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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Dan Goodyer updated the cover photo for Lamborghini Aventador
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV It is probably the greatest soundtrack on sale today. Limitless. / #Lamborghini


    Where better to take the new 552kW, 350km/h #Lamborghini-Aventador SV than somewhere with roads on which it can truly run free – the Isle of Man by Henry Catchpole / Photography by Aston Parrott

    As the Ferry Rolls in the swell on the Irish Sea, half a sandwich that has been shunned by a queasy passenger farther along the row of seats slides gracefully down the long table in front of me like some rudimentary sushi bar. A moment later it makes the return journey. The reason for enduring this mildly choppy crossing is a small sign. Or more specifically the different meaning attached to this sign on the island that we’re heading to. Usually found atop a grey metal pole, our sought emblem takes the form of a white circle with a single bold black line striking diagonally across it, top-right down to bottom-left. Where we’re going there’s no limit.

    Somewhere in the dark bowels below deck, sandwiched between a Nissan Primera and a small Danish campervan, is a blood-red slice of Italian aggression that really ought to have 2 Unlimited playing continually through its speakers (apologies to everyone that will now have No Limit playing in their head for the rest of the day). For anyone that thinks modern Lamborghinis have gone soft, the Aventador SV is a bare-knuckled uppercut of a riposte.

    When the ferry finally docks in Douglas, I descend the green stairwell (that’s not just a reflection on the pallor of the other passengers) and wander over the wet metal floor towards the silent riot of angles and edges. I don’t think there is a wilder looking car on sale today, with even the hypercar triumvirate of P1, 918 and LaFerrari looking almost reserved compared to an SV. This thought is only compounded by the direct upward sweep of the scissor doors. In the gloom the word Aventador glows red from the wide sill, like an illuminated welcome mat.

    I duck under the trailing edge of the door on my way to dropping across and down into the seat. Despite being trimmed in leather, the carbon bucket gives a hard greeting, the whole thing feeling incredibly unyielding on both spine and sit bones, making me shift and squirm as I try to find a comfortable position. I end up rolling up my jumper for some lumbar support. The next thing to do is shift your feet to the left so that they are resting on the offset pedals rather than doing battle with the wheelarch. Ergonomically the situation is saved by the huge range of adjustment in the steering column. If you’re tall, it allows you to put the seat back and draw the wheel out to meet you, stopping a comfortable distance from your solar plexus.

    There is a bit of a delay while the automotive Tetris that is the unloading process swings into action, but eventually the signal to disembark comes with a wide sweep of a boiler-suited arm. Flick up the bright red cover on the broad transmission tunnel and press the black button underneath. The door is still up and I listen to the power-drill whir of the starter motor, which continues just long enough to make me wonder whether the mighty 552kW V12 might not catch.

    Then suddenly the cavernous belly of the boat is filled with the huge, 6.5-litre vvrrramm of a dozen waking cylinders. If people weren’t looking before, they are now. I reach up for the red leather loop and pull the door down before flicking the right-hand paddle and squeezing the accelerator to set the Aventador creeping slowly like a Komodo dragon towards the light. Fortunately there is a nose lift, so descending the ramp onto dry land isn’t quite as wincingly tentative as it might otherwise be.

    It always gives me goosebumps arriving on the Isle of Man, and this time is no exception. There is just something very special about this place – it evokes the same emotions I’ve felt visiting the pits at Reims or the roads around Pescara. You can feel the history, both good and bad.

    As it is already mid-afternoon, we decide that we might as well head straight for the mountain section of the TT course, travelling the wrong way around the circuit to save some time. The island has still got quite a bit of the race furniture visible as we drive the course. Some of it is permanent, such as the black and white kerbing, but some has presumably been left in place since the TT, waiting for the Manx GP and Classic TT. It gives the roads a very peculiar air, almost like you’ve strayed onto a film set. Then the long-awaited sign appears ahead.

    The road is empty and straight, running out to Brandish Corner (a sweeping right-hander from this direction). Two quick fingertip pulls on the left-hand paddle, revs hovering, ready, waiting for the sign… I pin the throttle. All hell breaks loose. The acceleration is shocking, not only from the initial punch that pushes my back violently into the seat, but also because of the noise as the revs rise much more quickly than I expect. The big Lambo still feels just that, too. It is a brute of a car and intimidating in its sheer size. It’s not one of those cars that ever really shrinks around you. Up a gear and the rush continues, suddenly starting to feel very serious as the world outside the shallow, aggressively raked windscreen begins blurring faster. Walls and hedges become abstract streaks of grey and green in my peripheral vision.

    A heavy lean on the brake pedal is reassuring, the steering gaining weight and the nose feeling precise through the wheel and pedal as the mass is thrown forwards and the front tyres take up the bulk of the strain. We’ve criticised Lamborghini for its carbon ceramic brakes in the past, but these are fantastic. Out of the tightish left-hander at Creg, I get greedy with the throttle early in the corner, but the Aventador has barely believable traction and simply fires itself up the road with a force that feels even more shocking than the roll-on acceleration in a straight line.

    Up at Bungalow I park the SV and wait for photographer Aston Parrott and road test editor Dan Prosser, who have been chasing me in evo’s longterm SEAT Leon Cupra. As I swing the driver’s door heavenwards I’m struck by the noise of the massive fan situated in the equally enormous intake over my right shoulder. Sitting there with the car cooling itself, I’m still buzzing. It feels wonderful to have finally been able to experience the SV unshackled. After a couple of minutes the blue Leon parks and for the next few hours we set about taking some photos.

    On the way back to Douglas, where a pint and a bed are waiting, I stretch the Aventador’s legs again but not excessively. It just feels good to be able to drive without constantly feeling like I’m doing something wrong. Much of the time I’m not going particularly quickly, relatively speaking. I’m certainly not doing anything dangerous, just stroking the big Lamborghini along and enjoying the incredible sound that it makes as it digs deep and pulls hard from low revs. But even though I’m not remotely troubling the car’s limits, the SV is so fast that I would be given a hefty fine and possibly a ban if I were caught travelling at these speeds on the mainland. The Manx police will still take a very dim view and haul you over the coals if they think you are behaving in a fashion that is in any way dangerous, and rightly so. It’s just that speed per se isn’t punished once you’re past the appropriate sign.

    Eight hours later, just before 5AM, we tip-toe out of the Kings Guest House (perfectly nice, but I’m not sure any royalty has actually frequented it) into a dark, wet and wild morning. Parrott is convinced that we might still get some beautiful light at sunrise. Prosser and I are less sure. The Aventador renders our tip-toeing pointless as it fires into life, and as we drive slowly through the sleeping streets it feels very firm, jolting and bumping over manhole covers. The SV has not been engineered as an all-rounder. I like that. Once we’re away from civilisation, the drive up onto the mountain is rather more timid than the night before as the wide, lightly treaded rubber struggles horribly with the patches of standing water. The SV’s Dynamic Steering is actually well weighted and reassuring (the first time we’ve been able to say that about the system), but there is nothing worse than that glassy feeling as big tyres skate across a wet surface. It certainly shakes off any last vestiges of sleep that might have been clinging tome. To pacify Parrott, we sit in a rain cloud up at Windy Corner with droplets drumming on the bodywork for half an hour before calling it quits and heading back to bed.

    Three hours later, with the mountain still shrouded in a thick white fairy floss, I suggest we head to the lower ground of Marine Drive. It’s not a road for driving quickly (there’s a 50km/h limit in place most of the time) but it is spectacular. It also brings back good memories, as it was the first stage of the Manx Rally, which I was lucky enough to compete in during the 2008 season of the British Rally Championship. We spend a couple of hours out on the cliff tops and the SV certainly attracts attention. In fact wherever we park up during our two days on the island, there will always be someone wanting to take a picture, asking if they might be allowed to sit in it or just keen to talk about it. Everyone is refreshingly friendly.

    Eventually, with the weather beginning to brighten, I hop back behind the Alcantara-trimmed wheel and set the satnav for some faster tarmac. In terms of derestricted roads, everyone knows about the Mountain Road across Snaefell because of the TT. But that’s not all there is to the Isle of Man. There are plenty of interesting sections and one down on the south western corner of the island is the A36, otherwise known as the Sloc Road (and the Round Table Road and the Shoulder Road). It links Port Erin with Foxdale nearer the middle of the island but so do the larger A7 andA3, so the A36 is relatively quiet. Initially it winds along in the guise of a narrow lane with high, grassy banks, but then it opens out into a wonderful moorland blast. It sweeps, then climbs gradually, increasing in pace and smoothness until you’re presented with a series of irresistible long straights.

    Here seems like as good a place as any to try the full Corsa mode. My memories of this most hardcore of settings on the standard Aventador is of it nearly snapping my neck on the first upshift, so I’ve been a little bit wary of engaging it on the SV. Trickling along in third gear, I press the button, feel the steering weight up a little more in my hands and then press the throttle pedal all the way to the bulkhead. Before you can say ‘HANS device’, the first upchange is necessary and, sure enough, there’s a savage jolt as the momentary torque interruption pummels the car. It’s not quite as bad as I remember and there is still enough straight to keep accelerating through all of fourth gear, so I brace myself for another. One eye on the revs, I feel like I’m in a jousting match, watching an impact thundering inexorably towards me… 6000rpm, 7000rpm, here we go, 8000rpm. BANG.

    I brake and change down one gear (much smoother) for a fast left, then try one more upshift, but after that the sound of chiropractors rubbing their hands forces me to switch back to Sport mode. Even in this middle setting the single-clutch ISR ’box isn’t seamless like a dual-clutch system, and so you need to pick your moment carefully. Change up or down while the car is loaded for a corner and you’ll feel the weight of the engine straining to break free behind you as the shift pitches the car with the momentary loss of drive. It just means you have to proceed with a little respect and engage more of the thought processes you would use in a manual car, rather than treating gearshifts with the disdain that is possible in dual-clutch cars.

    The faster, open corners up here on the Sloc Road really let you get under the skin of the Aventador’s front end. Initially it’s easy to feel intimidated by the reactivity of the nose to steering inputs, as it’s perhaps the biggest single change in the SV’s character over the standard car. There is a sense that if you simply turn in as hard as the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres will allow then you’ll inevitably unsettle and possibly even unstick the big rear end. On the road this does not feel like a good idea at all. Nonetheless, as you build confidence there’s a growing frustration as you sense that by the apex of each corner you could have carried more speed. Strangely, it’s in the faster corners where the SV starts to feel more manageable, giving the impression that it has risen upon its toes and is happy to be played with. You get a similar feeling in an R8.

    Through a fast right I turn in hard enough to feel the front tyres scrub a fraction up to the apex. It’s very subtle and there’s no need to snap the throttle shut: just wait a moment for the corner to open then get on the power and feel the balance switch rearwards as the huge power is sluiced predominantly towards the rear wheels. When you get it right you can really feel the load building on the outside rear tyre under acceleration, sometimes even edging it fractionally wide of the line scribed by the fronts. It’s never enough to need corrective lock and it doesn’t feel like it might snap away from you as it would with a rear wheel- drive car. It is just this beautiful sensation of driving hard but hunkered down on the limit of grip as 690Nm is deployed to the road.

    After a while spent on this quiet corner of the island we head back to Douglas for some 98 RON. I’ve been told the petrol station next to McDonald’s has the best fuel, so also take the opportunity to indulge in the culinary equivalent of some 91-octane unleaded. Whilst we’re munching on a couple of burgers, Prosser and I recount the story of the most famous cattle grid in rallying to Parrott. If you’ve never seen it, Ari Vatanen, flat-out in an Opel Manta 400, has a huge dose of oversteer coming out of a long left-hander in the Tholt-e-Will stage of the 1983 Manx Rally. This wouldn’t have been a problem except for the fact that the car is heading towards a cattle grid. Again not a problem, but for the fact that the grid is defined by two yellow concrete gateposts and, in its oversteering state, the Manta is wider than the gap.

    ‘‘Ohhhhh…’’ says co-driver Terry Harryman as they approach the grid. ‘‘Dear god,’’ he concludes as Vatanen only just winds off the opposite lock in time to squeeze through. It’s the definition of a heart-in mouth moment, and it’s all there to relive on YouTube.

    Obviously once this has been recounted there is only one place Aston wants to go, so we head over there to take a photo in tribute to the moment (although with slightly less opposite lock and requirement for blasphemy). The Tholt-e-Will road is fun but mostly a bit narrow for the SV. However, it brings you back up onto the mountain at Bungalow, where the tram tracks cross the road. Parrott immediately sees another photo opportunity in front of a huge mural of Joey Dunlop riding his Honda SP1. Another recommendation: if you’ve never seen the film Road, all about the Dunlop family, seek it out.

    After that we spend a while longer doing static photos as the evening commuter traffic makes its way along the A18. It’s fun watching locals pushing unlikely machinery in a way that you don’t really see on the mainland. An elderly Mercedes E-Class taxi, a Nissan Navara, a ’90s Corsa, all taking racing lines as they hurry home. Then, just as the sun is setting, I set off for Ramsey, turning around in the car park just up from Water Works Corner, where the air ambulance lands during the TT. One last run across the mountain.

    It’s a shame that you can’t pick and choose the different bits of the SV’s three driving modes, as I think the steering is at its most natural in the relaxed Strada setting, although everything else (dampers, ESC, exhaust, gearchange) feels just fine in the middle, Sport setting. I let a gap build in the trickle of traffic and then head for the Gooseneck. The SV still feels big through the tight uphill right-hander, but I’ve got more confidence now and feel happy throwing it hard into the corner and getting on the power early. We’re at the low white walls of Guthrie’s before we know it and threading the red wedge through the chicane before running out onto the Mountain Mile. It might not sound like much given that the SV is capable of 350km/h, but touching 250 on the way up to the 28th milestone of the TT course is something that will live with me for a long time. Even though it’s clear as far as I can see (and trust me, my eyes are out on stalks) it feels life-affirmingly fast on an A-road. Then it’s hard on the brakes, past Mountain Box and into Verandah, a sequence of three corners that you can take with a constant lock, the car drifting across the width of its lane as each apex comes and goes.

    The setting sun is seemingly igniting the clouds to my right, the whole sky a patchwork of flaming, floating cotton wool. Past Bungalow, up Hailwood’s Rise, then a trailing throttle through Duke’s Bends, where I know there will be translucent blue flame sporadically jetting from the quartet of hot exhausts. The noise is utterly addictive. Loud and angry as only twelve naturally aspirated cylinders can be, it is quite probably the greatest soundtrack on sale today.

    Out of Keppel Gate the tail just begins to slide a fraction but I know there is no need to lift as the all-wheel drive stabilises things. Exiting Kate’s Cottage with a straight and empty run down to the pub at Creg-ny-Baa, I pin the throttle once more, holding each gear as long as I dare, revelling in the consecutive crescendos. The road dips down just as I’m about to go for fifth gear and although it looks relatively mild, the Lambo flies for a fraction of a second. The revs flare in unison with my heart rate.

    I ease off on the way down to Brandish and let the world return to a more mainland pace. I’m so, so pleased that we brought the SV here. It’s a car that needs speed to really come alive and show its best dynamically. The drama of it on the road is undoubtedly so much greater than on a track too. Largely (but not entirely) because of its gearbox it doesn’t feel as modern and polished as some of its competitors, but somehow I can forgive it that because of the raw excitement the whole car is capable of generating. In a world where the outer limits of many supercars are becoming more accessible, the SV remains a very intimidating but thrilling proposition. Much like the Mountain Road.

    DETAIL TECH DATA #2015 #Lamborghini-Aventador-SV

    Engine 6498cc V12, dohc, 48v
    Power 552Kw @ 8400rpm
    Torque 690Nm @ 5500rpm
    Transmission Seven-speed #ISR automated manual, all-wheel drive, #ESC
    Front suspension Double wishbones, inboard coil springs and adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
    Rear suspension Double wishbones, inboard coil springs and adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
    Brakes Carbon-ceramic discs, 400mm front, 380mm rear, #ABS , #EBD
    Wheels 20 x 9.0-inch front, 21 x 13.0-inch rear
    Tyres 255/30 ZR20 front, 355/25 ZR21 rear
    Weight (dry) 1525kg
    Power-to-weight (dry) 362kW/tonne
    0-100km/h 2.8sec (claimed)
    Top speed 350km/h+ (claimed)
    Basic price $882,650
    On sale Now
    evo rating 4+



    Right: IoM’s open mountain roads are among the few places in Europe where an Aventador SV can properly stretch its legs.



    Left: 6500rpm in fifth gear; we’ll let you work out whether that’s legal on the British mainland…
    Below: the cattle grid for which #Ari-Vatanen got his Opel Manta back in shape just in the nick of time during the 1983Manx Rally. Below left: centre-locking wheel nuts.

    Clockwise from above: exhaust tips are strictly functional, and the noise they emit is loud; statue and mural of TT legend Joey Dunlop; so much for photographer Parrott’s planned sunrise shot.

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  •   Sam Preston reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    RED LETTER DAYS #Audi A4 2.0 TFSI 500bhp, big turbo B7 / Words Dan Goodyer / Photography AJ Walker /

    Audi never sold a Misano red DTM A4, so Craig Collingworth built his own – with a top-mounted GT3076r and 500bhp under the bonnet for good measure!

    At first glance you might think this is a factory-built B7 A4 DTM Edition with a set of aftermarket wheels. However, look a little closer behind those 19in BBS alloys... Large Brembo brake calipers from a Porsche Cayenne S hint there’s a bit more going on here than you might expect. If you know your quattro from your Quattro, you might also be aware that Audi never sold the DTM Edition A4 in this stunning shade of Misano Red Pearl. Or you might just have read that fact in the intro. Either way, colour is very important to the owner, 31 year old Craig Collingworth, a man who has sprayed cars for a living.

    Craig bought the car around four years ago. It began life as a 2006 B7 A4 2.0 TFSI quattro Special Edition. Already a very nice car to have as a daily-driver, it had leather trim, lots of toys and a BUL engine with a K03 turbo pushing out around 220bhp. For three years Craig restrained himself from tuning it. He didn’t feel the need, only fitting the BBS wheels after finding them for sale on eBay at a ridiculously low price. Then in early 2014, Craig bolted a hybrid K04 to it, some S3 fuel injectors and a Unicorn Motor Developments remap – and recorded the second-fastest known quarter mile time in the world for a 2.0T A4!

    He explains: “We started going to York Raceway for a bit of a laugh. Rick at Unicorn Motor Developments had re-flashed the ECU to make the engine produce 360bhp and 360lb/ft torque, and added launch-control and flat-shift. The surface at York isn’t great to be honest but we still managed a 13.4s at 101mph, which according to all the info we could find on the AudiSport and Audizine forums, was the second-fastest quarter ever recorded for a non-S 2.0-litre A4. Thing is, that just made me want to go faster.”

    At the time Craig had bought a genuine DTM Edition A4 in need of a new engine. The plan was to source a new engine for it and then sell it. Then he had an idea: “I realised the BUL engine in my A4 was exactly the same as the engine fitted to the DTM, so I swapped it over and sold the DTM complete. They only ever made 250, so I really wanted to keep it on the road. Plus the money from the sale helped me set up my own company and part-funded the next step of the project.”

    Craig had been working for Elite Customs in Leeds. Specifically, he was working for Elite Wheel Repair, using his painting skills to good effect. He then set up his own business on the same premises, CR Motorsport. Specialising in painting and drag racing to begin with, the company quickly grew to carry out engine work, servicing and more. His A4 would become the unofficial company demo car, so it needed a proper engine build.

    To cut a very long story short, a lot of money was invested in a fully-forged S3 CDL engine that went bang. It featured trick parts including a set of pocketed pistons to allow the use of high-lift cams. However, Craig had out sourced the head-work, which included a set of oversized valves. He speculates some of the valves came into contact with each other, sparking a chain of events that wrecked the whole engine and turbo. Not wishing to be burned twice, Craig looked around for an alternative and found a proven engine for sale. It had been built by Rob at TSR Performance and was already making good power.

    Using that engine as the base, the CR Motorsport guys went about doing something a bit different. Craig created the first top-mounted TFSI A4 in the UK by importing an AR Design exhaust manifold from the States. Onto this he placed a Garrett GTX3076r turbo built by Turbo Clinic, Craig adds: “The turbo recommendation came from Paul at Turbo Clinic. He’s been extremely helpful during the build and I highly recommend him. I ordered a 3in AR Design downpipe and had Tony Banks Exhausts in Leeds mate that to a Milltek Sport 3in system, featuring just one silencer box on either side of the rear bumper. On a dark night with the flat-shift switched on, you can see 4-foot flames shooting out the back of it and from the screamer pipe at the rear of the bay!”

    While the car was off the road, Craig had also taken the opportunity to upgrade the suspension and brakes, along with fitting an OEM DTM bodykit that he resprayed himself. He explains: “The ride was very wallowy but I didn’t want to turn it into a stiff racecar, so I went for Eibach Pro Street coilovers and fixed anti-roll bars. The result is perfect in my opinion. The whole car feels like it’s factory-spec when driven normally, then transforms into a much more capable car as soon as you start pushing.”

    He continues: “A lot of thought has gone into the car. I’m always on the Audi forums under the username “CraigCull”. Hours of research have gone into every aspect but with a very specific plan. The whole tuning thing is something I’ve been into for a long time, but I’ve only felt the need to act on it again in the past year or so. These days I’m into cars that look relatively standard – subtle, but with insane performance available, which I’d like to think I’ve created here.”

    He’s not wrong. The mapping is still a work in progress but the car is already very quick, especially for a regular A4. Read the spec for some of the highlights; custom air intake that solves the heat-sink problem, custom breather system, a second set of injectors, water-methanol injection, the list goes on. At the moment it’s running two maps, both written by Rick at Unicorn Motor Developments. One for 25psi boost and around 450bhp, the other a 30psi map for around 500bhp.

    With a bit more boost the engine should make 550-580bhp, that’s Craig’s aim anyway. Then it’s back to the drag strip to see if he can break some more records, and confuse more people with the only red DTM Edition in existence.

    SPECIFICATION #Audi-A4-2.0TFSI-Quattro-Special-Edition-B7 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi / #Audi-A4-B7

    ENGINE: CDL 2.0 TFSI S3 engine rebuilt and forged by #TSR-Performance including 83mm #Wössner pistons, Wossner connecting rods, 1.8T oil pump conversion, #Supertech valves and valve springs, #F-Tech-Motorsport inlet manifold with second set of fuel injectors, RS4 fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator, in-tank fuel pump and controller. Autotech high pressure fuel pump, #Garrett-GTX3076r turbo with .63 a/r turbine housing and v-band clamp, #AR-Design top-mount manifold and 3in downpipe, #Milltek-Sport 3in exhaust with two rear silencer boxes and 2.5in tailpipes, TiAL Sport MVS external wastegate with screamer pipe, TiAL Sport 50mm recirculating diverter valve, custom front-mounted intercooler with 2.5in hard pipes, AEM Water/ Methanol injection, IE valve cover with vent-to-atmosphere catch can replacing pcv, N205 camshaft adjustment valve delete, N249 pressure control valve delete, inlet manifold runner flap delete, 3in MAF sensor, custom air intake, OEM ECU re-flashed by Rick at Unicorn Motor Developments with 4 switchable maps.

    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual gearbox, #APR / Southbend Stage III clutch and single mass flywheel conversion, USP short shifter, launch control and flat-shift.

    BRAKES: 6-pot Porsche Cayenne S 18z #Brembo calipers up front with machined ML55 345x14mm grooved and drilled discs, S4 rear brake conversion including single piston floating calipers and 300mm drilled and grooved discs. Pagid Fast Road pads all round, braided lines.

    SUSPENSION: #Eibach Pro Street coilovers, Eibach front and rear anti-roll Bars.

    WHEELS & TYRES: 8.5x19in BBS CH009 alloy wheels wrapped in 235/35x19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

    EXTERIOR: DTM Edition OEM bodykit including carbon fibre rear spoiler, Misano Red Pearl paint.

    INTERIOR: #Audi-A4-Quattro-B7 Special Edition leather trim.

    TUNING CONTACTS/THANKS: Rick at Unicorn Motor Developments, Paul at Turbo Clinic, Dave and Martin at Elite Wheel Repair, Rob TSR.

    Above: quattro helps get the power down.

    Above: Calipers are from a Porsche Cayenne S Bottom: A4 is around 250kg lighter than a B7 RS4 and more powerful!

    Left and below: Craig has equipped his A4 with a genuine DTM Edition bodykit, including the carbon fibre rear spoiler.

    Below: GTX3076r turbo provides ample boost to create a claimed 500bhp.
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  • Dan Goodyer created a new group

    Toyota Supra JZA80 MkIV

    Toyota Supra JZA80 MkIV 1993-2002
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  •   David Mallett reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    AUDI S2 Immaculate #Audi-S2 with 500bhp / #Audi-80 / #Audi / #Quattro / #1993 / #Audi-S2-Coupe / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-80-Typ-8C / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-ABY /


    This freshly rebuilt Audi S2 cost DNA Autocare £25,000 in parts alone, so why is it up for sale at just £18,000? Words Dan Goodyer. Photography AJ Walker.

    What’s important to you? Not in car terms, but in terms of what you want out of life. Do you want to be rich? To be successful? Famous? Thirty seven year-old Damir Sahman, the smiley-faced boss of DNA Autocare in Nottingham, has a very simple outlook on life: “I want to take my grandchildren to Santa Pod in years to come and see this car, still being looked after and driven properly, and say to them, ‘Your Grandad built that’”.

    In a world where people are willing to trample over each other in the Black Friday sales just to save a few quid on a television, it’s a heart-warming thought. It’s quite possibly a reflection of his upbringing. Damir’s nickname is Danny, and Danny was born in the part of the world that used to be called Yugoslavia. He explains the effect that had on him: “If something is broken, you fix it. Simple as that. These days, people tend to replace white goods and electronics if they don’t work. In eastern Europe, you take it apart and fix them. That’s always stayed with me.”

    Getting to the heart of the matter, Danny’s parents spotted very early on that he was naturally talented at repairing faulty goods. Fast forward many years and he has moved to England, studied Engineering at Derby University and worked for some big names. Most notably Toyota, where he worked for seven years, most of that time as a test driver. So he knows his way around a car, and just as importantly, how a good car and driver interact. Following senior roles with both Cadillac and the RAC, Danny felt the urge to go out on his own. In the last issue we brought you his white Avant; this month we feature his immaculate S2. A car that has received a meticulous nut-and-bolt rebuild, with performance upgrades in key areas to make a truly unique car.

    “Every year we take on one special build to show what we can do, and this S2 is our latest creation,” explains Danny proudly. While DNA Autocare perform their magic on all makes and models, Danny has a passion for Audis, particularly ones from this era: “I like the 5-cylinder engines. They sound like nothing else and they always produce the power I expect from them; they’re reliable in that way. I also love the fact everything is built to last.”

    Danny argues that the 4WD gearbox in the S2 is “a proper 4x4 gearbox”, compared to modern cars that have smaller, lighter gearboxes that can’t take the huge torque levels provided by bigboost engines. This is how he assesses all his projects. Every car has its strengths and weakness, and DNA Autocare’s ethos is to provide the biggest real-world performance gains, without spending any money unnecessarily.

    “For example,” he adds, “I wouldn’t go to the expense of porting and polishing the cylinder head on one of these engines if the customer only wants 400bhp. A free-flowing head always makes the engine feel stronger but you can get to 400bhp on this engine without touching the head.” So with this attitude of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” Danny bought a well-used burgundy S2 with a grubby tan interior. It was largely used for commuting by the doctor who owned it and was pretty straight, if a little rough around the edges.

    DNA Autocare began the transformation by stripping the car down completely. Even the glass came out for the full ground-up restoration. The engine was removed from the car and Danny set about stripping that down to rebuild it for more power. He adds: “I generally build the engines in our workshop at night. Engines are like plants. You have to nourish them, talk to them even. At night there are no distractions; I can just enjoy getting everything absolutely right.”

    The bottom-end has been strengthened with forged pistons and connecting rods, while a lot of work has gone into the turbo and exhaust area. Danny’s aim for the build was to create a tough engine that wouldn’t need to be opened again even if the new owner wanted more power. He explains: “Unless you’re running a drag car where everything is being pushed to the limits, I don’t understand the idea of building an engine for one power level, only to strip it and rebuild it again when you want more. I’ve built this engine so it will take six or seven hundred horsepower, but it’s running much less. So it will stay reliable and if the next owner wants to increase the power, they just need to add a larger turbo and re-map the ECU.”

    This is why the car also has a set of 1,000cc Bosch fuel injectors. At the current power level, which we’ll get to shortly, they’re only running at about 60% duty cycle. So there’s lots of headroom. “We bought them from Grams Performance in the United States,” says Danny. “They’re not the cheapest but they’re flow-tested and tweaked so they’re all closely matched.” It’s these small details that can’t be measured on the dyno, but reveal themselves during years of ownership as the car stays reliable.

    The cylinder heads are from a naturally-aspirated 7A engine. Danny explains the reason he didn’t re-use the turbo heads from the original 230bhp ABY engine: “The naturally-aspirated heads haven’t had the abuse, or the heat cycles, that the turbo ones have. We’ve ported and polished these heads fully because we don’t want the future buyer to have to touch the engine for more power. The base is there. We’ve also used the 7A camshafts because they have higher lift which provides more gas-flow. This delays the main chunk of torque by a few hundred rpm, but when they come in, the 7A cams deliver a real punch.”

    Selecting a turbo is tricky and usually dependent on how much power you want. After some careful thought, Danny went for a Garrett GTX3071R dual ball bearing turbo. This features an 11-blade compressor wheel and can take around 2 bar of boost. The turbo is mounted on a rather special exhaust manifold, too. Danny explains: “It’s a Wagner Tuning Sport quattro Evo cast-iron manifold that is obsolete now. I had two. One I put on this car and the other I’m guarding closely! I think this is the strongest, highest-flowing manifold on the market. It has large primary runners and being cast-iron it is strong, so you can hang a Holset Scania truck turbo off it if you like. Tubular manifolds have so many welded bends they can leak, and you have to brace them off the top of the engine really which doesn’t look very OEM.”

    DNA Autocare fabricated a custom exhaust system for the car too and it’s fair to say the resulting sound is nothing short of incredible. Just the right side of loud on the road, without being too anti-social. Controlling everything is a VEMS ECU and at the time of writing only the initial mapping has been completed. Jase from Area 52 Motorsport has extracted 449bhp from the 2.2-litre 5-cylinder engine at 1.7bar of boost (25psi). Very soon the car will mapped for a bit more boost by Kamuto, a friend from Lithuania that Danny has made from the world of drag racing. So it should be making somewhere around the 500bhp mark before long.

    “One thing I love about the S2 is it can actually use all this power too; get it down to the road effectively.” Of course the 4WD drivetrain plays a big role in that, but DNA Autocare have also tweaked the suspension and brakes to make sure it’s a well-rounded and balanced car. They’ve been clever with the anti-roll bar setup, while the front brakes feature a combination of Brembo 4-pot calipers from a Porsche mated to Audi A8 discs. Even the choice of Azev A wheels is in keeping with the period-correct “resto-mod” vibe of this 90s beast.

    This is one of those rare cars that ticks a lot of boxes. It’s had a full restoration, yet it’s been tuned, too. In such a cultured fashion, that it has barely any compromises on the road despite having double the power and huge gains in grip and braking power. Equally, with its fresh Tornado Red paint and immaculate engine bay, even a detailer would be impressed with the fit and finish. Grabbing a cliché from the motoring journalist’s Big Book of Things To Say, it’s so carefully modified it looks like a special edition Audi might have made themselves. A sort of S2 Evo. Best of all, it’s up for sale several thousand pounds cheaper than the parts alone cost! So if you like what you see, make sure to give DNA Autocare a ring. Cars like this will only go up in value but please don’t lock it up in a garage. Buy it, use it, love it. Hopefully you’ll be at Santa Pod in years to come, when Danny is showing his grandchildren what real cars can do. It would be a fitting tribute to a man who puts his passion before profit.

    Top One of the finest S2s around.

    SPECIFICATION #1993 8B #Audi-S2 / #Audi-80-B4 / #Audi-Typ-8C / #Audi-S2-B4 / #Audi-8B / #Audi-S2-8B

    ENGINE ABY 2.2-litre 20v inline 5-cylinder built by Danny at #DNA-Autocare , #Wossner forged pistons, Scaat connecting rods, #DNA Autocare ported and polished 7A cylinder head, 7A cams, #VEMS ECU mapped by Jase at #Area-52-Motorsport , #Garrett-GTX3071R turbocharger mounted on Sport quattro manifold, 44mm external wastegate with screamer pipe, custom DNA Autocare 3in stainless steel exhaust with titanium wrap, large aluminium radiator, #Grams-Performance 1,000cc #Bosch fuel injectors, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, braided fuel lines, 5bar fuel pressure regulator, silicone hoses, high-density engine mounts, #Wagner short intake manifold, Wagner short intake intercooler kit, Ramair filter.

    POWER 449bhp @ 1.7bar (25psi) and 425lb/ft torque.

    TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual gearbox, RS4 Stage 3+ Feramic clutch plate, Sachs 707 pressure plate, 034 Motorsports solids billet aluminium flywheel, high-density gearbox mounts.

    BRAKES 4-pot Brembo (Porsche) front calipers, A8 330mm discs, Brembo race pads. OEM rear brakes (rebuilt) with Pagid RS pads. HEL braided lines, converted to servo brakes.

    SUSPENSION KW V1 coilovers, Powerflex bushes all round, powdercoated and galvanised subframes and lower arms, RS2 front anti-roll bar, original front S2 anti-roll bar moved to rear, lower chassis legs swapped around, strut brace.

    WHEELS & TYRES 17in Azev A alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45x17 Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.

    INTERIOR Full leather retrim, headlining and all trims flocked in black, 3x Innovate Motorsport gauges: Boost, Exhaust Gas Temperature and Air-Fuel Ratio. 3x lower dash gauges, carbon dash trim, carbon sill trims, Sony headunit and JL Audio speakers.

    EXTERIOR Fully respray in Tornado Red, by John from Paintology factory S2 bodykit, Xenon light upgrade.

    THANKS/CONTACTS (01159) 861186, John at Paintology.

    Top: Full respray in Tornado red by Paintology. Above: Seats have been retrimmed in black/red leather Top right: Air vent mounted gauges are a nice touch.

    Top: Immaculate bay houses the 5-cylinder lump Above left: Cooling is well taken care of Above: #Garrett GTX3071r turbo provides the boost.

    “Every year we take on one special build to show what we can do...”
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  •   Russ Smith reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    The #2016 #Porsche Boxster Spyder / #Porsche-Boxster-Spyder / #Porsche-Boxster-Spyder-981 / #Porsche-Boxster / #Porsche-Boxster-981

    Porsche is on a roll with its sub-911 models, so with added power, less weight and a new roof, is the Spyder an even better Boxster than our current fave, the GTS?

    About now there would probably have been a sound akin to a hurricane denuding a small campsite if I’d been in the old Boxster Spyder. I’m on an autobahn and have breached 200km/h, which, while not a phenomenal rate of knots, is nonetheless the maximum permissible speed of the old Spyder with its ‘shower cap’ roof in place.

    This 2015 Spyder has no such issues, however, and although the new roof above my head still looks rakish and saves a useful 10kg, it can be used all the way up to the car’s top speed of 290km/h. Traffic on the autobahn won’t let me reach quite those heights today, but I push on to 267km/h (the old Spyder’s top speed) just to ram the point home. This time the Boxster Spyder was designed from the outset with a roof and, as a consequence, that roof is much more integrated. There is a button-operated motor to attach it securely to the header rail, but the rest of the stowage or erection is done manually. It’s relatively simple once you’ve got used to a couple of quirks (the trickiest part is finding the button beneath the canvas that releases each of the ‘fins’ attaching it to the rear deck) and by the end of my time with the Spyder I’ll be able to complete the whole process in around 30 seconds if I do my very best running-around-the-car-Le- Mans-pit-stop impression.

    As for the rest of the car, well, on paper at least it has clearly usurped the already wonderful GTS at the top of the 981 Boxster tree. With the 3.8-litre flat-six from the 991 Carrera S (and the CaymanGT4) mounted amidships, the Spyder puts out a healthy 33kW more than the Boxster GTS (but 7kW less than the GT4). Torque is up on the GTS by 50Nmtoo and the 0-100km/h time has dropped by 0.5sec, to 4.5sec. In addition to the largely manually operated roof, some 918-inspired seats plus a lack of air con and radio as standard help to drop the kerb weight by 30kg to 1315kg.

    For reasons that will be explained in a future issue, I’m driving a large number of kilometres in a Spyder across a seasonally hot and sunny stretch of Europe, and as a result I’m rather pleased that this particular car was specced with air con and PCM infotainment. It’s a slightly tricky conundrum, however, because obviously the purist in me thinks that potential owners should spec their Spyders to be pared-back paragons, yet the realist in me admits that a Spyder is likely to be used much more if you add in a couple of little luxuries so that long motorway journeys to the mountains are much more pleasurable. I believe it’s what is known as a first-world problem. The speedster-looking rear and The much more aggressive front end suggest that this is going to be a very different sort of Boxster to drive. However, initially there doesn’t feel like there is a stark leap in performance over a GTS. The culprit is the Boxster’s tall gearing, which masks the greater power if you’re only driving at a moderate six tenths. Up the pace, though, and the extra urge really starts to make itself felt, with the flat-six getting into its considerable stride above about 5000rpm, where the peak torque plateau begins.

    The 20mm-lower Sports chassis that’s an option on the GTS is standard here, and although the low stance of the Spyder suggests an uncompromising ride, the suspension is actually surprisingly compliant over some extremely broken sections of road.

    What is new to this Boxster is the steering, which is taken from the 991 Turbo (which has a quicker rack), and the lovely, smaller, 360mm-diameter steering wheel also seen in the new GT3 RS. As a result there is more weight in your hands and a greater economy of movement as you guide the car through corners. Although the steering doesn’t have quite the liveliness of theGT4’s (this is not a full Motorsport car, remember, so it doesn’t have the 911 GT3 front end that the ultimate Cayman has), the Spyder nonetheless changes direction with increased agility and simply beautiful composure. The extra urge also means it’s easier to unhitch the rear tyres, although the mechanical LSD could lock more aggressively, if we’re being picky.

    With the roof and windows down, the buffeting is more than a zephyr but no stronger than a stiffbreeze, and when you throw in the beautiful six-speed manual complete with stubbier lever, and a soundtrack that has more snap, crackle and pop than a Kellogg’s factory, the driver’s seat is a pretty wonderful place to be. Rather than any single stellar trait, it is more a subtle coalition of small improvements that lifts the Spyder driving experience just above that of the GTS, but overall the Spyder is worthy of its place at the top of the 981 range. At $168,600 it seems like something of a bargain too.

    The fastest, most rewarding Boxster yet - Tall gearing still an Specification issue; feedback trails Cayman GT4’s

    Engine 3800cc flat-six, dohc, 24v
    Power 276kW @ 6700rpm
    Torque 420Nm @ 4750-6000rpm
    0-100km/h 4.5sec (claimed)
    Top speed 290km/h (claimed)
    Weight 1315kg (210kW/tonne)
    Basic price $168,600

    Left: steering wheel is a smaller diameter than the regular Boxster item; manual gearbox is mandatory – there’s no #PDK option. Below: don’t be fooled by the roof buttons – raising or lowering the top is a largely manual affair.

    The Spyder changes direction with simply beautiful composure.
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  •   Dan Prosser commented on this post about 3 years ago
    Road test #2016 #Audi-R8-V10-Plus / #Audi-R8-V10 / #Audi-R8 / #Audi / #Audi-R8

    Every new #Drive-MY car that matters, reviewed and rated Audi has a hit and miss reputation with its high performance models. Has this all-new R8 managed to retain the magic of the original? Fingers crossed… Photography: Malcolm Griffiths.

    The #Audi-R8-Mk2 has come an awfully long way. When the original version arrived back in 2007 it was powered by a 4.2-litre V8 pushing out 309kW. With a list price starting from $259,900, it was aimed squarely at the sports car heartland, a direct rival to the Porsche 911 Carrera 4S 991. As it happened, this magazine judged the Audi to be the superior car.

    Two years later the V10 model arrived, then the V10 Plus. The R8 was coming of age, but with the introduction of this new, second generation model, it now occupies a more grown-up space. With 449kW and a top speed of 330km/h, the range-topping model qualifies as a big-league supercar, no questions asked. Pricing has come a fair way, too — the new Plus is predicted to cost just shy of $400k when it arrives in Australia in the second quarter of 2016. But perhaps the biggest point of difference between this generation and the last is that there is now no V8 option. The range starts with the 397kW, non-Plus V10 model, which will be a much more potent and more expensive device than the old V8. Suddenly, the R8 entry point is more Porsche 911 Turbo 991 than 911 Carrera.

    Regardless of specification, the R8 has always been an Drive-MY favourite, so the new model arrives under the weight of great expectation. You’ll reach your own conclusions about the looks, but to my eyes the angular design language works better in the real world than it does on the page or a motor show stand, although the pointed black grilles that prop up the front and rear lights look clunky, as though they’ll age badly. However, in fetching Ara Blue and with the carbonfibre side blades and rear wing that come as part of the Plus upgrade, this R8 does not want for presence.

    The big news in technical terms is the structure, which now incorporates carbonfibre for reduced weight and added rigidity. The engineers have used the lightweight material in those areas where strength was needed in one direction only (otherwise the weight saving benefits of carbonfibre are lost), such as the rear bulkhead and transmission tunnel. In total, 13 per cent of the base structure is carbonfibre, the rest aluminium. Audi claims it is 40 per cent stiffer than the old structure and 15 per cent lighter, too, which has contributed to a modest weight saving of 15kg over the old car. The technological improvements extend to the drivetrain, too, with a new quattro all-wheel-drive system that can distribute all of its torque to either axle in extreme conditions.

    Drive is further apportioned between the rear wheels by a locking differential. The seven-speed dual clutch S-tronic gearbox – now the only option – has been tweaked to return quicker, sharper changes. Carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the V10 Plus but optional on the regular V10.

    There are a handful of significant optional features – all specified on this test car – which are worth mentioning, too. The first is Dynamic Steering, which caused such Consternation when the Lamborghini Huracán – with which this R8 shares the technology – arrived last year. The system adjusts the steering ratio to switch between offering low-speed manoeuvrability and high-speed stability. Next there is Audi Magnetic Ride, which gives the driver a choice of damper settings. This is accessed via the Drive Select function, which also adjusts the gearbox, all-wheel-drive, steering, engine and exhaust parameters. Finally, there’s a new Performance Mode function (standard on the V10 Plus), which offers three settings for the stability control system–Dry, Wet and Snow.

    The cabin quality is very good indeed and the driving position would be perfect but for the seat being mounted fractionally too high. In Comfort mode the ride quality is just about as cosseting as you could expect of amid-engined supercar, and with the gearbox in automatic mode and the exhaust knocked back into its quieter setting, the R8 is relaxed and refined. If you need no more than two seats and the reasonable storage space offered by the front boot, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use an R8 daily, as our own Richard Meaden found with his previous-gen V10 Plus long-termer.

    The technical details of the 5.2-litre, ten-cylinder engine Are mouth-watering: 449kW at 8250rpm, 560Nm at 6500rpm and a maximum crank speed of 8700rpm.

    Similarly, the performance figures speak for themselves: 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds and 330km/h flat-out. This engine is an utter joy. At a time when rivals are switching to turbocharging, the naturally aspirated V10’s instant response, rich, serrated bark and top-end intensity are something to savour. The level of performance is alarming and the S-tronic gearbox now shifts with the immediacy of the very best transmissions.

    Our misgivings about Dynamic Steering remain, though, because when you nudge the R8 up to the limit of its dynamic abilities, there’s very little useful interaction between car and driver. Quite often during our test drive I find the front axle washing wide without having had any indication that it’s about to let go. Short of the limit it actually does a good job of linking man and machine. On initial turn-in there is no slack in the steering whatsoever and the response from the front end is absolutely immediate, as though the steering input and response is a single, cohesive action. It gives the car a sense of precision and agility, but I do hope the conventional system is more communicative when you really need to know how much is in reserve.

    The suppleness of the old car over an uneven surface remains, although on the few broken sections we find during the launch in Portugal there’s reason to believe the stiffer suspension mode will be too much for many of Australia’s back roads. Nonetheless, the R8 is still tautly controlled in its relaxed damper setting, with the body diving and rolling enough under braking and in cornering to paint a clear picture of how hard the chassis is working. Steering aside, this is a natural and intuitive car to thread down a road.

    In dynamic terms the biggest point of difference between new car and old is sheer grip. The R8 travels through a series of phases as you push harder and harder. Initially, the car feels as though it’ll grip infinitely, then it settles into a window of understeer as you approach the limit. The trick to smashing through this window is weight transfer. Enter a corner hard on the brakes and the weight moves forward, which shifts the point of balance forwards. This helps provoke the rear end and trim out understeer. With the car rotating about the apex it then pays to reapply the power very early indeed, which will just about get the rear axle over-rotating to sling the car away from the corner in a neutral shape, rather than in a frustrating mess of power understeer.

    Much the same was true of the original R8, but the issue now is that the all-wheel-drive system and chassis are so effective that you really do need to be motoring along very hard indeed to access that lovely window of adjustability and engagement. The old car would invite you in at more reasonable speeds. If you don’t drag the new car onto that plane, you might be left thinking it a touch aloof and distant – a trait it shares with the Hurácan.

    On track, however, where the chassis loadings are naturally much higher, the R8 still feels sweetly balanced and hugely adjustable, both on and off the throttle. There is still a great deal to be learnt about this R8, not least how it feels without Dynamic Steering, on standard suspension and on local roads. Until it proves itself to be fun and involving at more accessible speeds and more communicative through its steering, it is denied the full five stars.

    You need to be motoring very hard indeed to access that lovely window of adjustability.

    Above: with the V8 gone, the R8 is now available exclusively with Audi’s 5.2-litre V10; cylinder deactivation makes for 30 MPG 12.3-litres/100km combined. Right: carbonfibre rear diffuser worthy of Audi’s first 330km/h production car.

    + Timeless drivetrain, huge performance, usability
    - Needs to be driven hard to really engage

    Drive-MY rating 5+
    ENGINE: 5204cc V10, dohc, 40 valves dual-injection #V10
    TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive with rear LSD
    POWER: 602bhp (449kW DIN) @ 8250rpm
    TORQUE: 413lb ft (560Nm DIN) @ 6500rpm
    PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph (0-100km/h) 3.2sec (claimed)
    TOP SPEED: 205mph (330km/h) (claimed)
    WEIGHT: 1555kg (289kW/tonne)
    BASIC PRICE: UK £137,500 (AU c$400,000)
    CONSUMPTION: 30MPG (12.3-litres/100km)

    Top left: 12.3-inch ‘Virtual Cockpit’ TFT display can switch between prioritising dials and navigation. Top right: carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Plus. Pictured wheels are optional 20-inchers; 19s are standard. Above: exhaust and stability control settings can be changed from the steering wheel.

    In dynamic terms the biggest point of difference between new car and old is sheer grip.
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  •   Stuart Gallagher reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Road test #DMS-McLaren-650S / #McLaren-650S / #McLaren / #McLaren-650 / #2016 / #McLaren-650S-Upgrade /

    Electronic trickery teases Ferrari F12-rivalling power from the McLaren-650S while making it more of a drivers’ car

    It is not a rational person who requires their McLaren 650S to be even more accelerative than it already is. Nonetheless, UK-based DMS – well aware that rationality can be a finite commodity in the world of the privately owned supercar – has found its way into the McLaren’s ECU and squeezed yet more power from the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8.

    The results are 537kW and 770Nm, increases of 59kW and 92Nm over the factory car. The curves have been bolstered throughout the rev range, too, with a significant hike in torque output at 4500rpm. The on-paper gains are sizeable and in practice the DMS-tuned 650S feels even more explosively accelerative than the already rampant standard car.

    Throttle response is pretty sharp for a turbocharged unit, but like the factory version there is a brief pause before the full force of the uprated engine is felt. From around 2800rpm it begins pulling with real muscularity and the strength of the mid-range is staggering. In any of the lower three gears traction at the rear wheels will likely have been blown away by 5000rpm, even in the dry.

    With the redline still set at 8400rpm there is extraordinary reach to this engine. Where most turbocharged powertrains would be asking for a new gear, this V8 has a further 2000rpmto offer. Beyond 7500rpmthe power curve flattens – no changes there, then – but by using the full 8400rpm you can hold a gear as you approach a braking zone rather than be forced to shift up, and you’ll also drop the engine back into its sweet spot when you do call for the next cog. The standard engine is a mighty thing, but in this state of tune it becomes the car’s dramatic centrepiece.

    The upgrade, which is also available on the 12C, has been in development for a number of years and was tested on DMS’s own car for three months before being offered to customers. According to company founder Rob Young, the drivetrain can handle the extra power, with several customer cars undertaking trackdays and European driving holidays without any problems.

    As well as bolstering the power and torque outputs, the #DMS-upgrade also enables left-foot braking. In standard tune the ECU will cut power when it senses any overlap in pedal application, but the new software overrules that safety function to allow the driver to trim out the chassis’ in-built low-speed understeer. As Young says, it’s more in keeping with what an advanced driver would want.

    Costing £4800 (c$10,450) in the UK, this is a very costly software upgrade. That can be attributed to the complexity of the McLaren’s ECU and the time and expense that has gone into accessing it, as well as the relatively modest sales volumes anticipated. Included in DMS’s three year aftercare package is a no-cost reinstallation of the upgrade should a dealer flash the ECU back to the factory settings, plus the option to temporarily revert to the standard map, should the owner wish it, again at no extra cost.
    For some people supercar ownership is a real-life game of Top Trumps. The DMS 650S is undoubtedly a star card.

    + Software upgrade makes the engine a dramatic, exciting centrepiece
    - Expensive for a massaged ECU

    Engine 3799cc V8, dohc, 32v twin-turbo
    Power 537kW @ 7650rpm
    Torque 770Nm @ 5100rpm
    0-100km/h 2.98sec (claimed)
    Top speed 339km/h (claimed)
    Weight 1428kg (376kW/tonne)
    Basic price
    Consumption 29mgp
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