Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

<br /> Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature | Carscoops

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

The 2022 VW Polo GTI is an excellent all-rounder for those looking for a sporty hatchback

by Brad Anderson

10 hours ago

by Brad Anderson

Australian prices for VW’s popular hot hatch models have skyrocketed in recent years, so much so that the Mk 8 Golf R is AU$11,000 ($7,363) more than the previous-generation model. The once-AU$31,990 ($21,414) Polo GTI has also jumped in price from 2018 to AU$38,750 ($25,939) for the 2022 model. Is it worth the money?

To find out, we recently jumped behind the wheel of a 2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI, testing it out for a week. We walked away impressed but weren’t entirely won over by its performance or its hefty price tag.

A fresh face with the same powertrain

The latest Polo GTI was first unveiled in Europe in mid-2021 but only recently landed in Australia. It’s not significantly different than the model it replaces and as such, continues to be powered by the same EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine is good for 147 kW (197 hp) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque and is coupled to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels. Interestingly, the Polo GTI has 152 kW (204 hp) in overseas markets while also rocking a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

These figures closely match the Polo GTI’s two main rivals; the Hyundai i20 N and the Ford Fiesta ST. The Korean hatch musters up 150 kW (201 hp) and 275 Nm (203 lb-ft) from its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder while the Ford’s 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder is good for 147 kW (197 hp) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque.

However, the VW does not have a limited-slip differential like the i20 N and Fiesta ST, instead relying on VW’s extended electronic differential lock (XDL) that acts as a brake-based torque vectoring system. It’s not all bad news, however, as the Polo GTI is equipped with electronically-adjustable suspension, something not found on the i20 N or Fiesta ST.

Plenty of safety features come standard on the German hatch. These include VW’s IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist system that actively supports the driver by using Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist technologies to accelerate, brake, and maintain the Polo GTI’s position within its lane. Other nice features include Front Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Monitoring and an Optical Parking System that provides a visual indication of any obstacle in the car’s path when parking.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

A familiar feel to the interior

The cabin of the 2022 Polo GTI is largely the same as the pre-facelift model but has been tweaked and made to feel a touch more modern. Without a doubt, the highlight of the cabin is the 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster which impressed us when we reviewed the entry-level Polo Style 85TSI in early 2020.

This cluster is highly-configurable and can be tweaked to show traditional circular dials or a more modern layout with satellite navigation in the center and digital readouts of other important vehicle and traffic information.  A pronounced central infotainment screen is also standard but those wanting to upgrade to the 9.2-inch display that our test car had will have to cough up AU$1,500 ($999) for the Sound & Tech Package.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

Elsewhere, VW has fitted a new control unit for the HVAC system. Much like the system out of the new Golf, this system ditches physical buttons and knobs for the fan speed and temperature control and instead uses small touch panels that you can either press or slide your finger along to change the settings. When first using these controls, we were not impressed, wondering just why VW developed them given that they aren’t any better than traditional buttons. However, we soon got used to them and found them simple to operate.

Read: 2023 VW Polo Facelift For South America Is Slightly Different From The European Model

What we didn’t like as much were the steering wheel controls. VW has installed the facelifted Polo GTI with an all-new steering wheel that has a sportier design than the old wheel and also makes use of touch-sensitive buttons. These are a pain to operate, forcing you to slide your finger and thumbs to change things like the media volume and song. We wouldn’t go as far as to describe it as a stupid decision to develop such controls, but it’s not far off.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

A bundle of fun… most of the time

As soon as you start to drive the 2022 Polo GTI, the similarities between it and its bigger brother, the Golf GTI, become apparent. Indeed, it feels very similar to the Golf GTI but with less power and in a more compact size.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder offers more punch than we were expecting based on the power and torque figures. The engine offers excellent pull from a standstill and remains strong as you pull through the gears and the speeds start to increase at an impressive rate.

While there is a little bit of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm, it can be easily avoided by letting the engine rev. The lack of a limited-slip differential can limit traction off the line, however, particularly in damp and wet conditions.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

A key point of difference between the Polo GTI and the Hyundai i20 N and Ford Fiesta ST is that it is sold exclusively with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission whereas its rivals have six-speed manual boxes. Yes, this does detract from the driving experience but the VW’s DSG is excellent, so much so that we rarely used the paddle shifters, instead preferring to let the transmission work out which gear was best at any given time. Shifts are sharp and snappy when you’re moving and the exhaust has a nice little bark when shifting between ratios.

What’s not so good about the DSG is the jerkiness we experienced when shifting into 1st gear and slowing for red lights. It can also be a little hesitant when pulling away slowly, much like other DSG-equipped VWs.

Light on its feet

A handful of different driving modes are available, allowing you to configure the Polo GTI in whatever way best suits you. We left it in Sport mode most of the time but found it was more comfortable to drive around town with the suspension in its Normal setting, as opposed to Sport. VW’s inclusion of adjustable dampers is most welcome, particularly given that both the i20 N and Fiesta ST have fixed suspension systems that cannot be adjusted. These dampers go some way to explain the price premium of the VW.

 Driven: 2022 VW Polo GTI Is A Hot Hatch For The Mature

Pint-sized hot hatches like this have always thrived in the corners and the Polo GTI is no different. The Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires measuring 215/40 R18 at all four corners provide tenacious levels of grip and respond excellently on turn-in. The car feels just as light as the 1,305 kg (2,877 lbs) dry weight would lead you to believe and immediately instill confidence in the driver.

However, the Polo GTI does not provide the same level of outright grip as the i20 N nor is it as fun or playful as the Fiesta ST. This is due in large part to the disappointing lack of an LSD and also forces you to be much more gentle on the throttle in the middle of a corner and through the exit. There’s certainly no planting your foot to the floor through a sharp turn quite like you can in the Hyundai. This is a shame but it’s not to be expected of a modern hot hatch from VW.

The brakes also leave a lot to be desired, not because they don’t offer plenty of stopping power (they do), but simply because of how grabby they are at even the slightest touch of the pedal.

VW claims it returns 6.5l/100 km (36 U.S. mpg) over the combined cycle but we averaged 8.2 l/100 km (28 mpg) during our time with the car.

A well-rounder, as you’d expect from VW

For the vast majority of hatchback owners who are looking for something that is well-equipped, fun to drive, and makes their everyday commute a little more enjoyable, the 2022 VW Polo GTI is an excellent choice. However, for prospective buyers looking for an affordable hot hatch that they can hoon along a winding mountain road or a racetrack, the Hyundai i20 N and Ford Fiesta ST are better options.

Picture credits: Brad Anderson/CarScoops

We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

<br /> We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know? | Carscoops

With up to 483 Hp under the hood, the GV60 Performance can rocket to 62mph (100km/h) in 4.0 seconds

by Brad Anderson

December 27, 2022 at 18:00

 We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

by Brad Anderson

The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD may share its underpinning with the cheaper Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 but as we’re discovering, it feels like an entirely different beast.

Genesis has been steadily growing its fleet of EVs over the past 18 months and the GV60 is its first model sold exclusively with an electric powertrain, as opposed to cars like the G80 and GV70 that are offered as ICE and EV models. We’re testing the flagship Performance AWD variant over the next two weeks and are eager to hear your thoughts and questions about it.

Two variants of the GV60 are available in Australia. Sitting at the base of the range is the AWD model, fitted with a pair of electric motors delivering 234 kW (314 hp) and 605 Nm (446 lb-ft), setting buyers back AU$103,700 (equal to $69,608 at current exchange rates) before on-road costs. Our test car has significantly more power with 360 kW (483 hp) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) when in Boost mode, or 320 kW (429 hp) and 605 Nm (446 lb-ft) in normal mode. It rockets to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a claimed 4.0 seconds and is priced from AU$110,700 ($74,306).

Read: If You’ve Remembered Your Head, Genesis Facial Recognition Has Got Your Back

 We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

Much like the Ioniq 5 and EV6, the Genesis GV60 has a bold and eye-catching design. The exterior shares some commonalities with other Genesis models, most notably with the quad headlights and quad taillights but for the most part, it is unique from the rest of the Hyundai Motor Company family. It looks futuristic yet suave, innovative yet classy, and has already turned more heads in a couple of days of testing than pretty much anything else we’ve driven over the last couple of years.

However, is the GV60 Performance AWD all show and no-go? Is it actually a well-rounded luxury EV that can transport a family in comfort or is it simply a Hyundai dressed up in a fancy suit? Leave your questions below and we will answer them in a future article.

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We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

<br /> Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day | Carscoops

The Hyundai Australia N Festival attracted over 150 N owners for a weekend of driving

by Brad Anderson

10 hours ago

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

by Brad Anderson

There’s nothing quite like the annual Hyundai Australia N Festival.

For each of the past four years, Hyundai Australia has hosted the N Festival at different racetracks across the country. The event is open to all owners of Hyundai’s various N vehicles in Australia, costs just AU$55 ($37) to attend, and grants participants a weekend full of activities, a track day, and plenty of free goodies. As a means of churning up interest in the brand’s high-performance models and cultivating a passionate group of enthusiastic owners, it has proven to be a huge success.

This year’s event recently took place at The Bend Motorsport Park in Adelaide. This stunning facility is home to the world’s second longest permanent circuit (second only to the Nurburgring Nordschleife), a hotel, a small car museum, a restaurant, and plenty of pit garages.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

In the four years since the Hyundai N brand launched in Australia with the original i30 N hatchback, the range has grown and now also includes the i30 Sedan N, i20 N, and Kona N. You’d be hard-pressed not to see at least a couple of N models anytime you drive around a major Australian city, so prolific they have become. At a time when ICE-powered performance cars are slowly dying, Hyundai has to be applauded for developing a fleet of cars that appeal to driving enthusiasts.

A thriving brand and community

The 2022 event kicked off on a Saturday with a drive starting in the lovely Adelaide Hills and tracing around the Cape Jervis Peninsula to the water’s edge. For the drive, we jumped behind the wheel of a Kona N kindly loaned to us by Hyundai Australia.

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 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Things started bright and early on Saturday morning at a winery in McLaren Vale. By the time we arrived, more than 150 N cars had gathered, many of which had been driven by their owners thousands of kilometers to attend the weekend’s festivities. After a driver briefing and hundreds of barista-made coffees being handed out for free to owners, the drive commenced.

Winding through some of South Australia’s finest driving roads, the convoy made a handful of brief stops throughout the late morning and afternoon. It was so well organized that Hyundai Australia had established a number of photography checkpoints along the journey, allowing them to capture driving shots of each and every car that was participating.

For as enjoyable as the drive was, it was only a taste of what was to come on Sunday; the track day.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Hyundai descends on The Bend

Obviously, it’s not feasible to have some 200 cars on the track at one time. As such, the morning and early afternoon sessions saw The Bend’s West and East circuits operating simultaneously. Owners were divided into groups of 12 and every 15 minutes, a new group would go on to the two tracks, allowing enough time for at least 8 laps per session.

Participating in a private track day at a circuit as pristine as The Bend Motorsport Park will usually cost upwards of AU$400 ($270), making the AU$55 entry fee charged by the automaker an absolute bargain. It’s little wonder why more than 150 N owners from around the country descended on the track to put their cars to the test.

A fleet of press cars was also available throughout the day, including all of Hyundai’s current N models. Attending media were fortunate enough to be able to join any session in any of the available cars. Not one to waste any track time, I completed six sessions in the morning, sampling two i30 Sedan Ns, two i20 Ns, and two Kona Ns.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

All of Hyundai’s N models are bred on the racetrack and it’s perhaps their resilience to relentless abuse that has allowed Hyundai to host this event with such confidence. Indeed, the press cars were on continual rotation for more than eight hours straight, being used and abused by media members, and other than a couple showing some slight brake fade and burning through their tires, all performed flawlessly.


Having just driven the Kona N from Melbourne, I elected to take it out onto the track for the first session. It was instantly impressive, so much so that during my hot laps, I was left scratching my head as to how an affordable performance SUV like this can perform so brilliantly on a demanding racetrack. The brakes were strong, the grip tenacious, and the sound intoxicating. The only thing that caught me by surprise was its tendency for lift-off oversteer going into a turn or halfway through a turn. Indeed, one journalist span out directly in front of me in another Kona N.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Driven: 2022 Hyundai i30 Sedan N Pushes Performance To New Heights

Next was a pair of i30 Sedan Ns. This is the best N car that Hyundai currently produces. It’s best known as the Elantra N in most overseas markets and while it has the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the i30 N hatch and Kona N, it feels far more poised than both of them.

Slamming on the brakes into the first turn having just eclipsed 210 km/h (130 mph) down the main straight, the i30 Sedan N’s front tires instantly offer huge levels of reassurance, encouraging you to tip it into the first turn with more steering lock than you’d think possible of a front-wheel drive car. The electronic limited-slip differential works flawlessly, allowing you to pin the throttle halfway through a turn. Heck, even the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires performed brilliantly despite some sprinkles of rain falling during the first few sessions.

For as impressive as the Kona N and i30 Sedan N were to drive around The Bend, it was the i20 N that was our highlight.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

The i20 N is a bundle of fun

We spent a few days living with the i20 N in April, embarking on a 2,000 km (~1,300-mile) road trip in it across some of Western Australia’s beautiful coastline. It performed brilliantly but as it turns out, is even better on a racetrack.

Fitted with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the i20 N delivers 201 hp (150 kW) between 5,500 rpm and 6,000 rpm and 202 lb-ft (275 Nm) of torque between 1,750 rpm and 4,500 rpm. These figures may make it seem underpowered compared to its N siblings but we were able to hustle it through to 192 km/h (119 mph) on the straight and achieve lap times just 1.5 seconds behind the i30 Sedan N. However, it wasn’t the pace of the i20 N that impressed us the most but rather how enjoyable it was to drive.

The i20 N is much smaller than all other N products and it feels it as soon as you tip it into a turn. The response is immediate and the grip from the 215/40 Pirelli P Zero HN tires is phenomenal, giving us the confidence to pin the throttle through turns that we had to lift off in the i30 Sedan N. Brake feel is tremendous and we never experienced any fade, despite slamming on the brakes at every corner and for multiple laps in a row.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

Nothing seems to phase the i20 N when it’s driven at the limit. While it is best suited to precision driving, you can throw it around and kick out the tail through corners. The steering and six-speed manual transmission are ace. Everything about it is ace, in fact. I was so impressed that I started searching the classifieds for a used one immediately after wringing the neck out of it.

The pièce de résistance

Plenty of other things were happening throughout the day, including a small Motorkhana circuit that was set up in one of the parking areas. Another highlight was the presence of Hyundai’s RN22e, an all-electric concept unveiled back in July that is packaged in the body of the Ioniq 6 and uses parts that will be featured in the Ioniq 5 N. Seeing it in person was a shock. Seeing it drifting around some of The Bend’s most famous corners was mind-blowing.

 Special Report: 2022 Hyundai Australia’s N Festival Is The Ultimate Owner Track Day

The mastermind behind the Hyundai N brand, Albert Biermann, attended the track day and both he and a handful of Hyundai race drivers sampled the RN22e throughout the day. The automaker has such faith in its owners that the RN22e was driven around the track at the same time that N owners were hustling their own cars through the bends. Name another automaker that will test a priceless development prototype quite like this.

The day ended with a handful of sessions on The Bend’s GT circuit which combines the West and East circuits into a 7.77 km (4.8 miles) track that has 35 corners. Keeping track of all the turns proved to be extremely challenging but was very enjoyable.

Hyundai’s range of N performance cars will change dramatically over the coming five years with the arrival of various all-electric models. But, even after the N range goes all-electric, its models will retain a track-focused edge and should be solid performers. In the coming five years, enthusiasts would be wise to appreciate the current N family and with events like this, they will be able to do just that.

We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

<br /> Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain | Carscoops

The Artura’s powertrain grabs headlines, but it’s so much more than a pricey plug-in hybrid supercar

by Michael Gauthier

9 hours ago

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

by Michael Gauthier

The effects of climate change can be seen throughout the American southwest, but the striking visuals of Lake Mead really put things into perspective.

This summer, NASA’s Earth Observatory noted water levels fell to their lowest point since 1937, when the reservoir was being filled for the first time. The dramatic drop is etched into the rock as a white line marks where the water level used to be.

The change hasn’t gone unnoticed and automakers are embracing a cleaner, greener, and electrified future.  This includes McLaren, which introduced their first plug-in hybrid a decade ago.  While the P1 went out of production in 2015, its spirit lives on in the new Artura, which is the company’s first series-production high-performance hybrid supercar.

Combining distinctive styling with an innovative new plug-in hybrid powertrain, the Artura is an everyday supercar that is lightning quick and surprisingly comfortable.  The model also hasn’t forgotten the company’s lightweight focus as it tips the scales at a mere 3,303 lbs (1,498 kg).  That’s an impressive figure for any car, let alone a plug-in hybrid.

A Sporty And Purposeful Design

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

MSRP: $237,500 (including destination)
Combined Output: 671 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque
0-60 MPH Time: 3.0 seconds
Top Speed: 205 mph
Electric-Only Range: 11 miles
On Sale: Now

Supercars are supposed to stand out and the Artura doesn’t disappoint as it features an aggressive and unmistakable design.  The company bills the model as a “technical sculpture” with “functional jewelry,” and it looks like a natural evolution of the 570S.

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However, the model isn’t a 570S successor as that car was a member of the Sport Series whereas the Artura is part of the company’s supercar lineup.  As a result, it slots between the GT and 720S.

Similarities aside, the model has a shark nose front fascia with recessed headlights and LED daytime running lights.  They’re joined by a prominent front splitter and sizable intakes.

Moving down the sides, there’s aluminum dihedral doors and a single-piece aluminum roof that flows into flying buttresses.  They’re joined by “superformed” aluminum body panels and front fender vents that reduce pressure in the wheel arches, while also guiding ‘dirty’ air away from the side intakes.  In fact, McLaren says “each vent, duct and fold – and even the door mirrors – has a specific purpose in managing airflow, cooling radiators, optimizing downforce, and enabling onboard technology.”

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

That brings us to the rear end, which is pure supercar as it sports a mesh fascia with an integrated dual exhaust system.  They’re joined by slender LEDs that function as taillights, brake lights, and indicators.  It’s also impossible to ignore the car’s sizable diffuser, which indicates the Artura means business.

The car rides on 19- and 20-inch forged alloy wheels, which cover black aluminum calipers with white McLaren logos.  However, if black isn’t your color, six other hues are available.

The brake calipers are just the tip of the customization iceberg as McLaren offers an assortment of styling options.  The most notable is the MSO Carbon Fiber Pack, which adds a number of carbon fiber components including a front splitter, diffuser, rear bumper, and mirror caps.

A Minimalist, But Surprisingly Spacious Cabin

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

If you’ve ever wondered how old and fat you’ve become, try getting into a supercar.  While the dihedral doors open easy enough, getting inside the Artura is another story as it required this 6’ 2” reviewer to move the driver’s seat back and then raise the power steering wheel to its maximum height.  Even then, entry and egress wasn’t a pretty picture although it wasn’t a complete disaster either.

Once inside, things get significantly better as the cabin is surprisingly spacious and airy.  Visibility is excellent and there’s tons of head- and legroom, although the cabin is narrow and the driver’s side footwell is pretty tight.

Our tester came in well-equipped Performance trim, which sees Alcantara upholstery cover the seats, headliner, doors, and dashboard.  Other surfaces sport Nappa leather and there’s orange piping for a splash of color.  Speaking of the latter, the Performance, TechLux, and Vision trims come standard with a 12-color ambient lighting system.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

On the topic of equipment, our car was outfitted with the Technology Pack that features a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system with a subwoofer integrated into the front of the carbon fiber monocoque.  The package also includes advanced driver assistance systems, which is a first for McLaren. While the list is relatively brief, customers will find Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Road Sign Recognition technology, Lane Departure Warning, and a 360° Park Assist system.

Last but not least, there’s the Practicality Pack, which adds power-folding heated door mirrors, front/rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, soft-close doors, and HomeLink.  However, the most notable feature is a vehicle lift system, which raises the nose of the car so you don’t accidently scrape the front splitter when encountering speed bumps or steep entrances.

Besides the aforementioned equipment, the Artura has a 10-inch digital instrument cluster that is mounted on top of the steering column so the two move in unison. The display is bright and informative without feeling cluttered.  It also changes based on the selected driving mode as putting the car in Track mode will show a horizontal tachometer for improved visibility.

Also: McLaren Artura Debuts A 671 HP Plug-in Hybrid Supercar With No Reverse Gear

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

Sticking with screens, there’s an 8-inch Android-based infotainment system with a portrait orientation.  While the screen is small, it features massive bezels that make it feel a little dated. 

Thankfully, the same can’t be said about the system itself as it’s reasonably quick and features dedicated climate controls that always remain visible.  The system feels a little basic, but the dial is an interesting touch as it functions as a menu button and a volume controller.

Supercars have a tendency to be quirky and the Artura has a number of odd design choices.  The shifter is key among them as it only has Drive, Neutral, and Reverse settings.  Park is curiously absent, but the car will automatically go into park if you shut the engine off.  If you’d rather keep the engine running, you’ll have to fumble around for the parking brake which is mounted low on the dashboard.

Another quirk is the lack of steering wheel mounted switchgear.  Instead, there are four stalks with the lower two controlling the voice assistant and the adaptive cruise control system.  The latter takes a little getting used to, but it becomes pretty natural once you get the hang of it.

On the bright side, the flat-bottom steering wheel is perfectly sized and features paddle shifters that feel great. Elsewhere, there are stylish metal accents as well as comfortable and supportive seats.  Unfortunately, some of the plastics feel a little on the cheap side.

A 671 HP Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain With 11 Miles Of Electric-Only Range

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

The undisputed star is the Artura’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, which features an all-new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 with a 120˚ ‘hot vee’ configuration.  The latter optimizes performance and emissions, while also enabling the engine to be impressively compact and lightweight.  The engine tips the scales at 353 lbs (160 kg), which makes it 110 lbs (49.9 kg) lighter than the company’s 4.0-liter V8.

That’s only part of the story as the M630 features continuously variable valve timing, a dry-sump lubrication system, and a direct injection system operating at 350 bar. The engine screams to 8,500 rpm, while also sporting symmetrical turbochargers and electronically actuated wastegates.

The engine produces 577 hp (430 kW / 585 PS) and 431 lb-ft (584 Nm) of torque, and it’s joined by an axial flux electric motor which is roughly the size of a brake disc and weighs a mere 34 lbs (15.4 kg).  Despite its small size, the electric motor punches above its weight as it develops up to 94 hp (70 kW / 95 PS) and 166 lb-ft (225 Nm) of torque.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

The motor is integrated into the Artura’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and it’s powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that has a usable capacity of 7.4 kWh. This setup enables the model to travel 11 miles (17.7 km) on electricity alone at speeds up to 81 mph (130 km/h).

The electric-only range is pretty short, but the battery can be given an 80% charge in approximately two and a half hours.  Owners also don’t have to worry about electrical upgrades as the EVSE cable plugs into a standard household outlet.

More importantly, the engine and electric motor can work together to give the Artura a combined output of 671 hp (500 kW / 680 PS) and 531 lb-ft (719 Nm) of torque.  This enables the car to rocket from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in three seconds flat, while 124 mph (200 km/h) arrives 5.3 seconds later.  If drivers keep their foot planted, they’ll eventually top out at 205 mph (330 km/h).

Those numbers fall short of the 720S, which has a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 developing 710 hp (530 kW / 720 PS) and 568 lb-ft (770 Nm) of torque.  Thanks to the extra oomph, the Artura’s counterpart can hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.9 seconds and top out at 212 mph (341 km/h).  While the 720S has a slight edge, the plug-in hybrid is a relative bargain as it offer similar performance for tens of thousands of dollars less.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

Picture credit: McLaren

So how does everything work in practice?  Amazingly well as the Artura is impressively quick and sounds reasonably good even though it eschews the company’s familiar V8.

After hitting the start button, the Artura quietly comes to life as E-Mode is the default driving mode.  It enables owners to quietly leave their home, without disturbing anyone, and cruise around with zero emissions.  The car is nearly silent outside, but there’s a hum in the cabin and a little bit of road noise.

A quick push of the selector puts you into Comfort mode, which is focused on efficiency.  As a result, the engine shuts off at low speeds and the transmission shifts at lower revs to maximize fuel efficiency.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

Sport mode provides a more interesting driving experience as the engine is always active and ready to respond to the slightest press of the accelerator.  The shift logic also changes to hold gears until the car gets into the mid-rpm range.

Track mode builds on that by delivering faster shifts, shifting at higher revs, and maximizing regeneration to ensure there is always plenty of battery power.  The latter is notable because in Sport and Track modes, the powertrain has a “torque infill” feature which uses the electric motor to deliver improved low-end response.

Mash the accelerator from a standstill and you’ll be impressed by the results as the electric motor provides instantaneous torque for a rapid launch. You’ll quickly build up speed and continue accelerating as the engine then does the heavy lifting.  All of this occurs in perfect harmony and you’ll soon find yourselves hitting triple digits if you don’t lift off the go pedal.

A Proper Supercar With A Lightweight Focus

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

The phenomenal performance is matched by a standout driving experience as the Artura can seemingly defy the laws of physics.  Of course, this isn’t magic, but rather dedication to making the car as light as possible.

This starts from the ground up as the Artura rides on the all-new McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture, which is built at the company’s new Composites Technology Center in Sheffield.  It consists of three main elements including an all-new carbon fiber monocoque that features a new structural core material as well as a new resin system.

This enables the carbon fiber structure to weigh a mere 181 lbs (82.1 kg) including the battery compartment.  Speaking of the latter, the total weight of the hybrid components – including the battery and electric motor – is just 287 lbs (130.2 kg).  That’s part of the reason why the Artura boasts a class-leading power-to-weight ratio of 481 hp (358 kW / 487 PS) per ton.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

While we could talk about weight saving measures for much, much longer, the effort pays big dividends as the Artura handles beautifully.  One of my biggest concerns coming into the car was that the plug-in hybrid system’s weight would dilute the driving experience. That’s not the case as handling is spot on and you never get the sensation that there’s a heavy battery pack on board, even when pushing hard on the track.  That’s a remarkable achievement and one that shows it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too.

The story doesn’t end there as the Artura has a handling mode selector with Comfort, Sport, and Track settings. Each has separate adjustments for damper firmness and customers can also adjust the electronic stability control system as it has On, Dynamic, and Off settings. 

If that wasn’t enough handling goodies, the Artura is the first McLaren to have an electronically controlled differential.  It’s integrated into the eight-speed transmission and helps to optimize traction when accelerating out of corners.

Last but not least, there’s a Variable Drift Control system that enables drivers to select how much fun they want to have.  The system offers 15 different settings, so drivers can progressively explore the car’s limits.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

While many plug-in hybrids have regenerative braking systems, the Artura doesn’t as the engine provides sufficient charging and the company wanted a ‘proper’ brake pedal feel.  The latter is also why the car uses a mechanical setup instead of newer brake-by-wire technology.  Engineers also installed a bespoke brake booster and an electrically driven vacuum pump to ensure pedal pressures remain consistent, regardless of whether the car is running on the internal combustion engine or the electric motor.

As for the brakes themselves, McLaren outfits the Artura with carbon ceramic discs that measure 15.4 inches (391 mm) front and 15 inches (381 mm) rear.  They’re backed up by forged aluminum calipers, which have six pistons at the front and four out back.

The brakes provide plenty of stopping power and they had no problem quickly dissipating speed from 130+ mph (209 km/h) runs on the straight at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Even more impressively, the brakes showed little sign of fading even after 30 laps.

While it’s no surprise the brakes performed well on the track, they also work good on the street.  After an initial learning curve, they’re easy to modulate and there weren’t any hints of grabbiness or undue noise.

 Driven: The McLaren Artura Gives You 671 Reasons To Love Its Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain

Steering is spot-on thanks to a hydraulically-assisted setup that provides plenty of feedback and feels perfectly weighted.  The experience is further enhanced by an excellent steering wheel that feels perfectly sized.

That brings us to the ride, which is unsurprisingly firm as the car can hit speeds in excess of 200 mph (322 km/h).  Part of this firmness can be chalked up to the new multi-link rear suspension, which has been designed to be “significantly stiffer” than anything McLaren has used before.

Despite that stiffness, the car is reasonably comfortable around town.  On bad roads, you’ll feel every imperfection but nothing we experienced felt overly jarring or unpleasant.  That being said, we encountered a rough stretch of road where things got a little bumpy and we slowed down to compensate.

On good roads, the ride is surprisingly smooth and comfortable enough for daily use. Of course, the aforementioned modes play a role in this and we’d probably stick to comfort or sport modes around town.

The Artura Is So Much More Than Just A Pricey Plug-In Hybrid

As McLaren’s first ‘mainstream’ plug-in hybrid, there’s a lot riding on the Artura.  Thankfully, the company seems to have stuck the landing as the car offers phenomenal performance and a great driving experience.

It’s clear engineers sweated the smallest details and created a truly impressive powertrain, which is responsive and lightweight.  The latter is one of McLaren’s core values and it’s nice to see the company hasn’t forgotten their roots in the quest for electrification.

When you’re dropping $237,500 on a car, you’re going to want it to feel special.  The Artura certainly fits that bill as it has supercar looks and a relatively nice soundtrack to boot.  That being said, some interior bits don’t seem up to the lofty price tag and some people will undoubtedly be turned off by the hybrid powertrain.

Our message to those customers is give the Artura a chance.  It’s an undeniably impressive supercar and a sizable savings compared to the 720S.  That being said, it’s a step up from the 570S both in terms of price and performance.

Picture credits: Michael Gauthier / CarScoops

We’re Driving The 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance AWD, What Do You Want To Know?

Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

<br /> Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus | Carscoops

With 576 hp and a starting price of just $61,400 the EV6 GT is poised to steal a lot of sales from rivals

by Stephen Rivers

14 hours ago

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

by Stephen Rivers

Earlier this year, we had one of the very first cracks at driving the then-all-new Kia EV6. We called it the new electric vehicle benchmark despite the fact that the top trim level, the GT, still hadn’t arrived. Now, as the year draws to a close, the flagship trim level is ready for the public and arriving at dealerships nationwide as you read this.

Unlike the rest of the EV6 lineup, the GT features a new 362 hp (270 kW) motor on the rear axle and the 214 hp motor that’s on the back of the GT-Line trim is now on the front axle of the GT. In combination, the pair makes a combined total of 576 hp (429 kW) and 545 lb-ft (738 Nm) of torque.

To find out if it really was worth the long wait, we went to Las Vegas and tested the Kia EV6 GT on public roads, on a road course, and on the drag strip. Here’s what we’ve found out about the most powerful production car to ever wear a Kia badge.

Quick Facts
Model: 2023 Kia EV6 GT
Starting MSRP: $61,400
Dimensions: 184.3 in. (4,681mm) L x 74.0 in. (1,880mm) W x 60.8 (1,544mm) H
Power: AWD – 576 hp (429 kW) and 545 lb-ft (738 Nm) Torque
0-60mph (96km/h): 3.4 seconds
Top Speed 161 mph (259 km/h)
Range: 206 Miles (331 km)
On Sale: Now

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

Subtle Speed Aesthetics

We’ve talked before about just how polarizing the design of the EV6 can be. The EV6 GT is likely to create similar feelings on each end of the spectrum because it’s not much different. In fact, that lack of clear discernible difference from the normal EV6 might be a cause for rejoicing or derision all by itself depending on whom you ask.

Just like the rest of the EV6 lineup, the GT features a functional lower grille, a fairly tall ride height, and a dark body line near the ground that elevates to meet the rear decklid spoiler. The 3D headlight and tail light treatments look great in person and the holy roof-mounted spoiler at the rear is a cool touch that needs to be seen up close to be appreciated.

First Drive: The 2022 Kia EV6 Is The New EV Benchmark

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Still, we wonder if Kia has done enough to make people aware of just how special this car is. The only external dead giveaway, other than the small GT badge in the back, is the green brake calipers at each corner. That name, GT, might not be bold enough either as online searches will show that this car and the GT-Line get confused by people all over the place. Perhaps Kia will allow owners to spec different colored calipers in the future but for now, it won’t say.

A Sporty Interior

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

The inside of the EV6 GT isn’t far afield from the rest of the lineup either. There are some notable changes that are almost all positive. Kia has added impressive green stitching to match the green calipers and the green GT button on the steering wheel. The capacitive touch buttons at the end of the center console have been swapped out in favor of physical push buttons and that’s a big plus. Gone are the days of accidentally enabling them with your wrist while you work with the climate control.

Spatially, the EV6 GT loses none of its interior cabin capacity compared to the rest of the lineup. The headroom is great in the front seats and not bad in the back. Taller drivers will struggle in the rear seats and forget about using this thing with a helmet on in the front. I had to lean way back to have my head straight up in the track testing portions of the drive. Still, it’s a very comfortable car in terms of space. In the back seat, I had more than enough room to stretch out.

Cargo space is great too. While the EV6 might look like a tall sedan, it has a cavernous boot. With the seats in place, it features 24.4 cubic feet in the back. Drop those seats down and that figure expands to 50.2 cubic feet.

The only pain point in the GT is the front seating situation. We love the added bolstering and their general shape. They are fantastic on a track. Still, we wonder how many buyers will be content with giving up lumbar support, ventilation, and power adjustability compared to the buckets in the GT-Line. It’s a tradeoff that we’d happily make but it would be nice for Kia to at least offer a different seat for those that want the luxuries.

Tech Enabling Multiple Cars In One

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

Kia doesn’t add much in the way of special tech to the EV6 GT compared to the rest of the lineup. Dual 12.3-inch screens make up the infotainment system and the driver information display while a heads-up display utilizes augmented reality to improve the driving experience. Where the GT stands out from its other stablemates is with regard to driving modes, of which it has five.

Turn the car on and it’ll be in ‘Normal’ mode by default. In this setting, the EV6 GT makes 429 hp (320 kW). Push the mode button and it’ll jump into Eco mode where power gets dialed down to 286 hp (214 kW). Hit it again and you’ll get Sport mode. Power goes back to where it was in Normal mode but the steering and suspension get tighter for a more direct feel.

Press the green GT button on the bottom right-hand side of the steering wheel and you’ll get the full-fat 576 hp (429 kW) experience complete with even tighter steering and suspension behavior as well as special sport-oriented settings for the electronic limited-slip differential and the electronic stability control. Traction control takes a holiday in GT mode. Finally, there’s ‘My Drive’ mode which allows the user to pick and choose which settings from which features they’d prefer.

High-Performance Lowers Range To 206 Miles

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

Gearheads have been trading performance for range for decades and that’s the same in the EV6 GT. Instead of the 252-mile (406 km) range found in the GT-Line trim, the GT, with the same 77.4 kWh battery pack drops down to just 206 miles (332 km) when full. That’s still more than the average driver will need during a normal day but it’s low enough that we bet some will be put off simply because of that.

Of course, Kia’s answer to those concerned about range is that it can charge much faster than the competition. It says that the EV6 GT will go from 10 percent to 80 in just 18 minutes when hooked up to a DC fast charger. That’s much faster than Tesla or Ford can accomplish. Every EV6 GT also comes with 1,000 kWh of fast charging from Electrify America.

We can confirm that it’ll get close to that range if you’re not beating on it constantly. Our total travel for the day was around 150 miles and we had about 25 remaining when we pulled into the garage at our final destination. Sure, that’s down about 30 miles from its range estimate but that number isn’t factoring in the kind of abuse that we threw at it. It’s worth noting that below 70 percent state of charge, the EV6 GT loses performance on a curve. Near the end of the day, it was noticeably slower than at the beginning.

How Fast Is It?

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

The whole point of the EV6 GT is to be an outright performance flagship and to that end, it accomplishes the task quite nicely. Think of it this way, the Lamborghini Urus is a five-seat super SUV that can do 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and dispatch a quarter of a mile in 11.3 seconds. The $61,400 EV6 GT comes in about $164,000 less than the Lambo and can nearly match those performance figures.

Kia says that the EV6 GT is probably faster than its official 3.4-second 0-60 time and while we couldn’t confirm that, we do know a lot more about how it handles itself on a race track. For an entire afternoon, we had the chance to drive the EV6 GT on both the outside road course at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and also on ‘The Strip’, the compound’s full quarter-mile drag strip. It was not a boring day.

First and foremost, on The Strip, the EV6 GT is a bit shocking, and perhaps not in the way one might assume. The insane instant torque provided by high-performance EVs is still impressive, sure, but it’s lost a bit of its novelty now that so many automakers have an offering that can do that same trick. The EV6 GT isn’t the fastest or most extreme, though it’s probably one of the best bang-for-your-buck EV drag racers on the market today.

More: What Do You Want To Know About The 575HP 2023 Kia EV6 GT?

It was unflappable in our drag race testing. Pass after pass resulted in mid-11-second times with the best of the bunch dipped to 11.469. We didn’t have a chance to test it below a 70 percent state of charge but down to about 80 percent, it was still pulling as though it were topped up. That’s considerably faster than a Tesla Model Y Performance, a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, and the Jaguar I-Pace.

It’s also more resilient as each of those three rivals tends to experience a bigger performance drop-off more quickly. Our first pass resulted in an ET of 12.1 seconds at 116.94 mph (188.2 km/h). Every other run was at least an 11.535 if not slightly quicker. Our last run of the day was 11.534 at 118.43 mph (190.6 km/h). Smoking supercars in the EV6 GT is as easy as hitting the GT button and mashing the go pedal.

How Was It On The Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

While setting nearly identical times on the drag strip was an easy affair in the EV6 GT, laying down similar lap times on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway outside road course was a different story. The GT utilizes regenerative braking up to .6-Gs and supplements braking performance with the actual 15-inch front and 14.2-inch rear brake discs. On track, modulating that balance took some getting used to.

Stomp on those brakes before a turn and the EV6 GT produces satisfying and powerful performance. It’s almost too sensitive on the initial tip-in. Overcook a turn and attempt some trail braking though and it’s much harder to dial in. On top of that, the EV6 isn’t a light car. It tips the scales at a hefty 4,795 pounds (2,175 kg). All of that mass and the somewhat steep learning curve of the braking system means that multiple laps are needed to get a proper feel for creating clean laps in the GT.

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

What’s great about it though is that from the moment you pull out of the pit lane, it’s fun and mostly approachable. The steering feedback is great and the only understeer we experienced was as the result of pushing speeds too high too deeply into corners. Slow things down to the right entry speed and the EV6 GT responds with balanced turn-in and smooth stable cornering behavior.

Kia has set up the GT with its own bespoke suspension system, electronically controlled adaptive dampers, revised spring rates, and re-tuned steering. All of those pieces help the GT maintain stability at high speeds which is great because it will happily pull hard above 120 mph (193 km/h). We can’t say that for all the performance EV crossovers out there.

Once comfortable, you can carry a little more speed through turns by turning in a little early. The car rotates nicely and then the real fun begins. It’s supremely good at exiting corners with gusto. Of course, it should be thanks to electric motors and AWD but unlike some of its rivals, the EV6 GT doesn’t dampen the fun when it detects a bit of wheel spin. It allows the driver to put the hammer down and that adds to the engagement. Smoky power slides aren’t out of the question either thanks in part to an electronic limited-slip rear differential.

Mastering the performance capability of the EV6 GT on a road course takes time and practice. It’s still approachable, just like the EV6 GT-Line, but it’s fast enough that drivers have to give it more respect. We love that balance.

On The Road

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

What the EV6 GT does on the track is one thing but we don’t necessarily expect to see these things popping up at track days across the nation anytime soon. Where most will be used is on the road and to that end, it’s important to recognize that the performance capability of this car has brought with it some real compromises in terms of everyday comfort.

Much like we found in the normal EV6, the general driving experience is very refined. The ride though, even in Eco mode is a bit rougher than in the rest of the lineup. We think that comes down to a number of components including the 21-inch wheels, the low-profile tires, the GT-specific suspension components, and maybe more. As a result, it’s a little louder in the cabin too.

We suggest setting it up in custom ‘My Drive’ mode with everything dialed to 11 except the suspension. Leave that in normal mode. It’s still sharp and fun to drive but it’ll punish you less when the road isn’t perfect. According to executives at Kia, that’s the way that former head of R&D Albert Biermann likes to set up the EV6 GT.

They called this car his swan song and it’s easy to see why. Biermann deserves his fair share of credit for taking Kia from where it was about a decade ago and lifted it up into the space where it now resides from a performance standpoint. The N line-up, the Stinger GT, and this EV6 GT all got the green light in part thanks to Biermann.


 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

The Mustang Mach-E GT is probably the closest direct competitor to the EV6 GT but there are tradeoffs on both ends. At its quickest, the Mach-E GT is still about a second slower than the Kia in a quarter-mile drag race. Around a track, the gap is even wider since the Kia benefits from more power and a lower center of gravity. In terms of practicality, the Mustang wins thanks to extra cargo space and a more comfortable ride. At the same time, the Ford costs more and charges slower.

Tesla could stack the Model Y Performance or Model 3 Performance against the EV6 too. Each of the three has something to brag about compared to the other two. The EV6 GT is cheaper ($61k vs $63+). It’s more spacious and practical than the Model 3 but not as quick nor does it have as much range. The Kia also doesn’t handle as well as a Model 3 Performance. It’s faster than a Model Y Performance and much cheaper but again, misses out on the range equation.

Staking Its Flag In The Ground

 Driven: The 2023 Kia EV6 GT Is A Family Car That’s Nearly As Fast As A Lambo Urus

Kia didn’t need to build the EV6 GT. It could’ve continued to focus on the numerous other projects that it has in the works. Instead, it brought us the most powerful and best-performing Kia in history. No, it’s not a perfect car, and Kia will need to continue refining it to keep it among the best in the business but for now, it’s a true flagship performance model that’s also a competent family car. It’s a little rawer and it requires real skill to hustle it around a track. It’s also priced low enough that we seriously expect a number of Ford and Tesla buyers to make the leap to Kia.

Photos Stephen Rivers / Carscoops, Kia

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Driven: Supercharged Theon Design 911 Is A New Take On And Old Favorite

<br /> Driven: Supercharged Theon Design 911 Is A New Take On And Old Favorite | Carscoops

We took Theon Design’s Porsche 964 for a spin to see what makes this nearly $600,000 restomod tick

by Chris Chilton

9 hours ago

 Driven: Supercharged Theon Design 911 Is A New Take On And Old Favorite

by Chris Chilton

Want to really understand Theon Design and what makes its restomod  Porsche 911s stand out in a sea of restomod 911s? Open the frunk.

I know, the cargo bay seems a weird place to start when discussing a $600k (£500k) Porsche whose unusual supercharged flat-six is clearly its most obvious talking point. But to see inside the beautifully finished frunk with its embossed leather panels and leather-wrapped RS strut-brace is to see and appreciate just how much effort and care goes into making one of these radically re-made 964-generation 911s.

Because if UK-based Theon takes this much trouble over making the luggage bay look good, and doing a bunch of other stuff that you’ll never even get to see unless you’re the guy who put it together in Theon’s workshop, like welding up holes that Porsche was happy to fill with rubber grommets, just think how much effort has gone in to making the important bits work.

Like the fit and finish of the reshaped fenders that come in either steel (as on this car) or carbon, depending on taste and funds, and the carbon bumpers and spoiler fitted to every example that help cut the weight to 1,265 kg (2,789 lbs) in its lightest configuration, down from the 1,350 kg (2,976 lbs) of the stock 964 Carrera 2 donor. Or the setup of the suspension, whose five-mode dampers give the driver the kind of flexibility to tweak the ride / handling balance that 911s didn’t get until 25 years after the 964 was first introduced in 1989.

Related: Theon Design’s Latest Porsche 964 Restomod Has A 3.6-Liter Supercharged Flat-Six

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Photos Chris Chilton / Carscoops

Or the supercharged engine that probably hooked you into this article. Turbocharging has been part of the 911 story for almost 50 years, but the Belgian buyer who commissioned this car, codenamed BEL001, specifically wanted a supercharger. An unusual request, maybe, but one that fitted with his overall vision of a 911 that would be something with more of a GT vibe than the high-revving, naturally aspirated Porsches Theon had built for previous clients.

More muscle than a 964 Turbo S

So in addition to independent throttle bodies, flowed and ported heads, tough Carillo rods, custom cams and motorsport-grade pistons, the fully rebuilt motor now features a compact Rotrex supercharger where the air conditioning unit used to live. Twin charge coolers and water methanol injection to boost fuel octane were chosen over intercoolers to avoid cutting air intakes into the body, and the finished motor sends its 400 hp (406 PS) and 367 lb-ft (498 Nm) to the rear wheels through the stock five-speed manual transmission.

Adam Hawley, the visionary behind Theon and former designer for big names like BMW, Jaguar and Lexus, tells me a six-speed transmission is possible and the shorter, closer ratios amplify the kick in the back. But with such a torquey engine, it’s kind of cool to have only five ratios and to let the car stretch out and wind its way through the rev range in the taller cogs. And since this supercharged motor has as much power as Theon’s top-spec 4.0 naturally aspirated engine (milder 3.6 and 3.8s can also be ordered) but an extra 52 lb-ft (71 Nm) of torque, much of it available from way down the rev range, it certainly got the muscle to let you do that.

There’s no obvious whine or step-change in performance to signpost the artificial aspiration when you’re storming up through second and third gear, or cracking the right pedal wide open in fourth to let all that torque hurl the car forward. It just feels like a really lusty unblown motor, effortlessly rapid with bags of power everywhere and a great snarl to the exhaust that never gets too intrusive, even with the active exhaust in its shoutiest mode. This is a GT, not a trackday weapon remember. But back out of the throttle though, and the supercharger makes it presence felt with some vocal chirrups that the owner loves, but I’d happily lose. I reckon they’d get annoying once the novelty had worn off, but you might disagree.

Built for real roads

Chassis-wise though, I wouldn’t change a thing. Super-stiff cars configured for track use rarely work well on the road, at least not the UK’s nasty roads that are full of lumps and holes and have a pronounced crown in the center. But because BEL001 was conceived for the road, it works brilliantly, and that’s down to the owner’s honesty about how, where and when he would use it, and Theon’s interpretation of that remit.

This thing rides better than many modern cars and crossovers, delivers the kind of satisfying steering feel you don’t get on most of today’s supercars, and even with the optional TracTive dampers in a soft configuration, body movements are still kept in check. It’s one of those cars you just click with before you’ve even got out of first gear and discovered how sweet the shift is.

Related: Theon Design’s Latest Porsche 911 Has Carbon Body And Screaming 4.0-Liter Flat-Six

Keeping the chassis supple means the tires spend more time in contact with lumpy tarmac, and that means you can bury the throttle even in soaking wet conditions knowing you’re not going to suddenly end up staring out of the side window to see where you’re heading. That’s the kind of reassurance you want when you’re pinning the right pedal on a car someone has paid half a million quid for while the man who built it and owns the company is sitting in the next seat.

The seats in BEL001 aren’t as overtly sporty as the ones on the earlier CHI001, which was created with less of a GT character in mind, but they’re both comfortable and deliver plenty of support for road use and the odd trackday. In fact the interior of this car overall perhaps lacks the wow of one of Singer’s Classic cabins (you didn’t think I’d get through this review without mentioning the S word, did you?) at a very superficial level, but that’s partly to do with the owner’s subtle choice of GT-style trim with plain leather facings, and Theon being almost too clever for its own good with the finish.

Interior looks factory, but is far better

You see, like the trunk, the interior is crafted so beautifully, you’d easily assume all the clever bits, the door panels, the lower console, the switchgear and the rear tunnel trim, were OEM unless you’re a bit a 964 geek and understand that they’re on a different level for quality. All of which fits with Hawley’s claim that he’s not trying to reinvent the 911, just enhance what’s already there. One particularly tidy touch is the magnetic phone holder on the dashboard, that lets you place your smartphone where a radio would be and use it in the same way.

Photos Chris Chilton / Carscoops

Most of the few negatives points we found, like the offset driving position, are inherent design faults with the donor car, while others, like a steering column that could do with some extra reach, and an electric seat adjustment procedure that’s like trying to get your front door key in the lock at 3AM after a dozen beers, could be easily fixed.

In fact, that really is the beauty of these kind of conversions. They’re made in such small quantities that the company has the flexibility to adapt and improve with each new car, and actively seems to relish meeting the challenges (like this car’s supercharger) laid down by the commissioning customers.

It’ll End Up Costing You Over Half A Million

Which is just as you’d hope given that Theon’s commissions start at £380,000 ($457,000) plus local taxes and the cost of a donor car, and the example we’re driving probably cost 30 percent more. We could argue all day about whether it makes sense to spend £500k / $600k modifying a basic 964 Carrera 2 when you could buy a genuine 964 RS for half the money, but what’s not in doubt is that Theon puts that amount of blood, sweat and creative tears into the 18-month-long builds.

And for what it’s worth, at half a mill the Theon still comes in way less than the $800,000 Singer was charging for its Classic builds before it stopped taking orders, while people with this kind of money to spend often aren’t choosing between cars, because many times they have enough cash to buy a machine like the Theon, and a 964 RS and half a dozen other cars we’d give our right arm to own.

Theon plans to build around 30 of its 964 conversions before moving onto its next program, another Porsche-based one you might be be able to guess with a little imagination. And sticking with the imagination theme, I doubt I’ll ever be in a position to commission my own Theon build, but it’s hard not to come away from this encounter wondering how I’d spec my own. What would yours look like?

Photos Chris Chilton / Carscoops, Theon