My current poster car is the Porsche GT3.Dream cars. Us petrolheads think about them all the time. I actually have a functional list that I made back in 2012, and haven’t swayed from it too much. Sure, some of us large garages. There are too many cars that are just tremendous engineering feats and artistic marvels. In my case, I try to narrow my list down to six cars. That way, at least in my mind, I have the idea that if I ever came across a serious windfall, I’d drive one of these cars on a fairly regular basis. One of the cars on my list, is the Porsche GT3.
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So, why the Porsche GT3? There are few features about the car that I love. I love the rear-engine bias. There is something unique about a car that acts more like a pendulum, rather than a train diving straight into a wall that just won’t turn. Sure, it’ll hint at oversteer. I’m good with that. I actually don’t prefer drifting too much, but I do enjoy the challenge of managing a car’s chassis dynamics in varying situations. That is further helped by the dynamic engine mounts that come as standard. The dynamic engine mounts detect a specific type of driving style and adapt accordingly, whether it’s a daily driving condition, or a racing condition.
Then there’s the engine. With a 3.8 liter boxer-6, the engine has an output of 475 horsepower with a redline up to 9,000rpm. Sure, that’s nowhere near an 1,800 horsepower Regera or the 562 horsepower out of the McLaren 570GT, but it is still an overwhelming amount of power for daily driving use and much easier to maximize on a track surface.
Did I mention the sound? Ferrari and Lamborghini attract a lot of attention on the road, not simply because of rarity or design, but because they make incredible noises as they fly by. The Porsche has a different tone out of the boxer-6, and absolutely sounds sublime screaming down a race track.
The transmission. For some, this is a major sticking point since it is not available in a manual transmission. My previous experiences with the PDK transmission are overwhelmingly positive. While you need a left foot and some coordination for proper rev-blips with the manual, the PDK does it to perfection every single time. Yet, while cruising along, shifts are nearly imperceptible. The transmission enhances the feeling of horsepower by getting the power to the ground with minimal shift time. It also has a short set of ratios, which help keep the engine in the power band. In fact, top speed is reached in seventh gear, not with sixth gear and a steep overdrive gear.
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But, perhaps, the best thing that I like about the GT3 is, it is the supercar, that isn’t. Allow me to explain. Porsche 911’s are relatively common on Southern Californian roads. They are distinct in design and drive, but do not necessarily come with the supercar habits. Do I think a Porsche GT3 will blow up on me? Not necessarily, although I’ve seen plenty of videos with that happening in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Even when something doesn’t work properly, Porsche is quick to fix, and usually ranks among thebetter makes in reliability. They are sized just right for California roads and parking lots. I could fuel up my car in peace. I could peruse the aftermarket and find a variety of parts to modify if I so choose. I could drive the Pacific Coast Highway without the drivers ahead of me deliberately slowing down, or worse yet, other drivers scrambling for their cell phones and putting all of us in danger.
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In the end, isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we want a car that is unique to our driving style without all of the attention? While modern cars are marvels of reliability and technology to anything made just twenty years ago, there are few cars that enhance the experience of driving.
That’s what a Porsche can do.
That’s why it is one of my dream cars.
It's every boy's fantasy car - but will a drive to Tesco in the Lamborghini Aventador live up to the dream?
Published: 22:00 GMT, 14 April 2012 | Updated: 22:01 GMT, 14 April 2012
What is it with Italians? What I mean is, how do they look cool doing stuff that makes a Yorkshireman look daft?
I was telling you the other week about my dental problems and how I’d decided against fake Hollywood teeth because I’d look stupid.
Well, my mate Gino d’Acampo has just had it done and he looks great.
Few cars have the effect on people that the Lamborghini Aventador does. £202,000 is a lot to pay for a reaction, though
Not fair, is it? Put a pearly smile on a tanned bloke from Naples and it fits. ‘Ciao bella,’ and all that. Put it on a big lump from Malton and it becomes a target for a fist.
The same can be said about this week’s car, the £202,000 Aventador.
First, a bit of back story. Thirty years ago I used to lie in my room gazing at an Athena poster of a white Lamborghini Countach.
‘One day…’ I told myself.
Ten years ago, I had the chance to buy one. Never have I driven a car so bad. That’s why I was able to buy it in the first place: everyone who’d bought the Countach new (including Rod Stewart) had offloaded it as soon as they got the chance.
The main change from the previous generation of Lamborghinis is the digital (not physical) dashboard
But that was the Eighties. Since 1998 Lamborghini has been part of Audi and its cars have mixed German engineering with Italian flair.
What they’ve made here is very special. It’s difficult to describe, so I’ll leave it to the kids from the village who came running out of their houses as it appeared: ‘Mega.’ ‘Wicked.’ ‘Wow.’ ‘Off the scale cool.’
They followed me down the road like I was Willy Wonka and started climbing all over it as soon as I opened the crazy scissor doors.
I’ve tested over 200 cars for Live and none has had this effect.
I was loving it as much as the kids, but the novelty might start to wear off. I’m not the type of person who likes to look at himself in the mirror. I think you’d need to be to have one of these.
Inside there isn't much beyond the excellent leather seats, which come in brown, black or the optional two-colour set-up I had
After the kids had played I headed for Tesco. On the way I realised just how big this car is, and how wide the turning circle. The view out front is surprisingly good, but you can’t see behind you at all.
The inside is quiet and not until you open the window do you notice the awesome sound from the rear.
Six and a half naturally aspirated litres makes a sound like an angry tyrannosaurus. To be honest, it will leave most middle-aged men slightly aroused.
Even with 700 horsepower spinning through the wheels, it’s precise and quite easy to drive.
In fact, it feels as chuckable as a car half its size. This is thanks to a carbon-fibre monocoque, like in the McLaren MP4-12C I drove last Christmas.
It's all about the engine here, and rightly so; 6.5-litre V12s are rare and this may be the last we see as EU rules force us to use smaller, cleaner engines
Used in Formula 1, it’s incredibly light. It’s also very rigid, so you’d expect the ride to be hard – and it is, very.
This is the first road car to use pushrod suspension, also from F1 and designed less to cushion the driver from bumps and more to keep the wheels stuck firmly to the ground.
In a fast corner, I’d chicken out way before the Aventador lost it.
Actually, with the electric safety measures turned off I might be able to spin it into a hedge like the old Eighties Lamborghinis.
But then again, the massive carbon-fibre brakes are just about the best on any car to date, so maybe not.
Inside there isn’t much beyond the excellent leather seats, which come in brown, black or the optional two-colour set-up I had.
You have Audi’s sat-nav and sound system, a switch for lifting the front axle if you’re going over speed bumps, a thing to toggle between Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (track) settings and that’s about it – apart from the starter button. This has a big red safety cover like the missile launch on a stealth fighter. The kids loved that.
The main change from the previous generation of Lamborghinis is the digital (not physical) dashboard.
Some will love it, some hate it. I loved it, as it’s modern and really clear: a quick toggle and you can switch from rev counter to speedo, with other things appearing when they’re important. It adds to the Modern Warfare feel of the car.
But it’s all about the engine here, and rightly so; 6.5-litre V12s are rare and this may be the last we see as EU rules force us to use smaller, cleaner engines.
It sits behind your head (which means there’s room in the front for quite a big boot) and those black struts you can see going across it are also carbon-fibre. There are three slats instead of a bonnet, to let the heat out, and you can pay extra to have them transparent and show off even more.
So discreet it ain’t. But few cars have the effect on people that this does. £202,000 is a lot to pay for a reaction, though.
Is this as good to drive as a Ferrari 458?
Sadly, no. It’s a whisker faster but the gear change is not as perfect and its width makes it less snake-hipped. I know that’s nit-picky, but the 458 was better for shopping in, too. It took me four spaces and ten minutes to park the Aventador in Tesco.
I tried to fall in love with it. It looked and sounded amazing and felt thrilling to drive. But there was something missing. It was me.
As the man from Lamborghini came to pick it up, I checked the mileage and saw I’d done just 19 miles in four days. That says it all.
As good as this car is, the bloke driving it felt like a prat. The Lamborghini Aventador is not for me.
But I’ve got a nasty feeling Gino could pull it off.
The inside is quiet and not until you open the window do you notice the awesome sound from the rear
Engine 6.5-litre V12
Top speed 217mph
0-62mph 2.9 seconds
Fuel consumption 13.5mpg
CO2 emissions 398g/km (£460/year tax band)
Transmission Seven speed ISR (independent shifting rods) automatic Drive Four-wheel drive with Haldex centre differential
Standard features 19in front/20in rear wheels with Pirelli P-zero tyres, carbon-fibre ceramic brakes, ABS, adjustable ESP, dry sump lubrication, Drive Select Mode System with Strada, Sport, Corsa settings, pushrod suspension, carbon-fibre monocoque, aluminium frame, aluminium double wishbone suspension, deployable rear spoiler, flat underbody with rear diffuser, bi-xenon headlights with white LED running lights, hexagonal tailpipe, Human Machine Interface with sat-nav, stereo, iPod connection and Bluetooth
Optional extras Transparent engine cover, 4x135W High End Lamborghini Sound System, park assistance with reversing camera, 13 paint colours (of which three matt), sportivo or elegante interior, ‘ad personam’ personalisation
What's hot on the road this week
JUST OUR TYPE
Jaguar made a huge splash at the New York motor show by launching the F-Type, successor to the classic E-Type. Except they didn’t actually show it. Instead, we were told the new two-seat convertible, on sale mid-2013, will draw heavily on the C-X16 concept (below) that caused such a ripple at last year’s shows. It’ll probably be built at Castle Bromwich. But, until a formal unveiling later this year, that’s all we know.
TIME FOR T
Toyota says its Yaris Hybrid will be the UK’s most affordable hybrid when deliveries begin on July 1. The T3 model costs £14,995 and emits 79g/km of CO2 – making it road tax and Congestion Charge exempt and taxable at just ten per cent as a company car benefit-in-kind. T4 (£15,895) adds alloys, DAB radio and rear-view camera, while T Spirit (£16,995) adds cruise control, auto lights and wipers.
SUMMER IN THE CITIGO
Skoda has announced prices for its new Citigo (its version of the VW up!), which will start at £7,630 when it goes on sale on June 1. Entry level is a three-door 59hp S capable of 68.9mpg. The SE trim adds ESP and air-con. Elegance adds a removable sat-nav and media centre. A five-door Elegance with the 74hp version of the 1.0-litre engine and auto transmission will top the range at £10,415.
By Simon Lewis
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