Some 2019 Tests

 

 

Summer is ending and I figured it was time to test a few cars that are of interest to me. The first is the Fiesta ST which has been getting a lot of good press recently and it could be a simple purist fun car to run alongside my Up Gti.

Being honest I wasn't really taken with the Fiesta too much. There is plenty going for it like a great chassis, good damping and a really nice geachange but for this level of car I find the Up GTi quite a bit more fun. With the UP there is just far less car there, it's way more tin can like and therefore just more sprightly and mosquito like. It's lack of bulk and mass is a constant delight and there is a lot more simple transparent feel there. The Fiesta is more sophisticated of course but it actually doesn't feel any quicker to me yet the chassis is more composed and capable with greater grip too. The point of the UP is that it has a lot of limitations and you spend a lot of time driving through, around or beyond these limitations and that's partly why it's such a scream. You reach the limit even in your own driveway !

The other thing with the Fiesta is as an ownership proposition it's really not very desireable. The interior has moved on a lot from Fords of yesteryear but it's still just 'ok' and the exterior styling is fairly unremarkable too. The UP however I find funky, different and kind of cute.

If I didn't own the UP GTi then i'd probably go with the Fiesta as i've really enjoyed all Fords i've owned and still rate their ride and handling engineering up there with the best but the Fiesta is pointless as an addition to my fleet right now.

 

 

My second test drive was for the current BMW F90 M5, as a crazy idea to run one as a long distance muncher. Always had a soft spot for M5's and owned an F10 of course. Whilst I was there I elected to try the M2 Competition as well. I've no real urge for a a car like the M2 but it's another vehicle of the moment which I felt needed sampling.

 

 

To my surprise, I ended up being really taken with the little M2 CP. This car is a real hoot; gives the impression that it was made for sheer giggles and nothing else. Feels natural in the hands, transparent, eager and ever so slightly old school. The proverbial naughty puppy dog.

Decent steering, good BM damping and body control and a fabulous blown engine that likes to be revved but has buckets low down as well. All the power you ever need for the public road, it feels fast too. In fact, not since the UP Gti have I enjoyed a test drive so much.

 

 

Much like the UP it feels uncontrived and like a ‘real car’ which is quite a rare thing these days. Only the box is a slight let down as it’s nothing more than ‘ok’. If only it had the tight short shift of the Fiesta ST. The interior is also pretty low rent in terms of materials.

At this level I think I prefer the M2 to the Alpine. It’s a little more playful and vintage to the Alpine’s more clinical and semi-auto mid engined presentation. I prefer the less than perfect (read, more interesting) weight distribution and it’s a car that really makes you wanna get down and dirty, wield the thing and drive it out of it’s skin.

The M2 is also is so far ahead of my UP in terms of performance, grip, prestige, quality of interior, engine pedigree etc, that they would happily coexist side by side. Very very tempted and 100% would have to be a manual.

 

 

The M5 is a machine and a half and never really puts a foot wrong but a replacement for the Audi Q8 it is not, simply because it is actually quite cramped in comparison and does not achieve the ‘stately home’ on stilts effect which one craves for when exiting the Eurotunnel. As an outright addition it wouldn't really work either.

The truth is the M5 still has that problem of its out and out role. It’s not really satisfying enough for proper fun - although it's chassis definitely feels more interesting than the outgoing f10 version which felt a little blunt and 'big' - but then as transport it’s intergalactic performance is redundant most of the time. It really is a DE Autobahn car and not much else. Or perhaps a family or business car for a person who can only have one car ?

Still, I loved it’s interior and although it feels a lot more synthetic than the M2, I would say it’s still extremely good for a car of this type and this kind of weight.

 

 


The Jackals Racetrack http://www.jackals-forge.com/lotus 1998 Richard Morris