckily, neither of these things will matter to much once you hit dirt road.

    You see, the FX45 is equipped with ATTESA E-TS four-wheel drive system, important tool of many high-performance Nissan models. Power usually goes to rear wheels until front starts to slip. Completely opposite system of conventional 4WD systems that regularly appear on modern SUVs. If conditions are adequate, these cars will tend to power-oversteer before front tires engage into process of regaining the grip. In other words, if there is a FR tendency you would like to experience on this car, it is likely that it will happen.

    Yep, it really did. Once you open the throttle on your way out, the FX45 starts to drift, allowing for tighter cornering on mild and sharp turns. Torque seems to be around whenever you need it and the gearbox is wide enough to make the 1st gear actually useful. Is it invincible?

    Nope. Although its agility proved to be effective in setting fast lap time around the course, turning the car with acceleration pedal may often exceed grip level of rear tires, sending the car sideways. Front tires in such situation do not cooperate as I would expect, increasing the risk of going into guardrail. In addition, the car cannot turn-in into corners as good as the CX-5 or the Airtrek (the closest rivals in terms of gross weight), meaning you only have one good weapon in your arsenal to tackle your opponents. Too bad, I really wanted a crossover GT-R.


    Mazda MX-Crossport '05

    Mazda had to join the lair of trendy SUV vehicles sooner or later. All car manufacturers that wanted to be competitive on the market have already started dealing with this category of vehicles, so Mazda shouldn't be an exception. The CX-7 borrows several components from its saloon brother MPS6 - 4WD system and turbocharged engine.

    Airtrek.JPG
    You're just a shadow of Lancer Evolution, just a shadow...

    Turning the vehicle on corner entries is really easy, I think the FX45 should learn something from the CX-7. The same cannot be said for the entries, sadly. The CX-7 features Mazda's on-demand Active Torque-Split system, which allocates up to 50% of torque to rear wheels when slip on the front axle is detected. If there is no slip on front wheels of any kind, only front wheels participate in torque feast. Naturally, the system is not really keen on directing the vehicle into corners and I think Polyphony modeled that characteristic very well as you really have to rely on steering wheel and its lock-to-lock functions to steer the car towards inside. After all, the car itself belongs to the class where 4WD is used mainly for extremely light-terrain duties, so I'm not surprised the CX-7 isn't better than that.

    Access to fast cornering can be achieved by relying on brake-steering on corner entries, so that on exits you don't have to rely on front wheels and steering that much. This trick allowed me to keep the CX-7 in vicinity of the FX45, at least before we reached that short straightway with two jumps.

    The power plant moving the CX-7 around received less points than I initially expected. The power output is quite spiky, so it gets hard to ensure that gears land in most productive zones on track where engine speed constantly changes. Gearbox ain't flawless either - 1st gear can be useful for clearing some corners, but usually I had to calculate whether should I drive in 2nd gear or 1st gear. I don't like that because good gearbox is one where gear changes happen spontaneously, leaving driver to focus on cornering. Well, I still think highly of the CX-7.


    Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo-R '02

    Genes of crowned rally champions flow through veins of this recreational commuter. The Airtrek borrows engine and chassis undercarriage from Lancer Evolution models, something we get to testify from the very first minute of driving on a dirt road.

    The Airtrek is marked with decent chassis and level of agility positioned slightly above the average of this class. The drivetrain works well, I couldn't notice any quirks during entry or exit cornering sequences that would require me to adapt my driving skills. After driving everything else on this test, the Airtrek proved to be the only car in the group that could be taken down the road without much hassle, leaving you enough space to relax and drive for fun.

    Simple modus operandi the car is blessed with makes it rather recommendable choice for amateur drivers who don't have enough patience to work on initial mechanical problems some cars usually come with. Sometimes I wish the Airtrek was more challenging to drive, but since all other cars on this test already had plenty of personal conditions I had to agree on, I think we can let this one go.

    What we can't let go is the problem I found deep inside the engine bay. The 2.0 liter turbocharged engine is too anemic to be effective in assisting body 'extraction' on corners, so even perfectly cleared corners will suffer due to lack of punch on your way out. I wasn't expecting that lack of speed would have that much effect on narrow and technical track like this, but it seems that is the case with the Airtrek. Another problem is the gearbox - the 1st gear is too short and in 2nd gear the car struggles to accelerate. Too bad because torque output is linear where it should be, so they should have worked on that gearbox. These two things greatly affect overall lap times around the course.

    Such a shame we don't have a Subaru Forester. It would fit alongside this car quite well.

    MX_Cross.JPG
    Mazda wants some too!


    Conclusion

    Many of these cars will prove themselves useful on rally events the game is blessed with, especially if you select the most enjoyable choices. Personally, I can't decide which one takes the title. All of them are special in their own way and at first I thought there won't be much difference between each. As a result, I summarized my opinion of each car down below. I hope it will help you choose what you really need. You can also find basic technical specifications for each car, ordered by fastest lap times.


    Audi Pikes Peak quattro = Few basic upgrades and it will fly. It may become too easy to drive though.

    Infiniti FX45 Concept = Fix corner entry understeer and you got yourself a nice drifting machine for rally courses.

    Dodge Ram 1500 LARAMIE Hemi Quad Cab = Too clumsy and aggressive at times. I did like the gearbox.

    Land Rover Range Stormer Concept = Highly recommendable once you fix prominent body leaning.

    Mazda MX-Crossport '05 = Good choice for recreational driving, real life SUV owners may adore it.

    Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo-R '02 = Too slow to make a good use of its solid handling. Easy to operate.

    Code:
    Car --- Power in HP (Torque in Nm), Weight in Kg --- Fastest Lap --- Upgraded Parts
    
    Audi Pikes Peak quattro '03 --------------------- 500 (630), 1900 --- 2'38.851 --- None
    Infiniti FX45 Concept '04 ----------------------- 341 (452), 1500 --- 2'38.880 --- None
    Dodge Ram 1500 LARAMIE Hemi Quad Cab '04 -------- 503 (734), 2390 --- 2'39.580 --- Na Tune Stage 2
    Land Rover Range Stormer Concept '04 ------------ 484 (760), 2500 --- 2'39.603 --- Racing Muffler, Racing Chip, Na Tune Stage 2
    Mazda MX-Crossport '05 -------------------------- 256 (379), 1600 --- 2'42.037 --- None
    Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo-R '02 ------------------ 238 (343), 1520 --- 2'46.320 --- None
    
     
    BobK and Harsk100 like this.
  24. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Croatia
    Compact Confrontation of Europe

    Peugeot 307 XSi '04
    VS
    Renault Megane 2.0 16V '03
    VS
    Citroën Xsara VTR '03
    VS
    Volkswagen Golf IV GTI '01
    VS
    Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twinspark '02

    What could possibly create more rumble on European car market than medium-sized, all-rounder compact vehicles? Approved as rational choice with a number of engine and trim levels, these cars often come in slightly spiced format, which in best case can become representative of the entire class, setting good benchmark for all others. Since Gran Turismo nourishes these vehicles more than anyone, I decided to grab few from the basket and put them to hard-testing of mine.



    Peugeot 307 XSi '04

    HISTORY
    The model responsible for replacing the 'outdated' 306 is known as 307. Initial reactions among journalists highlighted certain build quality issues and lack of appropriate performance model that would fearlessly stand by other hot-hatches of that time. Nevertheless, the 307 was eventually recognized for being highly competitive in various domains over its rivals - space, price, trim levels, you name it. Revisions brought in 2005 improved reliability and even introduced that unknown Feline model that tried to run away from all the comfort the 307 had in large amount.

    Sadly, we don't get to play with the Feline, we got the XSi instead. The XSi models are said to be sporty-oriented models with decent visual additions and allegedly somehow firmer suspension kit. Very little information can be found about that trim range except they are sometimes positioned one step below GTi or Rallye machines, mostly due to moderately powerful engines and certain mechanical enhancements on or beneath their bodies. Hopefully this leaves an effect in GT4 or else...

    Alfa_147.JPG
    What is wrong with this color, I can't even...

    WHAT IS NEW?
    The 307 is a new player in town and yet needs to prove itself. This is going to be a difficult task considering the modest engine output and somehow boring styling. We shouldn't forget that Peugeot's lineup in the game is still packed with several popular performance sweets, leaving very narrow space for the 307 to squeeze by and shine.

    ENGINE
    The 2.0 liter EW10 engine reinforces the car with 140 horsepower, which seems like a great deal as long as we don't look at the weight figure; that body needs to be towed around, it ain't light at all! Nevertheless, the engine is very good in what it does - increasing power gradually. Smooth operation is further backed by carefully aligned gearbox, not even sports cars of higher class could offer such collaboration. On the whole - good enough, it certainly exceeded my expectations.


    HANDLING
    Engineers at Peugeot were keen on penetrating hot-hatch standards even with model 307, using XSi as a working mule for this task. Sadly, along the way they failed to harmonize certain elements properly, leaving overall result somewhere around the average.

    There is a good chance that on a very first run the car will leave positive impression on you. The chassis is surprisingly steady and responsive, showing sporty tendencies on every corner. While general speed isn't anything special, posture the car tries to set fits into world of racing quite well. Unfortunately, further driving will reveal its true secrets.

    Decelerating with this car may cause understeer; while aiming for stable and rapid turn-ins I couldn't rely on weight transfer as on other FF cars. That is not very desirable, what other trump cards do FF cars have anyway? Understeer is also noticeable on corner exits, usually backed by strong and blunt resistance from the front end. In addition, that chassis is not supported by suspension successfully, almost as the body is too big for it. This makes hard to estimate what those tires are doing and how far the car can be pushed. It is like you're driving a car and Usually all negative handling traits on this car will appear suddenly for that reason. On S-corners it was also prone to lateral grip loss, sometimes even after turn-in.

    Maybe strengthening that suspension could help, but I didn't have enough motivation to try that out. You should, at least for the sake of that engine.



    Renault Megane 2.0 16V '03

    HISTORY
    There was once a Megane Coupe, small rabbit that never got the publicity it deserved. In GT2 it could be transformed into a Megane Maxi, an F2 Kit car, while in GT4 its engine further evolved with IDE technology that made Megane's good performance even better. The first time I drove the car in GT4, I was very pleased with what it offered. I wonder if the Megane II can excel its potential.

    WHAT IS NEW?
    I have never driven the Megane II before, so it better be good, expectations are high. Just as with the 307, performance numbers do not follow potency of its predecessor, but maybe in handling department something interesting can be found, Renault is an expert in this after all. The new approach to visuals makes me displeased, but it can't be helped.

    Megane_2003.JPG
    Ah, photo techniques can do miracle! Still displeased?


    ENGINE
    The Megane is backed by a good reference; turbocharged version of the F4R engine is responsible for moving ability of the RenaultSport Megane II, available in GT5 onward. In GT4 we get to play with the bare version of that engine. Sadly, power chart around the peak zone is significantly steeper than on the 307, almost like on turbocharged cars. Although the engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, wide nature of that gearbox doesn't match characteristics of the engine. The aftermarket Close gearbox is useful on tracks where top speed of 170 kph cannot affect your rank. Another bad news is that not even turbo kits can satisfactorily rectify the power chart, so using full potential of the engine is very tricky.

    HANDLING
    After going 'around the block' few times I realized the Megane wasn't built for the purpose of advertising sports driving. Yep, I don't feel any sports undercarriage down there, it seems the engineers took the safer path and left business with performance to RenaultSport. Good call or...?

    Softer suspension implies more body roll and more leaning to either side, something you get to feel on the Megane as well, obviously. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Unlike the 307, the Megane travels over bumps smoothly, producing more lateral grip once certain amount of weight fully saddles the outside tires. It can be driven neutrally just as the 147, albeit with more caution required when playing with weight transfer - keeping all those pounds in place on such loosened suspension is not easy as it may seem. Nevertheless, this allowed me to play on the edge of its capabilities and enjoy learning how to use its potential, something I could never say for the 307.

    The Megane is one of those 'good' cars on which suspension and chassis are well matched together, within expectations people have when inspecting this class and level of power. For that reason, utilizing and understanding its current and possible potential is transparent. Mind you, all other cars on the test (apart from the Golf IV GTI) had certain elements that could mislead you when estimating their potential, even if they may be positive in general.

    Citroën Xsara VTR '03

    HISTORY
    Some of us may remember the 1.8 liter Xsara Exclusive from Gran Turismo 2. Contrary to what the name suggested, the Xsara wasn't more or less 'exclusive' than an average Kei car, although it did fit well alongside other compact cars of that range. The Xsara's popularity was polluted by presence of much smaller Saxo VTS and Peugeot 306 S16, both being performance 'hatches that no longer appear in the series. The 306 S16 is strongly related to the Xsara VTS, cheaper alternative that also never found its way in any GT game. Much better situation surrounded the Rally car that keeps appearing in GT games in this or that form.

    WHAT IS NEW?
    The face-lifted VTR model is seemingly not much different from the original Xsara 1.8i. Both power and weight have remained almost unchanged, which means that major differences should be noticeable on the exterior. Different headlights and taillights, VTR badge, 3-door body configuration and mini rear spoiler conclude the list of novelties. However, the VTR badge suggests that the Xsara is equipped with better suspension and steering system. And because the face-lifted version was said to be generally stiffer, I think we have enough material not to write the Xsara off yet.

    Megane_vs_307.JPG
    So alike, yet so different...

    ENGINE
    Face-lifted models no longer offered 1.8 liter engines, the same power could now be delivered using smaller 1.6 liter unit. This engine loosely follows pattern of the 307's EW10, but to really be on par with it, it should've had better mid-range output. Nevertheless, I'm more concerned about the overall power the engine produces, the current value makes the Xsara simply slow. You should use savings from the purchase to raise the power by 20 to 30 horsepower, the chassis can take it. The exhaust sound reminds me of the old OHV engines we had on the Mini Coopers from earlier games in the series. Suits the Xsara well somehow, really catchy tune.

    And here is a fun fact - the boring C3 model can be upgraded with a supercharger (ultimate power upgrade in this game) whereas the Xsara can't, even though both are powered by the same engine. Quite disturbing, don't you agree?

    HANDLING
    There is no doubt that the Xsara should stay away from head-to-head challenges against either of these challengers, it simply can't keep up with their speed. Of course, just because it doesn't offer enough ponies doesn't mean it is incapable of invoking fondness in you. I spent more time with the Xsara than with any other car on this test, simply because I realized how charming it is when going around corners.

    The steering is fairly quick and chassis almost unbelievably rigid. The latter is close to what the 307 offers, but without understeer and with more feedback coming from the road. While on straight lines it will be smoked by any other car due to lack of power, on corners it keeps the average speed just as high as the Megane or the 307.

    Overall driving pleasure felt while going around corners is as high as on the 147, albeit with one minor drawback - stiff configuration of the suspension occasionally affects grip of the front axle when traveling over bumps. I'm sure more weight on the car in general would turn the Xsara into winner, but when I recall it could clear long, bumpy sweepers on Le Mans track without losing grip at all, you should take the complaint above in reserve.


    Volkswagen Golf IV GTI '01

    HISTORY
    Back in the days of Gran Turismo 2, Polyphony had enough courage to present total of four engine entries for the Golf Mk4: standard and turbocharged 1.8 liter unit, VR5 and VR6. As in the game, the 1.8 liter models were badged as GTI, although this had no real effect on their performance; by the time the Mk4 generation entered the production, the GTI badge had already been downgraded to a simple trim level. Naturally, this did not please GTI fans, although some people praised range of engines that could be had with the GTI badge. Gran Turismo 4 reintroduced the GTI range once again, adding models Lupo, Polo and the Mk5 Golf GTI, arguably the first true GTI since the original.


    WHAT IS NEW?
    The Golf Mk4 is no longer a new car as it used to be in the past, now it must be bought from used car dealership. It is not going to be a cheap choice either, I got mine for 23,850 credits and found further investment inevitable. One or two colors are missing but we got neat BBS wheels as restitution.

    ENGINE
    Remarkable turbocharged unit, what else can I say? Flat and broad delivery of torque from 1750 to 4600 rpm along with smooth distribution of power on high-rpm zone without drop-off sequence of any kind really deserves admiration. This is a great engine and undoubtedly the most valuable part of the car. You don't even need to replace the gearbox because the stock one works fine and fast enough. The only thing I could point out is the lack of punch you would expect on a turbocharged car, but on FWD compact cars aggression is not necessarily the only solution for everything anyway. So far the GTI badge is justified, but don't forget we haven't reached the handling section yet.

    Golf_vs_147.JPG
    Exciting duel takes place at Motegi!

    HANDLING
    And now we just did. I wish we haven't as it clearly nullifies everything good we have mentioned about its engine. And BBS wheels.

    So, where should I start? The chassis is weak, making the car unresponsive on turn-ins. Naturally, when you mount such chassis on soft suspension configuration, you can't really expect to receive groundbreaking hot-hatch credibility. Overall cornering is sluggish, with understeer regularly emerging to surface upon applying the throttle. In addition, the car is prone to body roll whenever (modest) cornering capabilities are fully used. Have you noticed sparks coming out when the car pitches during breaking? Default ride height is really low...

    While I can understand that fourth generation Golf GTI was performance-wise degraded to appeal to wider audience, I would still expect better behavior from a compact car that produces 150 horsepower from a turbocharged engine. That poor handling scheme we get to see in the game can only be outclassed by ridiculous amount of credits you'll have to spend in order to bring the car's potential to operable level (notice that the car itself is quite fast, but quite difficult and often annoying to drive). After tweaking values of the most expensive suspension kit (because cheaper won't solve anything), I realized that handling became much sharper and thus closer to what I would expect from a GTI Golf. Still, to fix the chassis problem, you'll probably have to install roll cage and restore rigidity.

    Yeah, we're talking about 80k credits worth investment. Better run that Capri event once more.


    Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twinspark '02

    HISTORY
    The 147 continues to follow in the footsteps of the 145 2.0 Twin Spark... or at least is trying to do so. With no Cloverleaf badge around and allegedly softer suspension setup, the 147 is having a hard time retaining charisma of its predecessor. No need to worry, though. When it comes to sports performance, Alfa Romeo models tend to be highly competitive and adaptive. Why should we doubt the 147 then?


    WHAT IS NEW?
    Both 2.0 liter Twin Spark and 3.2 V6 GTA are clickable options. Nothing more, nothing less. The problem, however, is whether a humanoid should opt for the 2.0 liter model or not, given that brutal power effusion of the bad-ass 3.2 V6 machine is just a click away. I wonder if the 2.0 model had to be featured anyway, but at least we can include Alfa Romeo in this test of compact cars.

    ENGINE
    With all those variations of acknowledged 1.9 JTD diesel engine around, Twin Spark engines are slowly falling into oblivion. No worries, I'm now keeping the flame burning by writing about one of them. You're welcome.

    The 2.0 liter 'Sparky' engine powering the 147 sounds very mature, that exhaust pipe probably had more fun being used by the engine than I did. Power output is fine, albeit shorter gears would help the engine satisfy high-rev nature it is leaning to. Gear shifting itself should've been a bit quicker as well. I'm saying all this because the car's handling screams for some pavement action, so it is a bit unusual that power-plant wasn't built to meet this request in first place. Probably a bug by Polyphony.

    Xsara.JPG
    Try me out, I won't disappoint you!


    HANDLING
    Quick steering and responsive handling? Alfa Romeo can take care of that. Certain compromises you have to withstand elsewhere are often a big price to pay, but where else could you find such charismatic and performance-oriented products? For that reason, even if the 147 may seem a bit ordinary near every other hot-hatch we get to drive in this game, you can bet that here in its own class, it will be a tough opponent to beat. This racing scenario, this is Alfa's territory.

    As we suggested before, steering is quick and well suited for sports driving. Movements of the chassis imply the chassis itself isn't as composed as that of the 307 (it even shivers at times!), but it allows the car to take tighter line on slow-paced corners. The suspension allows just enough pounds on all four tires to ensure grip is acceptable, yet it keeps the car responsive enough. Yes, I noticed that certain deal of comfort compromised its handling, but I could always keep average cornering speed surprisingly high, something neither Xsara or the 307 could achieve that easily without showing weak points, in spite of their firmer bodies.

    Besides, good drivers will notice that it is possible to drive the car without understeering - to be able to stay on your path upon deceleration or acceleration is really admirable virtue. I can't deny it, the 147 is a very good car.


    Final Standings
    Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twinspark '02
    Citroën Xsara VTR '03
    Renault Megane 2.0 16V '03
    Volkswagen Golf IV GTI '01
    Peugeot 307 XSi '04​

    CONCLUSION
    Instead of usual paragraphs, I summarized my thoughts in few lines for each car. Take a look:

    147 - undoubtedly the fastest and most balanced machine in the group. We have good soundtrack coming from the exhaust pipes, enough power and handling to take care of it. Some people will find gearbox and visuals defective, but from my perspective that ain't enough to endanger its overall position. It really deserves top place.

    Xsara - if only it had better front end suspension configuration, it would have taken the throne. Blue color is really curious. Entertaining to drive in spite of its lack of power.

    Megane - cornering potential is very good, at times on par with the 147. Powerplant should have been much better, it really affects everything else to a large degree. Visuals = zero.

    Golf - very demanding and potentially highly expensive car. The handling is so messed up that even car's magnificent engine won't be able to shine as it should (let's not forget BBS wheels). Skillful tuners (and drivers) required.

    307 - it is good when chassis and suspension work together, but that usually isn't the case. Some elements are better than others, some could simply outclass everything else we have tested here, but as a whole it is a miss (generally). Visuals = zero. Now, where is my dear 206 S16?


    Technical Specifications

    Code:
    Car: Peugeot 307 XSi '04 --- Renault Megane 2.0 16V '03 --- Citroën Xsara VTR '03 --- Volkswagen Golf IV GTI '01 --- Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 Twinspark '02
    Status: New --- New --- New --- Used --- New
    Price: $27,940 --- $26,390 --- $21,850 --- $23,850 --- $30,590
    
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1997 ccm --- L4 DOHC, 1998 ccm --- L4 DOHC, 1587 ccm --- L4 DOHC, 1781 ccm --- L4 DOHC, 1969 ccm
    Power: 141 HP @ 6000 rpm --- 136 HP @ 5500 rpm --- 107 HP @ 5800 rpm --- 148 HP @ 5700 rpm --- 148 HP @ 6300 rpm
    Torque: 189.92 Nm @ 4100 rpm --- 191.00 Nm @ 3750 rpm --- 146.90 Nm @ 4000 rpm --- 209.13 Nm @ 1750-4600 rpm --- 180.12 Nm @ 3800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA --- NA --- NA --- Turbo --- NA
    
    Drivetrain: FF --- FF --- FF --- FF --- FF
    Weight: 1260 kg --- 1230 kg --- 1180 kg --- 1280 kg --- 1280 kg
    Wheelbase: 2608 mm --- 2625 mm --- 2540 mm --- 2511 mm --- 2546 mm
    Tires: 205/55 R16 --- 205/55 R16 --- 195/55 R15 --- 205/55 R16 --- 205/55 R16
    
    0-400m: 0'17.436 --- 0'17.616 --- 0'18.707 --- 0'17.058 --- 0'17.165
    0-1000m: 0'31.292 --- 0'31.644 --- 0'33.832 --- 0'30.682 --- 0'30.902
    Elasticity (0-100 in 2nd gear)*: 204,5 m --- 202,9 m --- 269,6 m --- 200,5 m --- 226,5 m
    Braking (kph: 160 > 60): 72.3 m --- 73.4 m --- 64.8 m --- 68.6 m --- 64.9 m
    
    Opera Paris Lap (N2 tires): 1'51.160 --- 1'50.387 --- 1'52.238 --- 1'50.006 --- 1'48.877
    Gymkhana**: 1'00.0 --- 1'01.4 --- 1'00.6 --- 1'00.3 --- 0'59.0
    ____________________________________
    * Identical gearbox setup was applied to each car.
    ** Path I made using the Gymkhana course in the game. Timing was manually recorded. Short thoughts:
    
    307 - surprisingly agile and responsive, usual cornering issues were not in the way
    Megane - a bit soft for the polygon. Steering was not direct enough, the car would swerve either left or right
    Xsara - very good, but too slow on speedy sections
    Golf - poor handling didn't stop it from being competitive
    147 - adequate steering and handling abilities surpassed others easily
    
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  25. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    Sleepers of 80s


    Today I decided to write another review of mine using question-answer approach. The journalist was Biston from Matej's Diary (check my signature). Below the conversation is a table with usual technical information. Enjoy!

    The impressions three cars left on me during yesterday's test trial.

    1988 Accord Coupe, 1989 Toyota Carina ED 2.0 X 4WS and 1988 Nissan EXA Canopy L.A. Version Type S.

    Driving FWD cars in this game is hardly ever exciting, especially when you have to deal with uninspiring ones.

    Accord.JPG
    No comment.

    Not quite. I have nothing against driving vehicles from 100 HP range. As a matter of fact, these cars proved to be quite good for circuit competition. The problem is the image and appearance all three have to carry around. I'm sure not many people would have enough patience to buy them and drive them.

    I would start with Carina if possible.

    The 4WS badge or four-wheel steering system. Not that it would increase its popularity that much, there are more powerful cars from Honda and Toyota with that tool that don't receive proper attention.

    Not in this game. Unless you really pay attention to what the car is doing on corners, you're not going to notice any benefits from that system.

    At times the car seems to be capable of taking tighter cornering lines if you approach mid and high-speed corners with throttle fully closed. On slower corners and when performing quick maneuvers from one side of the road to another the car seems to be more agile than it should be. However, note that this didn't affect lap times at all, the Carina was the slowest car on the test and its average cornering speed wasn't anything special. As a matter of fact, judging by the input from data logger, it had equal or worse cornering speeds.

    Yes, assuming you are aware of its presence in the car. Otherwise it will feel just like any other FWD car in the game.

    Excuse me?

    Not while I'm around. It wasn't fun to drive at all. Engine was quiet too and I don't like that.

    Carina.JPG
    Four-wheel steering for executives.

    True. Marginally more powerful engine and better aligned first two gears helped it win the tests.

    The Accord failed because its 4-speed gearbox is too wide to use potential of the engine effectively. Surprisingly, even after carrying out elasticity test with same gearbox setup for each car, I still concluded the Accord was the worst in the group. It must be the number of camshafts playing important role here...

    And I think Polyphony took that into consideration.

    I can't say it was delightful to drive, but it did beat the other two in terms of refined drive. Understeer side-effects were milder than on Carina and the engine had better exhaust sound. It was easier to drive too, I could pull tighter cornering lines without much trouble.

    I would recommend pinning the body down a bit more. The body is too slow in returning to its natural position after weight transfer, basic suspension component can heal that.

    EXA.JPG
    EXA Canopy L.A. Version? Los Angeles probably...

    Yeah, that is plausible. However, don't forget that it limits maximum power the car can obtain.

    No, why? You can't do that anyway.

    Your questions are getting weird...

    The Accord was fast, no doubts about that. It would have been even faster with better gearbox, I'm sure. But one thing I didn't like was understeer that occasionally appeared on corner entries unpredictably. If you're not ready, it can do a lot of damage to you. Otherwise it feels just like any other Honda - fast and confident.

    I'm sure that helped a lot, but it can't affect balance in handling, something I value a lot when testing a car.

    Modern gamers only care about SiR and Type-R Accord models. I'm sure few of them would consider buying this one for special occasions, but these kind of people are rare.

    Now, are there any special recommendations for all three cars you would like to give to our readers?
    If you want the cheapest choice, buy EXA. I found one for around 5,000 credits, real bargain consider how it is the most refined car of the three. The Accord can even demand up to 10 grand, but considering how this is an USA import, that is normal. I would also recommend keeping turbo kits away, regardless of your choice. All three cars have engines that nail towards high-rev zone with torque being distributed in favour of mid-range zone. Installing NA stages won't change this patterns or make them more spikier.

    Yes?

    Goodbye.

    Conclusion
    Nissan EXA Canopy L.A.Version Type S '88
    Honda Accord Coupe '88
    Toyota Carina ED 2.0 X 4WS '89​


    Technical Specifications

    Code:
    Car: Toyota Carina ED 2.0 X 4WS '89 --- Nissan EXA Canopy L.A.Version Type S '88 --- Honda Accord Coupe '88
    Status: Used --- Used --- Used
    Price: $6,072 --- $5,183 --- $9,099
    
    Engine: L4 DOHC, 1998 ccm --- L4 DOHC, 1598 ccm --- L4 SOHC, 1955 ccm
    Power: 125 HP @ 5600 rpm --- 114 HP @ 6400 rpm --- 119 HP @ 5800 rpm
    Torque: 124.04 Nm @ 4400 rpm --- 100.97 Nm @ 5200 rpm --- 121.80 Nm @ 4000 rpm
    Aspiration: NA --- NA --- NA
    
    Drivetrain: FF --- FF --- FF
    Weight: 1200 kg --- 1070 kg --- 1220 kg
    Wheelbase: 2525 mm --- 2430 mm --- 2600 mm
    Tires: 185/65 R 14, 185/65 R 14 --- 185/60 R 14, 185/60 R 14 --- 195/60 R 14, 195/60 R 14
    
    0-400m: 0'18.185 --- 0'18.351 --- 0'18.648
    0-1000m: 0'32.780 --- 0'32.937 --- 0'33.249
    Elasticity (0-100 in 2nd gear)*: 233,0 m --- 231,9 m--- 241,0 m
    
    Clubman Stage Route 5 (N2): 1'16.202 --- 1'15.342 --- 1'14.928
    
    ____________________________________
    * Identical gearbox setup was used on all three cars.
     
  26. Heavyduke

    Heavyduke

    Messages:
    328
    Hey, is it possible if I use an idea close to yours, but with premium cars? I'll give credit.
     
  27. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    I apologize for not responding, didn't get the alert for some reason.

    Sure, go ahead! Happy writing. :tup:
     
  28. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    Game Versus Reality: Hot-Hatch Comparison (106 vs Punto vs Polo)



    Few weeks ago I came across an old Croatian car magazine resting in-between two piles of ancient newspapers stored in my cabinet. I stopped doing whatever I was doing, pulled the magazine out and cleaned remaining dust particles of it. There is nothing better than reading through old stuff, I said to myself loud.

    As I was browsing the magazine, I spotted a review of three familiar hot-hatches that ruled the streets years ago – Fiat Punto HGT, Peugeot 206 S16 and VW Polo GTI. The review was pretty detailed and for what I knew about the cars back then, fairly accurate.

    Hatch article.jpg

    At that moment a thought of some sort snuck into my head – let’s do the same thing in GT4! We have the same cars, enough tracks and tools to measure what needs to be measured in detail.

    There was only one little adjustment I had to make.

    I had to replace the 206 S16 with its lower-spec relative 106 Rallye. Knowing how fast S16 models in GT4 are, I didn't want to risk shooting myself in the foot right from the beginning by matching such uneven cars. It would spoil all the fun before even scratching the surface of what these cars can do! With its slightly lower power output and more radical approach to… hm, pretty much everything, the Rallye was a more suitable choice, though far from being totally harmless.

    The Rallye comes with a compact 1.6 litre engine squeezing slightly over 100 hp. Quite a modest increase over the Phase I model, but the fact power output now had three digits instead of two made it seem like a substantial improvement. Bigger power-ups were offered for the S16 model and very last manufactured Rallye models limited to specific markets.

    106_1.jpeg


    I am glad its tiny exhaust pipe peeking from below is capable of producing some sweet tune, mostly noticeable when you gradually build up the revs. There is enough torque in the lower range to provide some zest on slow-paced corner exits, though I would prefer slightly milder power delivery hyperbola around the peak power value. For most of the time, the engine barks more than it bites, but does a decent job carrying that little body around.

    The car proved to be fairly sensitive to my braking and throttle inputs. Given it has no electronic angels installed and relies exclusively on mechanical grip and quality of your rubber, this comes as no surprise. Expressing anger on the pedals will usually always result in understeer and silly trap speeds.

    So the best thing you can do is brake gently before every corner and let the rest of the sufficient speed drop on its own as you coast around the apex of the corner. Once the "coast is clear", you can accelerate, but keep in mind that feathering may still be necessary if the corner doesn't stretch out immediately. Sometimes you can lightly rotate the car by raising the foot of the pedal in mid-corner sections (usually doable on semi-fast sweepers).


    106_2.JPG


    It is no secret that all this takes a lot of practice and that you can’t learn it in a matter of seconds. The Rallye is a bit rough around the edges, and that's the way it was meant to be. Treat it with respect and it will take a good care of your opponents.


    Meet the Lupo's bigger brother Polo. That extra pair of doors and longer wheelbase should come in handy should you ever invite some of your friends to a series of weekend stints on your local track.

    The Polo is a bland looking car, in typical German fashion. It's not ugly or obnoxious, but it's missing the charming stance of the Lupo. If it wasn't for that GTI badge and 15-inch alloy wheels, I would have rested assured this is just another civilian Polo with a pedestrian engine in it. Luckily, we have Xenon headlights, small front lip, and optional Flashrot red colour coming as standard to make things a bit more… expressive.


    Polo_1.JPG


    The Polo car is slow, that's the simplest and most accurate way to describe it. I kept few ghost cars of its closest rivals to demonstrate the meaning of the word trouncing. Even Opel Tigra - which isn't a performance car, mind you - could wipe the floor with the Polo. At first I thought I was doing something wrong, but there isn't much wrong you can do with a slow car like this other than drive it like a complete jackass. My consistent laps proved that wasn't the case, so it must be the car...

    And I am bemused by the absence of a 6-speed gearbox from the Lupo GTI. Not only the Polo’s 5-speed ‘box was short-lived and fairly fragile, but it also made the car slower than it should have been. Why couldn’t they share the same ‘box, why?


    The good news is that the Polo fells well screwed and solid when attacking corners. Not because it is well built (though in its class it’s ranked above average in that regard), but because it has few goodies installed to keep the ride somehow advanced and make the driver believe he is awesome. Prepare yourself for a shower of acronyms, we have ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) working in conjunction with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce distribution), and to top it all there is EDL (Electronic Differential Lock). Quite a list for such a small car, no wonder it costs twice the price of the Rallye.


    Polo_2.JPG

    While the first two gizmos work in your favour when approaching a corner, the last kicks in when leaving it. What the device does is detects difference in wheel speed and adds more power to the one with more grip. In reality this prevents understeer from getting in your way, but I didn’t noticed any particular effect in the game. What I did notice was increased turning radius of the car, probably as a result of the front wheels being more dependent on one another thanks to the gizmo. I blame this for not being able to keep up with any of the two on Tsukuba.


    The more I learn and read about the car, the more I find resemblance with 3rd and 4th generation Golf GTIs. On these cars the GTI badge was merely a trim level, not a seal of proper track competence. Though Polo is not a bad car, it proved to be slow and lukewarm, which is not something you expect from a hot-hatch.

    Clearly, the Lupo GTI is a better pick. Just don’t drive anyone in the back seats, it is so tight in there, man!

    Last stop, the Italian Stallion.


    Punto_1.JPG


    I know what are you thinking. You are probably thinking, hey, this is Fiat, what harm could it do to anyone? Ho-ho-ho, I lost count of chumps that tripped over this seemingly harmless curb at some point in their lives...

    The Punto is the heaviest challenger of the three, whole 10 kilos than the Polo and stunning 210 kilos than the Rallye. On the plus side, it comes with the biggest engine! 30 horsepower difference is not something you should turn your back to so easily… unless you want to be stabbed to death! When we sum and divide all the numbers it turns out the Punto has the most favourable power-to-weight ratio of the three. On a paper, the winner is apparent. In reality? Eh...

    In spite of having a flashy Abarth badge stamped on the body, this model wasn’t produced or developed by the Abarth. Fiat added several cosmetic accessories to the car to make it look like a Scorpion, but nothing on the car was done outside Fiat’s premises.


    When it comes to corner curving, the Punto acts rather clumsy, and feels less refined than the Rallye. For instance, on most basic corners I noticed nervous behaviour of the chassis that becomes more progressive as you play with the car’s weight. Usually I would impute this to quality of the standard suspension the car sits on, but as a proud owner of the Coupe Plus I have to say the problem is probably a bit more serious as both cars share the same quirk. The fact is that the Punto’s undercarriage is a bit off, and that is not something you can fix with a single upgrade.


    Punto_2.JPG


    The situation for the Italian becomes less grim when it hits open straights. The 1.7 litre engine makes a perceptible difference to how the car performs overall. The Punto will extend the space between itself and the Rallye every time they both leave a corner, so the Rallye has no choice but to kill that difference on corners where being light works in its favour.

    I noticed that the Punto grips the road better than the Rallye when negotiating a slower corner, whereas the opposite is true when they both attack a medium or high-speed one. I made a little experiment using data logger on the oval Motegi circuit to demonstrate in numbers what I experienced. Refer to map below the data to see approximate locations of each checkpoints, marked in red (thanks to AMG for the track map).

    Code:
    Checkpoint (m) = Speed in kph (106 - Punto - Polo)
    200 = 167,3 - 168,9 - 166,5
    700 = 169,1 - 166,1 - 167,1
    1200 = 172,8 - 170,6 - 173
    1500 = 177 - 177,1 - 179,9
    
    Motegi.jpg
    As you can see, the Punto is the fastest approaching car on the first checkpoint, right prior first turn-in for the sweeper. On the second checkpoint the tables turn on the Punto as camera captures huge decrease in cornering speed, whilst the Rallye keeps its momentum steady. As soon as it exits the curve the Punto starts catching up with the Rallye again, but not fast enough to steal the leading baton from the Rallye.

    Do you know what made such scenario possible? The Punto with its bulkier chassis will persuade its tires to work more when they are not being torn by the forces of the high-speed driving, but when all the weight starts moving at higher speeds, things become a little to bit tricky for the unrefined undercarriage to handle.

    The Polo, on the other hand, couldn’t beat either of them. Wide turning radius was getting in my way a bit too much. On Tsukuba I would be losing too much speed on turning the car around instead of cornering, if you know what I mean. The car performed slightly better on the Motegi’s trap speed test thanks to the long sweeper on which anything more planted is automatically in advantage, but that is not something that will play for you on tracks with all sorts of corners.


    CONCLUSION

    And that’s it, that’s all I can tell. Instead of concluding the review like usual, I compiled some of the thoughts the journalist from the beginning of the story noted in his review, and compared them to mine based on experience from a game to give you a better understanding of how close Polyphony came in depicting these cars.


    (1) The firm ride of the 206 transmits every bump and hole, but ensures grade 10 excitement on track. But caution – it can easily go sideways should you suddenly switch from accelerating to braking, especially on wet.

    I cannot comment on the sideways part as GT4 sucks in that regard, but I do agree the 206 S16 is fun to drive. I made a review of it three years ago and was equally pleased. The 106 isn’t that far either, especially in the S16 guise.


    (2) The Polo safely, almost boringly clears the slalom course. Stability is ensured thanks to ESP – free of charge.

    True, it feels planted and stable when moving around, though I don’t think its electronic supporters are working as efficiently in the game as they would do in real life.


    (3) Harsh ride, unbalanced work of the suspension and powerless brakes (Fiat).

    Totally agree on the unbalanced part, not so much on the harshness, but I guess I would be saying that if I was driving on a bumpier track. But the brake comment is interesting. In the magazine, the journalist recorded stopping distance of 43,5 m for the Punto and 40,5 m for the Polo (coming at 60 mph). In the game I recorded 90,5 m for the Punto and 96 m for the Polo (coming at 105 mph). Figure it out if you dare.

    Code:
    Tsukuba Lap Times (N2 tires, no assist):
    
    Rallye - 1'17.742
    Punto - 1'17.802
    Polo - 1'18.610
    
    Journalist times (unknown track):
    
    206 S16 - 1'53.17
    Punto - 1'55.51
    Polo - 1'56.63


    Thank you for reading! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
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  29. jontikis

    jontikis

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Greece
    That was some nice reading, I have to say! The fact that you were inspired by an old newspaper to make another blast in the past made the comparison more interesting. :cool: :tup:
    I noticed your first reviews in this thread many months ago, when you were still experimenting with the PS2 GT racers. It's great you returned back to car reviews, especially for a beloved game like GT4 :cheers:
    I hope you will continue doing it in the future as well mate, cheers!
     
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  30. Matej

    Matej Premium

    Messages:
    1,932
    Location:
    Croatia
    One Against Another - Tom's X540 Chaser & Toyota Supra RZ



    How would you form possessive noun of Tom's? Tom's's or just Tom's'?

    Or maybe the brand name itself is a possessive noun.

    Would that mean we can say Tom's X540 Chaser and leave it like that? Interesting. But who the hell is Tom anyway? The owner of the company? Or just one of the key personnels? Whoever he is, he must have played an important role in setting the company up. Then why was it necessary to put that annoying apostrophe and stress possession since it is plain obvious that everything made by the company will be company's, and thus his?! Egoistic bastard...

    Anyways... Tom's X540 Chaser. Let's discuss.

    The Tom's X540 Chaser is a tuned version of the Toyota Chaser, one of the longest running Toyota models. The Chaser was primarily designed to fill a niche in the open-minded luxurious VIP class, so it was kinda inapposite outside the world of multi-million garages and fancy courtyards. But that didn't stop dedicated petrol-heads from doing major modifications to the car and using it for numerous local events in Japan. All thanks to the car's long wheelbase and rear-wheel drive, which you may guess, made it a great car for drifting.


    1.JPG


    Mind you, drifting, not racing. This thing was never designed to be a race car and people knew it. So did PD. With the exception of that preposterous Le Mans version from GT1, not a single Chaser I've ever driven in the series could meet demands I laid out after pouring a fortune of virtual credits in it. Sure, it could be tuned to run fast, but it would always miss that one extra spark needed to beat the crap out of more serious opponents or cause commotion on time trial ranking boards. No matter how much power it got, down there it was still a big-ass luxurious sedan, nothing more or less.

    But Tom said we wrong, Tom said he could do dat better. So when the 6th generation got launched back in 1996, he started mixing pieces little by little to come up with a winning formula. It all paid out during the 1998 JTCC season when his Chaser succeeded in taking the throne with only six victories of its. To celebrate the feat, Tom decided to transfer all the knowledge he gained to the public by producing a limited-run of a car that would be soon known as the X540.

    First he raised the power to over 300 hp and enforced the chassis to keep that long ass still. He also shoved a special suspension kit up the car's fenders to ensure more aid to the body. The finishing touches were placed in form of side skirts, different bumpers and other little details you can't see on standard Chasers. This ended to be perhaps the fastest and most exclusive Chaser known to a man. And to top it all, it was Tom's. Imagine the pride.

    But there is one little thing we have to get of our way. Contrary to what some people think, the standard Chaser was never available with the 2JZ-GTE engine, heart and soul of the MKIV Supra. It is easy to trip on this little debris since Chaser's brother-in-law Aristo did have a detuned version of this engine in offer, so theoretically there was no reason why Toyota wouldn't place some in the Chasers as well. Especially since the Chaser was more sports oriented than the Aristo, but I guess nobody at that time cared about that.


    2.JPG


    Therefore, even though there is no clear evidence that Tom did not use 2JZ-GTE in his product, it is very, very unlikely that he went into all that trouble of calibrating and installing these engines in just to sell on a limited-production, rare model like the X540.

    What we get to deal with is most likely the 2.5 litre 1JZ-GTE turbocharged engine that used to power the wealthiest Chasers in standard form. It was powerful enough already, so Tom wouldn't have to do much to it to make drastic changes. One strong evidence supporting this theory is the peak power of the X540 in the game. It strikes at 6400 rpm, which would be bit too high of a workload for the 2JZ-GTE (since it works at its highest at 5600 rpm), but almost a perfect match for the 1JZ-GTE.

    But again, nobody would bet a life on it. Usually the displacement value would reveal the true nature of the engine, but in every single GT game the car has made its appearance in, the displacement cell is either blanked out or filled with silly little dashes. Maybe PD didn't knew what was in there or they were ordered to do so. Would not be unusual, Tom be trickster!


    Anyway, the question for today is this: can this thing beat the Supra MKIV? Are these cars interchangeable? Is the X540 a better Supra?


    It seems almost impossible, but the odds are supporting this dare-hypothesis. The X540 is lighter by 20 kilos, and when oil is changed on both, even more powerful. The Supra comes with more torque, and all the little tech goodies inside that cannot be explained in numbers, such as sequential turbochargers, Getrag 6-speed gearbox or specially designed suspension. Can tech outclass maths?

    I tested both cars on two occasions. On first I took them for a spin at Beginner's Course Reverse, because I wanted to see how they both combat simple, most basic curves and to get a grasp of their true appetites.

    My first trial with the X540 couldn't finish without several proper run-offs. For a car that lies on one of the lengthiest wheelbases out there, it showed way too much sensitivity to weight transfer. Sometimes it would spit before me during gear shift. After I would got it gripping that first long curve, I would really hesitate do any gear changing as the rapid back and forth motion really messes up the car's cornering line. I suspect there is something wrong with the springs, otherwise the car would have been much calmer. The classic aftermarket feeling of a stiff, strained coils is there, but without sufficient agility to keep the tires from overloading or not doing enough. On a plus side, it wasn't prone to going sideways nearly as much as I was expecting and the steering was sharp and communicative.


    3.JPG


    And the Supra, oh, the Supra! Everytime I drive it, it amazes me how well it runs for what it is. It's easy to forget that this is a grand tourer, yet it drives better than that. The only grand tourer I can think of that manages to dance on a rope between two classes is the Skyline GT-R. The Supra drives smoothly and its tires proudly cooperate with the heavy body to ensure maximum grip when you need it. But it isn't without flaws. I was no stranger to massive wheelspin on pretty much every acceleration sequence, and had to brake more cautiously to prevent the weight from pushing me outwards. Overall it felt like a harder car to drive, but with bigger potential.

    The second time with these machines took place at the Motegi Speedway. This time nobody could deny differences in chassis qualities. While the cornering potential proved to be the same for both cars, the X540 had the edge on mid-point of each corner, as I did not have to keep settling the chassis after loading the outer tires as long as I had to do that with the Supra. The X540 has that street-prepped body stiffness, great backbone for any additional adjustments you might want to make.

    But this test also brought another realization, going in favour of the Supra. You know how every car has a gear that is slightly wider than the rest? I call those "cruise gears" because when you do the shift, the revs drop a bit farther from the rev limiter, which improves fuel economy and makes the engine work at higher speeds with as little strain as possible. This is great for open highways when you move at constant pace and it isn't unusual that a luxurious car like the Chaser could have it.

    But why the hell would X540 have it as well? Every time I shifted into 5th, I lost so much momentum that the Supra could accelerate pulling away. It was plain obvious when I compared graphs in data logger, so you can just imagine the impact it had on me when I watched it on real screen. Either Tom did not want to bother with the gearbox, either it was expensive for him. Or maybe he just overestimated his abilities and dropped a clanger. Would serve him right.

    I had no choice but to call a tie. I couldn't conclude jack from this, so I had have to carry out one additional test on a proper race track where speed wouldn't mean everything. Something with mixed conditions. Something like Autumn Ring.


    FINAL SHOT


    Uh, and what a bumpy punk-ass track this was. So much curving, so much rumble strips. The X540 didn't really like the rumble strips. It doesn't jump off the ground as much as you would expect, but it losses enough grip to make you start panicking. The coils still refused to act as I wanted them to, but at least I got the chassis working under full potential. When all the cards are played your way, you can get that solid, almost on-rail feeling when going from mid-corner to exit. This is something the Supra cannot provide as its chassis is too soft to allow for this. Once the conditions on corner are set to match X540's preferences, it is likely that the Supra will lose battle on that corner no matter what its driver does.


    5.JPG


    Remember the wheelspin? While not a problem on the X540, it tarnishes Supra in almost formidable way - right after corner exit. What does that mean? It means that stepping on the accelerator doesn't brake the traction of your rears until very last moment, the moment when you're convinced the car has gripped the road and is ready to pull out at any speed desired. Although this minimally affects bearing of the car, it's enough to trick amateur drivers and blur their judgement over what is going on with the car.

    The good news is that the Supra can cover for your small mistakes on corners by using potential of its raw engine. It is faster no matter what gear it is in, no matter how long the straights are. Little by little, it could catch up or run away, depending on where the X540 was on the track. That's why the Supra managed to beat the X540's lap at the end. It wasn't easy and it took me like four laps to do it (mostly because I was adapting to the car), but I did it, by very small margin.

    Normally I would conclude the test after this, but knowing Tom would slice me to pieces if he ever found about it, I spent some more time investigating why the race ended how it ended.


    Yeah, do the research, dumbass!


    When you hunt down small margins like this one, it's not enough to posses good driving skills, you have to get rid of literally everything that may stand in your way. The X540 obviously has a quirk somewhere in its suspension and I wanted to find out what that was. One method of doing that is to see what is default spring ratio for the car. In GT4 you normally can't know that until you replace stock suspension with anything that isn't Sports kit.

    So I bought the Semi-racing kit and poured myself with hot lava. This thing comes with 11 kg/mm on front and about 6 on the rear! W-W-Wait, WHAT?! This is like the worst possible ratio for a rear-wheel drive car I have ever seen! It is no wonder it understeers that much! What the **** was Tom thinking?! I heard of extremely stiff spring ratios applied on drift-ready cars, but this isn't a drift-ready car, so what the hell?

    Luckily, you can change the ratio and the car becomes instantly better. It no longer understeers like a front-wheel drive car and driving itself becomes much, much more pleasant. That's what I'm talking about! Only few clicks were needed to convert the car into serious tuner's handicraft, something it should have been in first place. I do not know how the X540 handled in GT3, so I can't tell who was jacking around, PD or Tom, but as far as GT4 is considered, you gotta be one step ahead of both and do the works by yourself if you want to be happy.


    Recapitulation


    The X540 can replace the Supra anyday, as long as you tweak the coils and do minor adjustment to gearbox for speedy tracks. All that will cost you money since the car itself starts at 50 grand already, but considering the exclusivity you get with it, I think it's worth the price. Tom did a great job tightening those bolts so that the entire product would feel more like a real track day car, and less like something you patched and screwed in a local workshop.
     
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