First of two parts
Pining for your dream sports car/super car/GT with the Train law having cut a few thousands off the purchase price? Like all of the desirous luxuries of this earth, there’s a sports car for every cash-on-hand budget burning a hole in your pocket and there’s a sports car that makes you work harder to get at a targeted age, hopefully before you turn 40 or whatever is the new mid-life crisis cut-off.
Fortunately for us, availability isn’t such a long wait when the day for “buy-buy-buy” comes. Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Jaguar, Maserati, Lotus, Aston Martin, McLaren and Lexus all have models that span a broad range of tastes and styles. Not to be left behind are the Japanese brands: Subaru, Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Korea has Hyundai. There’s Ford and if one wishes Chevrolet or Dodge the dealers will handle your special order. For the hardcore, it can only be a proper sports car as defined by the Manila Sports Car Club. Highly modified B and C segment sedans need not apply. Ditto for track only drivable (not street legal) quarter mile burners.
Domestically, sports car fans adhere to the strictly two-seat purity of what makes a sports car a sports car. They usually own several cars, most being of the practical daily use kind and the sports car reserved for sports car days. On a practical level, the average sports car-owning Filipino prefers a broader range of applications in one car rather than the ideal of several cars for particular uses. He/she will be an eager member of the one make/one model tribe. He/she participates in club or dealer-prepared leisure drive tours and professionally conducted track days. A two-night stay for two at some luxury resort is always in the back of their minds whenever a long weekend pops up, and no destination will be worth it unless the long drive goes through uncrowded scenic highways that allow their high-powered toys to breathe. This is Gran Turismo, the GT lifestyle.
By this definition, not all sports can honestly use the “GT” appellation. Since sports cars are primarily two-door two-seaters, all Lotus models, the Mazda MX-5 and RF, Subaru BR-Z, Honda CR-Z, Toyota 86 and the MINI JCW cannot be GTs. These excluded ones have the advantage through the narrow lanes of 400-year-old heritage towns and twisting mountain passes, not to mention agility and nimbleness, but their limited space curtails the full-blown GT experience.
We were and still are suckers for the stealth supercar, the Q-ships, the GTis – ordinary looking cars that cock a snook at the European supercar aristocracy. Allow me to rattle off a few names of family hatches/sedans that can come close to sports car performance: Peugeot 205 GTI, Mark 1 VW Golf GTI, the Mitsubishi EVO and the Subaru WRX. These four can easily be dragooned for GT purposes owing to their practical space but despite their sports car-threatening performance, they are not sports cars and are not “grand” enough to be GTs.
What would then be a proper GT to take through our country’s ever expanding national highway network? Actually, there are two to choose from. One costs more than one half the other while the other costs 30 percent off the highly tuned BMW M3. Both have sophisticated passenger amenities and luxury fittings. Both have highly developed software-backed convenience and driving assistance features. Both breach the MSCC definition of what constitutes a sports car because the two seats in the back are genuine +2 seating and not toddler/valise cradles. Both have sizable trunks. Both have long family histories dating back close to half a century. They are within a smidgen of each other in terms of power and acceleration and braking power. Fuel consumption too.
What cars, you ask? The Ford Mustang and the Nissan GT-R.
To be continued
Tito F. HERMOSO is Autoindustriya’s INSIDE MAN
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