GT4 Car Reviews Site

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

  1. RonnyRace83

    RonnyRace83

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    It is really amazing how much work you've put into your car reviews. They are a blast to read. Thank you a thousand times :bowdown:
     
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  2. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    IMG0016.JPG
    Car: Lexus GS300 '91
    Status: Used
    My price: 16,589 Cr. @ 62946,9 km
    Engine: L6 DOHC, 2997 cc
    Power: 276 hp @ 5600 rpm
    Torque: 318.24 ft.lb @ 3600 rpm
    Drivetrain: FR
    Aspiration: Turbo
    Weight: 1680 kg​


    Are you in desperate need of attention? Can’t get people to notice you? Wanna be begged to take the initiative and lead the way?

    If you’re responding positively to either question, the GS300 could be your ticket for salvation. For around 17 grand you can buy yourself a white collar’s chariot and get on the clouds with a bang. Everybody is going to think highly of you when they see you driving this beast.

    From the looks of things, the GS300 was primarily a stretch for big shots, then everything else. But why is that it tries to be something different every time it hits the road? That goes against everything we know about these cars. It appears that someone in Toyota wasn’t narrow-minded and wanted to break certain barriers wherever that seemed possible. That means overwhelming experience and satisfaction for the player once he starts exploring the car.

    The GS300 is good for drifting assuming it has gone through some basic tuning. At first it will seem that it has certain problems with stability at higher speeds, and too much under feeling on corner entries. Nothing too scary, but fitting a suspension kit wouldn't be needless. After that you can start increasing power bit by bit. This will add power-steer on small corners when coming out of one and extend rear tire slides every time the car goes into one. How much drifting you’re gonna get in GT4 will primarily depend on your skills and imagination to break the game’s awful skidding physics, but it is possible, and with this car it can be enjoyed.

    There is another benefit of owning an used GS300 – you get a reputable 2JZ-GTE powerhouse free of charge!! Just in case you’re not familiar with engine codes, that’s a candy powering the Supra RZ.

    In its earlier years of application, the engine’s output was slightly less generous. Since the GS300 is from ‘91, it naturally isn’t as beefed up as in the 1997 Supra RZ which we have in the game. Still, it packs enough torque to wipe your head clean off when power surge comes on. The 4-speed automatic gearbox is a perfect match for such engine. Not only it spares top speed from cutting in half, but it leaves tires enough room to grab the road before new wave of power kicks in. Unless you’re tuning the heck out of it, you won’t need to use traction control.

    Everything you get with the car, you get for a bargain. That means by the time you finish wiping the face off its German rivals, you’ll still have enough money left to treat yourself with a champagne. Or mineral water if you’re modest. Don’t get to cocky, remember who you were before buying this.

    I have to remark on the car’s exterior because we simply can’t go around that. It looks totally “business”, and for ordinary people that translates into “dull”. This is what a typical suit would drive, pretending he attends important meetings whereas he just wastes money on gas this engine is very efficient in drinking.

    And come to think of it, this car was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, Italian guy. What the hell? I guess he was saving himself for big European designs. Luckily, someone at Toyota figured out they could improve the situation by shoving dual cannons up the car’s rear bumper. These massively improve the car’s looks, you wouldn't believe.

    If you still don’t like it, you can always go for the newer model. It looks much more appealing, which is why it is probably far more popular among gamers.

    Anyway, money cannot buy fame, but it can get you a GS300. Learn to appreciate “little” things.


    Verdict:
    + Taste better life for a buck, the Supra genes
    - Bleak design, needs more love


    IMG0018.JPG
    Car: Honda Insight '99
    Status: New
    Price: 21,000 Cr.
    Engine: L3 SOHC, 995 cc
    Power: 69 hp @ 5700 rpm
    Torque: 67.98 ft.lb @ 4800 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 820 kg​


    The Insight looks like a product from another era, accurately set somewhere in foreseeable future. Whoever designed it must have had a thing for space-themed stuff or simply thought all cars that bring forth advanced technologies should look like they have jumped out of a movie Demolition Man.

    Considering how the next model (and the one that succeeded it) looked more like a classic road car, I guess key personnel in Honda weren’t keen on keeping the futuristic concept on life for too long. This generated one interesting curiosity for us revisiting older cars – whenever you come back to it, you’ll be coming “back to the future”.

    But we didn’t come here to talk about design alone. This car’s strength lies in its fuel consumption. Thanks to unbelievably low drag-coefficient and small electric engine supporting anaemic 1.0 litre badger, it could achieve phenomenal savings in fuel. Some of its records haven’t been matched to this day. It’s a shame this feat cannot be utilized anywhere in GT4. Stripped of its major strength, this virtual replica would only had remained a reminder of what auto industry was capable of in real life if it wasn’t so hoot to drive.

    The Insight lies on narrow tires, 165 in width I think. This adds responsiveness to the steering and pulls all the strings inside the car’s body even before the outer tires become overloaded. It makes the Insight “mechanical” to drive, and the driver feels more involved. Even if the tires skid more often, it is easy to tell when it is going to happen and to what extent.

    Considering what the Insight is, I was expecting much pedestrian, eco-friendly manners, but in reality it doesn’t drive any worse than an average FWD car from this class. In certain areas it even manages to excel them thanks to flammable genetic information flowing through its DNA, and which were generously granted by Honda’s division that worked on so many of Honda’s sports cars. Clean and with a pedigree. When you think about it, there wouldn’t be a better car for Greenpeace activists should they ever loosen up their belts and take part in a track day.

    You’ll just need to make some changes to the car to make it more suitable for circuits. The first thing that needs to be adjusted is its power. It’s not problem how much you can get from the engine, but how much you’ll need to spend to get a good result, so it would be wise to have extra 100 grand stashed before commencing with purchases.

    Once you got everything you wanted, it is time to replace the gears. The stock gearbox isn’t set anywhere near to what you need on a race track, so fitting a close box will solve that problem for you. On tracks that have more sprinting areas, you may want to install fully-customizable ‘box to cover both low and high-speed driving.

    Two extra tips I have on mind: leaving the stock muffler unchanged will make your ear drums very happy. The car’s default exhaust tune is awesome, lots of throatiness and growling that only adds to the car’s charm and appeal.

    Another tip is to look for 8-spoke wheels from one of the Type R models. It is a smart visual upgrade on a car that already shares some of the colours available on Type Rs.

    Have fun! :)


    Verdict:
    + It's clean, it's cute and it's Honda
    - Let me think about it...


    IMG0019.JPG
    Car: Peugeot 406 3.0 V6 Coupe '98
    Status: Used
    My Price: 22,500 Cr. @ 46175,0 km
    Engine: V6 DOHC, 2946 cc
    Power: 204 hp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque: 210.47 ft.lb @ 3750 rpm
    Aspiration: NA
    Drivetrain: FF
    Weight: 1560 kg​


    Peugeot and Pininfarina have a long history of cooperating on designs for Peugeot’s mass-produced cars. One of these was derived from the model 406, originally designed by French. How to preserve national cues while adding charismatic Italian silhouette every man and women would turn after? Just leave the work to Italian and they’ll tell you. The Coupés nowadays don’t hold very strong value since they were produced in large numbers, but that’s actually great news for any penniless fashion designer trying to introduce himself to the world.

    It is perfectly clear right in the beginning, no, even in the prologue, that this is not going to be your next track day car. I can’t see in what universe would racing gloves want to grab this wheel. Actually, anything other than soft hands is awkward. It’s got plenty of gadgets inside, which explains where all the weight comes from. Once you settled in its leather-wrapped seats and digested prosaic dashboard copy-pasted from a regular 406 (what were they thinking?!), it is time to put some stress on the car’s undercarriage and start fixing any problems getting in your way of trying to have fun.

    The first problem is the annoying chassis fidgeting that occurs everytime you load the car’s outer tires. It obviously needs some damping support, so buying the most basic suspension kit should come in handy.

    Once you got that fixed, it is time to fit an LSD, preferably 1-way. This will eliminate inner wheelspin and make the car’s acceleration more steady on open roads. Finally, discard those leather seats and shave off as many remains of its luxury as possible. Weight reductions aren’t expensive, especially the first one which eliminates the highest amount of crap.

    Only after all these steps are taken you can start raising your hopes for the Tours de France event and anything else you have in mind.

    If that seems like a big hassle for a car that demanded over 20 grand at the buyout, you’re right. But then again, fashion designers don’t mind spending a buck or two more, right?


    Verdict:
    + It looks like a picture
    - Heavy. Chews its front tires like crazy
     
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  3. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    Location:
    Croatia
    Track Day Family - Saloon Comparison


    The majority of cars I brought today have a V6 engine. What do we normally get from a V6 engine? Torque that gradually moves upwards then downwards, forming a gentle crest of delivery. The release of energy is rarely abrupt, so controlling how much your tires spin isn't difficult if you posses even the slightest knowledge on throttle modulation. But then we have the peak power output, which usually resides somewhere near the red line, sometimes even AT the red line. That combined usually results in engine that is smooth to operate, but a bit dormant in expressing its strength unless you rev it really high.


    And that brings us to our metal contestants today. With the exception of Primera, all of these have engines of the type we described. Not that judging it will be a deciding factor for my personal grade, but let's see if you can guess what is the internal component these engines have to rely on to secure its host higher place on time trial ranking board.


    Let's start with the crappier options first. The Vectra and C5. The fact is, these two cars are born to compete against each other. Even though their creators would disagree on that, numbers don't lie. Power, weight, torque... it is all very close. If you need a good duo for a detailed comparison, start with them.


    Vectra.JPG


    The Vectra comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, and the C5 with a 4-speed auto. One extra gear makes for a huge gap in acceleration of these engines, so I was not surprised seeing the C5 backing down on every corner exit. Both Xantia and C5 from GT4 share the same gearbox, and you have no choice but to replace it with the Close ratio part if you want to add some speed to your drive. The C5 isn't any slower than the Vectra on a whole, but going around the track was a fight against every drop in revs. It just made me wish I could return to GT2 and hope into Xantia equipped with a classic 5-speed manual. It makes driving so much better.


    The Primera, however, won't make you worry about that. It comes with a 6-speed manual. Now that's what we need on a track! I never got the chance to shift into the 6th because the engine isn't powerful enough to pick up that much speed, but that's not the goal anyway. The more gears you have, the closer they tend to be to each other, improving acceleration. The Primera is also lighter than the other two cars. This adds a little bit increase to your top speed and offsets several tenths of torque missing from the overall engine output.


    Moving on to exterior. The Vectra bears a resemblance to an armored car, which implies you'll have to do something about its weight. Okay, I wasn't really expecting Elise figures, but do I really need to be reminded of that every time I look at the car? The game lets you choose between Opel and Vauxhall, which leads down solely to different color selection. The Brits did a tad better job because they included some lively selections, but I'm not sure if chipper paintjob alone is enough to fix what designers did to the car. I couldn't track down the person responsible for this car's styling, so all I can do is presume that someone from General Motors, who had particular taste in American saloons, had the baton. The C generation Vectra is said to be a good car, better than the previous one was, in safety, speed, soundproofing, reliability... anything, it seemed. But if you don't like these body lines, you'll be paying a huge price for that for as long as you own the car.


    C5.JPG


    The C5 ranks better in my head, but only because its styling is more expressive. When you scan the car with your eyeballs, you notice something is happening, the car is trying to tell you a story. But the problem is that the leap from the previous styling was huge. Most of Citroens from this period had numerous lines and curves first seen on legends such as 2CV or DS, which is nice, but it takes a specific taste in retro stuff to appreciate such huge jump across decades. Unless you have that taste or you prefer gradual changes in design, this could be a bit to much for you. It sure is for me, though I do appreciate it more now than I did back when this design first came out. Dunno, maybe I need more time. I'll come back here in 10 years to see if anything changes.


    What about Primera? Designers from the east love to experiment with organic body lines and curves, there is no way of mistaking Primera's origin for some other. The car is silky in appearance, but in unobtrusive way. It doesn't look that much different from the Fusion concept car on which it was based, which could be its biggest disadvantage. I'm not sure if extra side skirts, wheels or spoilers would improve the situation, because I feel this body is missing few specific details that would make it feel "complete". But then we would run into risk of losing these clean lines, and I'm pretty sure that would make its designers unhappy since, again, the car hasn't been much changed from the basic drawing. Unusual practice nowadays as it was back then.


    It's also unusual to see these cars being pushed over the edge, but that's what we still had to do even though I knew what to expect. Problems turning into a corner, understeering with inner front tires spinning mindlessly whenever the weight shifts towards the rear, excessive body roll during cornering and diving under braking... those are all typical characteristics of lower-class cars, and ours are no exception to that. Everything these cars offer has been seen million times by now, so it is understandable if you have no interest or patience to drive them, let alone improving them.


    Primera.JPG


    The C5 deserves a bonus point for stepping out with Citroen's own invention, hydropneumatic suspension. The meat and soul of every "City". Very, very few cars from the same or higher class have a privilege to host such system, potentially faulty and too complex for regular mechanics, but when it works properly, rewarding as hell to everyone using it. It doesn't just improve the comfort or ground clearance. It gives the car slightly sportier characteristics, how much is actually possible considering how the system was designed. We don't know how much time Polyphony invested into modeling actual C5 behavior, but I like the feeling I get from the body. It... doesn't... rock...as...much. Only THAT makes the car easier to drive and predict how it could react on next corner. The Vectra is complete opposite, lots of motions and movements that nullify any useful feedback trying to reach you. I had a hard time figuring out how long its tires would tolerate my abuse, and that made me nervous.


    The Primera is a mixed bag. In general, it can tackle hairpins faster than the Vectra or C5. That's expected since it's lighter on a whole than the two. On some high speed corners, though, you will want to slow down A LOT more than usual, otherwise the car will pay a little visit to anyone standing on the outer side of the track. Oddly enough, the car feels both better and worse than the Vectra, my current measurement for crap.


    So in other words, we're still kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel here. No worries, we still have some choices available.


    How about we try out the Avantime? This could be the only time I ever talk about it, so let's give it a shot.


    I generally don't think highly of Renaults from this period because they were designed under such bold and odd styling for which I could never find understanding. It's also ironic that the Avantime actually looks more meaningful than any other model that subsequently inherited its styling, yet it flopped on sales charts because it had a misfortune to be in a wrong class for experimenting on.


    Avantime.JPG


    We have some serious amount of pounds inside the car, but thankfully, gearbox is one of the best I've seen so far, so overall not much speed gets sacrificed to the ballast. Narrow nature of the third and fourth gear ensure the needle stays close to the peak power point at all time, keeping the engine in shape on tracks with lots of speedy corners and short sprints from one corner to another. Many French cars in the game use the same 3.0 liter engine, but so far only Avantime seems to reveal its true potential, thanks to smart arrangement of its gears.


    To my surprise, extra weight aids the car on tighter turns and that does not seem to bother its tires too much. How long they are going to last that way is another story. Overall, quite interesting experience that Avantime was. It doesn't offer much, but when it delivers, it's being as generous as the physics will allow it, and that's what I like about it.


    Any more alternatives? Yeah, you can fetch yourself a fancy 406 coupe from the used car dealership. Major advantage to this car in contrast to its opposition is that it looks phenomenal. If you care at least 1% about art or beauty, it deserves to be stored in your garage. Even if you would rather want you save file to get corrupted than take it out for a quick drive. But it drives okay, you know. Instead of being average in one aspect, and annoying in many others, it is consistently average across all categories, which is actually more than I expect from this class of cars. It needs some minor tuning, such as differential upgrade to eliminate pronounced inner wheelspin or cheap damping replacement for your suspension, but overall - it's not bad.


    166.jpeg


    Another candidate you may want to consider is the Alfa Romeo 166. Just a glance was enough for me to feel the hope I could finally get some relief after everything I have witnessed today. It's stylish and comes with a famous Busso V6 engine. We immediately see a shortage of engine rotational force, but that's okay, we can still count on the undercarriage to excel on corners and cover for the lack of Newton meters.


    Oh, but what's this? It's a Sportronic model. You son of a b****, Houston, we have a problem.


    If Sportronic sounds like an automatic transmission to you, that's because it is. Alfa Romeo used it on the 166 models. They figured out it would need no more than four gears to supply whatever engine was unlucky enough to be paired with it, and satisfy the 0,1% of the market that wanted automatic in their Alfa. But since this is Alfa Romeo, surely you think the result of this idea can't be worse than what we got from the C5, right?


    Trick and treat, motherfu****, it can and it is! The gears on this thing are stretched out to such ugly extent that you could drive the C5 with 75% of the throttle open and still be on par with the 166's acceleration. Sorry, but that's not what I wanted. If the car is not going to help me enjoy what it can truly offer, screw it, I'll sell it and switch to something else. I'm getting impatient everytime I wait for the engine to wake up from a gear change and climb the rev zone all over again. I do not need this in my life. Why would I bow to some nuthead programmer who decided 4-speed auto gearbox would be a perfect fit in a video game where everything you drive, you drive as fast as the track allows. It's like he knew about the manuals, but decided to play joke on players or check out how many of us would approve his taste for wrongdoing. Not on my watch! That car goes to trash right away.


    Bora.JPG


    Which is really a horrible thing to do, because it handles corners better than any other car on this test. And investing few more grand into aftermarket gearbox actually resolves the problem, but I'm not doing it today. This is a protest!


    The last car I had in mind comes from Germany. Bora for some people, Jetta for others. I have to give its designers credit for trying to cover any relations to the Golf MK4, on which the Bora was based. That's really all I will tell, since the way the Bora looks in general only makes me inspirational to criticize it and I do not want to bury the car before it's really necessary.


    But Germans knew Bora was no art gallery material. They focused on built quality and technology instead. Regarding the latter, they decided to offer four-wheel drive option for few of the engines available. Now that's a pretty smart decision and a good excuse to justify car's heavy weight issue. Traction is not important here, we are not talking about Impreza or Lancer Evolution. It's all about the fact you can relieve the front axle from some of the stress by sending small amount of power to the rear. Even if it is just 5 or 10% in normal circumstances, that's already a huge help for which front tires will be grateful. The Bora does the splitting even better than that, so possibilities to explore new driving habits and tricks are there. Different approaches to corners, handbrake actions and bolder dive-bombs, I tried everything and didn't leave unsatisfied. It's a pretty solid car to drive, and with four wheels working together you can steal the edge from its rivals in well-planned situations. Just don't get too cocky, the Bora is still a toddler compared to the Golf R32.


    CONCLUSION

    End of the road, guys, it's time to solve our "mystery"! I'm sure you have figured it out by now, but the number one part that can ruin or improve this type of cars is gearbox. A good gearbox ensures engine potential is being used to the fullest. A bad gearbox does everything else. That's our lesson for today. Most of these civilian cars from GT4 tend to be tricky because they bring one or more features from everyday civilian world to a track where there are no good, but you can't notice anything suspicious until you actually drive them. That's why I recommend doing a little research on a car before buying it, don't just rely on best power-to-weight ratio.

    To finish the review in a classic manner, if I had to choose one of these cars based on what they offered me in their stock specification, I would pick the Avantime. Have at least a decent new year, if it's not destined to be happy. Cheers...
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  4. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    Nurburgring With Highway Dominators


    Here is a quick review of the two RS Audi models from GT4, tested on the Green Hell. Enjoy.

    Exterior

    RS6: Subdued approach to modifications, only details reveal its true identity. Stylish, looks modern even today.

    RS4: Aggressive front bumper increases awareness of its powerful engine and instills fear in others. A bit outdated from some angles.

    Suspension

    RS6: Pronounced diving and squatting, bump absorption should have been better. Decent setup for the Green Hell, but elsewhere harder settings should be used, especially on flat surfaces.

    RS4: A bit bumpy, just like in the RS6 case. Since it doesn't carry as much weight, the car skips a tad more and that may lead to unattended changes in direction, especially when going over milder curbs or small crests.

    RS4.JPG

    Handling

    RS6: Moderate level of understeer combined with poor turning circle. Heavy braking can lead the rear to a slide, but the risk of this occurring is low. This car cannot benefit from any form of driving other than classic grip style, so prevent going sideways regardless of the circumstances. Okay to drive at modest speeds, should the driver be gentle on the throttle, the car can remain neutral on downhill sections.

    RS4: Highly susceptible to understeer and mildly to oversteer. Changes can occur abruptly, must be due to default differential or suspension setup, aftermarket tweaking needed. Tossing the rear end can make a difference in your exit speed, especially on downhill slopes.

    Gearbox

    RS6: Five gears only. The engine produces enough mid-range torque to keep the acceleration strong even if the revs drop a bit. The fourth gear is suitable for casual driving on highway, not racing.

    RS4: One additional gear, medium alignment altogether. Great stuff for any powerful engine, not just RS4's. At certain points RS4's acceleration can match that of the RS6. The engine doesn't feel as comfortable working at lower revs as the RS6's V8 does, but with frequent shifting this problem is basically non-existent.

    RS6.JPG

    Tire life

    RS6: On S2 tires it can survive two laps, but at a price of reduced pace at the 3/4 of the second lap due to worn out rubber.

    RS4: The same situation, only two laps on S2 tires, but with just enough room to complete the stint without a major drop in pace.

    Fuel economy

    RS6: True gas guzzler. Perfect for GT style of racing, since you want to burn as much fuel as possible to make the car lighter earlier.

    RS4: More efficient than the RS6, but for a reason stated above, that's not good!


    Overall grade

    RS6: Refined, easier to drive consistently. Easier to figure out what needs to be upgraded first. Excellent for drag events. Higher top speed but slower overall, not suitable for endurance racing, not worth additional 70 grand on the RS4 price.

    RS4: Tougher to drive, weight shifts cause nervous chassis behavior, making the car harder to maintain its cornering line. Needs minor tuning from someone who knows how to treat heavy bodies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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  5. Matej

    Matej Premium

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    Bangle Bimmers

    Few weeks ago I heard some dude talking on the phone seekers to someone about BMW cars. It seemed like the dude was trying to buy a BMW, and the guy on the phone was giving him personal suggestions and opinions. It sounded like a nice, pleasant discussion that I would not mind joining had the situation been right. Two chaps talking about cars, now that's a good way for a petrolhead to relieve himself from all the daily stress, right? Right?

    The two of them discussed several models from the past, and naturally ended up on the modern ones. This is where the talking became more tense. The phone guy was trying to convince my dude to test drive one of the E87 Series 1 hatches, by talking about it in superlatives. My dude refused, and was obviously annoyed by this suggestion as he kinda started raising his voice. "Are you serious?! Have you actually seen it from up-close?! It's a mess! No way, man, I would never drive any of those Bangle Bimmers!"

    Let's remember this part - Bangle Bimmers. This is important, we'll come back to it in a minute.

    Then the phone guy started mumbling something I couldn't understand due to wind blowing and various environment noises, but the little bits I recognized were "E52", "logic", and "new". My guess is that at this point he was firing from all the weapons, saying anything that could convert his friend's thoughts.

    Not very out of the blue, my dude did not yield to this, but in return he started shouting and attacking his friend on a more personal level. I'm no stranger to people with no worries in their lives getting all worked up about something so trivial as this BMW styling talk, but this was just weird, it was on a different scale. Then again, if their friendship didn't have a strong foothold to begin with, or if my dude was one of those who interpret every spoken word into instructions on what he needs to do with his life, than literally anything these two say or do to each other can lead to a quarrel.

    IMG0006.JPG

    But let's go back to our note. What can we deduce from it? My dude clearly blames Chris Bangle for everything bad related to modern BMW designs. That needs to be addressed fast. Sure Chris was the chief design for BMW during the 2000s, but it's not like he did all the drawing by himself. Remember that he guided a whole team of designers, all of which must had wanted to have their own share of ideas used in designs. Chris wasn't even involved in some designs, but people still deem him responsible because they went public during his mandate or because his signature formally appeared on completed sketches.

    The point is, unless we know what exactly Chris' role on each car was, we can't really put all the blame on him. I'm not defending Chris, and this has nothing to do with my opinion on his work, it's just that I felt it was necessary to underline importance of this way of thinking since on many occasions GTP forum users like to walk down that same path when griping about flaws in GT games.

    The styling of the Series 1 is a controversial one, that goes without saying, but it never bothered me as much as the shape of the car itself. I was trying to find a good reason that would explain the hatchback config, but nothing really stood out. If, and that's a big if, the idea was to increase appeal factor amongst young drivers and those daily driving in urban areas, then I guess they did a smart move because any small car does tend to look kinda awkward as a saloon. Some people don't really care about body type, they are more concerned about how the entire car is kinda out of proportions because of its front end that protrudes out of the main frame unlike any other hatch on the market. That's also a good point.

    I don't know why, but it seems that BMW's styling policy always fits best to a three-box saloon configuration. Look at the E90 Series 3 from GT4 - it looks like garbage compared to the E46 generation, but miles more BMW-themed than the Series 1. I realized that I don't have to love the styling of a BMW to find it suitable for it as long as it has a separate cargo area. Any other body type kinda makes the magic go away.

    Hence I was never motivated to drive the Series 1 in GT4 for longer than I was required to in order to beat the game, so I didn't have any real memories of the car to share with you before I started writing this. Now I'm glad I spent some time with it since this is one of the few cars in the game that comes with some interesting features PD programmed for us.

    Did you ever notice something unusual on the Series 1 brake lights? Something you can notice only if you use chase camera and are accustomed to brake modulation? The brake bulbs - they do not always flash the same way. If you brake lightly, only the bottom bulb comes on. Apply the brakes harder, and the upper one will join in.

    IMG0003.JPG

    That's kinda unusual to see, don't you think? You see, the Series 1 had something called "Dynamic Brake Lights". These lights operate differently depending on the amount of brake pressure applied, warning the driver from behind of possible danger ahead of both.

    It sounds useful in everyday driving routine with a bunch of stressful dads driving their kids to school and rushing back to work, but in reality it is more of a gimmick than actual safety feature. How many people knew about this? This is not an M3 CSL or GTS you can easily hear from a local mechanic or on television. We're talking about a feature that wasn't advertised any further from brochures sold with the car. So unless you had been following automotive industry or a die-hard BMW follower, chances were that you would never heard of it. Hell, neither I knew about it until I spotted something was odd with the lights. And even if I did, should I really plan my braking based on the light show on the car in front? That sounds like something I should not be doing. Besides, there is no insurance you would be able to stop on time if your reaction kinda sucks or if brakes on your car are less efficient.

    Remember how in pioneering days of ABS cars that had it usually had some sort of sticker slapped on their rear end to warn the driver operating a car without ABS that he should back off a little bit just in case of an emergency braking? This was meaningful and simple to understand. The ADL on the other hand... is here to impress the crowd. Really. I welcome any improve in safety standards, but this was just a feature to show off.

    In spite of that, I still love when details like this find their way into the game. The game designers were probably impressed with the feature, much like with the Mitsubishi HSR Concept car and its active aero parts.

    Another interesting thing about the Series 1 comes straight from the engine bay. You can choose between a diesel and petrol Series 1. This was the first GT game to offer a diesel engine. That fact alone makes you wanna try it out even though you probably don't expect much from it. But as I will explain soon, you shouldn't really prejudice it because the diesel model is actually better than the petrol, and not just because it is statistically faster.

    The 120d is a performance car, above everything. It doesn't have any factory problems that would need immediate fixing, and that's a huge relief. Fine balance, consistent grip, it's all there right from the start and doesn't really go away until you seriously start messing with upgrades and power. If you run off the course or spin out on default settings, it will be all on you. It's a great choice for anyone just starting out with a RWD, or who want to appear high on time trial boards without trying too hard.

    IMG0005.JPG

    Normally, that fact alone doesn't make the car worthy my time. I have a very special taste when it comes to rear-wheel drive cars and I'm hard to please. Especially in GT4, I want more than just standard on-rails driving, because the game is packed with RWDs of that type. Luckily, the 120d offers just that - more.

    The 120d has just about enough spare grip on the rear axle to let you skid it safely. As long as you apply enough throttle, the rear end can force the front to stay as close to the inside as possible. You can use this gentle sideways motion to drift around pretty much any corner or to prevent understeer from occurring. It's perfect because it gives you a freedom of playing with the car while keeping it under full control. The only downside is that any braking needs to be done as soon as possible, preferably before turn-in, otherwise you won't have enough angle of the corner left to initiate the slide. This method of driving gives highest priority to throttle modulation, which is why it's not suitable for all driving styles.

    So it's not only a performance car, but a good entertainer. I like it already. Most sideways RWD actions in this game can't be controlled or can't be initiated in first place. The 120d is on the opposite side of this world, which is why it has a plus in my book.

    There is only one thing I don't like about it. Isn't the whole point of having a diesel to save some goddamn fuel? That equals less wasted time on refueling and faster pit stops. But in GT4 tire swapping sequence in pit stops is long enough for almost any car of any fuel consumption to refill its tank to the top. So, in practice, there is no real point in choosing your car based on its fuel consumption. A gas guzzler or a city eco box, it doesn't matter, all you need to watch for is your speed and tire life. But I didn't want to stop there, so I checked how much fuel would the 120d save anyway if the consumption actually had any effect:

    Tsukuba circuit

    120i = 40 laps - total time 48'16, 25 fuel units sipped, best lap 1'12
    120d = 40 laps - total time 47'37, 27 fuel units sipped, best lap 1'11

    So petrol engine is more economic than diesel? Great, now we know.

    IMG0002.JPG

    The travesty doesn't stop there. Further testing revealed that the 120i is actually less entertaining to drive than the 120d.

    The 120i is by no means lighter by just few pounds, we're talking about a weight of an average human body. For a car with almost 50-50 weight distribution that's not a minor thing, especially if the extra ballast is placed up-front like it should be on the 120d. So if anything, the 120i should be more nimble, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It is also prone to losing grip on the front. The difference is not big, but compared to the 120d where that wasn't happening, it is a bit of a letdown. In addition, even little counter-steering is enough to nullify any attempt at initiating a slide, which, again, isn't that big of a deal until you drive the 120d... am I missing something here? Did Polyphony accidentally swapped physics codes for these two cars? Or is the 120d really that good?

    The 120i is a good car, but it doesn't step up from the usual RWD routine GT4 is known for, and that makes it kinda boring to drive. It might seem strange, but I would prefer the 120d in this case for sure.

    Okay, normally I would conclude the review here, but I feel generous to write down few more lines on something, so why not try out one more Bimmer from the "Bangle generation"?

    So I bought myself a 330i. Since this was a more powerful upper-class car, I felt like it was natural to expect even higher level of entertainment than I got from the 120d... or at least not lower! But you just wait...

    Right off the bat the 330i felt very reluctant to slide around. That was a bad sign because it meant we got ourselves another front-biased RWD car. It can drift, but it takes tons of practice and imagination how to cut corners and trick the game's stiff physics. I frigging hate that!

    IMG0004.JPG

    And big portion of this is on the brakes. Their stopping power is fine, I have no issues there, but the tendency to direct the car towards the outer wall on every occasion makes me so unhappy. Have you ever heard of a technique called braking drift? Well, it's not happening with this car! You really have to warm up and put all the effort into breaking the traction on the rear axle if you wish to see anything drift-related. Once you've finally done it, applying too much throttle will spin the inner rear wheel, so you gotta nail the right amount, first to prevent losing torque through mindless spinning and second, to keep the traction from recovering. And you don't have much time, remember, corners don't last forever, it is likely you'll pass the apex before initiating anything, and by that point you'll start wondering if all this is really worth your effort and time. I know I could just put the crappiest tires on the rear axle and force the game to kneel before me, but that is just a wrong approach to fixing problem the game has with car handling.

    The steering is quick, but a bit touchy for these operations and definitely not suitable for tracks with lots of high-speed corners.

    Finally, lap times say that the 330i should be able to beat the 120d on any track. Okay, but that's not saying much. If I had to spend seven to eight laps catching one average 120d lap, only to finally do it by relying solely on the power of the 330i's engine, that's really not what I would consider "beating".

    What can I say? The 120d wins the round. Kinda unusual ending, but that's how things went for me.
     
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